August 14, 2014

I’m A Little STRESSED!

imagesThe traffic was horrific. I could hardly wait to get home. The drive before me was long—eight hours to be exact. The week before I had been in Charlotte for our annual She Speaks conference. Then, I flew home long enough to pick up my daughter and drive to Indiana for an interview. All went well, but I told my daughter “when I get home, I’m not doing a thing.” I meant it too. That’s when my cell rang.

“Hey, what are you doing?” The caller asked. It was my friend, Mr. Shannon who runs the football club at my son’s high school. I’ve known him for years. He married one of my besties.

“I’m stuck in traffic.” I complained.

“I’m calling to make sure you’re going to be at the school tomorrow. You signed up to sell season passes.” He added.

I almost passed out right there on some bridge located in the middle of Indiana. How could I have forgotten? I thought to myself. It couldn’t be because I’m writing a book, just spent a week at a large conference, and took a road trip for a 15-minute spot on the Harvest Show. Not to mention I hadn’t slept in my own bed in the past nine days. How could it slip my mind? It did so because I said, “yes” to one more thing when I should have said, “no.” My schedule was already overcrowded, but like Lysa says in her book… I have a “disease to please.”

Everything inside of me said, just tell him. Explain that you simply can’t do one more thing. Even though you signed up, it was a mistake. You already have too much on your plate and what you really need is some good rest.

It sounded good in my head but what came out of my mouth was, “Sure. What time do I need to be there?” My daughter looked at me in disbelief and then shook her head. We practiced saying the word, “no” over the next couple of hours in the car.

The next day, I showed up at the high school to pick up my box of tickets, t-shirts, and money for change. As Shannon explained the instructions, I listened carefully. I even repeated them back before heading to my station. We have two elementary schools in our area that feed into the same high school—Madison Creek and Beech Elementary. I was to sell tickets at Madison Creek Elementary.

When I showed up, someone else was already working at the booth. He also had a box full of t-shirts and tickets.

“Did Shannon send you here with a box too?” questioned the worker.

“Yep. I don’t know why,” I answered. “I just do what I’m told.”

We had been selling our items for about an hour when Mr. Shannon called my cell.

“Hello?”

“Where are you?” asked Shannon.

“I’m at Madison Creek.” I responded with a matter of fact tone in my voice. The guy working beside me leaned over and whispered, “No, you’re not. You’re at Beech Elementary.”

Oops. (That would explain why we both were working the same spot.)

Panic set in.

Still on the cell with Mr. Shannon, he also infomed me of my whereabouts. “You can’t be  at Madison Creek because that’s where I am and you’re not!” I wanted to fade into the brick wall behind me. After many apologies on my part, I left completely embarrassed!

How can a person be in one location but believe she is in another? Apparently, I can. And it’s not the first time I ended up where I didn’t belong. I’ll spare you the details and me the red face.

TheBestYes_mediumOn the up side, I’m reading Lysa’s book, The Best Yes. For me it’s timely, and I believe it will be for many others. We live in such a busy, fast-paced world we don’t know if we’re coming or going. Our schedules are so full we leave no room for a divine assignment. I wonder if we would even hear it?

I’m learning that sometimes saying, “no” IS my best “yes.” That’s not all. When the rush of life pressures me, I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and pray, “Lord, unrush me.” Then I give myself permission to take a break and be still before God. That when something magical happens. The warmth of His Presence and the gift of His peace washes over me in those still, quiet moments. Eventually, I believe these moments can merge together creating a life unrushed.

GIVE AWAY!!!

If you can identify, then you need this book. It’s changing me and I like it. And because I’m so thrilled over Lysa’s message, I’m giving away 3 copies of The Best Yes. Leave a comment about why you need The Best Yes and you automatically enter to win! Good luck!

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August 8, 2014

Falling Up: Lessons Learned On The Way Down

I’m so excited to tell you about my friend, Connie Carey’s new book, Falling Up- Lessons Learned On The Way Down! It just released TODAY!!! I had the privilege of hearing Connie’s story at She Speaks when she was in my Speaker group. I was touched and encouraged then and even more so when I read her book. It’s for anyone who is struggling with loss and grief. Connie not only shares her story, but practical ways you and I can heal or help others to heal. I highly recommend it.

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Here’s Connie!

Have you ever felt like you were falling?

Without a parachute?

