Archive: March, 2011

God-Sized Lessons and a Vandalized Car

Last week my girls and I went to see Gnomeo and Juliet. May I tell you my favorite part? The best part of the movie is when David Hasselhoff’s head bobbles across the computer as a screen saver. I’m cracking up right now thinking about it.
Anyway, I digress.
As we left the theater, our giggling was interrupted by a horrific sight in the parking lot. Our car, baby-seat and all, had been vandalized… fractured windows, shattered glass, and crushed doors. To make things worse, there were broken beer bottles and used cigarettes scattered across cracked pavement.
The scene looked like a big ol’ mess.
I felt like a big ol’ mess as I stood there in disbelief.
I felt weak.
I felt victimized.
I got a little stressed. I cried a little. I wanted to cuss and spit on something. My face flushed into a new shade of red and my eyes flared-up with anger. Out of all the cars in the parking lot, why mine?
Put down the violins y’all, because this is more than just a sob story. The point of rehashing my Friday afternoon mayhem isn’t to wallow in it, but to share two important lessons God taught me in the middle of it.
Needless to say, the ride home was nippy. Gushes of blazing, snowy wind whirled through the gaping holes in our car. My daughter Samantha said with a crackle in her throat, “I think we should pray for whoever did this because they don’t have Jesus in their heart.”

I felt the sting of failure pinch my heart. While that sweet “thang” in the backseat was speaking over high winds about mercy, her Mama had justice and revenge on her mind.
Pray for them… right now? Are you kidding?
God-Sized Lesson Number One
Instead of entertaining thoughts of stringing up the offender, I needed to rush to the throne of grace and beg for strength beyond what I could muster.
My thoughts mingled in a blur, “I don’t want to pay for someone else’s crime.” Right then Jesus interrupted me. He spoke truth directly to my heart, “That is exactly what I did for you. I paid the price for something you did.”
God-Sized Lesson Number Two
My daughter’s desire to pray for the offender flooded my mind and rung out my soul like a wet dishcloth.

My grumbling heart paused.

My thoughts redirected.

The unsettled bones in my body came to rest. Even though in that moment I didn’t feel like praying, I joined hands with my baby girls anyway.

What a great time to practice…
“Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person,” Luke 6:27-28 (The Message).

Photobucket

When We Get Disappointed

But, I want to be in the talent show, mom,” my 1st grader whimpered. She wanted to sing in the talent show with a friend who suddenly developed cold feet.
As the cold air began singing around her, a solitary tear of grief welled up in the corner of her eye. All of the sudden, the dam broke and a flood of disappointment coursed down her six year old face. As I watched her, my eyes screamed out for justice. Then a soft voice echoed through the hallway of my mind, “You remember what it’s like to be disappointed, don’t you?”

Disappointment is a feeling of sadness or frustration because something was not as good, attractive, or satisfactory as expected.
God designed us to live in anticipation and expectation of Him. He created us to be goal-seekers and plan-makers. When we project a specific outcome, we live in expectation of seeing it come to fruition. Seeing our hopes and dreams realized.
“Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around,” Proverbs 13:12, (MSG).
Has your heart ever been sick with disappointment?
My casserole tasted like rubber at the dinner party.

That relationship didn’t work out the way I thought it would.
The sting of disappointment hurts. We long for God to apply the healing salve that will take the pain away forever.
Just because we are followers of Jesus doesn’t mean we are immune to disappointment.
When things don’t go our way, we have a tendency to gripe and complain to anyone who will listen. We say with finger-snapping punctuation, “Oh, unh-unh, it wasn’t supposed to be this way.” Seemingly, this only stirs the pot and keeps a steady boil bubbling in our hearts.
God listens.
God’s a good listener. He doesn’t mind hearing all about our complaints. He prefers we go to him first, not our best girlfriend or even our mama. Why not go straight to the One who can actually do something about our circumstances.

God doesn’t turn his back.

God didn’t turn his back or roll his eyes as the Psalmist sang in frustration over their disappointments. He listened to each poetic account of hurt and heartbreak. This resulted in God’s glorification even in the midst of their personal turmoil. In the end, they were the recipients of God’s best and greatest blessings.
When expectation and disappointment collide, there is only one thing to do.
Get to Jesus.

Get there without delay.

Don’t pause to look around.

Get to Him.

