The Turn

I am standing in praise and worship, hands raised, when the Lord gives me a vision.

Yes, Jesus still works through visions.

I see the hands of a potter wrapped around a mound of clay, turning on a pottery wheel.

I am singing the lyrics “You take what the enemy meant for evil and you turn it for good”.

I ask myself “Why does a pottery wheel turn?”.

Pottery is symbolical, in the Bible but often focuses on the clay it’s self.

My mind and spirit are starved to understand the action of the wheel turning.

The Lord doesn’t reveal to me the meaning of the turning wheel. I know that confusion is not from the Lord, so what does this mean? This turning?

It is many days later before I truly feel that I understand what the Lord is showing me.

I decide that I am a cup. Not a bowl or a vase, but a cup. Bowls and vases are used for holding things, containment. I have been called to pour. Cups are multi purposeful to hold and to pour.

The clay is thrown down. Just as my life has had situations thrown. Forcefully. I find that the word “throwing” derives from an old English word “thrawan”. It means “turn”.

The ball of clay needs to be centered. If not centered, the clay is off balanced creating an uneven and rough piece of pottery. Centering is not a pleasant process. It involves “coning” the clay in an upward position and forcefully pushing it down. The up and down motion is what centers the clay.

Life is like that. Up and down. I think of my own life and the ups and downs that have centered and re-centered me over the years, all the while…turning.

Once centered, the clay is opened up. It is when we are centered in Christ that we can begin to open up.

Now we are ready to be built up. It is through a pushing and a pulling that begins to form the sides.

Life pushes and pulls. Never more than I can handle. The turning , helping to maintain the balance so to not get the clay too thin or too thick.

The hands around the clay control the balance. Jesus places his hands around us as we turn through life. He ensures that we remain balanced.

Pottery does become unbalanced. When we allow the potter to take his hands off of the clay it falters. It is then formed back into its original blob and thrown again.

Eventually the clay dries out and can no longer be used again. It is through the redemption and saving grace of Jesus that we, the metaphorical clay, can always begin again. In Christ we can be made new.

It is in the turning of the wheel that we are centered, balanced, smoothed, and created into who we are supposed to be.

Jesus gave me this vision, this turning of the wheel, because about a year and a half ago I allowed Jesus to take his hands off of me . I was unbalanced and uncentered, I faltered.

I started to allow Jesus to recenter me in him and just as I became established on the wheel again, a very unexpected, life altering event nearly knocked me out. Heartbroken and crushed in spirit, I remained in the hands of my creator. Turning through life, wrapped in his fingers, trying to remain. If I stop turning, I never become the cup that I am supposed to.

With every turn, Jesus is creating a new thing, smoothing away the bumps that hindered me and the rough edges that caused me to lose my self worth. I stand with my hands lifted in surrenderance to him as I sing “You take what the enemy meant for evil and you turn it for good”. I think about how the enemy tried to demolish me and how God kept me

turning on the wheel. In that turning he created the cup that I am today. Jesus fills me and I pour that into others. I pray that one day I will be able to share the life altering event with you in details. For now, it feels like I may need a few more turns on the wheel.

Unlike a traditional pottery wheel that eventually has a finished product, we as children of God should always remain in our potters hands, turning everyday. To be smoothed, balanced, and centered.

Stay on the wheel. Keep allowing your cup to be turned. I promise that in Christ something wonderful is being created. Do not quit on the process.

It may look like just a blob, but with every turn it will begin to look like your purpose again. If you have fallen off the wheel and your turning has halted you can get back on. If you have never been made new in Christ, it is never too late to begin. Life is a journey. It’s not about the climb, it’s about the turns.

Raw + vulnerable does not = wrong.

How often do you hear someone being particular about something and say “Oh you’re OCD” or “she’s so OCD”?

Without diagnosis’ , we all know what OCD is because we throw the term around all the time.

We tend to think of it manifesting as someone having to have something straight and in order. Or perhaps they’re really organized.

We tend to think of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorders) as something that doesn’t really affect people’s daily lives.

But the word obsessive is used for a reason. It’s extreme and beyond the point of being in control.

It started with chewing the insides of my gums.

And then I started to pick my fingers until they bled.

Embarrassed to go get my nails done or to let people see my hands.

And then, it progressed to my face.

It’s called Dermatillomania.

It is a form of OCD that involves picking ones own skin.

