About Me

Van Walton

Fun Facts about Van Walton

My favorite smell: The way the earth smells after it rains.

My favorite sound: The first notes of a grand symphony.

My favorite way to relax: Sitting anywhere outside - on my front porch, on my deck, or by the lake, early in the morning with my first cup of coffee.

My favorite birthday dessert: a Peach cobbler baked by my husband. He’s my fave chef!

I will not eat: Avocado. They turn my stomach into a volcano that never erupts.

Technology I couldn't live without and why: My laptop - it takes me anywhere I want to go.

One thing that makes me smile: My sons' faces!

FacebookFriend Van on Facebook

My Resources



My book, From the Pound to the Palace, is available for $10
from Proverbs 31 Ministries.


Pound to Palace


My book, Little Halos, is available for $5.99 from Proverbs
31 Ministries.


Little Halos


Proverbs 31 Ministries












Links




Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

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Monday, June 30, 2008

MOVIN' ON AFTER MOVIN' IN MONDAY

Moving With Moses and the Women in His Life

A couple of weeks ago I compared a contemporary move to Mrs. Noah's move, you know her trip on the ark, and what a trip it must have been!

Another family, later in the Biblical story, also took a trip - - -on an ark. Do you recall the four whose lives and future changed because of a little ark that saved the life of a three-month-old baby boy?

Moses, his mother Jochebed, Miriam his sister, and the Pharaoh’s daughter, an Egyptian princess each moved emotionally, spiritually, and, in the case of Miriam, physically, because of a choice one woman made: Jochebed - to move from her comfort zone, in order to save her baby. Little did she know it would spawn one of the greatest mass movements in history - the Exodus of the Israelites.

For the next weeks, we will look at Moses and the women in his life who were affected by moves, moves pre-ordained by God, in whom we live and move and have our being.

Today let's look at Jochebed whose story can be found in Exodus 1-2:10 (background included) and 6:20.

Moves include the unknown, decisions that impact the future, choices that save or destroy, and against-the-flow adventures. Would you agree?

Moses' birth occurred during a horrific time in the life of the Israelite slaves. Imagine knowing your child would be killed shortly after his birth. Jochebed had to make a move. Either she could stand by and allow the midwives to destroy her child or she could move toward God and ask for comfort and direction. She chose to put her baby boy in a basket and float him out into the waters. What a brave woman. What a move!

If you are a move-her, you have made similar choices. You have sent your children off to new situations and sat by trusting a new teacher to give your child the necessary tools for life.

That is exactly what the princess did! She equipped Moses with an education that moved him from the palace to the pasture. Both careers prepared him for the mass Exodus he would eventually lead.

As move-hers, we can trust God when He calls us to make moves that might wrap our emotions in fear. We can look to Jochedbed and Miriam who stepped out of the norm, little knowing that their move would save a nation.

Maybe your move isn't so dramatic. Just remember, in God's divine plan all moves have a purpose. Let me challenge you to step out in submission and ask God to give you courage for the adventure. Who knows who you might meet and who in your new life may be seeking salvation!
Friday, June 27, 2008

A FAMILY HEIRLOOM:



the little china chest that taught us the value of financial planning.

Could you use $1000? I have a challenge for you! Read on...

Recently I asked a friend of mine if she had ever been in debt. "You betcha!" she answered. She graduated from college with loans to pay off. She was also single so there was no double income to help her with the process. My friend told me her story of loans and debt. She became so desperate she finally went to God for help.

Why do we ignore God when He should be our first source of direction?


She could see no way out until she decided to promise God that, in the midst of her financial troubles, she would give Him 10% with each paycheck. She doesn't know how it happened, but slowly her debt decreased. Here would come a bonus out of nowhere. Her parents would send her a larger-than-usual check for her birthday. She stopped browsing the mall and chose to spend her spare time working with unwed teen mothers. When she was busy, she couldn't easily spend money

Now she is rethinking her financial situation. She is out of debt and living within her means, but she is challenging herself to buy only the essentials for the next 30 days. She says she just wants the challenge. She would like to be able to give a nice gift to the home for unwed mothers.

Why is she entertaining this unnecessary challenge?

She found two articles of clothing in her closet that she bought last year and each still sports a price tag. She never wore them!

She realized that there are too many purchases that are unncecessary. She can't account for them when her credit card bill (which she pays off each month)comes due.

I am also challenging myself. I have decided that I want to have $1,000.00 by this time next year to use in a discretionary way.Most recently I helped scholarship someone to She Speaks. Maybe you would like to join me. Here are some ideas. Let us know if you have some more thoughts on saving a few bucks here and there.


