Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fasting to the finish

We are only a few days away from finishing out our 21 days of fasting.  I encourage you to take a step out of your comfort zone if you did not fast the entire 21 days and fast the last three, a true Daniel's fast.  I think I left some Ezekial bread and organic OJ at Lowe's food but you might want to go grab it before the snow. 

If you have been fasting over the past 19+ days, wonderful.  It has been an experience that I will never forget and that I will add to my arsenal of spirtual weapons to use just like the prayer. 

To me it was amazing how often my thoughts turned to food, and just how difficult it was to push beyond that.  I seemed to be constantly hungry when I knew good and well I wasn't but Satan wanted to continue to distract and play mind games and keep me from spending time with my Father. 

But God still showed up.  Even when I reached for that Ezekial bread and all natural peanut butter for a snack, again...and I have gotten clarity to some questions that I had and reassurance to a leading that I was feeling on my heart and you know, maybe there is something to all this prayer and fasting and giving (the three responsibilities of a Christian). 

I've said it over and over again on my blog, God loves each of His children and longs to walk through life with each of us.  Praying, giving, and now fasting are wonderful ways to deepen that walk and color your life with vibrant, extrodinary color. 

Again, if you haven't fasted at all, I double dog dare you...(ok, that was to make my WH laugh), but seriously I challenge you, take the step today, set aside the sweets, the meats, and the dairy for the next 3 days and see what happens. 

Leave a comment if you are up for the challenge and we will pray each other to the finish line. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In the doghouse

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  (Matthew 6: 28-34)

I realized something this morning, I am much like the pagans mentioned in verse 32 “running after all these things” when my Heavenly Father knows that I need them.

I had a hard time sleeping last night. We have new carpet, which I am very thankful for, and we have a dog, which right now I am trying to be thankful for. The dog is still confused about where she needs to go potty and so she is sleeping in a crate at night. Let me rephrase that, she is sitting in and whining in a crate at night. She needs to learn control, boundaries, and that there is a place for everything, including where that all potty needs to be outside and not on the new carpet.

So she has been whining and crying all night. She doesn’t like her crate and I don’t understand why. It’s comfortable, it’s big enough, it’s warm and dry in the house, and we provide all of her needs, food, water, even a cute sweater if she gets cold (she doesn’t like to wear them), but it doesn’t matter, she doesn’t like where she is during the night, so she cries and whines to get out. And I don’t get any sleep.

So I got up at 3:45 a.m. for the final time and thought, I could spend some one on one time with my heavenly Father, just me and Him for an hour or two before I had to go to work.

And so I walked into the kitchen and then…

I needed to make tea so I put the kettle on, and then I went and got my laptop because I left my Bible out in the car, and then I couldn’t find my journal, so I had to log on to the computer, and I had to check my email, and then I went to check my Facebook, and then I had to check my bank balance, and then I got distracted with the news, and then…

And now it’s 5:30 and I have to be at work in 30 minutes. I got very little time with my Father this morning. I was worrying about what I would eat. I was worrying about what I would drink, and while I wasn’t thinking about what I would wear I was worried about money and would we have enough to cover the rest of the week.

I don’t want to be “like the pagans”. I don’t want to run after all the things of this world, but I do and then I wonder why my soul cries out in the dark just like our puppy in her crate. God wants me to go to Him first. He wants me to give Him the first fruits of everything, including my day and after all He has given me, why do I chose things that are of this world? I want to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, but the enemy doesn’t want that. Satan will use distractions and business and even good things to keep me from God’s best. I am hearing that over and over again so God really must want to make sure I hear it.

Trinket, our dog, has all of her needs provided for her. She has food and water, shelter, toys; all she has to do is be a dog. We have rules and boundaries that she needs to understand and follow but once she figures them out or maybe I should say, once I figure out how to help her understand and retain them, then we can have a healthy, enjoyable relationship. But right now, she cries and whines and she doesn’t like where she is. She just needs to be obedient and let me know (her master) when she needs something instead of making a mess and having to suffer the consequences. (No, I don’t beat her; don’t get all PETA on me.)

Yeah, wow moment for me too.

My Master wants me to come to Him first. I have to stop putting the world first and wondering why things aren’t working out like I want them to. The world doesn’t care about my wants and desires, or what is best for me because the world doesn’t love, therefore it has no capacity for care. God cares because God loves. It’s just that simple. When I allow all the other “stuff” to interrupt my God time it’s no wonder I have a mess and therefore suffer the consequences. I don’t have to run after anything. I just need to sit with Him and listen and stop whining and crying in the crate but come out and be obedient to my Master and His word and “not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself”.