I don’t set out to do it.

I don’t want to be in pain or be embarrassed to be around other people.

It is almost like something takes over me, I pick, and then I am mortified at myself for losing control and letting it happen.

When I said I would advocate for mental health awareness I didn’t realize how much the Lord would prompt me to tell my entire story and to be so vulnerable with my struggles.

My heart is pounding as I type these words.

I just think that we need to bring awareness to saying people are certain mental illnesses. “You’re bi-polar” or “You are OCD”. Do we even know what we are saying?

I am not OCD actually. I am a grown woman who, on most days, with the help of the Lord, combats OCD tendencies. I have days, like today, where I “relapse”. A diagnosis is not my definition. I know who I am in Christ and who he says I am. He says that I am perfectly and wonderfully made and everything that he makes is GOOD! I am not broken. The sun will set tonight and rise again in the morning. And when it does, I will strive to do better.

We all battle something. It probably isn’t Dermatillomania and it may not be OCD. But there is something.

We are all flawed.

We all fight battles that we usually don’t tell others about.

I’m just crazy enough to share mine 😬

I serve an all-knowing Jesus

Nothing will change my mind about the fact that God knows every detail of our lives.

7 days after we traded our small 4 seater SUV in for a mini van, our five year old daughter broke her tibia bone in her leg.

She not only broke it, but she has to be wheelchair bound for the next six to eight weeks.

When we started looking at vehicles I kept telling my husband, “We just need more room”.

We would have never gotten a wheelchair in our other car.

Are you picking up what I am putting down, sister?

The Lord went before me. He knew this week would bring a broken leg. He knew 7 days ago we would need a vehicle that would comfortably fit a wheel chair. And he set us up!

God doesn’t always prevent bad things from happening, but he does always makes sure that his children are equipped to handle the situation that is coming.

When you make every decision in your life with spiritual consideration, every decision aligns and makes sense with seasons of life that even you didn’t know were coming.

It is not by accident that we bought a mini van last week.

Our all-knowing, loving, heavenly father was wrapping us in his protecting arms and providing provision for what was to come.

He knows your next step before you even take it. And his thoughts towards you are GOOD!!!

Thank you Lord for protecting us weeks in advanced of our next situation.

I pray that my sister reading this gains hope in knowing that you have her life perfectly in the palm of your hands.

Go before her Jesus as she goes after you. We give you the honor , glory, and praise.

#waiterwriter

Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. His goal is to keep me from writing. If he can just get me to put my pen down, or stop the flow of words, or silence my story with shame…

In some ways lately, he has succeeded.

He has a way of telling you that you have no purpose, that no one is even reading what you’re writing. I mean, “You started this blog five years ago and your last post had twelve views.”

Today, during my virtual writing conference with Ann Voskamp, I learned a few things about myself and my writing.

1. Jesus only had twelve followers.

2. This blog is not viral. What a better time to realize that viral is sickness.

3. Jesus came and told stories- my story matters. I have a story to tell that is encompassed in the love, grace, and mercy of Jesus Christ.

4. There are a lot of writers. Christians are in a place of abundance in Christ. The thought that the pie is only so big and there are only so many pieces is a lie from the enemy.

5. I do not need a gate keeper to tell God’s story.

6. It is not about marketing and publishing, it is about the posture of my heart. And friends, all I want is for people to feel the love of Jesus that I do and to know that there is a life of grace, abundant grace, that is only fulfilled in Jesus.

7. Numbers are dangerous and bad for the soul. I am not writing for numbers but for the creator that is endless.

8. Writers are waiters who serve their readers.

9. I AM a writer.

10. I have stories to share and words in my heart that need to reach paper.

It is simple in this life to lose your focus and to allow the voice of the enemy to be louder than the still small voice in your heart. I encourage you to refocus, realign, remember your purpose, your why, your reason, and your passions.

I AM a writer, a waiter, and I will continue to tell my stories, just as my father did. It is in these moments, when I am writing, that I feel closest to my Father. I choose to serve you, whomever you are, that chose to read this. I will continue to serve you, the twelve.