Save $1 a day in change: 365
Save $5 a week by not eating out: 260
Save $100 one month by spending money only paying
necessary bills: only water for a month, no soft drinks,
no chips, or store bought snacks.No eating out, no
impulse purchases... 100
Save $4 a week for 6 months by playing games with the
family every other week rather than renting and watching movies: 96
Save $3.50 each month by avoiding the purchase of that
magazine at the check out counter: 42
Save $40 by shopping at "repeat" shops for everyday,
stay-at-home-and-play clothes. I found the cutest white
capri jeans at Goodwill for $4.00. I love them! Let's say
you buy 5 cute tops at $12 each during the course of a
year. You will spend $60. You can probably find 5 cute
tops at a "repeat" shop for no more than $15. Put $40 into
your kitty! 40
Save at least $100 by serving popcorn, lemonade, and
apple slices instead of a full blown meal twice a month.
What a wonderful break for mom and kids will love the
snack supper while playing games! 100
Grand total: $1003.00

There is so much we can do with $1000,00! Why it would be enough to treat ourselves to She Speaks next year and have money left over to take the family out on the town, to an amusement park, or on a fun first-day-of-summer-let's-each-get-a-new whatever... shopping spree!!

Do you have some unique ways to save a few dollars toward filling a pot with $1,000? Please share it with us.

Here I go - pennines into my change jar.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WEDNESDAYS ARE FOR WAITING

WAITING FOR SUMMER

Tonight in our Bible study on -Wait Training we took some light- hearted steps into our past and talked about summer, how, when we were little, we couldn’t wait for summer!

Couldn’t wait for the freedom of riding bikes all over the neighborhood.

Couldn’t wait for the neighborhood pool to open where we spent hours every day.

Couldn’t wait for family vacation because then we had Daddy’s undivided attention!

Couldn’t wait for the yearly trip to the beach.

Couldn’t wait for Grandma to arrive with favorite cousins in tow.

Couldn’t wait for the family reunion in the mountains when all the kids stayed in one cabin.

Couldn’t wait ‘til summer camp with bon fires and capture the flag competitions.

Couldn’t wait for the freedom of choosing books out of the library and reading them because we wanted to, not because they were requited reading.

What about your summers? What memories do you have of the break in routine, yet the regularity with which you passed the long lazy days?

Summertime is full of anticipation when we wait happily for all the fun and adventurous activities.

But what if what you are waiting for holds no joy. What if you are waiting for something to happen and it seems it may never take place. What if you are waiting for a child to understand the errors of her ways. What if you don’t have a job and the money in your savings account is dwindling. How does one wait for a job to come through? What if a loved one has a scary diagnosis. The results have not ben revealed

Waiting is one of lifes biggest challenges. None of us likes to wait! What if…

-you got in line at the amusement park and announced, “ I love waiting in these long lines!”

-you told your teenager at three in the morning after she has come home, “Honey I am so glad you kept me up tonight. I love waiting up for you!”

-you jumped up and down for joy when you called the air conditioner man and he announced it would be two weeks before he could repair your AC-in the summer!

How do you wait? Have you ever heard these words, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say rejoice.” When waiting, can you rejoice?

The key to waiting gracefully is to rejoice in the midst of your circumstances. God has allowed the time trial to happen, now it is time to allow the trial to strengthen and build.

Next time you find yourself struggling with “wait” open your mouth and praise God. You will see that by a miraculously divine design your wait will lift. Let’s not focus on the difficulty. Let’s put our hope in God and look to Him as the source of our joy!

I know Job, Jeremiah,Paul and Silas faced horrible circumstances: loss of everything, exile, and imprisonment. Yet, each one emerged a stronger and better person. Let's take the challenge: the next time a wait threatens to crush and destroy, let's praise God, fall down and worship Him.
Monday, June 23, 2008

MOVIN' ON AFTER MOVIN' IN MONDAY


WHEN GOD MOVES ME

Most of us don't like change and we certainly do not like being moved out of our comfort zones. But when we obey God's calling and move toward the destination He has prepared for us, the blessings overflow.

I am still standing in amazement at eleven women I met Friday night. Each one told a tiny bit of her story, illustrating that moving is a good thing. The women you see in this picture were hand picked by God to spend a precious moment in eternity together. From all directions each moved toward Charlotte beginning several months ago as they heard and felt God's call.

"Take a step of faith. Do it even if it feels uncomfortable."
Few people cherish a move, but once we step out, the lessson we learn erase all feelings of discomfort.

