Your power source is trust

Recently, I was dealing with a situation that was weighing very heavily on my heart, it was a major concern, I thought about it all the time. And it was not something I could really explain to my husband. It’s not that he wouldn’t have understood, but it was just something that God had to show him. I couldn’t convey it. Do you know what I mean? I was frustrated and scared and I didn’t know how it was going to work out. I was fretting, big time. It was all I could do not to pick a big old fight with Lynn over the issue because I needed him to see something and I didn’t feel like he was seeing it.

Anyway, long story short, I took the opportunity to tell God, “I cannot fix this on my own. I don’t know how this is going to work out, but I trust you to work it out. I cast my care on you regarding this situation and I refuse to worry.” I stood up in faith and as an act of my will I mentally and emotionally handed the situation over to God. I released it and said, “God, I trust you to work this out.”

I know that sounds easy, but trust me, it was not. It was very hard to let go of my opinion and feelings on the subject.

Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust in the Lord with all of our heart and lean not unto our own understanding. That is so much easier said than done! I mean, what does it really mean to lean not unto your own understanding? To me that says, don’t try to figure it out. Don’t try to forecast the way something’s going to turn out. Don’t try to figure out all the ins and outs and whys and what fors of a situation. Just let God do it and trust Him.

Some people think trusting God is a cop-out. On the contrary, I think it’s the most powerful thing you can do! The Bible says the just live by faith and that it is impossible to please God without faith. That says to me that faith, believing God, trusting Him, pleases Him. I want to do that!

Well, it was not 24 hours before Lynn suddenly understood exactly what was going on. I could not believe my ears when I heard him utter the words. God had moved in the situation and in an instant, it was fixed. Problem solved. Crisis averted. I just dropped my head in my hands and thanked God with all my heart. It was at that moment that I was reminded anew of the POWER of trusting God. There’s nothing like it.

It’s not a giving up and laying down. It’s not resignation, it’s not quitting. It’s an act of faith. It takes guts to take your hands off. It’s not weakness; it’s strength!

He can fix the unfixable situation. He can unblock our traffic jam and smooth out our turbulence. He knows what’s going on and He wants to help. But we have to take that step of faith and actively and purposefully say these four powerful words; “God, I trust you.”

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The Doubletree cookie

If you’ve ever stayed at a Doubletree Hotel, you are aware of the warm chocolatey goodness that awaits you at the front desk upon check-in . . . the famous Doubletree cookie.

Any diet I have ever been on before heading to this convention is destroyed the night we get to the hotel. Not that it’s destroyed after one cookie, but one cookie leads to another and another and before I know it, I’m taking advantage of 24-hour room service and splurging on eggs Benedict for breakfast every day. The church clothes that fit me on Monday are snug by Friday.

And now to add insult to my injury, they’ve opened an In-N-Out Burger right on the highway that I have to take to get into town. Dallas, why hast thou forsaken me?

The truth is; Dallas has not forsaken me, my discipline has. I think I left it back in Tulsa.

Maybe I’ll take a little nap and have some more discipline when I wake up. Or maybe I’ll just go ask for another cookie.

Happy Wednesday to you all. I hope yours includes cookies.

Obedience is a trip

The Holy Ghost has been on my case for weeks about printing out my best blogs and putting them in some kind of binder or something. He has told me to “be ready.”

Be ready for what, I’m not sure. Maybe to put together a book of my blogs, maybe to write something different. I was just told to be ready. I have been saying I’m going to do it for weeks and I’m ashamed to admit that I’m not there yet.

You see, I had complications. I didn’t have any paper. The printer was on my kitchen floor and I wanted a home office. I needed a binder. I needed a three-hole punch. I needed an uninterrupted afternoon. I needed to not be sick. I needed the house to be quiet. Do you see what I mean?

I got caught by all those sneaky little things that trip us up and make us not do what God has told us to do. Second thoughts, hangups, excuses, each one by itself innocuous, but compiled together, they kept me from obedience. My mind gave me plenty of room to procrastinate, but I know I have no excuse. I just messed up.

So, I repented, I got my tail in gear, had some friends help me get a little home office set up in my never-used dining room and I put my self and my pink laptop to work. I had a box of tissues and a bag of cough drops next to me, a brand new binder and hole-puncher, plenty of paper, and plenty of time. I got about 10 or 15 blogs printed out and guess what happened.

The printer ran out of ink.

This is getting comical. I just braved Wal-Mart on the Friday before Easter, fought traffic to get home, hustling to beat a thunderstorm. And here I am; twiddling my thumbs.

Obeying God isn’t always easy. But it’s always the right thing to do.

I am going to find ink and I am going to finish this project. I am going to take my little binder with me to Dallas next week, and I am going to obey God. I’m going to “be ready!”

