Lord, I Want to See

He was hungry.  He needed money.  So he did what he always did. 

He begged.

He really didn’t like to beg, but he had no other means of getting food or money.

But food and money wasn’t really what his greatest desire was. 

He was blind.  All he really wanted was to see.  He wanted to be able to open his eyes and see the beautiful world that he lived in.  He wanted to see people instead of just hearing them.  He wanted to regain his sight so he could see everything. 

As he sat outside Jericho, he heard the crowd getting louder and louder.  What was going on? 

He needed to find out. 

So he asked someone, “What is happening?”  They told  him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

His mind began racing.  Jesus is near me?  Jesus, the one who has performed miracles is coming my way?  Jesus, the one who has the power to heal is getting ready to pass by me?  Maybe he will see me and just maybe I could ask Him to heal me.

So, he did what any person in need of healing does.

He cried out to Jesus.

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

The crowd did not like it when he began shouting Jesus’ name.  Why did they care?  Were they embarassed because this blind man on the side of the road was shouting out to Jesus?  Well, guess what?  He didn’t care what they thought.  He needed Jesus to see him.  So he kept yelling until Jesus heard him, shouting even more loudly.

“Son of David, have mercy on me!”

And he heard him!  He came right up to him!

A blind man. 

On the side of the road.  

He asked him one question, “What do you want me to do for you? 

He had an easy answer to that question.

“Lord, I want to see!”

Jesus replied, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.”

And the impossible happened.

He regained his sight!

He could see!  He could see!  He could see!

Jesus healed him.  He once was blind but now he could see.

And he did what anyone would do.  He followed Jesus and gave all the glory to God. 

(Told from the point of view of the blind beggar from Luke 18:35-42)

 

This story of the blind beggar who was healed was the story that got my mind racing.

What if Jesus asked me that same question He asked the blind man?

What do you want me to do for you?

What would my answer be?

Would I immediately know what I would want?  Would I be able to be confident and shout out to Jesus what I wanted Him to do?  Would I even say the right thing to Him?

And then like a light bulb going off in my head, I knew what I wanted Jesus to do for me.

I want to see!

My response would be just like the blind beggar’s.  Even though I have my sight and can see well, I want to see with spiritual eyes.  I want to have the blindfold taken off my eyes, the one that keeps me from truly seeing the Lord.  I want eyes to see and a mind to comprehend His Word.  I want my eyes to see others who need to hear the message of Jesus.  I don’t want to walk around with this blindfold on, missing all the many opportunities of seeing Jesus in this world.  He is here and He is alive!  Lord, I want to see!

Do you know what you want Jesus to do for you?

Share with us your response to this question in the comments below.

Save

Save

The Word of the Year

Has it always been that way?Jeremiah 24:7

That was the question my husband and I were asking ourselves as we painted the spindles on our staircase.  (And yes, that is not a fun job).

As we were getting ready to paint the spindles white, we looked up and noticed that at the top of the stairs the spindles that were facing out were already white.  We have lived in this house for six years and never once has either of us looked up to take notice of the spindles upstairs and the fact that they were a different color than the other spindles.

As I painted, I was thinking to myself, “How can I have lived here for six years and not even noticed that the spindles were two different colors?”  And it’s not a slight difference, either.  They were visibly white and the others a dark beige.  Why have I never once looked up?

And then that got me thinking….

How many times have I not noticed God and what He has done for me?  How many times have I failed to look up, open my eyes, and see the wondrous love and provision that my Savior has provided me?  How many times have I failed just to SEE God?

I know there have to be countless times where I have failed at seeing God.

And I am ashamed of that.

What is wrong with me that I can’t take the time to look, to open up my eyes, to pay attention, to seek Him first? 

And that’s why my word for 2017 is SEE.  I want this to be a year of “seeing”.  I don’t want to miss God.  I don’t want to be so busy with my life that I put on sunglasses to block out the bright light that is shining before me…a light that is clearly present but one in which I choose to dim.

I want to slip on my “God glasses” and SEE God clearly and visibly.  I want to SEE Him at work in every aspect of my life.  I want to SEE Him in the little things and in the big things.  I want to SEE Him in people I know and people I don’t know.  I want to SEE Him and know Him in a way I have never seen or known Him before.

I believe that seeing Him goes hand in hand with knowing Him.  We have to have a desire to see Him and know Him.  God has given me such a strong passion and desire to see Him alive in Scripture.  He has already shown me passages in Scripture that involve seeing Him.

