Category Archives: Faith

To The Phenomenal Women

Have you ever had people you needed to thank? People who needed to hear you say I appreciate you? People who’ve invested their time and energy and effort into your life with nothing to gain in return – except treasures in Heaven?

This weekend, I was asked to share words of encouragement with the women at my church at our annual women’s luncheon. With a whole lot of doubt, even more fear, a why me – why now mentality and a when do I have time to prepare for this attitude…I said yes.

See, this request came in the midst of probably the busiest week I’ve had this year. I had not slept well, I was behind on my school work (wayyyy behind – with a paper due at midnight on Friday), I had 4 football games to attend for my sons and husband, I had work (full time, all day, everyday), I had orders to fill, I had internship projects that needed attention, I had a house that was an absolute wreck, I had laundry to do (and no detergent!) and I’d actually forgotten that I signed up to attend this event!

But when the Lord says this is the time, there are words you need to say, I have a plan and you said you trust my plan…you say yes – in the midst of your crazy, you say yes. You stay up until 3:35 in the morning praying, writing, rewriting, internalizing, praying, surrendering and ultimately say Lord, bless this and you go to sleep yielded to be His vessel.

There are women at my church who have invested in me to make me better. A better Christian, wife, mother, woman, teacher, friend, neighbor – and this was my opportunity to say thank you. I didn’t want to take this opportunity for granted. I wanted to honor them and say your efforts were noticed and appreciated. You didn’t have to do it, but you did. And if I’ve never said thank you before, I’m saying it today.

So, what you can hear in this 15 minute audio is what the Lord spoke to me, in the wee hours of the morning and said this, share this with the women. (The theme was Phenomenal Women’s Weekend.)

Hymn: Ancient Words

Growing up, I went to a small (very small) traditional church where we only sang the hymns in the red hymnal. Verse 1, 2 and 4. Every song. Without fail.

I did not like hymns. They lasted too long. They were all slow. And why did we always have to sing verse 1, 2 and 4. ERRRG!

Seven years ago, I started attending Bible Study Fellowship. Guess what? We sing hymns. Not verse 1, 2 and 4, but alllllll the verses. In the early years, I would conveniently arrive after the hymns were over. Then I started working in the audio booth and could no longer skip the hymns.

Something strange happened. I started listening to the lyrics of the hymns and O. M. Goodness. HYMNS ARE AWESOME!!! They speak to my heart. They encourage my soul. They remind me of God goodness, greatness, kindness and every other Godness that He generously gives me. And the best part, the Lord often brings those hymns I learned as a child to my remembrance just when I need them – verse 1, 2 and 4.

On Wednesdays, in honor of my BSF initiated love of hymns, I will share a hymn with you. I pray they speak to your heart too.

Today’s hymn is Ancient Words. I heard this hymn for the first time at our BSF launch for the study of Revelation. It was so fitting. When you read the lyrics, you will see why.

Be Blessed!

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh, let the ancient words impart

Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us home

Chorus
Ancient words ever true
Changing me and changing you
We have come with open hearts
Oh, let the ancient words impart

Holy words of our Faith
Handed down to this age
Came to us through sacrifice
Oh heed the faithful words of Christ

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh let the ancient words impart

Chorus
Ancient words ever true
Changing me and changing you
We have come with open hearts
Oh, let the ancient words impart

Waiting is Hard

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Circumstances Are Unreliable

I often look at my circumstances and attempt to make a prediction about what the outcome of a situation may be. Do you do that? I have discovered that circumstances are an unreliable predictor or outcomes.

My TCU horned frogs were scheduled for the battle of the year against the Oregon Ducks. Days before that game we lost our QB all frog fans began to look at the circumstances and begin to predict the outcome of the game would not be in our favor.

Even my own husband, a former TCU player, declared he didn’t really want to watch the game anymore. He tuned in, but he was tuned out and playing solitaire the whole first half as the ducks went up 31-0. At half time he turned to the basketball game and said it would be more interesting. Thankfully, our son begged him to turn the TCU game back on and we got to witness a nail-biting, heart-pounding, epic comeback!

The circumstances were lined up against the team. The outcome should have been easily predicted. But circumstances are unreliable.