When You Think About ChrisTmas…

When you think about ChrisTmas, I hope that your mind isn’t filled with sappy Hallmark movies. Although, who doesn’t like a festive love story? I want you to know in the depths of your being that there is a love story that is far more valuable than something Hallmark is able to think up. I hope your focus isn’t on Santa but on a Savior. They say hot cocoa and cookies will put you in the spirit, but there is truly no spirit more powerful than the Holy Spirit. And there is nothing that will ever fill you like the bread of Jesus. I pray that ChisTmas for you isn’t about a Christmas parade but about Godly praise. I hope that you don’t ponder on the presents but on the gift of Jesus’ presence. My prayer is that ChrisTmas is less about decorations and more about your devotion to our Lord. When you think about what ChrisTmas is all about I hope you remember that it isn’t about candy canes but about the cross. I pray that you don’t think first about Frosty but about the forgiveness that was so freely given. It isn’t about gifts, garland, and goodies, but it’s all about the gospel. My prayer, as your mother, is that I have not centered ChrisTmas around baking, bows, and bells, but all around Bethlehem and the birth of the most special baby. And when you tell your children one day what ChrisTmas was like for us, I pray that it is exactly what you are making it for them. Because it is not about traditions; it is about leaving a legacy that says that ChrisTmas is Christ-centered. The day that the most spotless and unblemished lamb was born to one day be the ultimate sacrifice for all. The precious lamb of God.

Broken.

I knew that I shouldn’t have put our wedding cake topper on a 3 tier metal tray. But I did. And this is the result of it falling off, hitting the counter, and landing on the floor.

I could have bought a new one from Hobby Lobby for $12.49. But it wasn’t “the one” that we used on our wedding day.

So it sat on my counter for a few weeks, sadly, until I got around to getting some super glue to try to put it back together. Everyday when I went into the kitchen I saw it sitting there, broken into pieces. As the days kept passing by and it kept sitting in its broken state on the counter, God began to speak to me.

My husband and I have been married for almost 8 years. I saw this broken ceramic sculpture as a symbol of our relationship. No we aren’t falling apart, well mostly, but stay with me.

I remember taking this cake topper out of the box. It was new and pearly white. Prior to it breaking it had some scuffs, dirt, and even a chip or two. And then it broke. This past year was a break through and pivotal time in our relationship. We had things a long the way in our marriage that had left marks here and there. And some things that were a little bigger that left chips. And we even faced some things were we felt like we were in separate pieces.

It was sad looking at the broken cake topper when the Lord brought all of this to my attention. The things that our marriage had faced. And I would look at the broken piece on the counter everyday and think about everything that we had been through together.

I started finding scripture that surrounded this theme of “broken”.

Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the broken hearted and he binds up their wounds”.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in their spirit”. Psalm 34:18

I grew weary in looking at the brokenness on my counter day after day and relied on Amazon for super glue. It’s really a funny thing because I was sitting in the kitchen floor trying to piece this cake topper back together and it just would not hold. The topper had broken into three pieces and it wasn’t until I put glue on all three pieces and held them all together (quite a sight as a I was using the bread box to help hold one of the sides) that it would bind.

See, in a marriage you have to have three. You have to have Jesus. And that is why when i tried to put one piece on by its self, it would not bind.

I could have save a lot of time and hassle if I had just ordered the new cake topper from Hobby Lobby. Even eight years later they still have the same one. But we aren’t new. We didn’t just get married. We aren’t pearly white and without flaws. But I don’t want to be. I want the battles that we have fought and overcome. I don’t want to revert back to who we were. I love who we are now; which is why I couldn’t just buy a new cake topper. I needed to repair the first one we had. People in today’s society are so quick to throw the broken piece away and go get a new one. Sister, that cake topper can break just like the last one. We need more commitment to what we already have and what we already said yes to. New is not always better.

I honestly think that if the cake topper were to fall again that it would not break in the same place. I think it is stronger than it was before. In the same way, our marriage is stronger. Strengthen what you have. Don’t sweep it up and throw out. It would have been easier, yes. But, I do not think that I would cherish it near as much. Pick up the pieces and start gluing them back together. Most importantly, make sure that you are binding yourselves with Jesus or none of it will stick.

The Sabbath isn’t just for Sundays….

This picture was taken on a Saturday- not a Sunday.

This picture was also a moment of Sabbath.

Us “Christian folks” usually say “Remember the sabbath and keep it holy” and we interpret that to mean “go to church on Sundays”.

Sometimes you just have to PAUSE;

the news,

the laundry,

the voices telling you that you aren’t enough,

the busyness,

the constant critiquing of your appearance,

the to do list,

the worries, wonders, and what ifs,

the people that don’t agree with you,

the never ending events on your calendar,

the pile of dishes…

Pause all the things.