This month, I am excited to share with you these Scriptures that the Lord has given to me.  Not only do I want to SEE God, but I pray that you will have a desire to SEE God as well.  I want your love and passion for God to come alive in ways that you cannot believe.  I will be praying that the fog from your eyes will be lifted and that you will SEE God clearly.  I cannot wait to share the ways God has already opened my eyes and allowed me to SEE Him.

Over the next few days, soak in and pray this Bible verse from Jeremiah 24:7.  Ask God to give you a heart to know Him and SEE Him:

“I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord; and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.”

Looking forward to SEEING God more this year and watching God open your eyes to SEE Him, too!

Save

Favorite Books of 2016

This has been another great year of reading!  I love books and I especially love the encouragement I receive from the Lord by reading the books He has written through these wonderful authors.

Check out my favorite books of 2016:

Come With Me:  Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads   by: Suzanne Eller

As a woman who hungers for Jesus, Suzanne shares with us her journey of following Jesus wherever He leads.  That means doing things and going places we never believed or thought we would go.  It means surrendering and giving Him control.  It means walking deeper and deeper with Him.  It means living a life sold out for the Savior.  Do you say yes to Him?  My prayer is that you do!

The Circle Maker:  Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears   by: Mark Batterson

I did an online Bible study of this book on my blog this past August and absolutely LOVED it!  Get out your highlighter because you will be lighting this book up!  Mark Batterson teaches us how to circle our dreams/hopes in prayer.  He give us three circles:  dream big, pray hard, and think long.  And he encourages us to keep on circling our dreams in prayer.  Don’t give up just because God has not answered your prayer.  Keep praying and keep circling!  This book will change your prayer life.

Wait and See:  Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans   by: Wendy Pope

I just finished reading this book as part of an online Bible study by Proverbs 31 Ministries.  I really enjoyed this book as I am in a waiting phase myself (waiting for someone to want to publish my book).  Wendy draws her insight from David’s story.  I love how she looks at his life and helps us to see that waiting is not a bad thing.  Sometimes God uses our waiting phase to grow us and shape us for that next phase of our journey.  If you feel like you are waiting on God, read this book.  It will encourage you so much!

I Know His Name:  Discovering Power in the Names of God   by: Wendy Blight

One of my favorite things to do is to really dig into Scripture.  These days when I’m reading a verse, I find myself trying to find out as much as I can about that verse.  In this book, Wendy Blight digs into knowing the names of God:  Elohim (The One who created you), El Roi (The One who sees you), Jehovah Nissi:  (The One who stands guard over you), and Jehovah Rapha (The One who heals you).  This is a book I LOVED because I yearn to know more about God and all of the many names of Him.  I also loved it because it wasn’t just a book to read, but more like a Bible study with questions and Scripture to look up at the end of each chapter.  A great ready and a great study!

The Purpose Driven Life  by:  Rick Warren

I know what you’re going to say….Vanessa, this book was written in 2002 and you’re just now reading it?  It’s crazy, I know!  This fall, my community group tackled this book.  I am so glad I finally read it, because it was amazing.  Rick Warren does a beautiful job of describing the five purposes for our lives:  you were formed for God’s pleasure, you were formed for God’s family, you were created to become like Christ, you were shaped for serving God, and you were made for a mission.  If you are searching for your purpose and want to know more about God and what He desires for you, then read this book!

Fear Fighting:  Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears  by: Kelly Balarie

This book has not released yet (it will be available on Amazon on January 3rd), but I am on the book launch team so I’ve begun reading it.  I cannot say enough good things about this book.  Kelly has dealt with fear in her life and she writes about how she found the courage through God to conquer it.  Kelly cheers you on and wants you to be a part of the fear fighting team.  No more listening to the lies Satan feeds us!  Stand on the name of Jesus and proclaim freedom from your fears.  You will finish this book and will have hope that you, too, can be an overcomer.  Go buy this book next week!

My prayer for you in 2017 is that you have a hunger and a thirst to know God more.  You can first find Him in the Scriptures.  He is there and speaks directly to us.  And you can also search for Him in books that He has used other Christians to write.  God is amazing and speaks to us in many different ways.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.   Jeremiah 29:13

Save

Fear Fighting: Are You a People Pleaser?

