Sunday, October 27, 2013

GROWING SEEDS: "Living Right Side Up"

"If you grasp and cling to life on YOUR terms, you'll lose it; 
but if you let that life go, you'll get life on 
GOD'S terms."
Luke 17: 33
In the not so distant past, I lived my life on MY terms.  Don't get me wrong, I believed in God....I believed He died for my sins, rose again and ascended into Heaven.  I believed all the things a good Christian is "suppose" to believe.  I tried to be a decent, good person; I tried not to harm or judge people; I attended church every week and I prayed when I needed something.  Yep, I considered myself a pretty fabulous Christian.

But what I didn't realize as I was busy patting myself on the back for being this crackerjack Christian was that I was living on LIZ terms.....not God's.  Looking back, I see where He was desperately trying to get my attention....frantically waving His arms yelling "HEY LIZ, I'M OVER HERE" or "HEY SOFTIE (my Dad's nickname for me), CAN'T YOU HEAR ME??".....and rolling His eyes as I trucked-on living Liz's life....blind and deaf.   Funny how things come into focus when we look back on them, isn't it?

I was living my life, in many ways, as the people of Noah's time were.  I was chowing down on food (without thankfulness); I was buying houses (without asking for guidance); I was marrying (without His blessing) and I was working (without taking Him with me).  And although I may not have been doing many of the seriously wicked and creepy things the people in Noah's time were engaging in, I was living my life ALONE and WITHOUT Him.  And we are reminded by Noah's story that if we are living a life without God leading, it might be a good idea to learn how to swim.

Now that my eyes have been opened, my hearing has been restored and the Holy Spirit is now zooming in as a 1-million-candlepower-light shining in my soul where it once was a dim, almost burnt out candle, I seriously think the devil is a bit TICKED OFF because he was dumped.  

Dumped for an often more difficult.......but eternity-bound life.  

"It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day." 
Matthew Henry

Sunday, October 20, 2013


"God prunes us when He is about to take us into a new season of growth and expansion."
~ Christine Caine

Can I pray first before writing to you today?

Father, guide these fingers of mine as I transcribe the words You dictate and want said to this amazing child of Yours reading this right now.  Touch their heart....let them hear You speaking to their very soul at this exact moment.  Thank You Father, for always, ALWAYS listening and hearing our prayers.  Amen.

Over the past couple years, I have felt a "change" happening....not just in my own life, but also in my sister-girlfriends around me.  Suddenly, God was dropping women in, AND OUT, of my life at a rapid pace.  As I inched closer and closer to God in my personal relationship, suddenly the most amazing Godly women were popping up everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  Not just at church, but in the grocery store, at the car repair shop, at the RV campground.....even at the dollar store.  It was SO obviously God.  Each time it happened, I would just look up, smile and whisper "thank you" for bringing these new, wonderful relationships into my life that were guiding, strengthening and holding my hand down this journey I was on.  At the same time, He was also removing women who had been in my life for years.  Some I considered Godly women, others were just going through the motions with God.  As He removed certain ones from my life, my heart grieved for the loss of these friends.

But what I have discovered is this:  change isn't just happening to me.  It's happening to many of you reading this.   Right here, in our own church, in our own community, in our own circle of friends and sisters, there is a gathering of women hungry....STARVING....for a relationship with Jesus.  This has nothing to do with denomination but has everything to do with the Holy Spirit.   Christian women are wrestling right now - all ages, all traditions, all shapes and sizes.  There is something stirring in the hearts of women all around the world right now......and it's awesome to see.  I, for one, to be a part of it.

And there is something BIG happening for my sisters-in-Christ on February 7, 2014 to help meet this desire.  If you are feeling these same stirrings....these same nudging's and if you are needing to gather and unleash yourself to live out God's purpose, please let me know.  I'd love to let you in on what is happening as the new year begins.  I want to see women who have never felt welcome or felt like they belong.....or those who don't do the whole "church institution" thing very well......I want to see women like ME, being a part of this amazing experience.

Interested?  Email me at

Sunday, October 13, 2013

GROWING SEEDS: 'Gratitude"