He will dislodge the hurt and bitterness that threatens divine intimacy with him. He will prune away limbs of disappointment before they overshadow God’s Fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
So what do we do the next time our soul dips low from aches of disappointment?
High-tail-it to Jesus and abide in the truth of Psalm 22:5 that says: when we get to Jesus we will “NOT be disappointed.”

Photobucket

Is God the Lord Over Your Details?

Our Ministry at South Reno Baptist Church hosted international speaker Jan Coates a couple of weeks ago. When God qualified me to join him in ministry, I never imagined events, speakers, how to operate microphones, what to do when microphones stop working, and speaking in front of people–would be part of it.
As women, it’s easy to become tangled in a web of details. The ‘to-do’s’, ‘what to do’s’, and ‘how-to do’s’ rattle through our minds like roaring engines out of control. Do the decorations look nice? How does the food taste? Is the coffee too strong?

But God’s divine whisper tenderly reminds us that it’s all about Him and not about the decorations, speakers, or food.

There’s nothing like witnessing the undeniable movement of an Almighty God during fellowship time together. Even if just one person turns back a new page in their love story with Jesus, it’s worth it. It’s worth over planning and last minute errands to see leaks of tears streaming down the faces of women desiring to become more.

Is My Frazzled Self Measuring Up?

But behind every big event you’ll find at least one or two frazzled females. As I scribbled check marks down the list I began asking myself, “When stress bullies its way through the door of opportunity will I live up to God’s standard of peace, patience, and self-control? Will I wrap my arms around the feet of Jesus when I feel myself buckling under the pressure of last minute details?


Will I let God down if I don’t measure up?
The other day on Lysa Terkeurt’s blog she mentioned something her pastor said about letting God down.

“How can you let God down when you were never holding him up?”

I love a great quote, don’t you?
Here’s another one.
My pastor said, “If we sin on the right foot, then we need to confess on the left foot.” So, when I erupt like a volcano because I’m struggling to manage myself, the Holy Spirit will gently remind me to say “Lord, I’m sorry. Please forgive me so I can start fresh.”
So as we step forward with the left foot of confession, we are able to experience God’s immeasurable mercy and grace. After all, he is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, (see 2 Corinthians 1:3).
I felt a brief yet sweet sensation brush over my soul that was undoubtedly God’s voice. He said,

Do you really know I am your mercy behind everything you do?


Your grace behind every mistake you make? And

Your comfort when things don’t go according to plan?

Do you really know that I don’t want your heart to be troubled (see John 14:1)?

As floods of emotion saturated my cheek, I replied, “Yes Lord, I know you are all those things.” Sometimes I just need to be reminded. Thank you for pausing today in the midst of all your creation just for me. Thank you for the revelation that every detail of my day needs to be committed to you. Please be the Lord over my details today and every day. Amen.

Photobucket

Ini, Mini, Miney, Moe, It’s A Dawna Day…

“Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil,” Ephesians 5:15-16.

Are we spending our time wisely?

I wish there were warning labels on our favorite pass times such as TV, music, and reading. Detailed labels like the ones on prescription drug bottles. I’ll let you decide which of the following examples you would choose.
Example #1 “BAD” Movie
People viewing this movie may have a higher risk of falling prey to lust, anger, gossip, envy, pride, greed, or unhappiness than people who do not watch this movie. Thoughts of feeling fat, ugly, dumb, unsuccessful, and inadequate have been reported. These events may happen without warning and may cause death. If you experience any of the above symptoms, get emergency spiritual help right away.
Movies such as these may cause guilt, depression, impure thoughts, and a hardened heart. The risk may be higher for people who are young in age, have poor mental health, do not know the Lord, or are under the influence while watching inappropriate movies. If you experience thoughts of adultery, revenge, jealousy, hatred, and or feel just plain lost, stop watching and fall on your knees: Satan will monitor your symptoms carefully and will probably celebrate. In addition, the Evil One may try to test your body’s response to sin. Be sure to tell God how you feel so He can administer the right amounts of grace and guidance to treat your condition with the lowest risk of serious side effects.
Do not watch the movie carefully and ask your church or godly friends if you have any questions.
Example #2 Holy Bible
People who read God’s word may have a higher sense of purpose, love, and understanding than people who do not read this book. This risk may be higher for people who have read the Word for many years. Tell God if you or anyone in your family needs forgiveness, believes Jesus died for you, and/or wishes to commit a sinful life to him.

