Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my faithful followers and readers of this blog: Thank You. I appreciate you more than you know. May you have a very blessed Thanksgiving!

Norma

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Please Pass the Baton

 

“Everything hinges on what happens in the exchange zone. There we receive the baton, and there we release what is no longer ours to carry so the next runners can play their part.” 

Christine Caine 

Two days from now John and I will be all packed up with our belongings loaded on a moving van, heading to Wichita. I’ve experienced the whole gamut of emotions within my heart, like a roller coaster going up and coming back down. I have thoughts of gratitude for the dear family and friends we’ve made in Omaha since 1989, as well as all the ways God has grown us up spiritually. We take with us our wonderful memories, to the next chapter in our lives. 

Lately I’ve been pondering the legacy I’m leaving behind and the deposits I’ve made into lives. I’ve reflected on what batons I’ve grasped in our leg of life here, that is now time to pass on to others. A few months ago, while at a retreat with friends, the Holy Spirit came upon one of them. God showed her how I’ve been holding a space till others were ready to step into it. And once I leave, they will be launched. 

I’ve been reading Christine Caine’s book titled Unstoppable. It’s regarding running the race you were born to win. She writes about the importance of the exchange zone, when you pass the baton onto another and when it’s your turn to grab ahold of a new baton and run with it. She encourages us to “master the handoff.” Christine goes on to say: “Releasing the batons entrusted to your care-batons you’ve carried well and marveled over as you’ve experienced God’s supernatural work in you and through you–often requires a willingness to say good-bye, to let go, to move from the known to the unknown. But the rewards can be breathtaking, because in the handoff, you are privileged to play a part in God’s unfolding plan not only for you but also for others.” 

Today I am passing the baton of being a spiritual mom, mentor, speaker, and writer to those of you in Omaha that are running with God in the exchange zone. May you take what I leave and build upon that. And as I move to Wichita, I turn to God and say, “Please pass the baton.” Whatever new race He wants me to run, may I do it faithfully, for His glory. 

“When you learn to master the handoff…, your race is not marred by sadness or regrets. It is filled with excitement, joy, and adventure. You don’t have time to linger over the past because you are too busy running into the future. When God determines that it is time to hand off a baton, it is only because we have taken it as far as we can and He has something else for us to do. We need to let go of one baton in order to take hold of another.”  

Christine Caine 

Relevant Reflections: 

  1. Is there a baton you need to pass onto another person? 
  2. What new baton is God asking you to grab ahold of, to run the race He has for you? 
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

The Lord Determines My Steps

 

There’s no greater discovery than seeing God as the author of your destiny. 

Ravi Zacharias 

I don’t know if it’s the school teacher chromosome within me, or what, but I’ve always enjoyed planning. I remember as a teenager, I had my cousin spend the night. Moments before we fell asleep, I asked her what was the next day’s agenda. I like knowing ahead of time what to expect. I’ve learned it’s okay to plan, but to hold those plans loosely, for God may want to change them. 

Proverbs 16:9 says: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” In my heart, I had planned to live in Omaha till the day I died. I never voiced those words out loud, like I did when I lived in Tucson, for fear they would not come true! My course was to stay in Nebraska, but ultimately, it’s the Lord who decides where I live. Apparently, He’s chosen Wichita to be our next place of residence. 

Months ago, the Lord spoke these words to me. All along, the twenty-eight years in Omaha were not meant to be a destination; they were simply a part of the journey. They were to prepare you for what I have next in Wichita. 

God rules and reigns in my life, thus He dictates the steps to take. I don’t want my way, but God’s way. I want His desires fulfilled in my life. I know when God’s in control then it will be good, for He always has my best interests at heart. Who better knows what’s best for me than my Creator. 

A few weeks ago, after closing on our house in Wichita, I was sitting out alone on our friend’s deck, sipping a cup of coffee. In the stillness of the early morning, I heard my Father say, This is home now. It was a gentle, definitive statement of transition which brought tears to my eyes. God closed one chapter of my life in Omaha while He opened a new chapter in Wichita, which will be His-story for me. I experienced comfort and peace with God’s word of confirmation. I may not always know what’s next, but if God’s in charge, I know it will be good. 

Destiny waits in the hand of God, not in the hands of statesmen.

T. S. Eliot

Relevant Reflections: 

  1. What plans have you made, which God has changed? 
  2. Does God rule and reign in every aspect of your life? If not, take time to submit that area to God through repentance and prayer. 
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Heart Changer

 

“Sometimes God doesn’t change your situation because He’s trying to change your heart.” 

