The Epicenter of Destiny – Thoughts from She Speaks 2011

Proverbs 13:12 (NASB) reads, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” It’s true I’d wanted to attend the She Speaks Conference – this meeting of like minds in the areas of writing, speaking, and women’s ministry – since 2004. I’m not sure my heart was sick each year I was unable to go, but knowing God’s timing is perfect did soothe the apparent sting of disappointment.

Eventually…

As I walked into the grand atrium lobby, the sun’s afternoon rays perforated the windowed ceiling, and the gaze of eleven floors of hotel room doors and windows witnessed my arrival. On this day, desire had finally come, and I was positioned to experience the life and synergy this gathering of 650 women would inevitably produce.

I arrived 24 hours before the official start of the conference. With each passing hour, the atmosphere swelled with momentum as one eager woman after another stepped off a plane, out of a shuttle van, a bus, or a car, and clicked her heels onto the marble floor of the hotel lobby. Anticipation and great expectation filled the air as intoxicants, and I… well I deeply inhaled.

My brain contorted as my mind struggled to comprehend how each woman taking her turn through the revolving door entered with a similar gift and maybe even a similar story as the woman before or after her. Yet, despite our commonalities, God has a unique plan for advancing His messages of love, hope and freedom to a different audience, in a different way, through each willing and obedient vessel that passed before me – a plan that can only be accomplished by the power of His spirit alone.

Wow…

I was very comfortable in this place.

So, this is what it feels like to be at the epicenter of destiny – the place where a willing, obedient vessel commits her God-given gift(s) to be used to fulfill His plan for her life (the complete details she’s yet unsure of), for the purpose of freedom, by the power of His Spirit.

The epicenter of destiny is less of an event and more of a mindset, a place of true identity, and the actions and lifestyle that flow from that place.

Are you willing and obedient?

What is/are your gift(s)?

Do you trust God’s great power and His planning perfection?

Have you tasted freedom? Do you want to lead others to it?

Have you been to the epicenter of destiny?

Completely ME,

Operation “She Speaks” is On

Hey ladies! I won’t keep you long today, but I just wanted to stop in to say “hi”. I am just a bundle of excitement right about now. Almost 3 hours ago I arrived for the conference I’ve wanted to attend for seven years now. I know you all have probably wearied over the past few years as I “bent your ears” about wanting to attend this conference. You all remember my many attempts to win scholarships. Apparently, it just wasn’t my time. This year, God said “yes”, and I am very happy to be here.

For much of the afternoon, I’ve been relaxing, trying to shake off the staleness of a rental car and a long, hot busy interstate drive. I’ve, also, been hanging out chit chatting with my roommate for the conference. She is a beautiful young woman who hails from Brazil and now lives in Canada. She is nervous about her accent and her mastery of the English language, but I’ve already told her she’s doing just fine. Her accent is a delight to listen to, and she speaks English better than many of us who were born and raised in the states! Seriously… I’ll see if I can get her to smile for the camera later. 🙂

North Carolina brings back all sorts of memories. To be honest, most of them are not so great. I lived here for just under 6 months, many moons ago, during one of the most challenging seasons of my life. That’s totally another story for another day, though.

Today, it’s all about the craft of writing and how the Lord wants me to use the gift He’s given me. I’ve already learned so much just preparing for this conference, so I can only imagine what’s in store in the days ahead. I’m excited to find out, though, and I’ll try my best to keep you posted. My day gets going late tomorrow, but once it starts it will be non-stop. If I can steal a few moments, I will try to stop by and say “hi” tomorrow, too!

If you’re joining me from Facebook or Twitter, happy almost Friday. If you’re catching up with me via email, Happy Friday (you won’t see this until then)!

Completely ME,

From the Pages of My Journal – An Unmarried Woman’s Devotion

1Corinthians 7:32 – 35 NASB – But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.  This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

The other day I stumbled across two loose leaf pages of a journal entry from May 23, 2010, just over a year ago.  I have no idea how this entry made its way outside the protective covers of an actual journal.  My guess is the words were first written in whatever notebook was on hand at the time, and the pages were later ripped from said notebook with the intention of relocating them to the appropriate journal.  Well, apparently the relocation never took place.  My poor words have been homeless for over a year.

Shame on me.

Of course I stopped for a moment or two to read the words I’d written so long ago.  It’s always interesting to look back to see where I was, what I was thinking, or what was the “it” thing in my life at any point in time.  Apparently, the words I wrote on this particular day were revelation from God’s word to be shared in the book/study I am writing.  As I read the words I’d written, I was a blessed once again by the wisdom God spoke to me at the time.  The words speak to an area where women, especially those of us who are unmarried, often seem to “miss it”.  I know I have.

Following is a short excerpt/thought from the journal entry I found the other day.  It’s mainly for unmarried women, so if you know a single woman out there who’s trying to find her way while waiting to be found, send her over  for a short read.