Each of the ladies in my group has moved! You know what? I am not so sure that any of them has ever moved - like a corporate transfer or a relocation. But I can tell you each of the ladies in my group has moved hundreds of spiritual miles into a place of deep meaning, into a place of secure comfort, a place like no other in the entire universe.

You see each of the ladies in my evaluation group has moved from her past and stepped into her future where her life shines forth with dignity and confidence knowing God will never ever abandon her.

These are the moves my new friends have made:

From shame to dignity, from a once abused woman to God's daughter

From saddness to purpose, from infertility to laughter and joy

From abandoned at the altar to embrassed by the king of the universe

From worried to care free, from what would they think to I only care what Jesus thinks

From drug addiction to Jesus set free

From desperation and self destruction to pouring life into hundreds of children

From "I'll do whatever it takes to be his girl" to " I'll do whatever it takes to seal my soul in eternity."

From drowning in loneliness to seeing Jesus in others

From the pain of losing a mother to brain trauma to trusting in God whose ways are always higher than our own

From mistakes that could have crushed and destroyed to surrender that set free to soar...

It is possible to move!


Whether God has called us to leave home and move from one coast to the other or wheter He has challenged us to set aside our own agenda to fulfill his commission we are always on the move. I prase God for the wonderful women who took the first step and moved into my heart.

I am a better person for having been invited into your story.

You moved me!
Friday, June 20, 2008

THE SECRET OF WAITING

Sorry to keep you waiting...

Wednesday during our evening Bible study fifty women showed up to figure out why waiting is so hard and come to find out that EVERYONE has been ushered into God's WAIT ROOM one time or another during the course of their lives.

We gathered into small groups where we became acquainted with each other by talking about LIGHT WAITS like getting lost, car pool lines, grocery check out lines, and potty training.

Our HEAVY WAITS included everything from waiting for marriages, family relationships, and friendships to heal to finding jobs, settling financial debt, coming to grips with illnesses, some terminal, and just WAITING for God to show us the way.

I told the ladies that I would have despaired in the midst of my TIME TRIALS had it not been for the fact that I found solid ground where I could steady myself.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord." (Psalms 27:13-14)


Where does one go to find the goodness of the Lord. Wondering how to get to know God - read all about Him in His book, the BIBLE. This is what I read about Him when I am facing an overwhelming wait:

"I waited patiently for the Lord to help me and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. " (Psalm 40:1-2)

...except I don't really wait very patiently!!

"He set my feet on solid ground..." So in the midst of one of my most challenging trials I started flipping through the Bible and an obscure character caught my attention.

King Hezekiah! Who is he?


Read all about him in Kings and Chronicles, 2 Kings 18-20 and 2 Chronicles 29-31

I know, I know-who wants to read boring historical accounts of long lost nations? Let me tell you, when I read that Hezekiah was a king like no other, "so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him." I got interested.

The life and times of Hezekiah fascinates me. I am enchanted with the life of nobility especially real people who descended from King David and who appear in King Jesus' lineage.

So what does all this have to do with waiting? King Hezekiah spent his entire reign waiting, waiting and watching as the enemy nation of Assyrians swept down upon his nation, destroying and demolishing one city after another. King Hezekiah waited and watched as the army camped outside the fortress of Jerusalem threatening to conquer and haul off hostages.

...not unlike the story of our nation - the US right now as we watch our borders wondering when the next terrorist will strike.

The object of our waits can be compared to an enemy - we face our waits as if they would destroy us, not knowing how to handle them.

Hezekiah knew how to handle the enemy. He didn't focus on the what if's and the unknowns. He refused to let himself be carried away by fear and frustration.

2 Kings 18: verses 5 and 6 give those of us who wait clear instructions on how to lift our heavy waits: He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel...he clung to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments..." (NASB)

Have you been ushered into God's WAIT ROOM. Your Personal Trainer has a message for you:

CLING to the LORD


Your WAIT too heavy? Cling to Jesus
Your WAIT keeping you awake at night? Cling to Jesus
Your WAIT got you bound up in fear? Cling to Jesus
Your WAIT preoccupying you? Cling to Jesus

In order to lift that WAIT of yours, you have to hold on to it. If you are going to cling to Jesus you have to make a choice. Hold onto your WAIT or let go of it so you can hold onto Jesus.

What are we going to do? King Hezekiah - clung to the LORD. I think I am going to try his way. After all, it worked.

Read the rest of his story to see how God worked out King Hezekiah's time trials.

See you next Wednesday in the WAIT ROOM!
Monday, June 16, 2008

MOVIN' ON AFTER MOVIN' IN MONDAY

Movin' With the Noah Family

I often reflect on the many moves that define my life. Recently I read the story of Noah and, in a strange sort of way, began to compare some of my moves with the incredibly miraculous move made by the Noah family.