Anonymous 

I have prayed Proverbs 21:1 often. “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” It’s one thing to see that happen to others as an answer to prayer, and it’s another thing to witness it in yourself! I have found God to be the heart changer. 

Slowly, but surely, God has graced me to say goodbye to our house we’ve loved living in for twenty years and more importantly to those I love in Omaha these past twenty-eight years. My heart is at rest and every now and then there is a surge of excitement rising up within me for the adventure God has called us to in Wichita. 

God changed Saul’s heart in preparation to become the first king of Israel. (I Samuel 10:9) I don’t think Saul at first was too keen on the idea because the Word says he was hiding himself by the baggage. (I Samuel 10:22) I can identify with Saul. I wanted to deny what was happening to John at work and to dig my heals into Omaha, never wanting to start over in another city. But then my heart changed, thanks to the Lord, the heart changer. 

Now I’m grateful He’s touched my heart and made me to look forward to the move. He helped me let go of my possessions and people and become passionate for what He has next on the horizon. Instead of resisting and being angry, or playing the victim, I’m embracing the change and can’t wait to see what He has up His sleeves for us. God gave me a prophetic word picture of a Christmas tree surrounded with wrapped gifts. I believe He has gifts in Wichita, waiting for us to unwrap. 

I wonder if God is filling my life with good things to come with the move to Wichita and that in the change I’ll stay young and strong like an eagle, (Psalm 103:5). Staying in my comfort zone and becoming complacent is not for my good. I know that when He causes me to face my fears with my hand firmly clasped in His, I will grow closer to Him. That is always a win-win. 

“If God changes your heart, be willing to change your plans.” 

Joyce Meyer 

Relevant Reflection: 

Describe a time when God changed your heart. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Courage

 

“Courage will follow when faith takes the lead.” 

Anonymous 

Reading biographies of courageous men and women inspire me. The Apostle Paul’s faith in what God had promised, gave Paul courage. In Acts chapter 27, the vessel Paul was on was about to be shipwrecked due to a violent storm. In spite of the dire circumstances, Paul urged the sailors to keep up their courage. An angel had visited Paul one night and told him not to be afraid, as he would stand before Caesar one day and all those sailing with him would be kept safe. (Acts 27:22-24) Acts 27:25 says, “Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God, that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.” 

Paul’s courage came from his faith in God and what He said. He believed God’s words and placed his trust in God. Likewise, faith comes to me when I believe what God has spoken to me will come to pass. I draw my courage from that faith. 

Last month while speaking at our church’s discipleship school, I shared about our upcoming move to Wichita. God gave one young man a prophetic word that I still make withdrawals of courage from. God told him, “She is going to love what I have for her there.” I am holding onto that promise. My faith rests not only in who God is, but His words as well. 

I read Acts 27:25 a few days prior to John’s first set of interviews with Wesley Children’s Hospital and then I was prompted to make a list of other words God had given me in regards to our possible upcoming move to Wichita. Here are some of the words I declared aloud. 

We’re moving there for such a time as this. We will make deposits there for ministry and relationships. There will be a time of preparation, equipping and networking. Specific things will be learned and poured into us for the preparation for the rest of our lives. It’s not a distraction, nor a derailing. It’s a season which will place us on the path of God’s destiny, to be equipped for what’s next. Our intimacy with God will deepen as we get to know God in ways we couldn’t in Omaha. It will feel like home. We’re being sent. 

God said it, I believe it, and I will see those words come to pass. I have faith that our move to Wichita will turn out exactly as I have been told. And as a result, I have courage and peace for our upcoming adventure. 

“Courage is fear that has said its prayers and has decided to go forward anyways.” 

Joyce Meyer 

Relevant Reflection: 

What words from God have given you courage? 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Purpose of a Desert

            The Purpose of a Desert

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

Anne Bradstreet

A few years ago, we noticed a drop in the number of patients John saw. This resulted in a need to make changes to our daily budget due to a salary decrease. My reaction to this desert experience, surprised me. I had presumed the latter years of our lives would become easier, not harder. The ugly pride in my heart cried, “We’ve paid our dues and worked hard. Our concluding years ought to have less stress, not more.” The victim mentality in me whined, complained, and pouted, it’s not fair. I looked more like the Israelites in the desert, than I did of a daughter trusting her heavenly Daddy to take care of her.

Deuteronomy 8:2 explains why God led the Israelites into the desert. “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.” Deserts humble us and show us what is in our hearts. I am not proud to admit, what I saw, was not a pretty picture. Wilderness experiences also expose our willingness to obey God.