And take a minute to REST.

See, when God rested on the seventh day of creation, I do NOT believe he did it because he needed it or because he was tired.

MY GOD does not grow tired.

So then why did HE rest?

Because he knew that we wouldn’t know how to rest.

Because after six days of work, he knew that we would need an example to show us how even the creator of the universe set time aside to just look at all that he had done; to marvel.

I did not intend for this to be a sabbath moment, but it turned into one.

I specifically pray that God will allow me to be intentional about having sabbath moments through out my day.

In this picture we were unpacking box after box from our recent move. I was tired and hadnt even changed out of my pajamas. I was sitting down for a second and the mirror to our dresser was still on the floor from where it hadn’t been put up yet. This little carrot top sat down in my lap and requested (in not so many words) that we pause and have a sabbath moment together. And that is just what we did.

We paused to remember all of the good things in this life.

We paused to create time and space for each other and for the presence of Jesus.

I know that your situation might not look like what you want it to right now.

I know that life might be busy and you might be stretched thin.

I know that there are only 24 short hours in a day.

I know.

But would you just pray that God would allow you to focus in finding sabbath moments?

Would you just stop for a few minutes in the midst of chaos and find something good?

Can you find pockets of time, other than Sundays, that you can be still and know that he is God?

Can you rest like the example that he set before us?

I always joke with my family that “Mommy needs five minutes’.

And in those five minutes, I really mean that I need to have a sabbath moment.

I need to SIT, be still, and rest.

I need to PAUSE, even if just for a few minutes.

Don’t let Sundays rob you of your sabbath moments.

Find your sabbath moments on Monday, and Thursday, and Tuesday, and Saturday, and Wednesday.

Rest child of God.

Pause sister of Christ.

Breathe slowly and slowly breathe.

Take your minute, your. moment, a sabbath.

Princesses.

Princesses.

I think she can name them all; Cinderella, Ariel, Repunzle, Moana…

They catch her attention… but what are they teaching her?

That life turns out exactly the way that you want it to?

That a fairy god mother will make sure that you have everything you need?

That if you are dis-satisfied with your appearance or who you are….change it?

When God gave me daughters (shout out to my girl mamas!!) he also gave me a realization.

Our girls can name every Disney princess… but can they tell you one respectable woman from the Bible?

Ask.

But be prepared for that gut wrenching guilt that comes from them not knowing the notable women of God.

And really, (being honest here), I didn’t know very many of the women of the Bible either.

We idolize these princesses as little girls and dream to be just as they are.

Are we navigated by societal ideology from the very start?

My five year old dresses up as an ice princess, singing “Let It Go” to the top of her lungs, wishing with every being inside of her that she too had ice powers.

And while I love to watch her play and be imaginative, smiling and twirling in her snow drizzled ball gown, I also have to teach her about REAL women. Women that seemed insignificant but God chose to use because of their faithfulness to him.

So while it is great that Cinderella was the only girl in the village that the glass slipper fit, we serve a God that has a shoe for us all.

While Ariel lost her voice to become someone else, God speaks for us on our behalf and numbered the hairs on our head.

And while Repunzle sat in a tower waiting to be rescued, our GOD sent his SON to sacrifice his life so that we could be FREE.

& see all of their “happily ever afters” had to end, but if you are in Christ there is NO end.

So while we can still enjoy these princess and their stories, let us not neglect to teach our daughters about the women that chose God.

Jeremiah 31:35

“This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD Almighty is his name”

Matthew 8:27

“The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!””

Psalm 146:6

“He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever.”

Everything about the beach is spiritual in its existence.

The sand is numberless and infinite just like the love that the father has for you.

The depth of the ocean is equivalent to Gods mercy and grace.

Each shell is uniquely designed to be different just like us.

The tide is only dispersed out as far as the Lord allows it to be. It comes and goes as he sets it into motion. Just as our lives are set into motion and perfectly designed by the heavenly creator.

The different elevations and slopes of the sand reminds us that life too has its own highs and lows.

Getting to the beach involves packing, preparing, and walking on hot sand… but then you experience a peaceful breeze, rest and relaxation, and vitamin D. And after, you make the same hot sand trip back.

Because even though the journey was hard, the destination was worth it.