Friday, July 29, 2011

STILL is the word that I determined to understand in 2010.
I knew nothing of stillness. Nothing of being in the moment.
Nothing of peace or trust.
I long tended to overmanage, overworry, overfrustrate, overexpect, overplan and overcompensate.
But these words got hold of me,
"Be Still and Know that I Am God."
These words became bigger than my need for self-fulfillment.
Nothing He asks of me is ever easy.
I always want to jump in with both feet and get busy.
I have learned a lot about being still.
And stillness continues to be a huge part of my process.
Stillness has quietly taught me to hold my stuff up to the light and dig deep into my motivation and ask why?
Why am I trying to manipulate, control, avoid or indulge my self?
Is it because I don't trust Him?
Most often it is.
And how silly am I to think that my plan could ever be better than His.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hold Fast

9,400 women gathered this weekend in Charlotte, NC
to worship Jesus through the leadership of Beth Moore.
I got to go with three girls I am absolutely crazy about.
Girl's weekends with these ladies are hard to come by but somehow
He made it happen and we loved, laughed, shared and teared up the whole time.
As for Mrs. Beth...well this was everyone's first time seeing her in person.
And she is just the cutest thing ever.
And WoW can she deliver a message straight from HIM.
HOLD FAST was her message for Charlotte.
HOLD FAST to Jesus Now.
Right Now.
She tells us,
"He is the only way yo fulfill your purpose in this life.
Don't let anything come between you.
Adhere to Him, cleave to Him, stick to Him like glue.
He holds you always but you must hold Him back to experience a life more abundant.
You are called to a life that works.
You are not called to be a train wreck (love that one).
You do not know who you are until you love God.
The more you put off obedience the more you put off His blessings".
And that was my moment.
Obey is my word for 2011 and it has been a struggle.
Death of self is a hard one even though I have had all of me I can take.
And the more I struggle with obeying my own desires over the desires He has for me
the more I am convicted  and acknowledging that I hold on loosely.
I am not clinging.
I waver and wander.
And I often find myself dancing around in this earthly world that seeks to destroy me
and keep me distracted.
Somtimes I want destruction. Sometimes I want distraction.
Jesus is not always easy and He is not always fun.
And Beth says, "Choose life. Choose your hard. Hard Victory or Hard Defeat".
And it stings because I know.
I am hardwired to want them both.
To know and want the victory that Jesus brings and to be so freaked out by it that I run a million miles backwards and into the arms of the temporary.
What would it be like to live His truth and belive that I am radically loved and forgiven?
Can I hold fast even when it hurts and my life shakes?
When insecurity and the pit calls my name.
When the temporary teases?
Is it possible for me to trust Him that much?
Can I tolerate the discomfort long enough to find out?
At the end, before we close in worship,
I take the hands of one of the most precious women that God has chosen for me to do life with.
I can see my sister holding onto the most wonderful bundle of courage, strength and determination I know.
And we follow Beth in speaking Truth to one another.
It is a moment that is rare.
Intimate and unforgettable...
and so very needed.
Hold Fast Sister...until the day that you bow at His feet and lay your crown before Him.
Hold fast...

Counting blessings with Ann,
  • road trips
  • the sound of worship songs led by Travis Cottrell and belted out by 9,400 women
  • tin foil
  • ultra cheap hotel rooms that lead to abundant laughter
  • weddings
  • swollen eyes
  • confessions, digging deep and repentence
  • funny mall pictures
  • even funnier photo booth pictures
  • collard greens, deviled eggs, fried chicken, mac-n-cheese, green beans at King's Kitchen
  • husbands that hold down the fort for the weekend
  • Green Lantern and Captain America waiting for me at home
  • my oldest asking to be baptised
  • Starbucks iced coffee
  • butterflies
  • pink
  • hands lifted high in praise

Monday, July 11, 2011


The puppy is chewing something she shouldn't.
She is always chewing something she shouldn't.
The boys are sleeping.
The husband is working.
And I am thinking.
About everything.
Emotions have run strong this week and His presence has kind of overwhelmed me.
I have seen Him and felt His presence everywhere.
So many moments.
On the beach with my sister's family. Buckets full of hermit crabs, bags of chips and happy cousins.
On boat rides where His beauty and creativity was so much more obvious than the lavish homes that fight for attention.
In a sweet little island rental with my sister-in-law's family and favorite friends. Gooey pizza, fried seafood and noticing that my boys suddenly seem SO BIG.
On a long waterway excursion with four little boys when the engine suddenly stopped and black smoke billowed.
Being pulled safely back to my father-in-law's by Sea-Tow as sparkly fireworks danced in the sky in every direction.
In my neighbor's text as were being towed. Her husband's brother had died instantly of a heart attack.
In her phone call the next day. The loss of her brother-in-law had left her 12 year old niece without a father or a mother.
In a moment her family had grown from three to four.
I weep and smile.
I know He is here.
Here when it all makes sense.
And here when it doesn't.
Trusting that His will is sovereign can be tough business.
Especially when it exposes the reality that moments matter.
Instant or gradual...moments build and
we cannot escape the reality that moments alter our perspective,
change our circumstances and transform us.
But they don't change Him.
He is always LOVE.
Even when I don't understand.
Even when I don't like it.
Even when it exposes me.
He is always LOVE.
There is no time for my selfish motives.
No time for motives that twist and turn Truth and elevate the enemy.
Time counts.
Love cannot wait.

Loving deeply and doing my best to get out of my own way and let his light SHINE.
  • my brother and sister
  • my nieces and nephews
  • my sister-in-law's and brother-in-law's
  • my mom
  • my dad
  • my sweet friends
  • my husband
  • my beautiful boys
  • doing life with all of the above
  • the magnificence of the coast
  • a birthday party in the country with cornfields that stretch for miles
  • sharing a new dream with LAB
  • U2 tribute band on the waterfront
  • late night with the boys at the frozen yogurt bar
  • a SUPER clean car
  • rain
  • a working garbage disposal
  • a naughty puppy

Friday, July 8, 2011


It is a word that holds deeper meaning every day.
I am learning that it requires action to really understand.
It is a pretty word.
A word that I used to use over and over again without ever accepting the challenge that lies within it.
The dare to go deeper and learn to really SEE.
To experience open my hands.
To not compare.
I often have parents tell me that their children are ungrateful.
Spoiled, disrespectul, only thinking of themselves.
I am certain that I get a twinkle in my eye during these conversations because Jesus has shown me that I have a pretty strong tendency to be the exact same way.
When I suggest to parents, that perhaps gratitude is an action that is learned.
That when we open up our hearts and arms to see what we have and stop focusing on what we don't have that our lives change...radically.
That we teach gratitude by living it ourselves, I often get a puzzled look.
Then a nod, perhaps an uncomfortable smile? This is a hard one.
And I know that they are thinking...we came here to talk about fixing my child.
I know.
This is not worldly counsel.
This truth doesn't come from self-reliance, higher self-esteem, glossy magazines, red carpet premieres, shopping malls, smaller sizes and bigger toys.
This is the counsel of our Savior.
And I am grateful to know Him.

The Joy Project 40

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