If you experience a sudden urge for salvation and baptism, get emergency spiritual help right away. Many gifts have been reported which include but are not limited to the following: Prophesy, Healing, Evangelism, Service, Exhortation, Tongues, and the overall lightness lifted from ones shoulders. These events may happen without warning and through Jesus may cause eternal life.
Matthew, Luke, John, and books such as these may cause us to experience Forgiveness, Elation, Dedication, Faith, Encouragement, Wisdom, Compassion, Conviction, and Rebirth. Also, tell God if you make or have ever made mistakes or have sinned at anytime in your life. If you experience any of the following symptoms, continue reading and praise Jesus: Renewed relationships, Love, Peace, Joy, Gentleness, Kindness, Self-control, Patience, Courage, and Faithfulness.
The Lord will monitor the pulse of your heart carefully and will probably order certain tests to check your response to his Word. Be sure to tell God how you feel so He can prescribe the right amount of encouragement to treat your concern for the highest chance of side effects. Read the information carefully and ask God or your pastor if you have any questions.
Which would you choose?

How Do You Experience Emotional Rest?

This blog is in response to Bonnie Gray’s topic on emotional rest. Well, Bonnie how do you like my Faith Barista mug??
I could approach “emotional rest” with a serious tone, but I’m pretty sure I’ve posted my share of heavy weighted topics for the week.
I could spill the dramatic contents of my heart all over this page.
I could wrap a crazy stay-at-home mom story around an important biblical truth.
I could go all theological on y’all right now.
But…
I’ve decided to peel back the layers of sass and get right to the nitty-gritty.
What gives me emotional rest?

My best de-frazzling solution for emotions bubbling out of control is a hot bath overflowing with lavender salts and sudsy soaps. But my emotional rest retreat wouldn’t be complete without my Ipad propped up against the tile wall playing re-runs of Francis Chan’s greatest sermon bites. I know that may sound a little stalker-ish but seriously, that’s what I do.
So, when I re-emerge back into life after my bubble-bath getaway, I don’t feel like strangling anyone. I say things like, “That’s nice hunny. Oh, you spilled chocolate milk on the carpet again? Well, I’ll just clean that right up. Oh look, another load of laundry? I’d better start folding.”
No attitude. No crooked smile. Just a rejuvenated soul ready take on what everybody else is dishing out.
So the moral of this story is ~ When mama is clean, comfy, and calm, everybody else gets their emotional rest too!
So it’s your turn… what gives you emotional rest?

Photobucket

Go check out more great posts…
FaithBarista_Rest2JamBadge

Be Imitators of Christ, Not Each Other…



“Let Nothing Dim the Light that Shines From Within”

 

How often do you compare yourself to other people?
The Bible says we are to be imitators of Christ, NOT each other. Therefore, our ambition should be to imitate Christ and nobody else!
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children” Ephesians 5:1 (NLT).
We are to imitate Christ in everything we do. We are to be like Jesus and talk like Jesus while we’re shopping, sweating, or serving. Why? Because we are his baby girls and he wants our actions, our thoughts, and our words to be reflective of him.
Happy WFW!