Time for a fill-up

My family will converge upon Dallas next week for our annual ICFM convention. ICFM is a ministerial fellowship that my father-in-law helped found, and for which Lynn serves as Oklahoma director. We have gone every year since we’ve been married, with the exception of our Phoenix detour. (Long story.) Lynn and his brother and sisters literally grew up attending this conference. Mize’s and ICFM go way back.

I remember going to this conference as a new Mize and my biggest concern was did I have enough cute outfits to make it through the week. Fast forward 15 years and I’m quite concerned about the ratio of gray to brown in my hair. Right now, gray is winning.

I remember the year that I was pregnant at the conference. I was only about 8 or 9 weeks along, in the throes of morning sickness and suffering from a highly overactive nose. To this day, the smell of bleach in a hotel room turns my stomach.

I remember having a newborn at this conference and Lynn doing the Daddy-bouncy walk across the back of the room during the meetings, spit up on the shoulders of all his suits. I remember having a toddler with his crayons and paper and Hot Wheels at my feet. I remember when we were teaching him to sit still in church and listen and I had to sit on the front row while Fred Price was preaching. I’m pretty sure I didn’t breathe that whole time. Jaxon was a champ. I was a sweaty mess.

I remember when he was finally old enough for children’s church and I snuck out of the service at least 10 times to make sure he was OK. Fast forward to 2011 and he has a cell phone, a room key and knows the convention venue like the back of his hand, knows more people there than I do, and has girlfriends running out his ears. The kid has got this gig wired.

It’s funny when you realize you can actually sit through an entire church service without having to leave for a diaper change, a potty-call, or a spanking. I can actually bring my bible and notebook and take coherent notes. I can enter into the worship with my eyes tightly shut and not have to worry that my child is mooning people. It’s amazing how far we’ve come.

Last year at this time, I had not yet started this blog but boy did I have things to say that were pent-up inside of me! Now they’ve been set free! Loose her and let her go! Can I get a witness? (Sorry about that.)

I look forward to this week because I get to hear good Word preached by people I respect and admire and I always walk away feeling refreshed and inspired to do more, to be better, to conquer obstacles, and to fulfill my calling. I know from experience that if I attend these meetings with an open heart, and a spirit ready to receive from the Lord, I will not be disappointed.

You see, it doesn’t matter how much or how little church you sit in, what matters is the readiness of your heart to receive from God. And it doesn’t matter all that much who you’re listening to, for that matter. God can speak to you through all kinds of different people. It’s a question of whether or not you’re open to hearing. The Bible calls it “ears to hear.” That used to confuse me because I would think, “Well, sure I have ears, can’t you see them?” But you can have the biggest ears in the world and not really hear from the Spirit of God. Just ask Oral Roberts.

Not that he didn’t hear from God, ha! He definitely did. I just mean that he had really big ears! Aren’t you glad I clarified that?

I know God’s got things to say to me and I intend to hear every Word. I will set my heart to receive and my ears to hear. I will ask God to reveal His Word to me, to correct me where I’m missing it, to hone my rough edges, to stretch me in my weaknesses and to put His soothing balm on my hurts.

I will be coming home filled-up and ready to rock!

Thank God for tomorrow

I heard on the radio that the term “hay fever” has been replaced with “seasonal allergies.” Can they do that? Who makes up these rules? Is there a committee? Do we have to be politically correct about our runny noses now? Where does it end?

Whatever you call it, it is not fun.

The quarter-inch of pollen coating my car has made its way up my nose, through my sinus cavities, and has made a comfy home for itself behind my eyeballs. It is not a job for Zyrtec, it’s beyond that. I’ve had to bring out the big guns . . . Dayquil. Yes!

So I bailed out of work today, took Jaxon to school and then put myself back to bed. And I’m so very grateful that I was able to do that. Then I hauled myself back to the car to go fetch him at 3. Again, major thankfulness. And finally, I ordered takeout, ensuring my safety from having to interact with any humans today besides my son. Poor kid, he’s stuck with me.

Remember that scene from Home Alone where Macaulay Culkin orders pizza and then sets up a speaker with a shoot-em-up movie playing so the dude grabs the money and runs and he never has to open the door? I seriously considered doing that. There are no words to explain how very bad I look right now.

This is what I’d like to think I look like: This is probably closer to reality:

Except that I’m a woman, at least I was the last time I checked.

When Lynn reads this blog, he may feel an intense urge to stay in Africa. Can’t say I blame him.

All I can say is, thank God for tomorrow.