Have you ever felt you were on a joy ride when life’s events took a sudden unexpected turn? Maybe you feel like you’ve been shoved out of a plane and are now falling through the air, out of control and headed for a terrible crash.

Maybe you’ve had one heartbreak after another and feel like you can’t take one more. Everything in you screams, “This was NOT supposed to happen to me!”

When we feel like we’re falling, other thoughts may flood our minds as well. These thoughts might include: “MY God would never let (you fill in the blank) happen.” “I feel like I’m going under, but God will never give me more than I can handle, right?” “I just don’t deserve this.”

Those same thoughts have knocked on the door of my heart and mind. And while I don’t know everything you’re feeling, I do have an idea of some of the things you may be experiencing.

Having gone through divorce, the loss of my dad to suicide and a few other personal tragedies, I know firsthand that when you go through loss so deep it changes your world, the pain seems to define you for a while. When those thoughts came knocking, I needed truth – not myths or hunches – to help me deal with my circumstances.

My new book, “Falling UP: Lessons Learned on the Way Down”, addresses those times in life we didn’t sign up for.

You can get your copy on Amazon! click here

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Why I Wrote It

I wrote this book for the person in a season of sorrow, whether through failing health, loss of a loved one, financial disaster or relationship problems. But this book is not just for the hurting. It’s also for anyone who loves someone who is hurting and wants to know what to say to help comfort them.

“Falling UP” is even for the person whose life is rosy at the moment. Why? Because it’s wisely been said we are either coming out of a storm, in the middle of a storm, or about to go into a storm. And I want you to be ready the next time a storm comes your way.

And it will come.

I’ve learned that when heartbreak hits, with God by your side, it is possible to do more than just fall. You can “fall up.” You can make it to the other side of grief stronger in your broken places.

I wrote this book for people like us; real people with real questions who need real hope when life doesn’t make sense.

As you can probably tell, I believe in this book and I believe it will encourage you and your friends.

Thanks, Connie, for guest posting today and telling us about your book! Get your copy today and tell your friends!

 

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August 7, 2014

When God Serenades You

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Growing up I had to watch whatever my sister wanted to watch on television because she was the oldest. She liked the black and white classics that featured Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and Frank Sinatra to name a few.

Over time, I began to enjoy them too. 

I really liked the part of the movie when Dean Martin would serenade the woman he loved at her bedroom window. I thought that was so romantic! In fact, I would get a funny feeling in my stomach. Somehow, I knew deep inside that I, too, would be serenaded by some lovesick man. I didn’t know when, but I was certain it was going to happen.

Well, guess what?

It never happened.

At first, I was bummed. Then, one day shortly after I had experienced tragedy in my life, and was feeling completely unloved, I came across this verse.

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” 

(Zephaniah 3:17(NIV).

Right away, I knew God had led me to this truth. How else does a person stumble into the book of Zephaniah if not led there by God? At the time, I didn’t know the book of Zephaniah existed. But it did exist, and the words on the page read like a personal note written just for me. Micca, I will rejoice over you with singing!

That’s when it dawned on me. God delights in me so much that it causes Him to break out in song! Suddenly, it no longer mattered that no one else has ever serenaded me. God, Himself, serenades me. He sings to me. He sings over me and He sings about me! It’s His joy to do so. Better yet, He delights in serenading you, too.

I pray that you will allow this verse to sink deep into your heart today so you’ll have it when you need it. Trust me. There will be a day when you will need it. You see, we tend to believe that because we are children of God that nothing bad will ever happen to us. When the bad does happen, we believe the lie every time.

I knew it, God! I knew You really didn’t love me.

Friend, that is a lie from the pit of hell. Nothing is further from the truth. God, indeed, loves you because He can’t do anything less. You and I cause God’s supernatural heart to skip a beat at the mere thought of us.

Therefore, the next time you’re feeling unloved because of some adversity in your life stop and say, “NO! That’s a lie. God loves me so much that He can’t help but sing about it!”

Let God’s love song wash over you and fill your heart. Repeat as much as needed.

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July 22, 2014

Here I Am. Speak, Lord

As I prepare for She Speaks, Proverbs 31 Ministries annual speaker and writer conference, I’ve drawn nearer to God and sought His voice and direction. I want to hear from God so that I have somthing of value to offer the attendees. I want to hear from God because it builds our relationship allowing me to serve Him better. As I prayed, the story of Moses and the burning bush kept coming to mind. I’d like to share it with you.

