Sunday, February 11, 2018

Thrive Anyway

Sitting at our Symmetry Financial Group (SFG) National Conference in Raleigh, NC a little over a week ago, as is customary, our wonderful owners, Brandon Ellison, Casey Watkins and Brian Pope, knew the perfect time to stir up a little extra activity amongst the attendees.  We had all been like sponges absorbing wonderful nuggets for success and personal growth, and had been stuck like glue in our seats for hours so as not to miss a single word of wisdom and information.  To revive that physical inactivity, they playfully tossed objects of energy drinks and squishies at us with a warning for a head’s up so as not to catch anyone unaware and subsequently injured in any way.  I was fine as far as my energy level went but when they made the call for the squishy, my hand shot up like a 5 year old just wanting one of those treasures with all my heart!  I had no idea what it even looked like but I wanted to be the possessor of one!  To my surprise, one shot straight into my hand with the greatest of ease.  It was like it was on a zip line connected to Brandon and me. I was now the proud owner of a foam, two-tone green creature who stands about 3” tall, grinning largely with raised hands and a stance that secures the weight of what it is imaginarily holding.  

On the following Monday having returned home, with a renewed excitement to delve into my work as the recruiter for my husband Kurt and my business, one of the first orders of business was to remove that squishy from my suitcase and place it in his new home-under my PC monitor.  I wanted an intentional visual throughout my day that Kurt and I are thriving here with SFG.  How could I not feel a sense of joy as I look at that innocent, supremely happy green face, perfectly content in its assignment to help give me a reminder that we are blessed!  We ARE thriving as we continue to grow in our place here at SFG!  

I didn’t always feel this way, however.  Kurt and I were at an all-time low point in our marriage, when he came to me with a plan to come on board with his new career here.  I was the poster child for skeptical! I was worn out and just wanted him to find something “safe” to get us out of the tremendous debt we had incurred after a total between us of 8 major moves in approximately 5 years, all of which required the services of wonderful yet albeit expensive professional movers.  We didn’t have a barrage of people to ask to help us with any of those moves.  Either I relocated or he had or we relocated together as our life took twists and turns to be in what we believed was God’s ordination to place us geographically where we believed we should be.  Even though I trusted God for the first ones, by the seventh move for me, I just felt I didn’t have the emotional or physical endurance for yet another move.  

Now, with the second company in Missouri to terminate his position as a business move, and severance having run out after we had only made two or three payments on the new house we had purchased together, we faced the very real possibility we were going to have to move yet another time which would be my eighth time for a major move.

Because of particular circumstances, my trust had eroded in everyone and even in God, the One I thought I would never mistrust again.  I had grown in my relationship with Him and now knew Him intimately since the mid 90’s and had been through far worse life experiences than this current one.  Those previous events only served to strengthen my resolve that my Lord was there with my family and me in the middle of our messes and He would bring a resolution as only He can that actually turns around bad things and brings life and goodness out of them.  However, this time I just couldn’t seem to muster up that trust; I just didn’t want to.  I wanted to wallow in self-pity and a victim mentality because it just felt good and easier to go to that place instead.

So I had to fully rest on Kurt and his faith that the Lord would somehow turn this latest possibility of losing our home into a place of greatness which would bring a sense of security back to me that had slipped away from my grasp.  So I agreed, begrudgingly, that SFG would be our next path.

I never knew initially that my man, whose heart is the Lord’s, would hear His voice clearly instructing to plant in the soil of an incredible company.  I didn’t know SFG would be used by God to transform us individually, as a husband and wife, and as leaders to truly thrive in a culture that is safe, and growth minded in areas which are far more important than our income.  Our income has done a 180 degree turn, however, and with the math and cultural aspects behind the business model I know it will continue to grow to a place of explosion which will provide opportunities for giving in ways we have always wanted.  We have been able to change some lives now but I know it’s going to go a level of extravagant giving that we have never imagined.