It’s so important for an unmarried woman to keep her eyes on the Lord and focus on doing the work of the Kingdom.  In a nutshell, this is what the Apostle Paul was saying in 1 Corinthians 7:32-34.  He was talking about unmarried men and women, but of course, I will be talking to the ladies.  Paul knew that once a woman gets married her devotion truly becomes divided.  Sure, if she is a follower of Christ, she still loves and is devoted to her Lord.  However, her love for Him is very often prominently exhibited through her serving the needs and desires of her husband. 

As an unmarried woman “divided devotion” should not be an issue.  Even in courtship she’s interviewing this man through the filter/sifter of the word of God.  She’s screening his personality and character, looking to see if he loves the things God loves and hates the things He hates.  Wow!  And the only way she can clearly see this is to maintain undivided, or “undistracted devotion to the Lord” (verse 35), keeping her eyes on Him at all times.  His (God’s) business, His assignment and His plans for her still come first.

Thank you, Holy Spirit.

This is where I’ve gone wrong in the past.  I was so excited about the companionship before me, the attention, and the prospect of being married until I lost sight of my Kingdom assignment to fulfill God’s purpose for us on this earth.  I got side-tracked. I wasn’t cemented, rooted, in what I was called to do, so it was quite easy for a man’s presence to derail me and send me wandering down a totally different track.  Wow!  Just writing this book, I can feel the roots growing within me.  That’s what 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 is all about.

That’s the end of the journal entry, but just re-reading it gives me so much more to say.  However, I will save something for a later day.  For now, what about you?  Is your devotion already divided and you’re not even a Mrs yet?  What (or who) is your distraction?  Do you need to regain the proper perspective so that you don’t lose sight of what the Lord is calling you to do in this, your “single season”?  See you in the comments. 🙂

Completely ME,

We Interrupt This Broadcast…

to bring you this very important update. 🙂

Did that get your attention?  I hope so.

How are you, my friends?  I hope all is well.  I figured it was time to bring you a little update on how my new home is coming along.  I believe I have finally found a blog designer.  Say a prayer please!  She was going on vacation just as I contacted her, so I guess I caught up with her just in time.  If all goes well, I will be on her calendar for the end of July/first of August.  That time frame works just fine with me, especially since I do have a place to live in the meantime.

I’m pretty excited!  I have no idea what my new digs will look like when it’s all said and done.  I just hope they look a lot like me!  I’m sure I’ll re-decorate again sometime down the road.  That’s just how we girls do.  For now, I’m just excited about this process and can’t wait for it to officially get started.  As always, I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, sometimes I get a little sad when I consider retiring Wisdom Virtue and Rubies.  Those words still carry a lot of weight with me, not to mention the sentimental attachment.  Several years ago when I led my first women’s small group, Wisdom, Virtue and Rubies was the title of the first lesson we studied together – a lesson God wrote through me.  To this day, leading that group was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.  My prayer is to get back to that place one day soon.  It was super cool!

I’m still praying about a special place for Wisdom Virtue and Rubies, since here is where it all began.  I’d love for it to be immortalized somehow, maybe as a chapter in a published book or study curriculum one day.  If I bring the words down to a personal level there are still volumes I could write about them.  I can reflect on the time in my life when I lacked wisdom, didn’t recognize my value and subsequently gave away my virtue.  Have you ever experienced a time like that?

Now it’s time to move on.  It’s time to move into a place of wholeness and freedom.  That’s what Completely You is all about.  I thought about those words one day, and I decided that for a woman to be secure in her identity in Christ there are 2 things she should know and 1 thing she should be able to do:

1.  A woman should be completely convinced that God loves her and considers her of great value.

2.  A woman should be completely confident that God created her for a special plan, with special gifts and talents, to walk out His special purpose of leading others to Him.  She was no accident.  She was created on purpose, for a purpose, and uniquely designed.

3.  A woman should be able to live completely carefree in the unique design with which God created her, embracing all aspects of her uniqueness!  For me, that could mean something as simple as embracing my small breasts and not so small hips and knowing that God purposefully designed me this way!  I’ll be honest.  It’s taking some time, but I’m getting there.

And I want you to get there, too.

Convinced.  Confident.  Carefree.

Completely You!

We the Jury Find the Defendant…

Not guilty.

The defense is relieved.

The prosecution is stunned.

There’s simultaneous joy and sadness on both sides of the table.  There was no mistrial, no hung jury.  There are those who agree and those who disagree, but at the end of the day, the verdict is final.  Case closed.

I know her name – Casey Anthony.  I know the accusation – accused of murdering her own child.  That’s the extent of my knowledge.  I know the world has been glued to the details of her murder trial, but for me, life went on.  However, I was stopped a couple of days ago as the facebook community sounded off about the verdict in this trial.

It’s always a tough pill to swallow when someone who appears to have committed one of our “major” sins seems to go free.  In these moments it becomes glaringly obvious that we’ve attempted to position our God on our level and expect Him to judge sin according to the grade levels or categories we’ve assigned it here on earth.  Lies are little sins.  Murder is big.  Murdering one’s child is HUGE!   I’m right in there with you.  Those categories feel good to me, too.  They may feel good, but are they of God?