I’m glad that God doesn’t sleep because I would have kept Him up all night whining and crying from my own crate. He has boundaries to keep us safe, to keep our lives clean and pure, and to help prevent us from making a mess. (Hmmm, sound familiar?) I just need to stop worrying and accept, embrace and learn so that He and I can have the relationship He wants for us to have, the best.

I guess I’ve redefined “being in the doghouse”.

God, I am sorry that I pushed you aside yet again this morning. Help me to be better disciplined with my time and my focus. Keep me from the temptation of the business of this world and all it’s emptiness and instead draw me closer to You because I know that you love me more than the lilies of the field, Your word tells us that and I thank you for loving me enough to give me the boundaries, the rules, and the instruction to keep my life safe and without worry. I love you God. Amen.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Whatever it takes attitude.

I was reading Genesis 22 this morning. About Abraham being commanded by God to sacrifice his son. Whenever I had read that in the past I always felt in awe of Abraham’s obedience to God and wondered if I could have done the same. But I dug a little deeper and I read again and I prayed for understanding and friends, I believe I have been missing a very important part of this entire story.

Take a look at the first part of this chapter with me.

1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!"
"Here I am," he replied.
2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you."
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?"
"Yes, my son?" Abraham replied.
"The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"
8 Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together.
Verse 1, God calls to Abraham. God knew where Abraham was, He had not lost him but this entire chapter is about being obedient from beginning to end, and so from the beginning God gave Abraham the choice to answer Him. How many times do we hear God say our name, try to get our attention, and we ignore it, go on about our day, shrug it off? God wants our obedience to come out of our choice.

Verse 2, God commands Abraham to take his son to be sacrificed as a burnt offering. God knew it was Abraham’s only son, He had given Him Isaac in the first place. God knew that Abraham loved his son and still he asked for the ultimate sacrifice.

And here, for me, this is what I want.

“Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey.” (Genesis 22:3)

He didn’t wait, “God are you sure?” He didn’t debate. He didn’t put it off. The NEXT MORNING. He didn’t wait to make sure. He didn’t try to negotiate with God. As a teenager God was more like a genie in a bottle instead of my heavenly Father. I would negotiate, “God if you would just _____ then I will be nice to my brother, never tell a lie, never ______.” Newsflash, God is not a genie in a bottle, just in case you were wondering.

Back to the story…

Abraham trusted God no matter what but Abraham also knew that God was more. God loved Abraham. God understood how Abraham felt about his son. But Abraham also loved God and he had faith that both he and Isaac would return from the mountain.

Look at what Abraham says to his servants. “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then WE will come back to you.’

Again this is shown when Isaac asks his father where the lamb was for the sacrifice. Abraham tells him, “God himself will provide the lamb...”

Imagine every step Abraham is taking up the mountain not only is his heart heavy with what he has been instructed to do, but he has to climb a mountain as well. Every step he takes over the rocks and dirt taking him higher and higher. Hearing his son’s voice, watching him take each step beside him, soaking up every minute because even though he loves Isaac, Abraham loves God more.

Abraham had a “whatever it takes’ mentality. We don’t offer burning sacrifices to God now; the ultimate sacrifice was given 2000 years ago when God gave His son as the ultimate sacrifice. Abraham was speaking prophetically when he said that God would provide the lamb.  And by the way, Isaac carried the wood, as Jesus carried the cross when He made the ultimate sacrifice. 

Whatever it takes.

Do I have that mindset? Am I willing to listen and act immediately on direction from God? Do I have the relationship with God like Abraham did that when He calls my name, I know hear it and respond immediately, “Here I am.”

And whatever He asks, the nudge to buy a cup of coffee for a perfect stranger, as simple as speaking to that girl across the room, buying a meal for a family, giving sacrificially, volunteering to help out at church, to the more radical, doing mission work, traveling around the world, whatever it takes but being obedient. 

Each nudge, no matter how small, is like a post-it note from God to His children letting them know that He loves them and that He’s there. And by being willing to do “whatever it takes” you get to be a part of God working in the lives of others and in turn He will be working even more in your life.  The reward you get is better then any three wishes from a genie in a bottle.