So what does my initial introduction of that little happy, green squishy propped under my monitor have to do with this account of gratitude to God and SFG?  It’s my daily reminder that:

-In trusting God, He is in control of the entire world (World Wide Web I navigate daily on my PC and seeing He is holding the entire world in His hands).  

-The smile on his face reminds me to not let anything steal my joy again.  It’s my decision to maintain my joy or to let it go.  With God’s help, no matter what it looks or feels like around me, I can choose to keep my joy, knowing He will work things out for our good since we love Him and are called according to His purpose.  We will see Him develop His purposes in this journey as we continue to seek Him for His plans for us.

- At other times, that squishy represents offering my praise to God (uplifted hands) whether it’s easy to do because things are working out well or if it's a sacrifice to give it because it appears they are not.  The Lord is worthy of my praise at all times.

-On squishy’s stomach (core of his being) are the words, “thrive” and then “stop, focus, grow”.  Truly, what’s in the very midst of us has to be a mindset of life which is shown through the fact that we are growing.  If we aren’t growing, there is no indication that we are living this life we were blessed each day to be given by our Creator. In order to grow, we have to be intentional to stop and focus on what we are called to do.  Otherwise, it will elude us as only good intentions which never evolved from a thought in our mind to an actual manifestation in our lives and in the lives of others of whom we are to give.  We can only give from what we personally possess.

It’s all a matter of trust, which comes from authentic relationships and grace when those disappoint, gratitude in always seeing how blessed we truly are, and intentional actions to bring us to a place we can truly thrive in this life.  

So like my squishy friend, be joyful, be grateful, and know this is bigger than you as it’s all being upheld by a God who is more than enough to take care of it.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dream of Telling the Church 2 Chronicles 7:14


I have read so many "prophetic" words of destruction, doom and gloom for years and at times just feel weary from people who are angry and trying to pronounce their own form of fantasized judgement against the world.  There are true Prophets of God who see with His heart, however, and have delivered words of warnings with which we needed to take heed.  I'm not bashing all prophetic words.  But I want us to understand that God is merciful and slow to anger and gives us grace for a very good reason; we desperately need it!  He is patient and loving, but He is also a Righteous Judge.  His desire is for us all to take the free gift of "do-overs" His grace offers just for owning up and turning away from sin.  He even will help us see it if we are too blind, if we really want to!  

Why does He do that?  Because He loves us so much and He alone sees the magnitude of harm sin causes His beloved children and creation.  He wants to spare us from what He knows is eventual when no repentance occurs, so He gave His Son as the Way to freedom from these dangers.  Therefore, as you read this blog, please don't see it as coming from someone who is just saying the same ol' same ol'.  I truly felt the grief in my heart in this dream and know it is a legitimate manifestation of a tender, outstretched hand and heart of God to reach His children, so we can move forward in the showers of blessings He wants to bestow upon us.

2 Chronicles 7:14
If MY people, which are CALLED BY MY NAME, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (Emphasis mine)


I was standing on something elevated and could look out over a multitude. However, I couldn’t see specific faces or specific people.  In fact, I couldn't identify exactly who I was seeing or what I was being elevated by.  It was like I had firm footing, but standing on air.

My heart felt so grieved as I was speaking the words from 2 Chronicles 7:14.  In my enunciation of the words of the scripture, I strongly emphasized “If MY people,” and I repeated it several times, “If MY people…” I was really stressing with those of whom the message was for that as God’s people WE are responsible for seeking Him and repenting for OUR evil.  THEN He will heal our land.


I feel like the message to this dream was an earnest cry to God’s people that He is grieved with the passivity of His people with regard to repentance.  There is NOTHING hidden from His sight and He is holding US responsible for the effects of our own sin and what it is causing to occur in our nation.  Even if we can not exactly identify members of the Body of Christ who are in sin, (I couldn't identify people in the dream) there are those of us who God is seeing specific sin for which we need to repent.  In His mercy, He is giving forth clear instruction to us which is a very simple way to receive the blessings of His healing what ails this land.

