Monday, November 19, 2007


I have been pondering many things in life lately. The biggest thought on my mind however, is this, “How can I better serve God?” I have such a desire to give God my best every day and in every way! But, sometimes I get bogged down with the details of how to best go about serving Him.

So, I decided to do what any woman in my position should do. I decided to pray, and pray, and then pray some more. I know that God has great plans to use me. After all He told me so in Jeremiah 29:11 when He said, “I know the plans I have for you, . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. (NIV)”

I also know that right now my desire to really know the Lord is a driving force in my life. Further, I know that He has placed a calling on my life. So, I prayed and asked God to give me a life verse. I wanted to know what God would reveal. This is what He spoke to me, “I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding. (Jeremiah 3:15, NLT)”

At first, I really struggled with this verse. I questioned how God would work in my life through this revelation. I wanted to know who the “shepherd” would be that would come into my life and guide me with knowledge and understanding. For some time, I got bogged down with an error in interpretation. I was looking for someone to feed me, when what God was really trying to tell me was, “that I was to be that shepherd!” God was calling me to step up to the plate and share what He has revealed during my journey with Him. Oh my, talk about becoming filled with terror!

As I began to wrestle with this new wrinkle in my revelation, I thought to myself, God I have the first part of that verse down. I really do wish to be your shepherd and I desire to seek your heart. Your heart of service, Your heart of love, Your heart of compassion, Your heart of patience, Your heart for the things that will give You honor; but dear Lord I am so lacking in knowledge and understanding. Then the arguing, whining and complaining started in. “Lord, are you sure that this is to be my life verse?” “Lord, do you really know what you are asking me to do?” “Don’t you remember when I . . .?”

Of course, God was not going to let me weasel out of my responsibility, and little by little I began to realize that God was not asking me to be a walking encyclopedia of the Bible. He was not asking me to be a biblical “know-it-all.” He did not call me to understand all of His ways. He made it clear in I Timothy 3:16, the mystery of godliness is great. However, He did call me to share the love of Jesus with others, therefore making me one of His shepherds.

Having just finished co-leading, a nine-week Bible study utilizing the book “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God,” by Lysa TerKeurst, I am once again struck by the fact that I, in all my human frailty and failings, have been called by God Most High to lead a Women’s Ministry program. As the women who faithfully attended that study can testify, I am not nearly perfect, nor am I a walking encyclopedia of the Bible! However, through the study I did my best to share with the women what God has been working on in my life. I tried to share my faults transparently, and share how God was so faithful to see me through.

Hopefully, the ladies that shared this time with me realized that one does not need to be perfect to serve the Lord. His only requirement is that we willingly share His love with the world. Your calling may not be to lead a women’s ministry program, or to write devotionals. God could be calling you to cook a meal, collect food donations, form a praise band, host an in-home Bible study, sign-up for the church clean-up day, or any number of other ministry opportunities.

I would like to leave you with a bit of encouragement to join me on my journey, as I humbly “say yes” to God. Won’t you agree, with me to, accept our assignment, both the seemingly insurmountable, and the everyday mundane?
I ask that you join me in prayer for discernment and direction as God continues to refine us and adapt us to do the work of “our calling!” Please pray that we will have ears to hear and feet to follow His perfect plan!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Looking for a Better Way to Share The Joy of Christmas?

By now, you have probably realized that I just love my sisters-in-Christ from Proverbs 31 Ministry. So, it is my honor to promote a new e-book written by Marybeth Whalen. It is entitled, A Recipe For Christmas Joy. You can read an excerpt from the book at her web page (look for the posting from Tuesday, November 13th). Marybeth includes a link to order a copy for the low cost of $9.95, securely using Pay-Pal, on the right sidebar of her blog. Be sure to check it out, and allow Marybeth to assist you, as together you infuse your home with the "true" joy of Christmas this season.

Follow this link and check it out:

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Time For A Word (or Three), From Me

Usually, you will only find me posting some type of devotional about how I see God working on my heart and life. But, just lately, I have been feeling pressure to write. Just write, about whatever comes to mind. So, today I endeavor to do just that.

The other thing I usually try to do in my writing is to promote a positive attitude, to encourage and, or to bring to light how I am growing in my walk with the Lord. Alas, with this posting I am not sure that what I have on my mind to share today will actually encourage or lift anyone up.

The other morning I woke up after suffering a horrible dream. No, it wasn’t a scary dream; at least not in the typical “Halloween type of horror” that one usually associates with bad or scary dreams. Yet, for me the dream was terrifying, and left me shaken. In fact now a day later I am still feeling the effects of that ‘silly ole’ dream.”

For those of you who may be unaware, I suffer from early onset Parkinson’s disease. Since the time of my diagnosis I have been very accepting of this fact, at least I have thought I have been. I resolved from the very beginning that this new wrinkle in my life would not weigh me down with worry or fear. After all, I do firmly believe that God holds my life perfectly and lovingly in His hand and He will never weigh me down with more than I can handle. Because of this belief, it has been my fervent prayer that God would use this disease to allow me to be a better ambassador of His word. In other words, that God would use what the evil one intended for ill to be instead used to glorify my precious Jesus! I have prayed to carry His banner, even in the face of Parkinson’s disease, with “Strength and Dignity.” (From hence, the name of my web blog.)

Now, with all of that said, back to this ‘silly dream.’ In my dream I had apparently taken a job with a new employer and apparently this new job was located in a hospital, hotel, or some other environment that utilized an in-house laundry department. (That will be a key factor as my story progresses.)