It starts with a cup of coffee (or tea if your fasting) but the more you listen, the more you hear and as long as you know your answer will be “whatever it takes God” then the life you lives can be a glorious walk with your Heavenly Father doing whatever it takes.

If you want to find out what happened to Abraham and Isaac, check out Genesis, chapter 22.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

God, I love you more then chicken.

Today is day 10 of the fast. It has certainly been an awakening. Our pastor’s wife, Martha Fry spoke this weekend on the body, and how the body was a temple. I wrote on it yesterday here.

One of the ways I have been caught off guard in this fast is the non-stop obsession with food. Maybe that’s just me but the fact that I cannot have certain things crops up a lot. The reason for fasting is very apparent because when you deny the body something the body will remind you of it constantly (king stomach). The secret though is to take that thought and turn it to God and the things that you are praying about.

I have felt constantly hungry (head hunger) but I know that it’s all “king stomach” wanting my attention. The caffeine withdraw is gone and I certainly have plenty of food to eat.  (This is what I picture every time I hear king stomach.  yes, he freaks me out too.)

Martha encouraged the church to at least do the last 3 days of the fast but she did mention that those are usually the hardest and to try for 5 instead. I didn’t hear much from God in those first few days because my body was in such shock that I was just trying to wade through the fasting brain. So if you are wanting to fast and have never done it before, might I strongly reiterate what Martha said and that you fast the last five days. That way you can push through the headache and body shock and come out on the other side before it’s time to go back to pizza, sushi and fried chicken and coffee.

I have had a couple of ah-ha moments though in the past week.  There is a lot of talk about what we are missed eating, what we can't wait to eat after the fast, and there just seemed to be an enormous focus on the food. I have become hyper aware of the amount of food related activities, promotion, commercials, websites, books, etc. surround us daily. It’s almost like food has become it’s own idol in our lives, ranking right up there with money, sex, and beauty. Food has it’s own industry and it’s own language and it’s own culture.

I had to push beyond the food cravings to get to the other side in order to pray and speak to my heavenly Father because I do love God more than coffee, more than chocolate and more than chicken (hey, my own C3, lol). I have learned so much and am anxious to see what the next 11 days will bring as I lean in to hear from God and take God out of the box and put my appetite into one. A very small box. I want the cravings that I have for things of this world to be transformed into a craving for a closer relationship with my heavenly Father. To crave, to want, to desire to be closer with Him. I pray that is one hunger that never gets satisfied but that I constantly feed.  Lean in my friends, His word are sweet and filling.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Body is a temple (the rest of the story)

If you are coming over from Martha’s blog welcome! We are on day 9 of our 21 day journey and I am excited about the next 12 days.

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body," (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
I wrote on Martha’s blog today about the fact that the fast is like cleaning house, getting rid of a lot of the junk in our temple. The New Testament talks about our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit. When we accept Christ as our Savior the Holy Spirit comes and resides in us.  I felt that I needed to dig a little deeper and share a bit more about my own struggles with my temple.  It's all about being honest and real, and I made a promise to God, myself and my readers (hi mom) when I started this journey with my writing that I would also be honest, no matter what.  The world is full of people that want others to think they have it all figured out but that's not me. But I know who does and He is who this blog is for, to share with people that no matter what we have done or mistake we have made, God loves us, God forgives, and God wants to be the center of our life, He even gave us a temple so that He could live IN us.  So, read on for the rest of the story...

I, like many others, have not honored my body. I have not taken care of it like I should have. I have smoked. I have been obese. I have not exercised. I have dishonored the temple. No wonder there have been so many times I have felt a disconnect with my heavenly Father.

I smoked for many years and felt convicted over and over again that I needed to quit. Finally, in my quiet time one day, I asked God to please fill me with the Holy Spirit. I felt God telling me, “Sweetheart, the Holy Spirit doesn’t smoke.” Ouch. It’s a gross habit and one that I am ashamed of. I do not want anything to keep me from walking as close to God as possible, so the cigarettes are gone and the temple is beginning to smell better and I’m not choking out the Holy Spirit.