I can’t help but relate this to my life with Christ. When I look at my life, and I consider my circumstances, I feel like I can easily predict my outcome. But God has a way of inserting himself and changing the predictable to the unpredictable!

When I think I’m destined for failure, He turns it around. When I think surely there is NO WAY, He makes a way! When I’m feeling heavy in my heart and defeated, I turn to this verse now and it reminds me circumstances are unreliable!

May it bless you too.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.” -Psalm 27:13-14

You see, I would easily despair.

Actually, let’s be honest.

I worry. I wake up in the middle of the night. I despair!

And then I remember the goodness of the Lord that I have already seen. I realize that He has more goodness that He wants to show me. So, in my life, when I despair, I remember the goodness of the Lord that I have seen in the land of the living.

I don’t know why the Lord doesn’t work on my timeline. It would be so much easier for me. But that would make me lazy – I wouldn’t have to exercise my faith. I wouldn’t have to wait. I wouldn’t have to pray. I wouldn’t have to believe that God’s plan for me is better than my desires.

Rather, I chose to believe that I will continue to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Chanda

A New Thing

With the start of a new year comes the hope of a fresh start, a reset, a chance to begin again. I’m no different. I have a list (very short list) of things I want to do differently in 2016. I’m not making resolutions or setting goals even, I would just like to try something new.

We read the YouVersion verse of the day today from Isaiah 43:19 where the prophet says God is going to do a new thing.

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

I’m so thankful for God’s “new thing” and his promise to make a way in the wilderness.

The start of the new year brings with it the hope of an ability to make a changes to our lives. There’s no power in the new year or the change from one year to the next. The power of to change comes only by the Holy Spirit who gives strength to believers.

Let’s use the new year as a reminder of the new life we have in Christ. Because of Christ our old is already gone. Let’s commit to looking forward to the new that is here!

Happy New Year!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! -II Corinthians 5:17

You Can’t Tell Where It Comes From

I’m sure you’ve heard the joke about Texas weather before – you know, if you don’t like the weather wait 20 minutes and it will change. If you thought this was just a funny statement, I can assure you this is not just comedy, it’s the truth.

See, one very hot and humid August day last year, I was helping on the sideline at my son’s football game. The temperature was above 100 degrees. We were playing on a field that offered no shade or break from the intense heat. We setup a tent for our team so the boys could rotate in and out of the game and get a break.

I was playing the role of “water-mom” making sure all the bottles were filled. Feeling a sense of accomplishment that all six bottles were full and waiting for the players, I decided to sit down under our tent and take a much needed break.

You know that feeling when you’ve been going and going and you finally sit down and you realize how tired you are? Yes? Then, insert that emotion here.

So there I am, I’m sitting on the sideline. Hot and tired under a tent.  Not bothering anyone. When all of a sudden a gust of wind comes out of nowhere. Like, there hasn’t been any wind all afternoon.

The tent comes out of the ground and flies away. At first I didn’t move thinking it was a lost cause (and did I mention I was hot, tired and emotionally drained?).

But then, the wind stopped (and I came out of my trance). So I jump up to grab the tent.

Right when I reached the tent, you can probably guess what happened. The wind started blowing again, but in the opposite direction. So, naturally, the tent that was blowing AWAY from me is not blowing directly INTO me.

The top of the tent is now on top of my head and relentlessly slamming into my body. (Insert emotion of feeling like you must look like an idiot.)

I yelled, “Oh no!!!”

Right about this time, a kind stranger came running over and grabbed the tent. He not so kindly yelled for me to “get out there” as if I had chosen this position on purpose…

Together, we were able to stabilize the tent. We restaked it and thankfully we were able to use it for the remainder of the game.

AFTER the game, my “friends” (and son) told me how ridiculous I looked getting attacked by a tent. I vaguely remember seeing them pointing and laughing too. I’ve forgiven them in the months since the incident. In fact, I’d completely forgotten about the entire debacle until yesterday when I reading my Bible while the boys were at swim practice.

John 3:5-8: Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

The wind (especially in Texas!) truly does blow wherever it pleases.