Photobucket
This post was written in response to WFW at Internet Cafe Devotions

Comparing Ourselves to Other Women

Remember when I said I wasn’t going to work out?
Well, a good friend of mine introduced me to a new workout called “The Dailey Method.” There are only two words to describe it—“really hard!”
Anyway, I literally got all tangled up and bent out of shape last week while in class. As I gazed around the room in a breathless pant, I noticed everyone was toned and tiny. Apparently, it’s not a good idea to come to this place needing to lose weight. Women twice my age were doing leg squats better than me. Some of these ladies bless their hearts, actually need to visit McDonald’s drive thru a couple times a week like I do.
It appears they all have this mom thing figured out. Their kids in the daycare room don’t have syrupy hair from breakfast. They drive a Lexus and probably don’t have hamburger buns stuffed between the seats. They have their make-up on and hair in place (that is until the death trap of a work-out begins).
Satan quickly plants seeds of untruths in my mind.
I’m tempted.
Jesus girl thoughts get shoved aside by the ugly thoughts moving in. I begin thinking, “If only I could do better. If only my legs were longer. If only I looked as good as she does while doing leg lifts.”
Is it just me or have y’all had similar thoughts?
How often do you compare yourself to other women?
The Bible says we are to be imitators of Christ, NOT each other. Therefore, our ambition should be to imitate Christ…not the girl with buns of steel standing beside us glistening instead of sweating.
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children” Ephesians 5:1 (NLT).
We are to imitate Christ in everything we do. We are to be like Jesus and talk like Jesus while we’re shopping, sweating, or serving. Why? Because we are his baby girls and he wants our actions, our thoughts, and our words to be reflective of him.
Just like the Dailey Method workout is really hard, sometimes it’s hard being a Jesus girl. Imitating Christ and striving to become a P31 woman is down-right hard, especially if you are like me. I can barely sew an Awana patch on my kid’s vest. I don’t usually cook from scratch. I actually love Stouffer lasagna night so I’m not expected to cook. But wait a second…now that I’m thinking about it, I do order my bacon and ham from Tennessee so that counts as bringing my food from afar, right?
So the next time we’re tempted to believe the worst about ourselves, let’s remember that 1Thessalonians 1:6 says imitating Christ won’t be easy. It’s something we strive for. It’s something we can’t do on our own. To be successful, we must be intentional about drawing near to our heavenly daddy so we can become more like him and nobody else.

Photobucket

Save That Drama for Your Mama

Whew, what a crazy weekend. We diagnosed the problem of a toilet that wouldn’t stop running, I removed a hairball from the hose on my vacuum, and our girls hosted their first slumber party. Having five girls in the house was a hoot. Tears, tattling, and tantrums…yep that about sums it up.
After the Barbie marathon began and being the only males in a house dripping with estrogen, my husband and our dog Biscuit retreated to their man cave hide-out. Who could blame them?
Lots of second grader drama, four hours of sleep, and a whole lot of junk food later…
Stick a fork in ‘cause this mama is done.
Once the partying came to an end, I began organizing piles of lacy dress-up clothes and dismembered Barbies. Peeking out from underneath a pink, polka doted sleeping bag was my three year olds favorite ladybug nightlight. Unfortunately, the starry light had been switched into the “on” position all night. I sat on the edge of a flowery bed-spread wondering about the dimness of the ladybug. Her simple beauty still noticeable, but her light was only sort-of bright.
Oh sweet sisters, I feel this way a lot– switched to the “on” position way too long, running on empty, worn thin, pressed on every side, and ready to hide.
Just like the nightlight, Jesus is a light shining in and through us.
I wonder, Is my light shining brightly for Jesus or am I a little on the dull side?
Is my weariness contributing to the loss of brightness I’m experiencing?
If my light is only kind of bright, then perhaps I’m only kind of following Jesus.
Paul says in Ephesians 3:14-19, the Holy Spirit gives us an inner strength so we can know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

When we’re “rooted and established” in Christ’s multi-dimensional love for us, our light will shine its absolute brightest. We will never grow dim or dull…

even after an all night sleep over.

Like Paul told the Ephesians, if we really understood the love of Christ, we wouldn’t care about all this other stuff. In my case, I wouldn’t be so distracted by clogged drains or pizza stains.
When we’re consumed by the fullness of God’s love our light beams like the ladybug when I put in new batteries.
It’s what makes us stand out when it’s easier to blend in.
It’s what keeps us pursuing hard after Jesus instead of pursuing other stuff.
It’s the faith fuel that keeps us going when that extra mile looks too hard.
When we truly understand the length, height, and depth of Christ’s love for us, then we will be “filled to the measure” and ready to shine.