My body was also abused due to my being overweight. This is a picture from a show I did a few years ago.  ------>

I looked to food for comfort, and I ate when I was stressed, I ate when I was happy or celebrating something, and honestly, I just really enjoy eating. I made a decision three years ago to undergo surgery. The morning I went in for surgery I weighed 287 pounds. This isn’t a post about the good or bad of weight loss surgery, we can come back to that on another day. I was in pain from the extra 130+ pounds I was carrying. Go to the store, pick up two 50-pound bags of dog food and another 30-pound bag and carry that around for a few minutes. God knew I would not be able to obey His direction until the weight was gone. I had tried many different diets and eating plans and some had worked but I had never been able to keep the weight off. For me, surgery was great and I’m thankful I had it done.

We have to clean out the temple, our bodies, and make them as healthy as possible so that God can use us.

God cannot use me if I’m too exhausted to speak. God cannot use me if I’m unhealthy. God cannot use me if I am going to be depending on something else, such as food or cigarettes, for my comfort instead of Him.

<------ Me now.  Looking back now it felt like I was buried in fat. I couldn't be who God wanted me to be, I couldn't be real, I couldn't be honest and so I kept my mouth shut by putting food in it or by puffing on a cigarette. 

I am not getting on my high horse about overeating or smoking, all I am saying is, for me, I had to get the junk out of my body in order to fill it up with God’s best. God wants me to have His best every single day. Satan wants me to crowd it out with a cigarette when I’m stressed or an entire bag of double stuff Oreos when my feelings get hurt.

God wants me to come to Him when I’m stressed or worried and rest in His promise to provide for me. God wants me to focus on pleasing Him and not get upset or my feelings hurt by what others think.

Who am I living for, God or man? (Thanks Pastor Matt). 

During the fast we have an opportunity to clean out the temple. To purge the body of all it’s impurities. To let go of things that we are using that comes between us and our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Have you given up whatever it is that is keeping you separated from the Heavenly Father? Is the need to have a relationship with Him more important then the relationship you are having with your refrigerator or with the Marlboro Man (no reference to Pioneer Woman's husband)?

Open the door and the windows to your soul, get the junk out and make room for the Holy Spirit to reside in a sweet smelling, healthy, and energetic you. Honor God with your body.
You are an amazing and forgiving Father who wants nothing but the best for all of His children. Help us each to make our bodies into the temples that are worthy of your presence so that we may follow Your leading and live the life You wish for us. I pray for each person that is on a journey to clean out their temple and create a home for You. Amen.

If there is something I can pray for you about please leave a comment or email me at leigh at leighfrance dot com.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Different ways of getting there, but all the same goal.

My heart has just been aching for the pain and suffering that is going on in Haiti right now. The reports coming from news websites are disturbing to say the least, but I have dug a little deeper. I wanted more then just the media’s input on what was going on so I did some of my own research.
Here is a before and after picture of the palace in Haiti to just give you an example of what has taken place.

This shows nothing of the complete devastation in the streets
Tara and Troy at are keeping it real, raw and their messages are like looking through a window instead of through a cameraman’s lens. Tara is wonderful at speaking about what is needed and what is NOT needed right now. Stop by their blog and read what she has to say from the front lines.

Another blog, shows again how much God does love Haiti and ALL of His children by sending people to help, but how those same people rally together when everything looks so dark.

In the US many are wanting to know how they can help, what they can do, well friends, right now, the biggest, most overwhelming need for Haiti is money. They have no way to store things, shipping items there will cost money, and it’s just not the #1 priority right now, but our money can provide help in more ways then we can imagine. There are many organizations that are great, The Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, Doctor’s Without Borders and hundred’s more.

There are also many give-away’s going on in the blogosphere in order to raise money for Haiti. One is on Ree Drummond’s blog, The Pioneer Woman,
Check out her blog and LEAVE A COMMENT. It’s important.

Also the tragedy in Haiti impacts even us here in Clayton, NC. There is a child in Haiti right now, like many children in Haiti, alone and waiting to be adopted. She has her forever home already in the works, and her parents are in the US, anxious and apprehensive as the wheels turn slowly to get to their daughter. Read more about Lovely here.

On a local level, here in Clayton, NC, our church, like many others in around the world is mobilizing efforts and members to do more then just pray. Prayer is essential and I trust that we are all doing that, but many feel the urging of the Holy Spirit to do more. Collectively we can do so much more, and so Monday night, January 18th C3 will be having a night of prayer for Haiti. There will be churches throughout the country praying. I challenge you to come out, join your hearts and hands and your gifts in order to make a difference together.

C3, with churches all over the country, will be collecting the following specific supplies.