I am excited to share with you a guest post by Kelly Balarie, author of the new book, Fear Fighting:  Awakening the Courage to Overcome your Fears.  I have been privileged to be a part of her book launch team. I love this book because I can relate to much of the fear she talks about.  God has helped me overcome the fears I have and see that I was not created to live in fear.  Kelly’s book is a must-read for those of you who struggle with fear and want to find the courage to overcome it.  Her book releases January 3rd!  Enjoy her post today below.

 

God told me to pray with all my heart. So, I did. I don’t think they liked it very much.

I think they had thoughts about it. Opinions. Perspectives. Perceptions.

Ouch!

What do you do when God prompts your heart, but man judges it? They may not say it. They may not whisper it. They may not even admit it, but somehow you know, under the cover of their Christian guise it brews. What do you do with that?

This is what I’ve been considering. Do I take care of man or do I take care to follow God’s lead?

There’s risk, big risk, in following God. Moving outside norms, beyond bounds or having an air of “different” can feel like a punishment waiting to happen.  It can feel like you’re letting people down. It can feel like their charge over you marks you condemned.

Even more, the fear of being judged, ostracized or talked about behind your back – is real. It is really real. Even worse, in some cases, it is likely to happen. Add that to the enemy, who spits out ugly words, like: “Bad child, you are messing things up and stirring up problems,” and, at this point, you can be thrown into the sea of doubt, in a split-second.

Still, I want to do what is right by God, don’t you? I want to live for Him – first. I want to answer to Him – above all. I want to be like Christ – in every way.

God knows, I want to be brave. I think He sees my heart. So, like a gracious father, He leads me, His child, to truth; He brings me to these words:

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.    Galatians 1:10

I can either win the approval of man. It’s fleeting and tiring.

Or, I can win the approval of God. It’s enduring and up building.

I can either please people. It’s short-lived and peace-depleting.

Or, I can serve Christ. It’s long-lasting and peace-giving.

What man gives today, is gone tomorrow. What you put in to satiating him, is eaten up by his desires for more – the next day. However, the will of God, does not waver. It does not grow old. It does not change course. It has a destination. There, lives joy, His glory and grand purpose.

Will we push into it? We can’t do it if we are sitting on man’s lap and eating up the delight of his face of approval. Jesus didn’t get a face of approval on the cross. His on-fire pursuit of doing God’s appeared nuts to man. It appeared worthy of their highest condemnation.

Still, Jesus didn’t change course. He stood fast to His belief in what His Father had called Him to. He walked the road assigned to Him, anyway.

What road do you need to walk anyway? What person’s demands do you need to release? What calling of love do you need to pursue?

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.   John 12:26

 

About the book, Fear Fighting, Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears:

Author and Speaker, Kelly Balarie didn’t always fight fear – for a large part of her life, she was controlled by it. Yet, in her book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, with God, Kelly charts a new course. Join Kelly, on the journey to go and grow with Christ’s bravery, the Spirit’s counsel and God’s unending love that squelches fear. This book reads like a love letter from God, while offering practical heart-calming prayers, anxiety-reducing tips, and courage-building decrees that will transform your day.

About Kelly Balarie:

Kelly is both a Cheerleader of Faith and a Fighter of Fear. She leans on the power of God, rests on the shoulder of Christ, and discovers how to glow in the dark places of life. Get all Kelly’s blog posts by email or visit her on her blog, Purposeful Faith. You can also find a variety of resources for your fight against fear at http://www.fearfightingbook.com/.

Save

Save

Save

Save

30 Ways to Have a Christ-Centered Family Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Christmas is probably my favorite holiday.  I love the atmosphere that Christmas brings; so much joy and cheer.  I love that the Atlanta Christian Radio station plays Christmas music beginning on Thanksgiving Day.  I love to decorate my house and absolutely love Christmas lights!  Christmas is so much fun!

But sometimes my love for this holiday is focused on the wrong things.  I tend to pay attention more to buying presents, going to parties, making sure all the decorations are hung, baking cookies, and staying very busy.

If you are like me, you want your family’s focus during Christmas to be on the birth of Jesus, which is the whole reason why we celebrate Christmas!  So, what can you do to keep your family’s eyes locked toward the birth of Jesus?