You might want to take a few minutes to read the story of how Mr. and Mrs. Noah and family made a move like none other ever recorded in history! Their story begins in Genesis. Read chapters 6 - 9:17

I wonder if Mrs. Noah’s reaction could have been compred to my reacions when my husband announced that moving day was on its way. After his evaluation he had been given a new assignment. The higher ups told him to prepare for a move. I wonder if Mrs. Noah was surprised when she found out that God was evaluating the human race and her husband had been given a new assignment? Who did she blame for the unexpected and unwelcome relocation? Did she encourage Noah to discuss the issues or did she deny that changes were on the way? Did she have to defend Noah’s actions to her extended family and neighbors? Did she run to her mother crying and grumbling? Was she convinced that he was making the right decision or did she doubt his new-found passion? How did she prepare for a move that would change the course of human history forever?

Did Mrs. Noah know that her husband was being offered a promotion? Did she congratulate him for being the most righteous? Did she set her concerns and emotions aside and celebrate her husband's standing with the Lord and within the community? Did she ask to stay behind for awhile until she was ready to move? Did she realize that this move was God's provision--a sea rescue like none other?

I've learned that God's moves in my life came at just the right time. He's taken me out of situations that would have compromised me. He has kept me from having to make uncomfortable choices. He has removed me from unhappny circumstances. Looking back and talking with friends helped me realize, "God's plans are indeed best."

It seems to me that Noah’s wife had no say in this move. What was she doing while her husband was preparing for this massive move? I know how I have reacted as I faced certain relocations. I have supported and discouraged. I have doubted and anticipated. I have led the way and followed. There have been times when I was completely involved in the moving decisions. Other times I had no say. There were no options.

One of the greatest mistakes my husband and I ever made was to consider a move, interview, and accept a new position without ever discussing the future possibilities with our sons. They were stunned, shocked, and saddened when we shared the news with them. They were also hurt. Although we invited them to help find a house and tried to include them in other decisions, it was too late. They had been left out of the most important phase of the move.

When Mrs. Noah knew it was time to pack, did she trust her husband’s judgment? Everyone must have ridiculed him. The questions they asked would have been difficult to answer. “What is this thing your husband is building? What is its purpose? Why is he wasting his time doing this when he should be planting? Your family has become strange, Mrs. Noah. What are you going to do about it? ” Did the neighbors ask her if her husband was crazy. Did his family ask why she was encouraging him?

I have had to answer similar questions. "Why do you move so much. I wouldn't put up with it! Tell him to get a new job. Tell him to say, 'no'!"

I’ll bet Mrs. Noah knew her husband walked with the Lord. She trusted her husband. She came along side him and together the family prepared for the move of the millennium.

Did Noah’s family have any idea what their move was going to be like? Did they realize the disaster they were facing?

I often compare a move to a disaster. The flood waters rise, taking everything away. I panic, knowing I am facing an unknown future. I fear what I cannot control and the dam breaks. Suddenly everything I knew to be stable is gone. I lose my house, my possessions, my neighbors. Depending on the distance of the move, I spend days in a daze. When I “land” nothing is familiar. Praise God I still have a husband and my children are with me.

The last time we moved, our older son didn't join us. He had graduated from high school and chose to stay behind. It seems we lost him in the moving disaster! It was like a death in the family. Our new friends didn’t know him so he was a non-existent entity in our new community. He wasn’t a member in our new church. Now there were three places set at the taable instead of four. It took a long time to adjust after the disaster.

After floating for weeks the Noah family finally landed where God had preordained. The door opened and everyone filed out to begin a new existence. Noah went to work and the family set up housekeeping. I am sure they never forgot their experience. God had picked up this family of eight and changed their lives radically.

My family is a lot like Noah's. We pack. We move. We land. My husband goes to work. I stay behind to get the house in order. After one such move in the spring, I spent a rainy day inside unpacking boxes. After a break for lunch my toddler and I took a long cozy nap. Bright sunshine met us as we yawned and welcomed the afternoon. Looking out the window to admire the long awaited sunshine we noticed a huge rainbow in our front yard. There we stood side by side, mother and son, taking in the miracle of the rainbow.

We had survived the upheaval. Now it was time to step out onto new territory.

Where ever God has brought you, take comfort. He has a plan. He is in the business of moving us, moving us because He doesn't want us to get too comfortable!