So does the Holy Spirit of God. When we accept Christ and receive His Holy Spirit, we should begin to expect the unexpected.

I have found when I surrender to the guidance of the Spirit I am in for an adventure. The plans God has for me are beyond my expectations and my wildest imagination.

As I told you in my previous post, the Lord led me to go back into the corporate world. Remember, I wasn’t looking for a job. But God – in His ultimate wisdom – knew that me returning to work was exactly what my family needed. He prepared the way for me completely. And then He prepared me – He softened my heart and made corporate America appealing to me. The peace that I have about making this transition is so unexpected that I know it has only come from God and being in the center of His will for my life at this time

The Holy Spirit blew this change into my life and as the scripture says, I could hear His sound, but I didn’t know He was coming or where we were going.

I have found the Spirit will blow me in several ways:

To Move: These are times when I am traveling down a certain path and the Spirit changes my direction. Really, this is about me getting out of the way of God’s blessing. God wants to do a new thing and I’m stuck on the old thing. So He sends His Spirit to blow me out of my own way. It’s hard sometimes to see the value in the call to move from the front, but when you turn around and look back, the view is clear and awesome!

To Start: Sometimes, the Spirit will urge me to create a new habit. Earlier this year, the Spirit told me to record the blessings of the Lord. Since January, I have been writing down prayer request and recording the answers to those prayers. I’ve also been recording times when the Lord worked on my behalf or showed me favor in a situation. I’ve written down the blessings He’s placed in my children’s lives as well.  My next step is to start a blessings wall somewhere in my house – the wall will have sticky notes where anyone – myself, my husband, kids, family, friends, visitors – can write down a blessing they have received from the Lord. The idea is to remember the benefits of a relationship with the Lord.

To Stop: Often times, I over-commit myself. The Spirit told me to STOP. I was Football League President, PTA President, teaching classes at church, attending a Bible Study…the list goes on! The Spirit told me something had to go – and nothing could replace it. Somethings that are good, just aren’t a part of God’s plan for my life at this moment. If I want His best for me, then I have to agree that He knows what’s best for me.

To Speak: Truthfully, in my life, this one is more about NOT speaking. Every thought that comes into my mind is not meant to be shared. The Bible tells us that we have to take our thoughts captive and get control of our tongues. I have to yield to the Spirit blowing me to shut my mouth. And when He does tell me to speak and I say the words He has given me, I’m not up in the middle of the night wondering if I’ve offended someone or how I will reconcile a relationship.

When I’m blown by the Holy Spirit to move, to start, to stop, to speak – without a doubt I know that it’s Him. I can hear His sound, but I cannot tell where He comes from or where He’s going. But I just know I need to act!

I love that! It comforting to know that God wants to be personally involved in my life – if I will let Him. God wants to send me opportunities and blessings and unexplainable joy and content peace – if I’m willing to be blown by Him.

Are you willing?

My prayer is that the Lord would help me to sit still long enough to hear His wind moving in my life.

 

Seasons Change

Sometimes you think you know where you are heading.

You can see exactly where you are going and you can calculate when you are going to arrive.

And then, when you least expect it, things change.

Every plan you had is interrupted.

Every ending you saw in sight has disappeared.

Now on the horizon is a totally different future.

seasons

In August 2009, I left my full-time job in the Media and Advertising world to pursue my desire to run a business fulltime. That year, the boys were 9, 7 and 3 years old. My life felt crazy and out of control. My job was overly stressful and the hours were ridiculous. What had once been a joyous experience where I felt fulfilled became a burdensome experience where I felt completely drained. When I left, I vowed I never wanted to return to that industry again.

I spent the next 5 years growing and running a successful business. I had a storefront for a couple years. I had a beautiful office space for a while. Eventually, I moved the entire operation to a spare bedroom (and any other open nook and cranny) at my house.

Working from home has been wonderful. Being my own boss has been awesome. I decided what I was going to do each day. I decided when I would work. I decided what type of work I wanted to do. Over the years, FCS Creations has taken many forms – from a wedding and stationery business to a spirit wear business to a personalized gifts and accessories business. When I was bored with producing a product, it went away. When I wanted to add a new product, overnight a new line was launched. What a great experience for a scatterbrain like me!

But, the downside of being your own boss is you are responsible for everything. From Marketing to Accounting to Production to Shipping to New Product Development to Strategic Alliances – I wear all the hats.

The other downside is that entrepreneurship in a semi-retail environment can be very unpredictable. What worked last year, may not work this year. I’m always looking for the next thing. What’s going to be hot next? What was hot last year? Is it still hot or at least lukewarm this year?

It can be exhausting and depressing and inspiring all at the same time. I find myself in a state of bipolar-ness. I have really high highs where I feel like I’ve finally found the paydirt (Gold Rush TV Show reference). And I have really low lows where I’m not sure when or if the next dollar will come.

But God.

In the midst of a low season (after a super high high) God called me to completely change course.

He sent me an unexpected opportunity to return to the corporate world.

I didn’t expect it. I didn’t see it coming. I wasn’t even looking for it.

God prepared the way completely for me and called me back to my first love of Media Buying.

I always LOVED the scope of my job.  See, being a Media Buyer validates my excessive television addiction. Now, I watch TV for work! I’ve got to know what the shows are about in order to successful buy them!

Another drawback to my previous corporate experience was that it had a harsh daily commute.

My new position doesn’t require me to get on the highway at all. In fact, I only go through 8 traffic lights to get to work now.

My hours are great – amazing actually.

And I get paid to do something that I love and that validates the reason I took out all those student loans…

Now, I can fill my free time with my creative passion. Which means if there’s a reason to give a gift, I’m probably going to make it myself. If a friend or previous customer wants to purchase an FCS Creation, they can – I just will not be able to work on it until evening time or weekends (so plan ahead and accordingly y’all! LOL)

So my friends, seasons change. The outlook changes. The movie of your daily life changes.

I’m thankful that when God called me I was listening. I didn’t miss the call or let it go to voicemail. I have to make sure I’m sensitive to the Holy Spirit so I don’t miss the signals that He’s calling me to a new direction.

The whole situation reminded me of a hymn we used to sing in my grandparents church.

“Jesus calls us o’er the tumult
of our life’s wild, restless sea;
day by day His sweet voice soundeth,
saying, ‘Christian, follow me!’ ”

Is God calling you to make a change? Are you listening for His voice?

Worthy of Display

I’m not sure where to start with this post. So I’m just going to jump right in.

For the last couple weeks, I’ve been unconvinced that I could publicly call myself a Kingdom Woman.

First, I thought I couldn’t be a Kingdom Woman because I just don’t have it all together. But I quickly discovered through my readings that being a Kingdom Woman is not defined by having it all together.

Dr. Tony Evans defines her this way: “A Kingdom Woman is a female operating under the rule of God in every area of life.” That definition does reflect the true desire of heart.

But really, could this be me? So much self doubt kept me from believing I could PUBLICLY call myself a Kingdom Woman.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to hear Chrystal Hurst, the co-author of the book speak about the Journey of a Kingdom Woman. You know that feeling when you hear a message and you realize God is speaking directly to your heart and your situation?

Chrystal talked about the process of a diamond coming out of the deepest parts of the earth and going through a refining process. She also told us that the final beautiful product that we all cherish and desire is not perfect – it has flaws, but in the end, it’s still worthy of display.

Is this me? Flawed, yet still worthy of display?

What I’m learning to embrace is that if I live for Christ and publicly proclaim my quest to be a Kingdom Woman, Christ can use me to draw others to HIM.

And I’ve seen this happen several times in just the last week. Several friends have asked me what this Kingdom Woman thing I keep talking about. Some have purchased the book. They are now on their own journey to embrace biblical womanhood. If I hide in the corner and keep this to myself, I will miss opportunities to be used by God.

I also realized that Satan wants me to live defeated.

Satan wants me to feel unworthy.

Satan wants me to give in to my self doubt.

BUT, when I embrace my True calling as a Kingdom Woman, I remember and proclaim I am a daughter of the King.

Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” John 15:16

Chosen. Appointed. Directed. Favored by the King of KINGS.

How empowering. How motivating. How amazing!

Jesus knows my faults and fears and yet He still wants to use me.

How humbling!

So I’m breaking free from my own negative self-talk (weight watchers anyone?) and proclaiming PUBLICLY:

Yes, I am a Kingdom Woman – worthy of display!938467ac65c49edb4013c609768a7d42

Chanda

3 Things Thursday: Confessions of a Work in Progress

Today’s post is inspired by Chrystal Evans Hurst’s blog post of her 20 personal policies.

I thought I would share just 3 things today. Only 3 because if I shared more, you might just learn too much about me in one day – let’s spread it out a little why don’t we.

photo(30)Here are my 3 confessions for this week – very, very small things drive me bananas:

    1. Happy New Year is the most annoying greeting in the WORLD to me! Why? Because it goes on way to long. I think there should be a time limit on how long the phrase can be used. Like, if I see you on January 1st, ok – that’s fine. BUT, but, but, if I don’t see you until January 13th, then NO, you can’t STILL say Happy New Year to me – you’ve missed your chance – I’ve moved on.
    2. Good Morning. Good Morning makes my blood bubble. When I worked in an office cubicle setting the 8 to 9 am hour was the pits. All those sparkly, happy people greeting each other back and forth.
      Tim: Good Morning, Jane
      Jane: Good Morning, Tim
      Tim: Oh Becky, I didn’t see you at your desk! Good Morning, Becky
      Becky: Good Morning, Tim
      ARGH! Can’t everyone just go to their desk and put their headphones in a wait quietly until 9 am when I feel like being social?
    3. Happy Birthday. This is another one that goes back to my cubicle days. You know that office tradition where everyone decorates your cube for your birthday? Well my cube was near the kitchen so all day coworkers who I’ve never met before (and I haven’t talked to since my last birthday) would stop by and say a cheery Happy Birthday! Which would force me to respond with an with an equally cheery “Oh, Thanks!” How about if you don’t know me, just skip it, really, I don’t mind!

I know after reading these confessions you may be slightly (or majorly) concerned about me….

Probably rightly so.

But there’s hope and help for me!

James 5:16 says “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Get to praying friends! Apparently I need it….

Chanda

 

 

Who Is This Kingdom Woman?

Kingdom Woman.

When I first heard the title, I was instantly intimidated.

Surely this Kingdom Woman has it ALL together, right.

Surely she’s just like that Proverbs 31 woman who’s always making me feel inferior, right?

Surely her house is in order, she’s a wonderful chef and her children are always tidy and obedient, right?

How could one be a Kingdom Woman if one is not perfect….right?

In God’s ongoing quest to let me know that He sees me, He had Dr. Tony Evans and Chrystal Evans Hurst write a book just to me to show me exactly who this Kingdom Woman is.

I was happy to learn this Kingdom Woman is just like me in a lot of ways. Chrystal, the co-author, is a wife and mother who’s spinning plates and juggling schedules and duties just like me. Her writing is so genuine, authentic and real (she said there’s sticky stuff on her floor too!).

After reading her first Chrystal’s Chronicles entry, I started to thinking maybe being a Kingdom Woman was attainable.

995125_10151567238767992_603367216_nIn the closing paragraphs of chapter one, Dr. Evans writes, “Let your actions, thoughts and words reflect a heart that seeks to honor God above all else. As you do, God will continue to give you what you need to develop into the Kingdom Woman you are destined to be.”

So here are a couple truths I’ve learned so far:

  • If I give my actions, thoughts and deeds to the Lord, He will produce in me what He desires me to be – a Kingdom Woman – a woman chasing after His heart.
  • Kingdom Woman does not mean “got it together all the time” woman.
  • What your friends (and foes) think or say about you does not help/hinder your quest to be a Kingdom Woman. (I’m still praying to be freed from the opinions of others!)

All this and I’m JUST wrapping up chapter one.

I think the most exciting part to me about this book so far is learning that I AM a Kingdom Woman! A work in progress, yes, but a Kingdom Woman nonetheless!

I will be sharing more of my insights as I journey through the book. Get your copy so we can share nuggets over McNuggets…I’m not to that chapter that talks about a healthy lifestyle yet….

#KingdomWoman is HERE! Buy it today!

Chanda