Here are 30 activities you can do to have a Christ-centered family Christmas:

    1. Celebrate Advent
      Advent is a Christian season where we wait and anticipate and prepare our hearts for the birth of the Messiah.  Advent means “coming”, and we are waiting for the coming of the King.  To help families at my church celebrate Advent, I gave out Family Advent Bags so they could keep their focus on Jesus.  To see more about this bag, visit my last blog post:  http://vanessamyers.org/family-advent-bags/
    2. Help Decorate your Church for Advent
      Volunteer your family to help prepare the church for Advent.  Decorating the church can be a fun family activity!
    3. Set up a Nativity in each room of your home
      Put one in each room if you can.  Use a kid-friendly one (like Fisher-Price) so your kids can play with it.
    4. Hide & Seek with Baby Jesus
      Take the baby Jesus from one of your Nativity scenes and hide Him each day.  Have your kids find Him every morning.
    5. Family Devotion and Prayer Time
      A great time to do this is around the dinner table.  Faith5 makes a great bookmark highlighting ways to have a family devotion.  Implementing these easy ways will help your family keep focused on Christ.  To see this bookmark go to their website:  www.faith5.org
    6. A Stocking for Jesus
      Hang a stocking in your home with Jesus’ name on it.  Fill it with notes of prayers to Him.
    7. Family Pinterest Craft or Baking Night
      Search Pinterest for a fun nativity craft you could make together.  Or try out your favorite Pinterest Christmas cookie recipe.  Hang the craft in your home and deliver the cookies to a neighbor.
    8. Visit a Live Nativity
      Check out your local churches to see who does a live nativity and attend one.  This is a great experience for your kids to see the Nativity story come to life!
    9. Take a Census of your Family
      Talk about what a census is.  Use this as an opportunity to map out your family tree.  Then open your Bible to Matthew 1 and show your kids the family tree of Jesus.
    10. Christmas Card Prayers
      Put the Christmas cards you get in a basket on your table.  Draw out one each morning and each night and pray for that family.
    11. Watch a Charlie Brown Christmas If your kids are able, help them memorize and recite the meaning of Christmas that Linus says in the movie:  Luke 2: 8-14.
    12. Watch a Nativity Story
      This movie would be a good one to watch with your older children.  To see a clip of it go here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GISYw2N6YSY
    13. Give 3 Gifts to Jesus
      On three sheets of paper, have each family member write down one thing per sheet that they want to give to Jesus or what they want to do for Jesus this year.  Wrap them in three boxes and put them underneath the tree.  Open on Christmas Day and share what everyone wrote.
    14. Write a Personal Christmas Card
      Send a handwritten Christmas card this year to someone sharing your favorite Bible verse and a prayer for them.
    15. Bake a Birthday Cake for Jesus
      For a fun recipe, click here:  Jesus birthday cake.  Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and eat the cake!
    16. Buy Gifts for a Family in Need
      To find a family who needs help for Christmas, check with your pastor or school social worker.
    17. Sing Christmas Hymns and Song
      Break out in song around the piano or put on your favorite Christmas album and sing loud for all to hear!
    18. Read the Nativity story from Luke 2:1-20
    19. Family Blessings     Sit around the fire at home, drink hot chocolate and talk about the blessings that God has given your family this year.
    20. Prayer Hearts        Cut out hearts for each child in your family.  Write a prayer to God on a heart for each child (and spouses can do one for each other or you can allow everyone to write a prayer on each heart).  Wrap them and place them under the tree and open them on Christmas morning.
    21. Christmas Day Surprise        Buy a gift for a family and deliver to them on Christmas Day
    22.  Make a Gift for your Pastor        Take time to thank your pastor for all he or she does to lead your church.
    23. Take a Family Hike
      Pretend like you are Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem.  Ask your kids questions about what it must have been like for them as they prepared to have a baby and had to travel a long way.
    24. Jesus Name Tags
      Place a Nativity set on your dinner table.  Buy a set of “Hello My Name Is…” name tags.  Write down one name of Jesus found in Isaiah 9:6 on each name tag (Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel).  Place one name tag on your family table next to baby Jesus each week of Advent as a reminder of Jesus.
    25. Make a Jesse Tree or a Chrismon Tree
      This type of tree is filled with religious symbols:  cross, fish, crown, shepherd’s crook, manger, lamb, angel, star and many more. To see more about a Jesse Tree go to this website: www.myjessetree.com.  To read more about a Chrismon tree go here:  Meaning of the Chrismon Tree

