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Miracle!

Yesterday I hinted about myBirthday Miracle. This is not that story. That was a miracle beyond miracles. This is a miracle of the every-day sort. But hey, a miracle is a miracle. And miracles all start with faith. After yesterday’s tragedy, I almost decided not to run this story. After yesterday it seems trivial. Then I realized… after watching (and rewatching) the bombing of one of America’s Prides, we need to embrace any miracle we come across. Even those that may seem trivial to some. A miracle is still a miracle. And we need to see as many miracles as we can!

I won’t lie. My food allergies get in the way of a lot of things. A LOT. I’ve said no to things just because of the food issue. I have dreams of taking mission tips and serving God but don’t pursue them due to – yep… food allergies.

What really troubles me is when I say to NO to a ministry opportunity. I do seek God and through prayer ask what HE plans for me. Up until now, it’s been to say no. Remember when I was presented with the opportunity to bridge the gap with some Arab sisters? My heart filled with joy. I really wanted to meet with them. Then I heard it was to be a feast. They were going to cook for us. My heart plummeted. I thought about cancelling. I prayed. I knew I was to go. But what about the food?! I decided to just trust. The day of the festivities, I saw a friend and asked her to pray for me. She stopped RIGHT THERE and Prayed. It wasn’t a “Dear God, Help her to not be sick” prayer. It was filled with words of healing and praise for the ONE who Heals. After the prayer she asked me if I received it. Gulp. Did I? Could I trust. YES! I answered. I will trust.

So I did.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

I filled my plate with food. Someone did ask if any of the dishes had garlic, so I stayed away from just a few. Let me tell you, I ate foods I haven’t eaten since my diagnosis. I ate plates of food that normally would cause serious repercussions – from just a BITE. I ate 4 dishes with dairy. I ate some that even had *gasp* garlic. I’m all for faith, but not a fan of pure stupidity, so I did take a little dose of allergy meds and I used essential oils. I also didn’t pig out. I ate slowly and made sure I wasn’t reacting before taking more bites. Let me be clear – with the foods I ate, there is NO WAY the little bit of meds and oils could’ve curtailed a huge reaction. We’re talking a reaction requiring cancelling all plans and staying in bed for about 3 days. If not more serious. Yet I only had a teeny tiny headache.

I believe it was a miracle. A MIRACLE.

I’m sure you have questions and are thinking what I was… that maybe I really can eat some of those foods, or maybe that God healed me of all allergies! (That would be great!) So let me tell you about today. My husband and I made burger patties. One pan had spices with garlic, one didn’t  We mixed of the spatula and one of my patties had cross reaction with garlic. I also ate 4 potato chips that had a less than 2% ingredient. Guess what? I reacted. Thankfully it wasn’t a big reaction. I had a nice headache for a few hours. That tells me I’m still allergic. There was no long term healing. When the headache first started I heard that little voice that speaks to my heart.

I healed you last night so you could serve me. I wanted to show my power when you trust.

Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people          Psalm 77:13-15

Wow.

I am so thankful.

I am so blessed.

I am honored that God chose me use and show His power.

Miracles happen when you build bridges in FAITH.

So that’s my little miracle. What is one of yours?

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Bridging our Differences

bridging our differencesOur voices combined and rose to the Heavens. We sang in different tongues to the one who hears us all. I may not understand the words they say, but He does. There is one language you do not need to translate – Love.

I do not need to understand their words to understand their hearts. All of our hearts beat for God.

A group of ladies – from a different skin, a different language, a different culture, a different country, a different religious upbringing, a different LIFE.

Lifting hearts to our Savior.

A group of ladies – all loving, all serving, all embracing, all praising, all rejoicing, all worshiping.

The same God.

A group of ladies – together we celebrate, together we eat, together we laugh, together we embrace, together we love, together we build a bridge across our differences.

All for HIM.

All for LOVE.

We found each other.
We found common ground in our differences.
We found acceptance.
We found our differences were a bridge to celebrate.
We found, well, we found we really aren’t that different.
We found love.

Through Christ. Through LOVE.

Seeds planted. Miracles prevailed.

The story – My friend, Carla, invited a group of Christian women to join together in prayer and fellowship with a group of Arab Christian women. We really didn’t know what to expect. The room was filled with Arab women dressed in colorful robes (my Texas ears just didn’t pick up the name very well) and the aroma of middle eastern cooking let us know they prepared a feast for us. We ate and laughed as we got to know each other. After our meal we had a time of worship. The words were first sung in English, then in Arabic. Let me just tell you, when the languages switched, those women raised the roof with their praise! The level rose as they beat their drum and clapped and drowned out the piano with praise. The freedom in their voices! The love! The joy!