We cannot point the finger at the unsaved and say the problems with this land are all their fault.  We proclaim quite boldly that it's Hollywood's fault, it's the administration's fault, it's all a definitive group of people choosing a particular brand of sin!  However, they are not carrying the same responsibility as we are because we are children of the Most High God and to whom much is given, much is expected, (Luke 12:45). Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.  Even though satan is the lord of this world, there is a FAR GREATER Lord in us Who brings beauty from ashes, Who turns what was meant by the evil one around for good, Who brings order out of chaos, (1 John 4:4, Gen. 50:20, Gen. 1:1-3).  If we will do our part, healing can come and release the wave of God's Spirit to be poured out which will then reach the lost whom we have been blaming.  It will then transform their hearts after ours surrender to God's way of refreshing.

Some of us, deep down, know the evil we are participating with and we aren’t fooling the Lord, even if we have deceived ourselves into thinking we can ignore it and it will go away.  Some of us have rejected the promptings of the Lord even after repeated times He has patiently approached us.  Some of us have been given the gift of the Lord sending a messenger to  personally deliver a specific word and we either rebuked them, accusing them and even feeling like the devil sent them, or we have thought there is no way that was truly meant for us and they were just mistaken.  Some of us don’t think what we are doing is actually THAT wrong so we just keep doing it. Some of us have an unrealistic view of God and are afraid of Him, believing if we own up to it, He will smash us like a tiny bug.  Some of us think we got it covered when we confessed a sin, but the truth of the matter is that we were being hypocrites for the sake of recognition, false humility or reputation and have not turned from it at all.  Some of us truly are unaware, but need to take the time to check in with Him and allow Him to show us, if indeed, we are in unknown sin.  

We need to each come before Him and ask like David did, for the Lord to search our hearts and see if there is any unclean thing in us and to renew a right spirit within us, (Psalm 51:10, 139:23).

At the very least, we all need to take a moment, humble ourselves, ask the Lord if there is anything displeasing Him about us and then repent for that, specifically, if He shows us something.  We need to own up to it before Him and let that repentance the Holy Spirit leads us into then bring a refreshing to our individual hearts and lives and our nation, as we do this corporately in the body of Christ.


Holy Spirit, it is Your job to bring conviction, so I thank You for Your convicting work on our hearts right now as we read this word.  I ask You to impart revelation where we are not seeing what we need to see.  Take the blinders of deception, ignorance or fear off our eyes and help us come humbly before You and courageously face what we need to face.  Lead us into repentance and help us to fully and completely come clean before You, Lord God, accepting Your cleansing work of grace and forgiveness.  Thank You, Lord, that we will ALWAYS need You.  I also thank You that You sweep across this land and bring Your healing word to whomever it needs to be given.  We love and adore You and give You our hearts.  You alone are worthy.  Amen
This song is powerful, although there is one line I felt I couldn't agree with, "Take this breath from my lungs if I don't breathe for You."  There are times we just don't walk the walk well and we don't give Him glory; and I sure don't want to be asking something like that!  :)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Dream of Seaweed in Pools-Doubt and Unbelief

I was looking at and getting into a pool where masses of other people were playing.  However, the pool also had lots of objects like what you would see in a junky garage: old tools, storage items, and unidentifiable rusty objects.  I noticed the pool was also thickly covered in a mossy seaweed which ultimately became detestable to me.  I then had on mesh like gloves that I began to sweep across the surface with outstretched arms to skim off the seaweed.  It was as if my body was forming a cross in this motion of cleansing.  I was gathering it in bunches and then tossing it out.  I couldn’t get enough of it, however, and I eventually got out of that pool. 

Next, I was standing on a different level below a second pool which was up on higher ground.  I was looking up at it from the concrete ground.  I could see that pool was full with people, old junky objects and tons of seaweed as well yet seemed even worse than the first pool was.  I looked down and saw piles of seaweed.  This time I was tossing the bundles back into that second pool.  A young man kept tossing the moss back to me.  It would land at my feet, and I would quickly gather it all up and throw it back in that pool.

The pools represent the world and its way of thinking.  We who are born again are in the world but not of it, (John 17:16). When we are of the world we are reliant on our substance of the world that drives us and which we depend on, much like we depend on our cars to drive us everywhere.  We house our cars in garages to keep them safe and maintained which symbolizes all the “tools” and junk the world uses to preserve the means by which they are driven to do and think the way they do; hence, all the junk in the pools that looked like old stuff from a garage.

The “seaweed” represents doubt and unbelief-we have to “see” it to believe it, which isn’t faith but “weeds” that ruin the beauty of true faith.  Faith trusts God regardless of what we see.  

Skimming off the seaweed from the first pool represents cleaning out the doubt and unbelief from our minds.  I did this for quite a while in the dream, which represents that it takes a while for God to work the process in us, using His grace to help us begin to think differently.  It was the work He finished on the cross, (my body formed a cross in the cleansing process) that completed the changes which He will work to renew our minds to the Word of God.  This work of His will instill faith in us since faith comes by hearing the Word, (Romans 10:17) and He is THE WORD.  Pressing into relationship with Him (outstretched arms) will perform the work in us. 

I eventually got out of the first pool entirely which represents choosing to no longer think and believe like the world does.  We are told in both Revelations 18 and Jeremiah 51 to come out of the world’s ways, which is a dependency in our own methods/mindsets instead of depending on God and His ways.  

The second pool symbolizes the world’s ways which, through God’s mercy and grace, we come out of and want nothing more to do with the doubt and unbelief caused by thinking the way the world does.  That’s why I kept tossing all the doubt and unbelief (seaweed=see weed) back in to the man in the pool who kept tossing it all back to me.  The world will want us to operate and walk in their ways, (tossing it at my feet) with a dependency on what they think, feel and believe.  Those ways of thinking will be counter to true faith in God as our Provider, Safety, Rescuer, Source, Counselor, True Love, ALL things!   

“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them,” (Ephesians 5:11).  That second pool was in a seemingly “higher” elevation than where I was standing, however, it was “exposed” at that level for what it really was; junk that truly won’t help us but will work against us if we rely on it.  The fact that the young man kept tossing the seaweed back to me shows us we will have our hearts tested consistently in the areas of doubt and unbelief as trials present themselves.  We will have to make the choice to stand in faith and refuse to give in to doubt and unbelief.  We will know if we gave in to the temptation if we begin to experience fear, anxiety, worry or frustration over a particular situation.

Being “lower” in where I was now standing in the dream by the second pool, shows that the posture of our heart needs to be one of humility.  True humility depends on God and is foolishness to the world.  “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you,” (1 Peter 5:6-7).  When we do this, humbling ourselves by casting the worry, anxiety, and fear on Him, He will take care of whatever it is because He cares FOR us, so we don’t have to.  It shows we are trusting Him to take care of the situation, knowing in our own humility that we are incapable without Him, no matter how much “stuff” we have that we could rely on instead of Him.

The second pool being worse than the first is twofold:
1.  Once we are enlightened to God’s truth, it seems like darkness is even darker.  We have to press into God to not operate in a self-righteous attitude.  At first, it seems we become more judgmental.  We need to continue allowing Him to mature us and let Him deliver us of that.
2.  This is a reflection of the times we are in; “For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and His glory will be seen upon you,” (Isaiah 60:2).  

Standing on “concrete” in the dream shows that we are standing on FIRM ground when we are fully trusting Him.

Father, forgive us when we are not relying on and trusting You, when we are not believing as BELIEVERS!  Deliver us from doubt and unbelief which is actually trusting in things other than You and which produces anxiety, fear, and worry in our minds and hearts. Deep down, we know it’s not a firm ground we are standing on when we don’t trust You.  Reveal Yourself to us so You can set us free from this false sense of security or looking to other means instead of You.  Deliver us from doubt and unbelief. Help us to learn, step by step, that we can fully TRUST You!  Create a hunger in us for You and reliance on and trust in You.  Help us RECEIVE Your perfect love for us that casts out ALL fear! Amen

Noooooo...don't take the bait! Stay in Faith!