Are you feeling bright, kind of bright, or dull today?
Photobucket

Satan’s Hackers by, Dawna

You can feel them creeping up on you in the darkness, hiding in the shadows preying on you while you are all alone. Sometimes it is in broad daylight, people surround you when they appear out of nowhere. They are evil, they haunt, they whisper, they entice, and they destroy!
The Bonds of Wickedness, they are cleverly disguised experts, Hackers of the Mind!
“Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.” IF you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, 
and speaking wickedness”
Isaiah 58:9
Did you see that great big IF? Pointing of the finger huh? Speaking wickedness huh? No, not us good Christian girls. Oh, ladies beware he prowls like a lion and he really likes the way we taste! 
Be honest… when was the last time you pointed a finger at someone in judgment? 
I did just this morning. 
When was the last time you spoke wickedness? 
I did while I was pointing my finger. 
The little devils are quick to enter your mind, and without Gods word and Holy Spirit chances are you would not even know you did/said something wrong.
What do they look like? Well, Bonds of wickedness come in a variety of ways; Slander, Malice, Gossip, Anger, Jealousy, Unforgiveness, and lying just to name a few.
Wow, with that list how can a girl break free from the yoke? We need a good weapon, in fact a great sword. God’s word can pierce every one of Satan’s lies. Think of it as a firewall that does not let the wickedness take root in our spirit.
For an example, I will use this morning when I was attacked by ugliness. I woke up opened my blinds to see my neighbors teenage daughter bounce out of their front door, wearing nothing but tiny shorts and bra/bikini top. She walked around her yard then rummaged around in her car, and at first, I thought burr, then Satan snuck in and I said, wow what a little tramp.  Instantly I pointed a finger at a young girl I hardly know, and judged her character.
Suddenly I could see Jesus drawing a line in the dirt… He that is without sin among you, let him cast a stone at her. Only it was not to protect me this time, I was the one holding a stone. I came to my senses and asked for forgiveness. I then asked God to bless her in many ways and began to think that maybe God put her in my view this morning because she needed blessings.
SO, the next time you are attacked, pull out your sword, and make all the demons run. In doing so that Yoke is broke, and if you listen very carefully, you will hear “Here I am.”



The Sweetest Encouragement

Over the last year Kelli and I have worked to plan a speaking event for the women at our church and the women in the drug and alcohol program at the Reno Sparks Gospel Mission.  We flew in National Speaker and Author Jan Coates from Texas to speak to us this past weekend. Friday night she spoke to the ladies at our church and Saturday night she spoke to the program women. It was a success and huge blessing to many. 
I confess it’s a lot of work planning an event. This isn’t our first time, but it’s really the same every time. You do as much planning as you can ahead of time, but it’s in that last week that things really start to come together. 
Tickets are sold-out. Last minute details unfold. The loose ends flip-flap around needing a quick tie up. Shopping lists are made which require… stop after stop after stop with children in tow for this or that. Then there’s decorating, food preparing, people organizing… and anxiety woven all throughout. 
Yes, I know… it’s all about God. That’s true of course, He’s the primary focus, but when you’re the ones that He calls to put it all together stress moves in and stretches itself uncomfortably across your mind and body. 
I compared planning an event to having a baby… once it’s over you think, “I don’t know if I want to do that again!” But, then a day or two passes, you forget all the pain and are left to enjoy the blessings of it all and you think, “Yes, I believe I will do that again!” 
I’m sharing all of this with you because someone sweet thought to encourage us. Someone unknown. And, we’re so grateful.
At the end of Friday evening I became painfully aware of my throbbing feet. I stood most of the evening in high heel shoes… which I rarely wear anymore. I stared at my cute black footwear and thoughtfully considered the condition of my toenails before finally reaching down to remove them anyway. A few moments later I notice Kelli in her bare feet too and I smile. 
As we quickly cleaned up the last of our mess a friend brings us two bottles of Raspberries and Cream shampoo, shower gel and bubble bath with our names on them. She said they were left for us and didn’t know by who…
You can see that I have already enjoyed mine quite a lot 🙂 But, as much as I love the yummy body wash it wasn’t what encouraged and refreshed my soul… it was the note 
In case you can’t read it well it says: 

Heidi Avery, You are desired and loved by your Beloved. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. –Galatians 6:9
The sweetest encouragement. 

From someone unknown. 
I admit there’s a part of me that would love to know who it’s from and it’s the great big hugging part of me! But, then there’s another part of me that because I don’t know who she is I am able to simply accept that gift from God who knew exactly what I needed to hear. And, I am certain that Miss lovely and anonymous has found her blessing just by being His hands and feet.

Oh, I could do some prodding and likely figure out who “she” is and I thought about it, but I wouldn’t want to steal her joy. So, I’ll just leave it.

But, Kelli and I are both hoping that she’ll see this and know just how special she is and just how very grateful we are. 
Thank you precious friend from the bottom of our hearts!
Photobucket
Page 1 of 212