As I perused the many Facebook rantings, I  was reminded of the story of the adulterous woman in John chapter 8.  Scripture specifically notes that this woman was “caught in adultery, in the very act..”.  Now my first thought was who was the nasty little peeping tom who caught her “in the very act”, but I digress.  For a moment, it seemed Jesus was almost ignoring the scribes and Pharisees – the woman’s accusers.  Instead of addressing them immediately, he stooped down and began writing with His finger in the sand.  Does anyone other than me wonder what He wrote in the sand that day?  Jesus finally responded to them, simply saying, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Wow!

That’s all!  But we KNOW she’s guilty, and you’re going to turn the telescope back on us and let her go free.  Wow!

Sometimes I wonder if situations like the Casey Anthony trial are God’s little reminders to us.  Our justice is so flawed.  We have states where innocent men have been incarcerated for years for crimes they are later proven innocent of.  Then there are those who we probably all know or believe are guilty who walk away free.  God’s little reminders….  His justice is the only justice that is perfect, without flaws, and never fails.  It will always prevail.

In closing, I also took a moment to reflect on my countless moments of guilt – the “little” sins and the “not so little” ones.  How many times should I have been found guilty and sentenced according to my crime, but I wasn’t.  How is it that if I told you all I’ve done you wouldn’t believe me?  My “jury” found me, the defendant, not guilty.  Christ took the blame for my sin at Calvary, and His blood washed me whiter than snow.  Is that fair?

I don’t know whether or not that woman is truly guilty of killing her child.  If she isn’t, I’m thankful she didn’t become another statistic.  If she is, I know the true Judge and Jury, and He will ultimately decide her fate as well as the fate of us all.  I, also, don’t know if she knows Jesus Christ.  Today, I think I will make that my first concern for her.  I hope that if she doesn’t know Him that she comes to know Him through this experience.  That can happen if we pray for her.  In our eyes and on our earth we are light years different from her.  however, in the eyes of the Lord, we are not so different from her at all.  Consider that for a moment.  We may not have been accused of murder, but we have been exonerated from crimes, sins against our Savior, you and I both know we DID commit.  We have gone free when we shouldn’t have.

How does that change your perspective today?  How does it challenge your prayers?

Completely ME,

Happy Belated Independence Day!

Hello my friends!  Happy belated Independence Day to you!  Did you enjoy your holiday weekend?  I hope you did.  I enjoyed the first half of mine.  Yep!  Only the first half…

I had such high hopes for the long weekend that just waved goodbye to me.  My plan was to write, write, and write some more.  This was going to be my opportunity to cover some major ground concerning the book proposal that I must complete prior to the She Speaks conference later this month.  Saturday was great!  I ordered my business cards for all of the networking that’s expected to take place, and then I got to work.

By Saturday evening/Sunday morning, things were no longer looking so great.  I’d been trying to ignore a familiar pain in one of my shoulders.  I took a little ibuprofen and thought that would take care of it.  Well, my thought was quite incorrect.  Can I just say there’s nothing like being sick and being alone when you’re sick?!  I had 50,000 thoughts flowing through my head – ibuprofen or tylenol, urgent care or emergency room, pain pills or steroid shot.  It was crazy.  I, also, had one patient, loving and kind man to keep me company on the phone, from miles away, as I tried desperately to muffle my tears so he couldn’t hear them.  I did a very poor job, by the way.

Needless to say, Monday morning found me behind the wheel of my car, with only one arm functioning properly, driving myself to the nearest emergency room and begging for someone to just punch me and put me out of my misery.  Long story short, I spent the rest of my long writing weekend either in tears or curled up close to them as I struggled to nurse a wounded shoulder back to health.

For the remainder of the weekend I fought back and forth between writhing in pain and stomping my feet with disappointment.  I have so much to do, and I have so little time.  How could you let this happen, Lord?  I searched and searched for an explanation, a message, a lesson in it all.  I figured this would be good material for a blog post, but I couldn’t for the life of me pull out the “ah ha moment” of it all.  And I still haven’t….  The only conclusion I could come to is that things happen.  Sure I could blame it on the devil and say he was trying to knock me off course or keep me from completing the work God has assigned me.  But isn’t that what everyone does?  If it was the work of a crafty adversary (which he can only do what the Lord allows), I’d rather just ignore him and not give him any air time. Wouldn’t the Father want me to deal with it and keep moving?

Don’t get me wrong.  My head is spinning trying to figure out how I will get back the hours that were lost this weekend due to this crazy rotator cuff tendonitis thingy.  But I have asked the Lord to redeem the time, and that’s all I can do.  That and get back to work, which is what I’m about to do right now.  So, I hope your Independence Day weekend was great!  I hope it involved more BBQ and less Lortab (a narcotic pain pill prescribed by the ER doctor, which, by the way, DID NOT WORK) than mine did.  I hope your week is filled with blessings!

Completely ME,

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