Something on the far side of the mountain was burning. Right away it caught the attention of Moses. Could it be someone’s campfire? Perhaps he wondered. No. Moses had never seen anything like it. Finally, his curiosity got the best of him and Moses went to investigate this site.

“I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, [and discover] why the bush is not burned up” – Exodus 3:3.

God has purpose in the events of our lives. Nothing happens by accident. The bush burned to get Moses’ attention. It burned so that Moses would draw near.

Sometimes things happen in our lives that seem mysterious and confusing. But God knows what He’s doing. He uses such things to draw us near to Him. Because God knows how we will respond, He uses different methods of gaining our attention. It could be something you read that unlocks a deeper meaning or gives insight to something bad that happened. Whatever your circumstance, God is drawing you to Himself.

When he arrived, Moses found a burning bush yet the fire did not consume it. Then, he heard the voice of the LORD.

“When the LORD saw that [Moses] turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am’” – Exodus 3:4.

Moses had been in the desert for 40 years. It was nothing like his comforts he was used to in Egypt. Yet in the desert, God used each day to prepare him for service. It took time before Moses was ready to hear from God. Had God lit the bush sooner, Moses may not have seen it. But now was the right time. Moses drew near and said to God, “Here I am.”

Regardless to how God speaks to you and me, we should respond with, “Here I am. Speak to me, Lord. Teach me what you will.”

So often we miss these opportunities with God. Perhaps we interrupt the situation as something other than God trying to get our attention. I’m learning whether I find myself in a good situation or bad, I should stop to consider what God is saying to me and teaching me in that circumstance. I can do that because I know and trust that God wants the best for me. He wants an intimate relationship with me where I long to hear His voice and walk in His ways.

When Moses drew near to the bush, he took a step into an intimate relationship with God. From that day forward, he spoke with God like a good friend. Moses trusted Him and followed His guidance by faith. Moses was ready for God to use him. Are you?

Are you ready to draw near to God and say, “Here I am. Speak, Lord?” If so, you’re about to take your relationship with God to a new level where you will see God do in and through you what you could have never imagined on your own.

Why not draw near to God now? Open your bible and read until God speaks to your heart. Listen and watch your purpose unfold before you in God’s perfect timing.

(I would cherish your prayers for me this week as I speak and serve at She Speaks.) Thanks, friends!

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July 18, 2014

Free Download For “Unfailing Treasures”

Unfailing Treasures Release PromoWhat woman doesn’t like something for free! Today, I have a free offer for you. My dear friend, Lisa Buffalo, has a new book out entitled, Unfailing Treasures. I’m so excited about it asked Lisa if we could have a sneak peek and she did better than that!

“As my first-fruit offerings to the Lord,” said Lisa, “I’m giving away free download July 15th through the 19th on Amazon. Please pick up a copy and share with your friends.”  http://amzn.to/1kVPUrV

Don’t you love her heart! There’s more. Below Lisa gives us a taste of what you’ll find in her book.

~ Beyond The Vortex ~

Life can be a twirling vortex. The to-do list already has too many things to do and the list grows as unexpected expectations are added.

So how does one do, more than one can do? By keeping the focus on The One who can do all.

As an ice-skater keeps their focal-point on one thing as they twirl on the ice, we can focus on God as life spins around us.

Keep the focus beyond the vortex; stay safe in the eye of the storm with your eyes on The One who calms all storms.

Mining for Treasure

Where is the storm in your life?

Are you focused on your difficulty, or focused on The One who can calm your storm?

“Jesus stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. He said, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind stopped, and the lake became calm.” ~ Mark 4:39 (ERV)

Download you copy today http://amzn.to/1kVPUrV  And be sure and tell a friend.

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July 11, 2014

Christ, Our Solid Rock

When you hear of someone that’s between a rock and a hard place, you automatically think of something bad. But if that rock is Christ the Rock, it’s a whole different perspective.

To understand what I mean, you’ll need to pause here and read my devotion today, Stuck Between A Rock And A Hard Place. ____________________________________________________

Are you back? Good.

Now, the next time you find yourself “between a rock and a hard place,” I want you to transform that experience from being stuck between a rock to resting on the Rock of Ages. To change your perspective, you need to know that rocks  provide a good picture of God’s character.

First, if you’ve ever leaned your full weight against a large boulder, you found that it was immovable and fully capable of supporting you. Rocks speak of stability just as our God is stable. He cannot be moved by any circumstance.