Want to be entertained by Noah's story, Cosby, and God? Go to this site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zyc1315KawQ
Prepare to laugh until your belly hurts! Enjoy...
Wednesday, June 11, 2008

WEDNESDAYS ARE FOR WAITING

I like Wednesdays almost as much as I like Fridays. Mondays are hard because I can’t wait until Friday and the weekend. I get through the week remembering that Wednesdays are hump day – over the hump day, meaning only two more days left before the weekend. I feel if I can wait and get through Wednesdays, I have it made!

So welcome to Wednesdays are for Waiting!

I will be teaching a Bible study at my church and posting about the study each Wednesday. The study will last through July. Please drop in and leave your comments. I know we can all benefit from cheering each other on.

WAIT TRAINING in GOD’S WAIT ROOM: When was the last time God ushered you into His Wait Room? Learn the secrets of spiritual strength training while lifting your heaviest waits. Be assured, your challenging time trials have been designed by a Personal Trainer who longs to give you a victorious prize.

Let’s talk about light waits. Do you have a pet peeve? Which is it?

Car pool line
Fast food drive through
Automated phone messages
Waiting room in the doctor’s office
Being put on hold while a friend answers her call waiting!
Standing in the check out line while cashier and hopper chat away

I call these light waits. They can not be avoided and they are annoying. We deal with them every day. How we lift them, especially in front of others, tells a lot about our character. I believe light waits build character. They certainly give us a chance to model patience, grace, humor, and bring a bit of joy into the lives of others--as the rest of the world stresses out
Waiting!!!!

How do you handle light waits? Unfortunately I’ve been known to get testy.

Few of us are immune to heavy waits. Let’s name a few time trials:

Medical diagnosis
A job to come through
A prodigal child to return home

As I consider these heavy waits I fight despair, fear, anger, depression…

When God calls you to His Wait Room He doesn’t do so to purposefully make life more difficult for you, He has a plan.

Have you ever heard of King Hezekiah? He spent most of his 29 year long reign in God’s Wait Room, waiting and watching as enemy warriors marched toward his kingdom threatening total destruction.

Take a look at those heavy waits again. Do they look like the enemy to you? I dread a bad medical diagnosis. I fear for any run away child. The thought of not being able to find a job increases my anxiety to a level that nearly paralyzes me!

How did King Hezekiah handle the heavy wait of his enemy?

2 Kings 18 Introduces this king (a descendant of King David and an ancestor of King Jesus). We read that he did right in the sight of the Lord, he trusted the Lord

“so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among all those who were before him.”

Did you read that? None like him?

Trust must be a huge deal to God! So while in His Wait Room we can begin to practice a life of trust.

God wants us to trust Him. A true story illustrating God’s desire that we trust him took place in the early history of the Jewish nation. God freed the nation from the Egyptians and led them through the desert to the promised land. Of course water was scarce. Often the pilgrims had to wait for water. Often they gave Moses lots of grief. So God told Moses, “speak to the rock and tell it to send forth water.” Moses didn’t trust that God would deliver water under those circumstances. So without waiting, he took his staff and struck the rock. He didn’t trust God to provide water.

The story ends, “the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.’ " Numbers 20:12

Centuries later, King David would write in Psalm25:2, “In you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.”

In God’s eye’s, trust is huge. He commands that we trust in Him and Him alone.

Here is your strength building exercise for this week:
Look up every instance in the Bible where the word trust is used. Read the verses. Study the circumstances. God is trustworthy, wouldn’t you agree?

God takes us to the Wait Room so we can learn to trust Him. He is our heavenly Spotter. Trust that He has allowed the weight of wait to weigh upon your heart. When you feel discouraged simply talk to God and say, “This is heavy Lord. I trust that You have allowed it for a purpose.”

Soon and very soon you’ll begin to see how your exercises in trust have strengthened you!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008

WAITING: THE HEAVIEST OF WEIGHTS

Do you struggle with the weight of “wait?” I don’t like waiting! I become extremely impatient and frustrated when my plans get put on hold. Life’s detours have a way of brining out the worst in me. But I am learning that everyone’s journey, mine too, requires us to slow down for the yield and stop signs. We have all sat focused on the traffic light waiting for the light to change. There is nothing I can do about it. So, I have begun to seriously take a look at “wait.”

When was the last time you had to wait? Was it a light wait, like a car pool line- ah no more car pool this month – school’s out, summer is here!

Was your wait a heavy wait like a visit to the ER in the middle of the night when you sat with your injured child for hours, waiting your turn?

I’ve spent lots of time lifting heavy waits. I’m not very strong, so God hands me some pretty substantial waits from time to time. Although I would simply be content to live in weakness, God has other plans. He thinks I need a bit of strength training to build some spiritual muscle!