gratitude |ˈgratəˌt(y)o͞od|
nounthe quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness: 
Last year, I was challenged to start counting and writing down 1000 Blessings in my life.  I will admit, at first it was easy...."Thank You for the rain"...."Thank You for the sunshine"....."Thank You for the ding of my cell telling me I have a message",  but after the second day, it became harder.  I started repeating myself and thanking God for the sunshine again.  I wondered how in the world am I going to come up with 990 NEW blessings to be grateful for?
But the most interesting thing happened: I quickly discovered that Gratitude means living your life as if everything is a miracle.  EVERYTHING.  And I also discovered that God absolutely, positively, unquestionably, without a doubt BLESSES us even more when we thank Him.  
Have you ever given a gift to someone.....something you "knew" they thoroughly wanted and in which you put your entire heart and soul into.....and yet, never heard a word of thanks out of them?  Hellooooo......welcome to God's world!  He gives and gives and gives and rarely do we acknowledge the gifts He has so graciously given us.  The gift of rain at just the right time; the gift of color in the Fall; the gift of a loving, although bizarre, family; the gift of lungs to breathe this fresh Mt. Vernon air.  Yet, where we might never give a gift to that ungrateful person again, He continues giving.....over and over, time and time again.
It requires changing our vision.....putting on a new set of eyes which, in turn, changes our attitude when rain doesn't come for 9 months or  we are betrayed by a friend.  It teaches us to be thankful and offer gratitude for everything......  
A simple word with a BIG blessing!


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
— Melody Beattie

GROWING SEEDS: "The Samples"

"Attitude of Gratitude"

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'Thank You,' that would suffice."
Meister Eckhart

As I've mentioned before to you, I start each day in my favorite chair with a piping hot cup of coffee, a view of the foggy lake and my Bible in my lap.  It's my "Morning Gratitude" time with God......quiet time before the chaos of the day has a chance to take over my mind.  It's a chance to THANK God for the good, bad and ugly things occupying my life.  

And you know what I was grateful for this morning?  Susan and Tom Sample.  

They are a "quiet" force within our church.....they do the things that need to be done, in a stealth-like mode, silently and without fanfare behind the scenes.  You won't find them talking about these things.....they are simply too busy doing these things.  Matter-of-fact, when they learned I would be telling you about them, they asked that I not mention their names.  So, although their names are Susan and Tom, for the sake of this article, we will call them Mary and Paul.  Ok?

Susan....umm, I mean "Mary", has been the silent leader of the Lunches of Love for 7 weeks each summer.  She and her volunteers have grown this program from its initial 6 kids that first day five years ago to an average of 90 hungry kids a day this past summer.  She found bus drivers, cooks, teachers, businesses and other churches to serve the less fortunate children in our community.  Some of these kids, whose only meal each day came from Lunches of Love, had never even seen a pillow....much less ever heard about God.   I have a feeling that when God chose "Mary" to use her teaching credentials to organize our church and community into this amazing project, He knew she would listen....she would hear Him.....she would be grateful to obey.

And "Mary" wouldn't be complete without Tom...oops....I mean "Paul".  After 40 years of marriage and 4 daughters, I think "Paul" knew how to listen....or at least say, "Yes dear".  Not only is "Paul" an intricate part of the Lunches of Love, he also, VOLUNTARILY (code word for "FREE"), handles all the computer equipment for the church and Rainbow Daycare.  He makes sure all software is up-to-date, all computers are in working order and repairs them when they're not.  And as a user of the sturdy, dependable Mac, I can honestly tell you that working on those dicey, erratic and temperamental PC's can be a major daily challenge! (Sorry "Paul", I just had to say that!).

These two, Susan and Tom, ARE "the church" to our community and to us.  They work silently....give happily....and give all the Glory to God.  

They are the Attitude of Gratitude.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


What is FAITH?

Seriously.......what IS faith?  
I always thought when Jesus said, "If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea' and it would obey you!" ......that He was speaking literally to His disciples.
First off, I hate mustard and didn't know mustard came from a seed.  Secondly, I've known a lot of people who I would consider as having a BOATLOAD of faith and I've never seen them verbally pull up a mulberry tree, or any tree for that matter, and throw it into the lake.  And if they had that much faith, wouldn't you think they'd want to do that??  Geeez.....I sure would!!  Kind of a "Show and Tell" type trick for your friends.....way cooler than me pulling out my web toes and showing everyone.
But as I read over the scripture text for this week, a light bulb (although dim) flickered on.  Faith is all about ACTION.  Faith is the actual "pulling up" of the mulberry tree and "throwing" it.  And sometimes.....that ACTION requires standing still and waiting.  I think, in some ways, that's the hardest kind of faith.  The John-the-Baptist-In-Prison-Waiting-To-Have-His-Head-Chopped-Off type of faith.  The kind of faith it takes when the outcome doesn't come as you think it should.  Terminal cancer.....loss of job.....loss of your head.
Faith that God's "got this".......that He will never fail you....He will never abandon you (Hebrews 13:5) and that He knows what's best for your life.  "Faith is the confirmation of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality." (Hebrews 11:1).  I say that Faith is that point......that air-space......when you let go of YOUR hand and grab GOD'S hand.
In God's world, our faith is so small that it's smaller than a mustard seed.  In our world, it's time to tell the mulberry tree,  “Be uprooted and plant yourself in the sea!” and then watch it go.