Is your life lacking stability? Do you need Christ the Rock to lean against?

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God is also our refuge. Like Moses, we can hide in the cleft of the Rock. Do you need a hiding place where you can hide and find rest?

He is unchangeable. The Rock Himself testifies, “I, the LORD, do not change.” Are you afraid of change? Run to the Rock of your Salvation, the One Who remains the same yesterday, today and forever.”

I don’t know what you’re facing today. Maybe your circumstances are crumbling beneath you. To Whom do you run? Where do you run when your emotions, your circumstances, your trials, your adversaries appear overwhelming and your outlook seems hopeless?

Run to the Rock, “of Christ Jesus, our Hope, the Rock Who is stable, secure, the source of inner strength, unchanging, immoveable and always reliable. Run to Christ, your personal Rock of Salvation.

I’d love to pray for you today that you’d find rest in the cleft of the rock.

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July 8, 2014

Time To Stop Worrying

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”- Corrie Ten Boom

Worrying can be a vicious cycle that uses up your time. It can keep you from living in the present. It can steal your peace and joy.

One of my greatest fears is losing one of my children. Because of this, I became a fear-driven parent. My first response to anything they asked to do was, “no.” If I couldn’t be there to protect them they couldn’t go.

One day, my anxiety came up in a casual conversation with my friend. After listening to my concern, he asked me a life-changing question.

“Micca, are you the giver of life?”

“No.” I replied, “That’s God’s job.”

“That’s right,” he continued. “Only God knows the day He’ll call your child home. Whatever that day may be, it won’t matter if your child is sitting at home under your watch or skydiving with friends. God will take him home but not a day sooner.”

Psalms 139: 16, confirms this truth.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.”

I felt a sense of peace wash over me, and a boost of fresh faith, as I believed in what he shared. God knows the number of all our days. –mine, yours, and those we love.

From that day forwarded, when one of my own asked to go skydiving, drive a car, or hang out with friends in a boat on the lake, I let them go. Yes, fear still fills my heart. But I’ve learned to speak to my anxiety. “I’m not the giver of life, but the One who is I put my trust.”

How do I do that? I give myself a certain amount of time to worry and think about all that could go wrong. When that time is up. I stop worrying and start trusting.

images-3Let’s say there is something you’re anxious about—a situation, a challenge, or perhaps your own well-being. Give yourself a certain amount of time to worry, but also determine a time you will stop.

If you decide you’re not going to worry past lunchtime, set your alarm for 12:00. When your alarm goes off, honor your commitment to stop wring your hands and begin to trust in your heavenly Father’s care.

It’s easy when you’ve prepared by writing down a few of His promises. By focusing on God and His might, provides a sense of peace because you know He cares.

Here are a few of my favorite. I’d love for you to share some of your favorite verses, too! That way we can help one another.

Colossians 3:15, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

2 Thessalonians 3:16, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Hebrews 13:6, “So we can confidently say,  “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Psalm 121:1-2, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Isaiah 43:1-3, “But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

May the peace of God guard your heart, sweet friend.

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July 4, 2014

Happy Birthday, America!

photoMy devotion for our country is rooted in family tradition. Every 4th of July, we cook out, swim in my parent’s pool, and then headed to the park to watch the fireworks. This tradition continues today with our own children. We go all out by dressing in red, white and blue. But that’s not all. We celebrate our freedom all year long.

My dad has always had a large flag whipping in the wind in our back yard. His parasitism had a great influence on my life.

Today, Old Glory flies in my backyard too. It’s a special flag because my dad and my son dug the hole together, poured the cement, and planted the flag together. There’s just something grand about watching her fly. Our flag gives me a since of peace and security. Yet, I fear. I fear we’re losing devotion for our country. I worry that our freedom is on the decline. That’s why I believe that patriotism starts with the Gospel.

Evangelism Explosion, a ministry organization, recently had this to say about our freedom.

“Across America, we celebrate July 4 as our nation’s birthday, and what a blessed country we live in! But it’s easy to take our freedom for granted. We forget that in more sensitive areas of the world people do not enjoy a simple right such as freedom of speech. Even in the states, we see that freedom eroding.

School officials at a high school graduation ceremony turned the microphone off when the valedictorian thanked God for “sending His only Son to die for me and the rest of the world.” The student did the only thing he could do—he kept talking.