I can’t tell you that after I adjusted my attitude, things turned around for the better for John at work. In fact, it got worse. God used the drying up of John’s business, to guide us in our move to Wichita.  

This year has been characterized by grief. I’ve wept numerous times over the upcoming loss of our family, friends, and church we leave behind, as we obey God’s hand of direction. This desert has humbled me, but I’m grateful my heart is in a much better place, one of deepened trust with my Father.

I’ve grown to appreciate this desert experience. God used it to show me the ugliness of my heart, to instill humility, and to encourage obedience toward Him. It’s made me a better, not bitter, daughter of the King.

“In this life we will encounter hurts and trials that we will not be able to change; we are just going to have to allow them to change us.”

Ron Lee Davis

Relevant Reflections:

1.      What have you discovered is really in your heart, because of trials?

2.      How have trials made you better, looking more like Christ?

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Intentionality

 

“Life is about moments: Don’t wait for them, create them.”

Zig Ziglar

Gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Some gifts are obvious while others are discovered. In some ways, moving has been a gift to me. It’s made me intentional. I’m more deliberate with putting things away immediately and keeping the house clean. I’ve become purposeful in how I spend my time and with whom I spend it with. Instead of letting the day unfold, I’m more conscious of the moments I have left in Omaha.

When people receive a life-threatening diagnosis, they no longer take things for granted, but become intentional with the time they do have. Making every moment count moves up to the front burner of their heart and mind. Asking God for His daily direction becomes the norm. They don’t want to waste the time they have left. Chance or planned encounters take on a whole new significance and meaning.

What if God wanted us to live like that every day, even if we weren’t moving out of state or possibly dying from disease? What would our days look like? What would we give up in order to make room for our priorities with people? Would our intercession increase, as we ask Holy Spirit to guide and direct our day? Would we purpose in our heart to stay pure and clean through repentance and forgiveness, not wanting anything to prevent intimacy with God and our loved ones?

We’re exhorted by Psalm 90:12: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” What would you do if you knew your days were numbered, as they are? How would you choose to spend your time? What kind of legacy do you want to leave to those you love the most?

I’m reminded of Keith Green who even though he didn’t know how early he would be taken to heaven, lived more fully for the Lord in his 28 years, than most people live in a life three times as long. His songs and books still make an impact today, to live a holy life, without compromise.

My days remaining in Omaha are numbered, therefore I’m intentional in how they’re spent. My desire is to spend them wisely and to finish well.

“Change is inevitable, growth is intentional.”

Anonymous

Relevant Reflections:

  1. If you knew you had only a few months left to live, how would you live differently?
  2. What changes do you need to make to live more intentionally?
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

It is Well with My Soul

 

“A healthy soul is paramount to a healthy life.”

Judah Smith

The week after we held a garage sale, my daughter kept asking if I was okay. I replied, “I’m just tired.” Then I happened to read a quote on Facebook which said something like, No amount of sleep can cure a weary soul. The lightbulb went on in my mind. I was physically tired, as a result of something not being right with my soul. I knew I needed to go outside on the deck and spend some time with the Holy Spirit, my counselor.

I began by asking Him what was wrong within me? He revealed where I had been offended and my need to process my heart. He showed me how I had been hurt, how to grieve my pain, and how to forgive the offender. And then He explained why I was so physically tired.

My physical weariness was a form of protection. When my heart is hurt, I shut down, distancing myself emotionally. It’s as if I pull up the draw bridge of my heart to guard it from being hurt again. The problem with that solution is I’m the one in control, not God. It also prevents right relationships from forming.

After I spent time alone with God, took assessment of my soul, and released the offense and offender through forgiveness, my energy and relationships were restored.

Our soul is the inside of us, the real us, our mind, will, and emotions. It’s not what you see on the outside, but our soul does affect the external. Whatever is inside of us, eventually exhibits itself on the outside. And that’s why it’s imperative to take care of our soul.

The apostle John, in III John 2 exhorts us to have our souls get along well. David writes in Psalm 62:5: “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.” The psalmist knew God was the place to find rest for his soul.

The next time you find yourself physically weary, in spite of plenty of sleep, take an assessment of your soul. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of what needs to be done so your soul is healthy once again, paving the way to wholeness with God and others. Then you’ll be able to say, “It is well with my soul.”

“Your soul is healthiest when it comes back frequently and wholeheartedly to God.”

Judah Smith

Relevant Reflection:

How do you take care of your soul? Please make that a priority in your life.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments