Time for a BOG

Before you feel the need to correct my misspelling of Blog, keep reading, grammar experts.

 

I need to tell you about the day I have had… well, it’s actually been going on for a week, but oh it crescendo-ed into a beautiful symphony of amazing moments God did today.

Today – the day I woke at 4am, after 4 days with a total of 10 hours of sleep because my doctor gave me Prednisone to fight an allergic reaction to hair dye (On Becoming a Unicorn ) , throwing me into a terrible fight with insomnia, only sleeping by taking 2 Benadryl at night, only for even that to lose to the curiously strong Steroids (not Altoids), waking again after only a couple of hours of sleep. I had to leave my house at 7:30, drive to Atlanta, catch a flight to Charlotte, NC., then to Dallas, next to Waco, where I would pick up my rental and drive to Temple, Texas. I am training a new employee and I couldn’t have been more unprepared.

[This is the short version – because this is about the BOG. Let’s just say, when a company grows as fast as ours has been, but doesn’t grow each department accordingly, one person’s workload *hint, it’s me* is too great to stop and write her training plan.]

Needless to say, this could have been the day that brought me down. But instead, I have been on a spiritual high that you just cannot make up. (Nor can you give credit to something as awful as steroids – Don’t do it, kids; these are awful!)

No, God gets all the credit for what has been transpiring and with that, I introduce to you what God told me to start during my quiet time with Him this morning (Shout out to all those completing the In Dependence Challenge) :

A BOG.

Brag on God post.

BOG Time

(See, English majors. It’s okay. I just know my Marketing majors are all disturbed by my simple image, but hey, let’s blame THAT on the steroids.)

The truth is, we are not bragging on Him enough. And His Word says that we overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony! (Rev 12:11) Today, all you hear are divisive words, political rants, fake news, and anything negative that paints the “other side” as the enemy. No! We do not wrestle against flesh and blood – each other – our fight is against

the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.                              Ephesians 6:12 NIV

God let me talk to so many different people today during this whirlwind of connecting flights, de-boarding and re-boarding, wrong SkyLinks, and terrible turbulence over Alabama, that would not have happened if I wasn’t acknowledging Him in all my ways.

There it is – that’s my brag.

The Holy Spirit WILL lead you in every step of your day if you just stop and ask Him to be your guide. God wants to lead you beside still waters (not flooding rivers that push you to strive for more — He is enough!) He wants to lead your conversations and your actions.

Something I have been doing at work this year, due to my ever-increasing workload, is going through my e-mails first thing in the morning and plotting my tasks on my calendar. If it doesn’t make today’s calendar, it goes on tomorrow’s, etcetera. Doing that, my email program sends me reminders and lets me know what I haven’t done (and yes, I hit snooze on that thing more than an adolescent hits the alarm clock during school!), so I don’t drop things.

Here’s what else it does, though. It gives me perspective on what “asks” are priority and what can be pushed to the right. As a one-woman team for the last 6 months, I can honestly say I have managed more workload that (I believe) should not be possible.

That’s a brag on God, not me. There is just no way I could do this. He gets all the credit!

Each morning, do the same thing with your day. Don’t start anything until you’ve acknowledged God and asked Him to guide you. Give Him your ear, sheep, and He will shepherd you. Give Him your hands, and He’ll spread love through you. Give Him your attention, and He will put on a display of the choreography of His ability to make chance encounters turn into multiple blessings, all in a day’s work because you followed Him, not your agenda or To-Do list.

God is awesome and wants to show Himself strong through you.

Open your eyes, let Him show you, and let’s Brag on God!

Blessings and shalom,

Yvy

 

Ready to BOG?  Now you can!! Go here

 

 

 

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I’m an Obnoxious Zebra

I was driving down the road going 40 (the speed limit), the pouring rain was limiting visibility, and a Ford Mustang was hugging my tail way too close for my comfort. I knew he was probably trying to push me to go faster (as is the norm for my life), but that’s just not who I am.

We passed the next intersection and, as expected, he zipped passed me on the right. (I’m not sure why he hadn’t used that lane to pass me before.)

 

And then I saw the blue lights and heard the siren.

Now, there was a time in my life when I would have immediately looked at my speedometer, my body temperature would have risen in fear, and I would have begun the internal beating up on myself. That’s just not who I am anymore, though. You see, I’m an obnoxious zebra.
Zebra-PNG-Clipart

Zebras are black and white, and so am I. There is no gray area in my opinion when it comes to doing right versus wrong.

When the law says something, I’m following the law. So, when the speed limit is 40, I’m doing 40, and that usually creates quite a few annoyed drivers when they get stuck behind me on the road. The lights weren’t for me, they were for the Mustang.

Here’s the thing: when you are following the rules, there’s no concern when the sirens sound. The same can be said for Christians who are following God’s law.

I have no fear about my afterlife because I have believed in my heart and confessed Jesus as my Lord. (Romans 10:9) For more than the past twenty years, I also haven’t worried about my family’s finances because we tithe. (Malachi 3:10) Finally, anxiety doesn’t have a chance at crippling me because I know that even when the worst happens according to my limited view of my life, everything is still working for my good. (Romans 8:28)

In the beginning of my walk with God, I became very legalistic- caring more about what I was or wasn’t doing instead of walking in love of God and people. So, there must be balance. That doesn’t mean that there’s gray area, it means that you don’t judge others (Matthew 7:1) and you don’t allow rules to dictate your actions, but love.

Now I live my life studying God’s Word to know His law so I can keep my black and white stripes, but at the same time learning how Jesus kept the law, but also walked in love towards everyone. My focus is not on keeping the law, but loving God and others, and naturally keeping the law takes place.

Think of it like this: I know the speed limits were put in place to make the roads safer for those driving, those walking or biking, and those in that area. So, when I choose to go faster than the number posted, I’m not loving those around me, nor am I loving myself. A better plan is to get out the door sooner so I don’t have to make up time on the road.

I realize this is an unpopular subject because, let’s face it, we all want what we want and many of us don’t want to be patient. However, slow down (on the road and in life) and see if it doesn’t bring you more peace.

If you don’t have peace about what will happen when you die, send me a message here. You don’t have to live your life worried about sirens or hell.

 

It’s Exhausting Being God

There is so much to do when you’re God. All. The. Time.

You have a gazillion people to love, no matter how annoying, petty, cruel, or unloving they can be (not are, because ‘are’ is definitive, but people are changeable). You must see the best of everyone at all times and look past their faults – or how they ignore you, or insult you, or talk about you. You must forgive. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

There are daily tasks that must be accomplished.

People to call to encourage, to check on, to just call so they know you’re thinking about them. Do little things, send little gifts their way, or drop notes to them so they know you didn’t forget about them.

You have a world to try and clean up, even though you know it’s only going to get messy again while you’re cleaning it up (not even wait till you’re finished, which you never really do finish because the world is a dirty place and there’s not enough bleach made to freshen up some of this filth.)

It’s exhausting being God.

Continue reading

Who Dressed You This Morning?

My HBOO tells people I scared him after week one of dating me and I know it’s true. You see, I told my mom, him, and some friends that I knew I was going to marry him 8 days after our first date. (And this was the 90’s, y’all, so it wasn’t like today’s “dating” that my fellow blogger talks about here: The Generation that Killed Romance — BeautyBeyondBones.) Eight. Days…

Well, I was clearly in love with him and one thing I have learned in life is this – Love will make you blind to some things. That can be a good thing. For instance, when you love someone, you tend to overlook (be blinded to) their shortcomings, their annoying idiosyncrasies (you may even think they are adorable while your friends tell you they’re obnoxious), or their mistakes – even the ones they make repeatedly.

Well, I was clearly blind to my HBOO’s sense of style when we were dating because I recently saw a picture from our earlier years and he was wearing thick white and black striped, long cotton shorts, a patterned (other than stripes) top, and high-top brown shoes.

raised eyebrow

Um… you do realize those don’t match, right?

 

It’s one of those things that if I saw him put on that outfit today, I’d feel obligated to help him change.

Quickly!

 

The problem is, a lot of people are struggling with their daily attire because they are letting someone else dress them.

 

 

Continue reading

Running and Deployments

run

I was running on the treadmill the other day… slowly. My head started doing what it often does when I begin running, telling me I wasn’t going to complete the two miles I set out to run. I pushed the thought aside and kept putting one foot in front of the other as an upbeat song played on my iPod and motivated me to keep going. Before the song ended, I looked down at the treadmill screen that read .25 miles completed.  I was one-eighth of the way done and that is when it hit me: I CAN do this. I have done it before.

I was that kid in middle school that couldn’t run. It wasn’t a lack of grace or asthma, it was my inability to breathe correctly, leading to me passing out near the finish line every time we had to run one mile in P.E.  As an adult, I decided I wanted to begin running. I bought a book, read magazines, and began building my mileage. After accomplishing 8 miles I decided I was ready and wanted to train for my first marathon. I completed my training through 16 miles and felt very confident that I was going to be able to cross off an amazing feat for the “pass-out-girl”. Three days after I ran my 16-mile run I was scheduled an easy-four. During that run I tore my meniscus and my Paris Marathon was cut short by 19 miles. (I attempted, stubborn me, and made it to mile 7 before getting on the “injured bus.”)

Then I started thinking… this is just like deployments. When my husband deploys, in the beginning there is some doubt, concern, and struggle. (I think it’s natural) However, just like running that two miles, I need to remember that I’ve done this before. (Even longer than this one.)  Then I realized the following juxtaposition of running and deployments: Continue reading

Hurricane Irma – The gift that keeps on giving

Weeks after Hurricane Irma blew through our city and we cleaned up all of the fallen branches and debris, I came home from my walk to find a large branch in my yard. It had been snapped during Irma, but on it’s descent from the tall tree, it’s branches latched on to others and it hung, dying. This morning I broke off the dead branches and hauled them to the curb.

branches

As I was walking back and forth from the large branch to the curb where are yard waste is picked up I began thinking about my previous post about Irma and the storms of life. Because we had just moved into this house, had not yet pruned everything back and prepared for the storm, Hurricane Irma dropped quite a mess in our yard – revealing our failure to plan.

This morning my thoughts quickly pointed to another dead branch in my life that I thought was cleaned up and hauled away, but my recent birthday proved otherwise. I’m a twin and, as explained in my book (Resurrecting the Wrong Life), I spent most of my childhood in her shadow, wanting someone to acknowledge me. Being a twin, you’re oftentimes grouped together in everything – as if you aren’t your own person (at least that is how my mind painted it for me. All. The. Time.)

So, two days ago was our (see what I did there?) birthday and, as usual, my mom posted on Facebook a joint “Happy Birthday” post to her twins. On that post, many of my sister’s friends and some of mine commented with their birthday wishes. My twin also posted a birthday wish on my page, where many of my friends and some of hers commented their birthday wishes. (Roll your pants up, honey, it’s getting petty quickly in here.) Only a handful actually posted a birthday wish on my page – and to me alone, even fewer.

petty

As petty as it was (and yes, I recognize it was petty), it put me in a bad mood on my birthday (on OUR birthday.) Add to that, I had told my husband I didn’t want a gift for my birthday, just for the family to spend time with me (that’s my love language.) So, what did he do?

He didn’t get me anything.

<Increased pettiness and pity party balloons hung>

So back to the branch that fell weeks after the storm.

branch

Here is what I learned this morning – Sometimes in life, the storm will come and drop a mess in your life that you’re forced to clean up. (I did that when I wrote my book.) However, sometimes a couple branches (issues) are held back from falling, only to drop later – revealing they still exist.

I discovered on my birthday – actually the day after when my sister, who is reading my book, pointed out that I was upset because I hadn’t really dealt with feeling like ‘leftovers’ and not being my own person growing up. Another branch just dropped in my yard that I thought was long gone.

Storms are messy. They can leave a mess in our lives that is visible to those around us for days, weeks, months, and even years. (#PrayingForPuertoRico) But they can also lodge a couple branches of our past out of sight, long enough for us to clean up the initial storm, but later drop them onto the scene so we can deal with them.

 

Shake your trees, honey. You may  not be over something from your past that is lodged in your high branches. It just takes one strong wind to bring it crashing to your yard for the world to see. Are you ready?

 

Be not Anxious

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

How many times have we quoted this passage of Scriptures to others when they were worried or experiencing anxiety over something they were unsure of? Continue reading

When it Looks Hopeless

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about Esther. She replaced Vashti as queen, who disrespected her husband the king. Nobody knew she was a Jew besides Mordecai, who raised her.

 

While Mordecai was sitting in the king’s gate, he overheard a plot by two of the king’s eunuchs. They were furious and wanted to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. When Mordecai told the matter to Esther, she informed the king and he had it written in the book of the chronicles.

 

Some time goes by before Haman, the highest in command, even above the princes, sought to kill Mordecai. He did not care for him because Mordecai would not pay homage to Haman because he was a Jew. Haman plotted to kill Mordecai and found a way by going after his people, the Jews. With the king’s approval, Haman wrote a decree against the Jews, guaranteeing Mordecai’s death.

 

 

We have all been there; a place where everything is set against us. It looks hopeless and we cannot see how God is going to get us out of the place we find ourselves. You may be there right now. If you are, I want you to take note of how God worked Mordecai’s situation out:

 

Queen Esther agrees to go before the king to save the Jews, even though to do so was risking her life. Back then, unless the king summoned her, she could not approach him. When she did, she found favor with the king and he asked her what she wished, up to half the kingdom. (She had serious favor with him)

 

She asks that he and Haman join her for a banquet.

 

What? Your people are about to die and you want to throw a party? That was my first thought when I read that. Then, when I saw she did it again, asked him to come to another party while at the aforementioned banquet, I figured she was stalling. Let’s see what happens:

 

Mordecai was overjoyed that he alone was invited to this banquet with the king and his bride. He even bragged to his friends and family about it. Yet, when he saw Mordecai, who would still not bow to him (don’t ever give in to your enemy), he became enraged and sulked.