This past weekend, He let me take a field trip to His WAIT ROOM because he decided it was time for this weak spiritual athlete to bulk up!

If you haven’t read yesterday’s blog you might want to right now.

I’ve contemplated the trip I took and wondered, “What was the purpose for hovering around in the mountains? ” Why did we have to wait for such a long time before arriving at the retreat center?

I believe God used the time to teach me some valuable lessons.

1-I call the first lesson, mountain top vistas. Sometimes God has to bring us to a stop so He can show us His majesty. Lately God has me on a rigorous wait training schedule. Some days I think I can’t go on because the wait is so heavy. I believe this weekend He decided to show me His muscle to remind me to call on Him to lighten my burden. If He can push the mountains into place, He can certainly lift my wait. He is the ultimate Spotter, you know.

So, when in the WAIT ROOM-I’ll seek God.


2-The second lesson, deep valley views, gave me a sense of peace. God brought me to a near stop every time the car slowed down in a curve. There below I caught breath taking views of serene farms, slowly flowing streams, broad green pastures, and tucked away villages. Of course I thought of the 23rd Psalm. “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in quiet pastures. He leads me beside quiet streams…I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” My life needs a bit of scenic serenity right now.

So, when in His Wait Room- I am going to trust that Jesus has already gone before me.



3-The third lesson, visions of godly character, helped me realize that trials and tribulations are allowed to build our reputation and strengthen our moral fiber. I fell deeper in love and admiration with my traveling companion with each long mile we traveled through the lost land of we’ll-never- ever-get-there! Tracie could have become testy. She could have complained, whined, or scolded. She practiced none of these vices. Instead she patiently kept her eyes on the road, longing for her destination.

I am aware that my life is often observed by others who look at me wondering… Yes, that’s right, what are they wondering? Am I a godly example? Does my life give others hope, even when I am journeying through valleys filled with long shadows? I believe the way we wait may not be at all about us, but about others who are seeking answers to life’s hard challenges.

Have you ever looked at a well chiseled athlete, one who works out, looks healthy, and well, you just want their body! Is it at all possible that someone is looking at you and well, they just want what you have- a deep confidence that God is walking with you and however heavy the wait is, you are pumping it because it feels good to give it to Him.

So, while in His Wait Room, I choose godliness-godly fellow wait lifters and imitate their attitude.


Are you in God’s Wait Room right now? I challenge you to consider how He is strengthening you and what He wants to develop in your character.

For the next six weeks at my church, I will be teaching a Bible Study- “Wait Training.” On Wednesdays I’ll post some thoughts on waiting – Wednesdays are for Waiting. Please come back and join me in the WAIT ROOM where we will lift waits together. Be sure to bring your own “waits” and your questions and comments! .

Oh, BTW, Tracie, today’s entry is dedicated to you. I know God has called you to His Wait Room and I am praying for you. Don't let the wait rob your joy of the views and vistas!
Monday, June 9, 2008

MOVIN' ON AFTER MOVIN' IN MONDAY

Mountain Top and Deep Valley Excursions

Every day is a journey! Friday I took a road trip with one of my Speaker Sisters. She sent out an APB asking her team members if one of us would like to ride along. She didn’t want to drive the four and a half hour trip to the mountains of Virginia alone.

Because my life’s latest event has me on a somewhat rocky road trip of sorts, I thought, “I need to get away and a mountain retreat with godly women may be just what God has in store for me.” After praying for a couple of days and talking it over with my husband I told Tracie to leave some space for me in her car. At 12 noon on Friday our trip began. We pulled out of the 98 degree heat of Charlotte, happily moving toward cooler temps and mountain tops.

Little did we know that our trip that day would take us to places that are NOT on the map!

Before we get started here, you need to know that the GPS tracker told us we would arrive at our destination at 4:30. Well, the more we traveled, the later the arrival time became. As we climbed mountains and curved around hairpin curves our time of arrival crept further and further away. We agreed, somehow we had been taken up into a time warp and like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz we had found ourselves somewhere over the rainbow, problem was – we couldn’t even see a rainbow! Where were we?

Our little fiasco began somewhere outside of Abington, VA when the map I was following, the Map quest directions, and the GPS system each gave conflicting directions!

Life is like that-conflicting messages come at us from all angles. Which do we trunst? The loudest voice? Quiet written instructions? Detailed images?