Send the rain

When I was little, I was terrified of thunderstorms. Something about the rumbling and the vibrations I felt just totally freaked me out. Although I knew it was ridiculous, I tried to convince myself that it was just God moving furniture around. And if that didn’t work, then I told myself God was bowling. I tried everything.

I’ve heard this sweet story for years: apparently one summer when I was about 4 or 5 years old, Tulsa was in desperate need of rain. (Go figure, it still is.) And so I clasped my little hands together and squeezed my eyes shut and prayed; “Oh, Lord God, Jesus Christ, send the rain! No thunder, no lightning, just rain!”

My first response was to go to God. I love that, I knew He had the solution. I don’t remember if He did send the rain, but I imagine He did knowing the power of the sincere and precious prayers of children.

I’ve heard Jaxon pray for rain and we’ve gotten it. I’ve heard Jaxon pray for snow and we’ve gotten it. In fact, I can’t help but think my son prayed in the Snowpocalypse  of 2011 himself . . . you see, he seriously wanted a few snow days. Boy, did he get them.

So what is the point I’m trying to make? I have no point, i just wanted to tell you a cute story.

Hope you’re enjoying your Friday night. Mine is blissfully quiet.

You are not alone

Lynn’s gone AWOL. Another Wonderful Overseas L’Adventure. Wow, that was a stretch. But it’s Wednesday. Whattayagonnado?

He left me for Africa.

Wait, no.

Lynn went to Africa leaving me alone.

No, that’s not good either.

Lynn’s on a ministry trip to Africa. There, that’s more appropriate.

Jax and I have a routine when he’s gone. It’s not as pleasant as the routine when he’s home, but it works and we manage. (My hat is really off to you single Moms out there, it is NOT easy.) We have breakfast, drive to school, I drive to work, then back to school, then home for the afternoon and evening stuff, we eat dinner, say prayers, and start all over the next day. Both of us wish violently for the weekend and for Dad to hurry up and get home. We love it that he’s a minister and gets to go to these amazing places, but of course we miss him.

Lynn and I are not strangers to this life, we’ve both had many a tearful airport goodbye and many a happy reunion with hugs and surprises from far-away lands. But it’s very different when you’re 40 than when you’re 10.

One thing Lynn’s travel gives me the opportunity to do is combat FEAR. I will not have it in my house! You know, just because you’ve obtained victory in an area in your life doesn’t mean the devil won’t come knocking at your door again and try to get in. I struggled with fear for many, many years and in the early years of my marriage when Lynn would be out-of-town it was pure torture. As I have studied the Word of God and learned to confess it with my mouth regarding fear, I have beaten the devil many times over and have conquered fears and insecurities in lots of areas: fear of being alone, fear of being in the house at night; fear of those insane noises that make no sense whatsoever, fear of someone breaking in, etc., etc.

I could go on and on telling you all the silly fears I’ve had to battle, and it’s embarrassing to see it in black and white, but I know I’m not alone in these fears. I know that the devil doesn’t have any  new tricks and he’ll use the same old crap on anyone who will fall for it. Well, I’m wise to him. I don’t fall for it anymore. And if I do, it’s only for a moment before the Holy Spirit points it out to me and I get a hold of it.

Just this week I had 2 very unsettling dreams. That’s just a more grown-up way of saying nightmares. Yeah, I’m a 39-year-old-woman, wife, mother, etc., and I had a nightmare. Two, actually. And it made me MAD. I am still mad at the devil over it. It’s just torment, it doesn’t mean anything! It doesn’t mean something bad’s going to happen, it doesn’t mean I’m in danger or Lynn’s in danger, it just means the devil is the devil and I refuse to let him win.

I got up, I rebuked him, I prayed in the Spirit, and I went back to sleep. Twice.

And tonight, you can rest assured I will be on the offensive with a thorough preemptive strike before my head hits the pillow. And that will be in a very few short moments, as it is 8:45 and I can’t keep my eyes open.

The Bible says rebuke the devil and he will flee . . . you can bet I’m going to sleep sweetly tonight. Proverbs 3:24 and Psalms 127:2 will be my weapons of choice.

Make no mistake. I win this battle.

Weedy neighbors

Praise Jesus for a sunny Friday . . . happiness abounds in my heart. Any Friday is good, but a sunny one is just tops.

So today I had errands to run, dogs to drop off, kids to pick up, groceries to buy and Target to browse. Well I didn’t have to browse, but I did. After all that, I was driving home through the back entrance of my neighborhood where the more chichi houses are when I stumbled upon a little Friday afternoon wisdom.

Have you ever driven down a residential street and seen a lush, green lawn that’s directly next to a sparse, weedy one? One where you can actually see the line of demarkation where one ends and the other begins? I’d like to know who they think they are kidding! If you’re gonna be neighbors with a weedy lawn, their seeds are going to blow your way.