      This is our family Chrismon tree. Ornaments cross-stitched by a family friend when I was a child.
    26. Attend a Christmas Eve Service
      This has always been a Christmas tradition in my family.  I love going to church on Christmas Eve and celebrating the birth of Jesus.  If your church doesn’t have one, find a church in your area that does.
    27. Make Nativity Scene out of Play-Doh
      This can be a fun activity for your younger kids.  Have them make all the characters out of the nativity story.  Afterwards discuss each person and their story.
    28. Go Caroling with your Family
      Grab a few other families and go caroling!  This is a fun way to spread the joy of the birth of Jesus to others.
    29. Read Christmas Love Letters from God
      My friend, Glenys Nellist, has written a book called “Christmas Love Letters from God.”  It tells the story of the birth of Jesus and provides a lift-the-flap letter on each page, as well as one at the end of the book that allows the kids to write their love letters to Jesus.  Read one story each night the week before Christmas. To buy a copy of this book, click here:  Christmas Love Letters from God
    30. Use The Shepherd’s Treasure instead of Elf on the Shelf

      Don’t like Elf on the Shelf?  Out brand-new this year is The Shepherd’s Treasure.  It’s the same concept of the Elf, but it has religious meaning.  It keeps your children focused on helping the shepherd find baby Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas.  I absolutely LOVE this book!  Unfortunately, they are all sold out for this season!  To learn more about this book, visit their website:   www.theshepherdstreasure.com

I hope this list will give you some ideas of how to keep your family centered on the birth of Jesus this year!  May your family experience His birth and the celebration in a wonderful way this Christmas season!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Family Advent Bags

img_8734We are in the season of Advent!  Christians around the world are celebrating this season by preparing their hearts for the birth of Jesus Christ. Advent is a season of waiting and anticipating the glorious birthday of our Lord.

At church each Sunday in Advent, we light a candle on the Advent wreath.  There are five candles:  three purple (which represent hope, love, and peace), one pink (which represents joy), and one white (which is the Christ candle and is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day).

Sometimes the only place we talk about Advent is at church.  So what can you do to celebrate Advent every day with your family at home?

One great way is through a Family Advent Bag.  This year I gave the families of my church one of these bags.  This bag was filled with many fun things families could do together to keep their focus on Jesus.  I found some of the ideas for the bag on this YouTube video by Shawn Howell:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyAlu5E9ev4 and others I created myself.

The bag included the following items.  For a printable list, click here: family-advent-bag-list

Family Advent Calendar:  Each day between the first Sunday of Advent and Christmas Day is filled with activities your family can do.  These activities include things like:  doing a random act of kindness, taking a trip to look at Christmas lights, baking a birthday cake for Jesus and much more.  To see the calendar I created, click here: advent-calendar-for-families
Advent Wreath Magnet:  The most simple Advent wreath I found was magnetic!  Families can stick it on their fridge and place new candles on it every Sunday.  I bought these wreaths on the Living Grace website:  http://www.livinggracecatalog.com/product/advent-wreath-magnet-set-nc152/seasonal
Advent Devotions:  I created four Advent devotions for families to use each Sunday in conjunction with the Advent wreath magnet.  They will read together the devotion and place a candle on the wreath each week.
Christmas Morning Envelope:  I wrote a letter for families to open first thing on Christmas morning.  Before they open any presents, they should open the envelope and read the letter together.  To see a copy of the letter, click here: Christmas Morning Envelope
Craft Ornament:  I included an Oriental Trading Nativity craft in each bag.  To find one for your family, visit their website:  www.orientaltrading.com
Glow Stick:   Inside each bag I put one glow stick.  I told families to break this stick on Christmas Eve and sing Silent Night with their family.  This is a reminder that Jesus is the Light of the world.
Sticky Notes:  I put a pack of sticky notes in each bag for families to use to write encouraging words to each other.
Christmas Prayer Cube:  Living Grace makes a wooden Christmas prayer cube that I bought and put in the bags.  On each colored side of the cube is written a prayer.  Families can roll the cube and read the prayer together before meals.  To see the cube go to this site:  http://www.livinggracecatalog.com/product/christmas-prayer-cube-rd001/seasonal
Faith 5 Bookmark:  I wanted to give families a simple idea for a family devotion and I found a bookmark that highlighted a great way to do one.  Faith 5 lists these steps for a family devotion:  share highs and lows, read a Bible verse or story, talk about the Bible verse or story and how it can relate to your highs and lows, pray for one another’s highs and lows, and bless each other.  To see their website and to get a copy of the bookmark, click here:  https://store.faithink.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=4048
Jesus’ Birthday Cake:  I have no idea where I got this recipe, but it was given to me back at the beginning of my ministry career.   Each layer of this cake represents something.  To see a copy of this recipe click here:  Jesus birthday cake

This Family Advent Bag has been a hit with the kids and their parents at our church!  I love hearing the stories of how their family is excited to celebrate Advent!  Feel free to use the printables from this post to create your own Family Advent bag.