The best way to insure our freedom is to share the Gospel. By grace through faith, Christ broke the chains of our imprisonment to sin and death. His work is our freedom. Share that message boldly.”

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” —John 8:32

Let’s not forget the sacrifice that men and women made for our freedom. And let’s not forgive the sacrifice made by our Savior for our spiritual freedom.

Happy 4th of July!

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July 1, 2014

Celebrating With God

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When my children were little and had good news to share, they all started with the same phrase. “Guess what, mom?”

Usually the exciting news happened at school. He or she would jump off the bus and run to the house as fast as their little legs would carry them. Then, I would hear the back door slam shut—BAM—as they called for me. “MOM! Guest what?”

With a sparkle in their eyes and a huge smile spread across their face, they would share their joy with me.

In those moments I’d tell them how proud I was of their accomplishment and we would cheer together followed by a big hug. Their joy became my joy for three reasons.

  1. They are my children
  2. I love them
  3. I long to share in their happiness and success

In the same manner, our heavenly Father loves to share in our joys too. We’re really good at coming to Him with our problems and pain. But how often do you run to Him calling out, “Guess what?” How many times have you climbed into His lap and rejoiced over good news, an achievement, or answered prayer?

Because you are His child and He loves you, and longs to share in your joy. Besides, the bible tells us in James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

If every good thing that occurs in our lives comes from His hand, it seems right He would be the first person we’d tell, throw confetti with, and offer a sincere “thank-you.”

What joy do you have today that you and God can celebrate together?

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June 4, 2014

When You’re Hanging By A Thread

I’m happy to annouce the winner of the devotional book and journal! The winner is…. Jeanie Benson busymominfo@yahoo.com   Congratulations, Jeanie!! 

When You’re Hanging By A Thread

I have a dear friend whose husband doesn’t want to be married anymore. Sure she knew there were problems in their relationship, but the devastating news of, “I want out,” blindsided her. As a sister in Christ, we’ve prayed together. She’s sought counseling and even invited her husband along. Still, no matter her attempts to save her marriage, it was falling apart.

I’ve never seen her so helpless, so troubled, so lost. And yet, I understood the darkness she was in. I know the weakness and heart-wrenching pain because I’ve all been there. We’ve all experienced some terrible news that took us by surprise and left us hanging by a thread.

Perhaps you’re there now. You may be experiencing a broken relationship. Maybe you need to be saved from some addiction or financial trouble. Whatever the case, you feel alone, scared and weak. You’re situation is hard, wrenching and painful. You’re losing your grip on faith.

I could tell that my friend was hanging on by a thread, slipping away from her spiritual foundation. Yet, sometimes in our despair all we’ve got is a thread between God and us. And that thread is more than enough to save us from destruction. Such was the case of Rahab, a prostitute that owned an Inn at the city gate of Jericho.

Rahab had heard about God’s greatness and has came to believe He was the one true God. So when the Israelites finally entered into the Promised Land, she hid the two spies that Joshua had sent into the city.

When the king of Jericho heard that the spies had been to Rahab’s home, he sent orders for her to turn them over. When the soldiers arrived, Rahab hid the spies on her roof. Then she lied to them about seeing the spies and sent them off in the opposite direction.

Then Rahab pleaded with the spies to save her and her household. She made a pack with them. She would keep silent about their mission, and they would spare her family when they invaded the city of Jericho. The spies told her to hang a scarlet cord from her window as a sign, so the Jews could find and protect her.

When the walls of Jericho fell, Joshua ordered that Rahab and her household be saved.

My favorite image from this story is the scarlet thread hung in the window of her home.  It reminds me of the lamb’s blood carefully placed on each door in Egypt.  The scarlet thread that Rahab hung carefully in her window would serve as a reminder that her home was to be spared from the destruction.  It was to be passed over.  Protected.

Each of us needs a scarlet thread in our window.  A reminder that just as Joshua saved Rahab and the Savior can save each of us. He may or may not change our circumstances, but he can save us from the falling rubble that surrounds us.

We don’t read about Rahab again until we come to the book of Hebrews. There she is listed in Faith Hall of Fame. She is not defined in the bible according to her profession or circumstances. She is defined by her faith. Because she put her trust in God, she and her household were saved.

God will also rescue us when we throw out a thin thread of faith. Even at our weakest point, a simple cry such as, “Lord, help me” invites the hand of God to take hold of our situation and save us.

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