One thing is for sure, we heard the voice of the Nancy Never Lost (GPS system-so named by Tracie’s sister, Christy) so we listened to the loudest voice. She told us to take highway 413! So we turned left. Map quest didn’t have those instructions and I couldn’t find Highway 413 anywhere on the map of Virginia we had pickup up at the visitor’s station. The little two lane mountain road wound round and round, up and up, then down and down, around some more. We were nowhere! One thing I did know - we were traveling south. The retreat center was north. We must have traveled 20 minutes. I couldn’t take it any more and blurted out over the voice of Nancy Never Lost, “Turn around. This is not the right way to go.” Now poor Tracie had 4 voices spitting instructions at her. Looking at me with her gorgeous sweet eyes and trusting smile she said, “Whatever you think is best.” Oh my goodness. The entire weight of this trip had now landed on my shoulders! It took us another 20 minutes to get back on track, or so we thought!

Our mis-turn didn’t end there. Back on the main highway, our tiny little confused minds turned to mush and we found ourselves in never never land, on the wrong highway traveling north and east! I frantically surveyed the map. Generally I am a good cartographer. I could not find where we were/ Nancy Never Lost kept screaming instructions at us, and I shoved the Map quest instructions under the seat! Where were we?

Finally I realized we had to turn around while Nancy Never Lost continued to repeat, “In blankety blank miles make a U turn.” Then I found us on the map. Between Tracie the driver, our trusty? map, the GPS voice, and my now dashed feelings of I-can-go-anywhere-with-a-map-visions-of-self-confidence, we managed to get on another mountain road which took us to gorgeous mountain n top vistas, dropped us into valleys filled with rows and rows of coal miners’ homes, and alongside the railroad that transported coal from the deep mines underneath us.

Tracie drove and drove, winding, slowing to 15 miles per hour. Her steady sweet character never wavered throughout the entire ordeal.

I on the other hand was beginning to have visions of were two fictitious characters in LOST. Where we would end up we did not know. I just prayed that “The Others” would not somehow crawl through the woods while we were in slow down mode in one of those hairpin curves, line up up on the road, stop us and cart us off to some underground bunker where we might never see the light of day attain!

Like I said earlier, originally the tracker told us we would arrive at 4:30. As we climbed the mountain, inching toward our destination ( or so I thought) the ETA moved to a later time. 5:14, 5:17, 5:25. I stopped looking. And then suddenly we turned a corned our to the mountain pass – CIVILIZATION! We had finally arrived in the town where the camp was located. Glory be!

I checked the camp’s brochure for directions from Clintwood. Oh no! We still had another 10 miles or so of mountain traveling! Checking our phones for tall bars, we realized we could not call the camp to let them know we were on our way. Oh well…

Our moves through life are like the journey Tracie and I took on Friday. Being human we will get lost. During times of uncomfortable circumstances, in the midst of loss we can:

-have hope, leaning on one another, laughing at the circumstances.

-constantly check our Guide, never losing sight of our destination.

-choose godly travel companions, always encouraging one another.


Is God moving you? Has he sent you on a journey? Listen to what He has to say in Isaiah 43:14-21:

I am the LORD, your Holy One … Who makes a way…and a path… Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new. Now it will spring forth. Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness…

As I reflect on our journey I realize the lessons learned on our fieldtrip. Stay tuned. Tomorrow, I will share them with you. See you then.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008

LIFE'S HIGHLIGHTS

A special time of year is rapidly approaching on my calendar. In two weeks a group of my very special friends and I will be gathering here in Charlotte to prepare for a highlight – the Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference.

Seven years ago I attended my first She Speaks. I went because someone advised that I go. I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had recently moved to Charlotte and begun volunteering with the ministry. One thing and then another I found myself walking through the doors of the hotel and attending various sessions where I hungrily took in everything each speaker had to share. When the weekend was over, I walked away wondering, “What kind of adventure have I just signed up for?”

Throughout the course of the next year I prayed, asking God what His plan was for me. I had recently been asked to speak at different events in my church. I had cherished the time of preparation and the affirmation I received from the women who heard me teach and speak. Before I knew it I was a part of the Proverbs 31 Speaker Team. I have learned so much since then and I have so much more to learn.

The highlight of participating in the ministry has been serving other women. Serving alongside my team and watching God work in my heart and the hearts of many women.

Most precious about running the race with my fellow team mates has been developing the Hispanic Ministry – >En Español

inviting women from another culture to join us in God’s work.

I have learned that a special joy comes when women unite to worship, read from God’s Word, pray, and encourage one another. God has shown me the beauty that rises up around women who serve Him and each other. I never want to lose that and I want to give it to my sisters everywhere.

If you have never taken the opportunity to step into an intimate group of women who are learning and growing in God I challenge you, ask God to make a way for you to join with a friend or two and light your way toward one of life’s most glorious highlights-a gathering of women.