 

“Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows be made, fifty cubits high, and in the morning suggest to the king that Mordecai be hanged on it; then go merrily with the king to the banquet.” 

And the thing pleased Haman; so he had the gallows made. 

So Mordecai now has two threats on his life. Looks hopeless, doesn’t it? Check out what happens:

 

It says in Esther 6 that the king couldn’t sleep that night. He gets up and decides to read from the book of the chronicles. While reading, he finds how Mordecai had saved his life from the disgruntled employees. Not only that, but Haman is wondering around in the court, so the king summons him.

 

Of all people, the king asks Haman what should be done for the man the king wishes to honor. Haman, believing the king must be talking about him, draws this glorious picture of the man riding on one of the king’s choice horses with a robe the king has worn, all while it is proclaimed, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!”

 

So, first we see how God woke the king up to discover the goodness of Mordecai. (Those good deeds you thought nobody saw- God did, and He’ll use them when/if needed) Then, Haman is the one who decides how you should be honored, but doesn’t realize it’s for you so he makes it good. (“The wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous” Proverbs 13:22- The enemy will pay for your blessings) Finally, Haman goes to the banquet with the king and Esther reveals that he tried to kill her people and the king hangs Haman on the very gallows he had built for Mordecai.

 

God will work things out. Don’t be discouraged, no matter where you find yourself today. If you remain faithful to your Lord, He will come through for you!

Golgotha beats a Full house

Place the hot coals on my lips
As I deny such a disquieting vice
Rip off the fingers that reach
For the pistol prepared for roulette
Sear my eyes closed while I walk
Down aisles offering to satiate
Shove a stick or two and beat my drums
So I no longer hear these demons hum
A ransom has been offered
For the child to come back to Sheol
Back where she can play and laugh
Laugh at
Emptiness
Foolishness
Randomness
Ignorance
Stupidity
Tripping
Slipping
Sinking
Further
Down.
Place the paper on these trembling legs
As I try to pen some of these feelings out
Rid myself of haunting words
For a chance to rest tonight
Sear the portal existing
Down in the nadir of despair
Shove back the devils that tempt
So tonight I do not succumb
A ransom was offered
For this child to overcome
Back on a cross at Golgotha

Have sex God’s way

How does God really feel about sex? Looking at some of the scriptures in the Bible I would say that He’s all for it. (Not a newsflash, I know) God created sex. Everything God created was good. The problem comes in with the devil.

 Looking at the law of first mention

“In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth and it was GOOD.”
What happened?

Tohuw and Bohuw

What is that, you say? “without form and void.” The actual translation from the Torah says “Tohuw and Bohuw. If you look those words up you’ll come to the conclusion and answer I did: the devil. Somewhere between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 is where Isaiah 14:12 comes in.

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!”

When Satan fell to the earth he brought Tohuw and Bohuw with him so all that was created “good” became infected. Including sex.

  • God never intended for people to be ashamed of their bodies- that was the devil’s doing.
  • God never intended for people to have sex outside of the covenant of marriage- devil’s doing.
  • God never intended for sex to be an act of self-gratification- devil’s doing.
  • God never intended for people to need to ask questions about sex- devil’s doing.

God is all for an intimate, open relationship between a husband and wife without any form of fear. Unfortunately, today what you find is fear in many different forms haunting and polluting married couples.

Women come into marriage thinking that they must be XY and Z in order to be a good wife. Sometimes past relationships paralyze their ability to enjoy their husband intimately. Other times they’re plagued with images of women in such a fashion that they don’t feel beautiful any longer, or they feel they are only loved for the wrong reasons.

Likewise, men have been so invaded with images of women that it is difficult for them to keep their minds pure and faithful to their spouse. Another issue men face is the unreasonable expectations women hold for their husbands based off of fantasy novels and “fairytale” movies and television shows. Most of the expectations women enter a marriage with are nothing more than unattainable.

So what do you do?

Have sex God’s way.

  1. Keep your mind set on things above- I don’t mean to think about God while having sex, either. I mean to keep your mind (soul) centered on the things that please God. Pornography, lust, manipulation and selfishness are not of God.
  2. Do everything in love. I am not talking about just loving the person you are with. Walk in love when it comes to that person. Be patient, kind, don’t envy, don’t seek your own, don’t be easily provoked or behave rudely, believe the best of your partner, hope for the best and endure everything that comes.
  3. Another part that goes with love- “Perfect love casts out fear.” When you really love someone, there should be no fear. You shouldn’t fear whether or not they’ll cheat on you, whether they really love you or if they might hurt you. If you have any of those fears then you need to work on your concept of love. (noted)

I’m going to end with this thought: If God created sex and it is “good”- why are so many people settling for the alternative the devil has offered?