A miraculous, beautiful testimony retold the story of how one precious woman came to know the Lord after being a devote Muslim. At the end of her story, Carla asked what we, as American women, can do for them. The answer is so simple. Just talk to us. When you see us our people in public, just speak to us. Don’t be afraid to. That really hit me. (So did another life changing sentence, but I want to share that for it’s blog post. It’s too powerful…) You see, I don’t talk to people in public. It doesn’t matter what nationality you are, I just don’t. NOT ANYMORE.

The next day while standing in line at a coffee house, I profiled the people in front of me. They had the olive skin and hair coverings, so I thought, maybe I should talk to them. After arguing with myself (Ok, with the Lord) about it, I told the young lady I liked her scarf. We had a most wonderful conversation. Her mom joined us in a discussion about scarves and knitting. Now that is something I can easily talk about any day to anyone! I was actually sad when our coffee was ready. Before they walked off, the young lady turned to me and said, “Thank you, I really, really thank you.”

Wow.

Building Bridges is not very hard after all.

Deeper – Through Love

When I started a blog, I cautiously kept my family protected and set limitations and restrictions on myself.

Basically, I’ve been afraid to open my life to you.

After praying about the direction of this blog, a still, small voice whispered, “Go Deeper. Be YOU. Through Love.”

A huge part of me is my family. To really BE ME, I have to show you more of me – of us.

The purpose of this blog is not to promote me. The purpose of this blog is to Build Bridges. First, the bridge to bring you closer to God. Second, the bridge to connect families. Through love.

If I show you more of me, I’ll show you more of Him. Not because of any special thing in me, but because of how much He works in me. (Read that as = I am imperfect. He is perfect. In my weakness, His strength shines through.)

Before I talk to you about connecting with your family, I have to be real about mine.

Go Deeper.

Be You.

Through Love.

You met my family. I think they’re pretty cool. I realized my reason for not including them in this blog is not based on faith, but fear. With their support, you will see more of them, and more of me. And hopefully, more of Him.

Whispers of Strength

Sometimes God’s hand moves in powerful ways. He pushed aside the waters of the sea and held them back to so His people could cross on dry land.

Sometimes God’s hand moves in little ways. A movement barely even noticeable, but enough to send a butterfly across my path, reminding me of His love, and bringing tears to my eyes.

Sometimes God’s Word shouts into our hearts. We drop to our knees instantly, praying, moved to seek forgiveness and mend a relationship.

Sometimes God’s Word whispers gently. A whisper so soft the moment almost passes, yet that simple conviction brings a year of growth.

Today is a day of whispers and conviction. The whispers have been there before, I am sure of it, yet my heart did not recognize or receive it.

I am busy.

My whisper of conviction – slow my heart. Just because my body is moving doesn’t mean my heart needs to follow that pace.

  • Slow your heart. Think through each activity and event. Face them with a calm readiness instead of a hurried whirlwind. It is the whirlwind that knocks bricks off of bridges.
  • Show your children there’s a better way. Don’t become upset with them if they are not prepared when you aren’t either.  Be prepared and place more bricks on the bridge giving it strength.
  • Listen for the whispers of strength.

Take time to slow down and enjoy the connection, building bridges with preparation instead of taking them down through hurried whirlwinds.

“I wish” becomes “I AM!”

Darkness and fog surrounded me as I tied my shoes and started my morning walk. The sky began to lighten, but darkness still reigned the early morning hour. I walked alone, lost in my thoughts until I noticed my shadow. (Cue fairy dust music.) Long and lean, it stretched before me encouraging me to keep moving. As I watched my shadow, the thoughts that ran through my head were far different than a few months ago. Back then, my shadow would’ve mocked me – even if it stretched out long and lean, my eyes would not accept it that way. What changed my perception? One New Thing.

Participating in One New Thing has shifted my way of thinking. Instead of living in a state of “I wish,” I live in a state of “I am.”

  • I wish I were losing weight became I AM losing weight.
  • I wish I felt better became I AM feeling better.
  • I wish I didn’t suffer from food allergies became I AM doing all I can.
  • I wish I had time to cook healthy meals became I AM cooking healthy meals.
  • I wish I didn’t rely on coffee to wake up became I AM waking up alert.
  • I wish I spent more time in the Word became I AM spending daily time with God.
  • I wish my family ate healthy became I AM feeding my children healthy food.
  • I wish I felt like exercising became I AM exercising, even if I don’t feel like it.

It didn’t start overnight.

I did One New Thing at a time. I knew I needed to change so my health would change. Waking up and starting everything at once is hard. Probably impossible. In some warped way, I didn’t think I deserved to be skinny and fit. The fact is, you can’t be skinny and fit if you eat junk and sit around. So, I guess you can say, I didn’t deserve it. That sounds harsh, but if you don’t desire it, you won’t work for it. If you don’t work for it, you don’t deserve it.