Look for my next post in a few days to be on 30 Ways to Have a Christ-Centered Family Christmas!

Save

Save

Telling the Good News: My Takeaways from The Belong Tour

img_8720This weekend I was able to attend the Belong Tour in Atlanta with women from my church.  Words cannot describe how excited I was to be going to this event.  For one, I was ready to worship.  As a Children’s Minister I don’t get to go to worship very much, so here was a chance for me to worship the Lord along with many women.  Singing to the Lord is one of my favorite things to do and I was ready to sing!

Second, I was ready to hear from the Lord from this amazing line-up of speakers:  Jen Hatmaker, Shauna Niequest, Patsy Clairmont, Nichole Nordeman, Angela Davis, and Sharon Irving.  I look up to these women and knew that I was going to get some awesome God-spoken words from them.  I was ready to hear these women speak!

But as I walked out of the door after Friday night’s session, all I could feel was disappointment.  Where was Jesus?  He was mentioned very little.  Where were the worship songs?  We sang more secular songs than worship ones.  Why did we not pray?  I was praying in my seat, though!  Why did they choose not to speak the Word of God that night?  There was no mention of any Scripture.

More questions rang through my head…What did I sign up for?  Did I misunderstand the meaning of The Belong Tour?  Did I come with too high expectations? Did anyone else feel the same way I did?  Where are you, Lord?

I prayed many times that night and on Saturday morning before we returned for another day of The Belong Tour.  I asked God to be present.  I asked God to take away my negative attitude so I could see Him in this event.  I asked God to give me an open mind.  I asked God to bring good from this event.

And friends….God did all those things and more.

I am writing this post because I want to share with you all the great things I did get out of The Belong Tour, even though it was not at all what I thought it would be.

  1.  Fellowship    On our way to the event we picked up a friend and when she got in the car she yelled, “Party!!!”.  That’s what it felt like for me that weekend.  A big party with my church friends.  I got to spend a weekend in beautiful fellowship with the ladies from our church…which is something I don’t get to do often.  One great thing about this conference was that we were able to get younger women from our church to attend, so it was awesome to see the merging of older women (who really aren’t old) and younger women.  I enjoyed our talks, our prayers, and just being with them.  They were a refreshment to my soul.
  2. Laughter     The amount of time I spent laughing this weekend was crazy!  Every time we got in the car someone would say something that started the non-stop laughter.  There were times I could not stop laughing.  These women brought joy and happiness into my life this weekend.
  3. Love    My church friends showed love to everyone this weekend. From the hugs, high fives, encouraging words, and prayers, I definitely felt the love.  And most importantly I felt the love of Jesus showered upon me by these precious women of God.
  4. Confirmation of God’s calling   This was the most important takeaway that I received this weekend.  I felt God confirming my calling to teach, write, and speak the Word of God to others, especially women.  He confirmed this by giving me this verse from Psalm 40:9-10

“I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; see I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord.  I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.” 

When I read that, tears welled in my eyes.  God does not want me to keep Him hidden.  He wants me to speak boldly of Him to “the great congregation”.  God wants me to live a life that leads others to Him.  He wants me to share the love of Jesus by telling them what amazing things He has done for me and for others.

I do NOT want to be a woman who conceals Jesus and hides Him away in my heart.  When I speak in front of others, write on my blog or in books, or stand to teach about Jesus, I want God to get the glory.  I want others to know who Jesus is.  I want them to see how awesome, powerful, mighty, faithful, loving, compassionate, and holy is the Lord our God.  I want “the great congregation” to see Jesus in and through me.

On our way to the hotel Friday night, after one of my own prayers to the Lord about where He was in all of that, we got off our exit and in a HUGE, bright billboard on that exit was the word, “JESUS”.  He was there.  He’s always there…even in events where I felt there should have been more of Him presented.  He never fails to show up.  He has been and will always be present with us.

I believe that no matter what happens to you, what expectations you have that are not met, or things turn out totally different that what you thought, that “God works all things for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28).

Friends, may we be reminded today of the words of Jesus, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.  Go on your way.” (Luke 10:2-3).

The name of Jesus needs to be shared.  His name needs to be made known so that all can have eternal salvation.

Are you ready to be one of the laborers?

Here am I Lord, send me.