(Don’t you know that one homeowner feels like a dog and the other one is ticked off most of the time?)

Well, this is a perfect picture how much it matters who we hang out with. My father-in-law always teaches that if you hang out in the devil’s backyard, his dog will bite you. And that is the truth, don’t I know.

It matters who we surround ourselves with. If iron sharpens iron, as the Bible says in Proverbs 27:17, then it stands to reason that the opposite of that is true.

If we will take a good look at who we hang out with, who we listen to, and who we follow, we can see how those people make a major impact on our lives. If we separate ourselves from the weeds, we’ll have a much better chance at a beautiful lawn.

How do you cast your cares on Him?

(Alternately titled, Casting your cares on Him . . . for dummies, but I just thought that was a little too snarky, even for me.)

So I did a quick Google search for casting your cares on Him. In 0.28 seconds, it brought up over 5 million hits. That’s a mightylotta hits for one short phrase.

My question is, why do so many people talk about it and so few actually know how to do it? What’s the problem? Why does it seem to be so difficult to let go of our worries? We all know the scriptures, but it sure is easier said than done.

I think we need to go back to Kindergarten on this one. I enlisted the help of my dear friend and my son’s former Kindergarten teacher, Elaine Barber, to weigh in on the subject. I asked her how she would teach a child to cast their cares upon Jesus. And here’s what she said:

In Kindergarten, it has to be simple and it has to be to the point.  I guess I would start with the definition of what a “care” is. What causes a care and why do we have them?  A “care” can be something that bothers us or makes us feel worried and upset.  What makes a Kindergartener worried?  Usually, a concern in Kindergarten deals with how others are treating us.  Are your classmates being kind, making you feel loved, or are they hurting your feelings?  Are you invited to birthday parties?  Do your friends play nicely with you during recess and include you in playtime?  If the response is negative, then all of these are major cares in Kindergarten!

Next, we talk about how these situations make us feel.  They make us hurt.  We feel sad.  We want to cry!  We feel like no one else understands us and wants to be with us! And then I am able to tell them that we do have someone who deeply understands us and longs to spend time with us.  It is God.  He created us and gave us the ability to have all these feelings!  He knows exactly how we feel and wants to make it “all better.”  He wants us to remember how much He loves us and longs for us to talk and pray to Him when we are feeling down or hurt.

Through prayer, by simply talking or crying to God, we tell Him how we feel.  We tell Him everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Then we lift our hands up to Him and pretend to play catch with God by throwing all those hurt feelings His way. We take those sad emotions and wad them up (use hand motions to wad it up) and then throw our “hurts” up to God! (pretend to throw!) God gladly catches them and throws them even farther away from us!  Then He reaches down into our hearts, wraps Himself around it, and replaces all those yucky, hurt feelings with His love, grace, mercy, and joy. He reassures us with His comforting, loving whispers.  His words of encouragement feel awesome.  He gives us a warm, gooey, fuzzy feeling deep down inside our belly.  When we walk away from our prayer time, we know we’ve been in His arms because we no longer hurt and the peace we have is deep and satisfying.

My friend, brilliant teacher, woman of God, and special guest-contributor, Elaine Barber.

Isn’t that precious? I knew she would explain it so well. So here’s what I’m going to work on. When I pray, or when I cry, or more often for me, when I want to scream and say ugly words, I am going to tell God how I feel, then I’m going lift up my hands and play catch with God, wadding those cares up and throwing them far away from me. Then I’m going to allow His sweet presence to fill up that hole in my heart and I’m going to tell God that I trust Him.

And then I’m going to do it all over again tomorrow!

Whataburger wisdom

Lynn and I love Whataburger. I know, it’s terribly unhealthy, fattening, artery clogging, etc., etc., ad nauseam. But it’s GOOD. All my Texas friends will agree.

Saturday night, we had a date at Whataburger. It was about 8 o’clock at night, the place was empty, and the burger was perfect. The veggies were cold, the meat was hot, the bun was buttered and toasted to perfection . . . Whataburger with cheese, with mayo instead of mustard and add sliced jalapenos; I’m telling you, it’s the best thing there is. And don’t get me started on the perfection of their crispy fries and fabulous little tubs of the best ketchup God ever made.

So I’m nearing the halfway point of my cheeseburger when part of my tomato slides out and I see it . . . the tomato butt.

What do you do when life gives you a tomato butt?

Some say add more ketchup and eat it anyway.

Some say go complain to the manager.

I say laugh . . . kind of like when I found this fork (Fork in the road) in my driveway:

I think I should have a recurring section of this blog that asks the question, “What do you do when life gives you . . . ?”

Don’t you agree?