If a man is lazy, the rafters sag;
if his hands are idle, the house leaks. (Ecclesiastes 10: 18)

Before I even realized it, and without even trying, my thinking changed. I see my shadow as long and lean and I accept it. Why? The answer is easy! I am actively doing good things for myself.

Anyone who guards what he says guards his life.
But anyone who speaks without thinking will be destroyed.

People who refuse to work want things and get nothing.
But the longings of people who work hard are completely satisfied.

Those who do right hate what is false.
But those who do wrong bring shame and dishonor. (Proverbs 13:3-5)

When you actively take care of yourself, you can’t help but think YOU DESERVE IT.

Maintain your bridge – work hard and don’t let your rafters sag!

A Week of Unwise Words

For some reason, this week has been a bit tough. I’ve lost my temper a few times. (sidenote: Why do we say we’ve lost our temper? What I really want to do is lose mine FOR GOOD. The phrase ‘lost my cool’ is quite accurate, but wouldn’t that mean I have the coolness factor to begin with?!) Back to my temper. I didn’t lose it on a huge scale, just enough to mean my voice got ahead of my thoughts and I said some unwise things. Thankfully, I didn’t do any major damage or name call, I just became very long-winded in lectures with snarky comments and exaggerated truths.

For some reason, this verse had popped up a few times:

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1

 Just when I was trying to avoid the “Foolish” word, there it is – plain as day. I’ve had a foolish week. I’ve owned up to it and apologized when needed, but building the house is a longer process than tearing it down. Upon waking this morning, I prayed to be wise (the whole time thinking “How do I? Is it possible?”), then I opened Bible Gateway’s verse of the day on my phone.

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock. Isaiah 26: 3, 4

There is my answer! I need a steadfast mind! How do keep my mind steadfast? Trusting in Him! When I see Him as my everlasting Rock, it is easy to rest on His solid promises.

For some reason, the verse of the day on my computer’s website of  Bible Gateway is different. But oh so timely!

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

What a promise! My week of unwise words is over. I will stay steadfast with my gaze turned up and my feet on the rock with my heart delighted in Him!

Building Bridges (or houses) takes time and work, unlike foolishness that tears down with just a word.

Damaged Bridges

A few bridges in my life have sustained damaging blows in the last few years through disappointments in relationships, groups, and ministries. I allowed a lack of trust to ruin and collapse some bridges, while a sea of regret washed them away. Or maybe the sea was one of forgetfulness… either way, the bridges are no longer there. Other bridges I’m in the process of painstakingly rebuilding, one piece at a time. Then there are the bridges I ignore. They wait for my attention while I deny there is anything wrong, or just knowingly look the other way.

The lost bridges, although no longer visible, are still remembered in my heart as I hide behind the wall of bricks I built with their remains.  When a new situation or relationship presents itself to me, I want to walk away, avoiding building a bridge only to fall to ruin again. I stand in that place today.  In a moment of divine inspiration I wrote about MENTORING. That was followed by a moment of CONVICTION as I decided to practice what I preach. Now I am here – dwelling on the lost bridges (failed mentoring relationships) and nervous about a new opportunity of entering into a mentor/mentoree relationship. I just want to hide behind my walls. I know I am called to build bridges, and that is what I will do, but first I want to look at my walls a little closer.

(**Note: As you read this, just omit the word Mentor and it is applicable to any new relationship!**)

I want to stay away from mentoring relationships that:

  • don’t encourage change or growth.
  • focus on a leader (one person in a relationship) who make it all about them, even if it’s in a sense of humility.  That person might say, “You shouldn’t make it all about me!” – but we all know it is.
  • don’t disciple so others can lead when they are ready. (Great Commission)
  • don’t preach the Bible. Period. (just RUN from this one!)
  • water down scripture with other theologians or pop psychology.
  • judges.
  • leaves or quits.

I want a mentoring relationship that:

  • encourages change and growth.
  • focuses on Jesus as a leader. The mentor loves as Christ does and seeks Him above all things.
  • disciples, so mentorees can lead when they are ready. (Great Commission)
  • relies on the Bible. Period.
  • lacks judgement but abounds in love.
  • stays with you through thick and thin.

Writing this list helped me to look at my walls (and fears) a little closer. Analyzing each item, it feels like I’m picking up pieces of my wall and throwing it into the sea of forgetfulness instead of the sea of regret. Mentoring relationships are not perfect, and will not be, unless you are sitting with Jesus in the flesh. Knowing that, I can choose to harbor resentment and close the door to relationships, or I can choose to walk with someone in a relationship anyway. When the not-quite-like-Christ times come, we can journey through those together – learning along the way.

Building Bridges sometimes means tearing down the walls first.

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