If you are on your way to She Speaks I am praying for you. Look me up. I want to say hello and give you a great big hug. If you are thinking about She Speaks, but didn’t sign up for this year, start praying about coming next year. Meanwhile search for God’s highlights. They are everywhere!
Monday, June 2, 2008

MOVIN' ON AFTER MOVIN' IN MONDAY

Out From the Garden

Do you live in an area of the country ravaged by the storms? We all love the blessings of a spring shower. I am not talking about rain that refreshes our gardens and bathes our flowers. I am talking about the quiet gathering of clouds, the darkening of the sky, the quick dip in temperature and the increasingly blowing winds. Far away thunder rolls. Suddenly strong winds blow through bringing rain and then pounding rain. More wind, thunder, lightening… In too many places across the US this spring storms have destroyed the landscape, ruining homes, snuffing out life.

Moving can be compared to a natural disaster. The winds start to blow and emotions become fragile. Details pile up and all control is lost. Family and possessions are repositioned and displaced. There is no place to call home. There is much stress and little rest. In a short period of time the world appears to turn upside down. I stand helplessly as I watch everyone I know and everything I own disappear. In a few short days in a strange place I will attempt to piece my life back together. Nothing is the same. I grieve, but have nothing to bury. I mourn, but have no one to eulogize.

I’ve often wondered what life would be like if we could have stayed in the garden. One thing is sure: humanity would not be moving, chasing careers as we do today. Moving isn’t the worst thing, although I have wished to die rather than move. It can be adventurous and challenging. It is always exhausting. Preparing the house, packing possessions, loading the van and then turning around to do the same thing, only backwards stresses the best of us. A relocation ranks in the top five for major life stressors! We can be prepared for moving day, but somehow it always manages to put everyone in a tail spin.

On moving day my eyes flutter open and my heart skips a beat as I become aware of the huge task ahead. I think, “I can do this. Families have been on the move since the beginning of time.”

Our ancestors understood moving. They moved because the land was cursed as a result of sin. Humankind will always be searching for a place to tie down tents and drive in the stakes. This business of packing my entire household is unnerving. Watching the packers pull up to my house and take control of each room, grabbing everything in sight and tossing it into boxes absolutely puts me over the edge. I stand by helpless as, one by one, my possessions are taken out of my control. I am reminded of THE CAT IN THE HAT by Dr. Seuss and decide to read it to my children as soon as I can get my hands on it. I’ll keep it handy for the next move so I can toss a bit of humor into my dreaded packing days.

The roar of the semi truck announces that moving day has arrived. Looking out my window I watch it park, come to take my life away. By the end of this day everything I own will be in that truck. With a fake smile I welcome the movers into my shell of a house. Sometime over the past days my home turned into a cold lifeless and empty place. I used to rest and relax, laugh and lounge in this home. Now there are only memories. Life is over for me here. I have to get through this day. Right now I am exhausted mentally and physically.

I fight the emotion and the tide. Moving day has arrived all too soon. The driver of the van comes like a hearse in the night. to take away my life. Slowly the house turns into a cold tomb as the contents that once represented life began to fill the truck. I watch numbed while my life is taken from me. My emotional contents spill out in the form of tears, prayers, hugs, and good-byes. In a state of exhaustion I sign packing papers. Making my last walk through the place that was once my home I linger here and there. My slow movement toward the door tortures me. I don’t want this life to come to an end. For whatever reason, up until that moment I’ve deceived myself, not facing reality. Now I know, “It is finished.” I turn, take one last glance and, filled with agony, close the door behind me. Hiding my head in the crook of my bent elbow, I whisper to God. “I don’t want to go.”

I feel it! Here comes the flood! I am incapable of stopping it.

I wonder, “Is this how Mrs. Noah felt when she stepped on the ark and left her life behind her?”

How will I put my life back together? I feel like I have been through a storm. I have lost everything that means anything to me. My possessions no longer fill my needs. I just want to go back. I don’t know if I can start over.

Something is certain about storms. They blow over. The rainbow, calm, and beauty signify a new beginning, new life. All is washed clean. It’s time to begin anew.

The winds drop me into my new home leaving me overwhelmed by the mess. Nothing is in its place. My work is laid out before me. The tedious job of unpacking looms before me. Maybe before I start un PACKING I’ll dedicate my new life to God. In fact each day until the boxes are un PACKED I’ll remind myself: “I’m (un) packing today” means, I’m Placing Aside All Cares, Kneeling Intimately Near God.”

Maybe you haven’t just moved. But maybe you do need to (un)pack some emotional or spiritual garbage, you can still

Place Aside All Cares, Kneel Intimately Near God.