One day at work, in this new job, I found myself “off” medication. (Just an explanation for all of you who know very little about PD. Parkinson’s medications are known to only work for a period of time, before the symptoms of the illness return. When one is getting close to time for the next dosage of medication, one can experience increased symptoms of varying severity. This period is known as being “off” medication.) In my dream, I found myself unable to speak clearly, and unable to communicate via writing as my writing is illegible even on a good day. I also found myself disoriented and unable to locate my new office space. As I was walking around, or shuffling around; picture Tim Conway as the old man from the series “Laugh In,” if you are old enough to remember that 1970’s show. As I shuffled around I was searching for someone to help me.

People would walk by me; shake their head and walk away muttering under their breath about “drunken old woman,” or other malicious comments. Nobody wanted to help me. Nobody even tried to understand me. And, I was becoming more and more panicky by the moment, which in turn was increasing my stress level. And, the stress was amping my symptoms up, and up and up. With this progression of symptoms I began to look more and more like a drunken old lady or a freak in a circus side show.

Finally, I thought I had gotten through to two generous men. One gently took my arm and began to escort me. I thought that he was taking me back to my office. They took me through a set of elevator doors and selected a floor button. Then when the doors opened they escorted me down a hallway then, less than gently, one of the men shoved me through a doorway. The door did not look familiar to me, but remember I was disoriented. I was dealing with what I lovingly call ‘park-fog.’ I was just praying that I was in the right place.

Immediately upon crossing the threshold of the door, the man slammed the door behind me, and the door clicked locked. I realized I was not in my safe office space, but rather was in a steamy laundry area. I turned to try to leave, but found the door locked. I tried to scream out, but my tongue was thick in my mouth and all I managed was a grunt and a moan. I heard one of the men loudly tell the other, as they walked away down the hall, “Stupid retards, they escape from the laundry room all the time. I don’t know why they hire those people anyway.”

At this point I woke up with my heart racing and the right side of my body in full tremor mode. In fact even after my morning medication dosage, I spent a majority of the day dealing with tremors. Obviously, this ‘silly dream’ had shaken me, quite literally!

So, what, you may ask, is the point to this story?

The point, at least for me, is that I have realized that I have not yet come to full acceptance that I have a progressive neurological disease. I have not fully come to terms with how this diagnosis is going to affect my life and the life of my husband and young son. I have been putting on a happy face and moving forward as if this disease is a very minor inconvenience in my life. To be honest, and accurate, on most days that is how I feel. My medications keep my symptoms down to a very tolerable level. I do have some pain to deal with every day, but what person past the age of forty doesn’t?

The problem is that for the past few weeks now my symptoms seem to be ramping up at an accelerated speed. In the past two days, since I had this ‘silly dream,’ they have been even greater. I am not sure if this occurrence is psychological, related to the increase in stress level at my job, due to lack of appropriate rest, or one of a thousand other reasons. But, to be truthful with you, it has spooked me! I didn’t like the ‘me’ in my dream. I don’t want to become that “drunken old woman.”

Remember, I cling to my faith in the Lord. I know that He has a plan for my life and I trust fully in His omnipotence. I trust that He will see me through no matter what my life looks like. So, I have been questioning myself, “Why did that dream have such a powerful effect on you?”

I am not sure if it is vanity, not wanting to be made fun of, or it could be that I do not want to be a burden to any one and I don’t like the idea of having to depend heavily on people to give me assistance. Could that be pride rearing its ugly head? Maybe I am dealing with greed. Not being willing to give up what my life looks like for an alternate, weak, un-healthy body. Possibly envy is part of the equation. Maybe, I am envious of others who do not have a progressive disease raging through their body.

I could probably relate the possible “Why’s” to any or all of the seven deadly-sins however the bottom line is that I need to give my worry and fear to the Lord. I am told in Matthew 6:27 and again in Luke 12:25, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life. (NIV)” In His word, God has told me that I, in my power cannot change this situation. Why am I fretting over this? God loves me. One of the verses that I cling to is Jeremiah 29:11. It reads, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. (NIV)” Who am I to question the Lord?

So, I am working on total surrender of everything in my life, yes, even my health, to God and His plans. My life is His. My health belongs under His control. My marriage, my children, my work, my future and in fact everything about me must be surrendered to his authority.

“Dear Lord, assist me in surrendering everything to you. I realize that I am going to have days where I try to assume control. I know that even my very best thoughts, plans and ideas for how my life should look pale in comparison to your vision for my life. I just need to get out of the way and let you take the wheel. That is my greatest desire. I don’t want the bumper sticker of my life to read, “Jesus is my co-pilot,” rather let mine read, “Jesus is my pilot.” I want you in the correct seat in my life. First place, today, tomorrow and forever.”


Okay, so I guess this turned into a devotional after all. I must admit to you that was not how I had planned to write this article. In my original plan, I wanted to complain, even gripe a little and possibly elicit a little sympathy from you.

Well, God has an awesome way of utilizing my fingers when I allow Him to do so. Therefore, you can save the sympathy for someone who doesn’t have the saving knowledge of our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For me, just writing this article has been freeing. It has helped me to put my life back into the proper perspective. I am not going to lie to you and say that my health position has reverted to my ‘pre-silly-dream state,” however, I am able to sign off now, feeling blessed, refreshed, more positive, and ready to face whatever God sends my way. Praise God, for He is good all the time!