(These items can be purchased over the counter at any local drug store)
Children’s and adult multi-vitamin
Neosporin or triple antibiotic
Oral re-hydration salts
Cough medications
There are more things listed on Martha’s website. Please go there for more information.

You can drop these supplies off at C3 starting today (Friday January 15 through January 24th). On Monday night, we will all come together to pray locally, as a county, as a state, as a region, as a nation for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Haiti. Will you join us?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Be careful what you pray for, you might just get it.

Things have been pretty heavy and deep in the blog house lately. A lot going on and a lot of things on my heart. But I wanted to share something a little lighter but still amazing, at least it is in my opinion.

My pastor’s wife, Martha Fry, wrote a little while ago about “God cares about what we care about.” I thought it was a great post and having a daughter the same age I totally understood where she was coming from.

Well, I had an issue that dealt with my own sense of approval that I am frankly very embarrassed to admit.

We have a cute, cottage home, not large by any means, but over the past 8 years, two dogs, a cat, and a WH and DD, and just the multiple comings and going of life, plus a dog that is confused about exactly where she is supposed to go to relieve herself, the carpet had gotten bad. Okay, honestly, it was disgusting and I did not want anyone to come to our house because I was embarrassed by it. I know, I know, it doesn’t matter, people love you, they aren’t coming to judge you on your carpet, blah, blah, blah. I had heard it all, but I just knew that people would walk in the door and think horrible things about me due to our carpet. A woman and her home are connected in a visceral, love me, love our home.

But anyway….. (no I can never tell a short story, deal with it.)

So, I wanted to get some girlfriends together to talk about a book, “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” but I didn’t want to have it at our house. But God had other ideas. I kept getting this heaviness on my heart, nudging me, to open our home to my girlfriends. I finally woke up one morning about 3:00 a.m. and sat down in the living room, amidst the gross carpet, and just cried my eyes out and told God that yes, I would be obedient to what He had placed on my heart, but I did ask Him one thing. I said, “God, can I please have new carpet.”

Now, when I asked this I was being totally 100% real with my heavenly Father. I know there are so many other things in this world that are really huge obstacles, pain, and frustrations that people have and they cry out to God and I believe that God always answers, just perhaps not like what we thought. And as selfish and self-absorbed as I felt asking God for new carpet, I knew there was no way we could afford it but I also knew that I would have an extremely difficult time concentrating on my friends if I was worried about our home.

Well, anyway, I was obedient to God’s leading and I opened up our home, nasty carpet and all, and then, one evening, I noticed our kitchen floor was wonky (I love that word). I asked WH about it and he investigated and low and behold, there was a leak and not just any leak, but a major leak behind the refrigerator that had leaked into the dry wall and under the floor. The kitchen floor, which was the ONLY floor in the house that was in great shape. (Irony? ya think?) I admit I wondered if perhaps God had gotten my request mixed up with someone else.

We contacted a contractor, who came out and took a look. He then informed us that we would need to replace THE ENTIRE KITCHEN FLOOR. I thought I would faint right there.

But then…

He walked into our living room, and he pulled back the carpet, and low and behold, the flooring was ruined there too, and the carpet would have to be replaced.

I just started laughing and shook my head and said, “Thank you God.” Because it mattered to me, so it mattered to Him. He loves me.

So now we have a new kitchen floor, new carpet in our home, and I’m about to get new paint. It’s only taken 8 years. I’m still decorating challenged so I’m taping those same girlfriends that were coming over to have coffee to come with paintbrushes and laughter and our house will finally be a place that I want to call a home and a place that reminds me every day, with every step I take on our new carpet, how much God loves me.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coffee Talk Chapter 5

Coffee talk this past week was great. We covered two chapters and today we will talk about Chapter 5 “What Keeps Us from Saying Yes to God”. Lysa encourages her readers to think about the things that keep us from doing what God wants us to do. The fear, doubt, naysayers (Christians and non-Christian’s both), and two big challenges that I have, which are dealing with acceptance and rejection. It was a very get down to the meat of it and look at the real reasons, not just “I don’t have time, money, resources, or the education, etc. to do what God wants me to do.” All excuses I have used over and over again.

God doesn’t want to hear why we cannot do something, because the second we say we can’t, we are not trusting in Him.

One of the nuggets of truth, okay, I get a lot of those nuggets, it’s like I have a party pack from McDonald’s, was a quote Lysa shared,

Never let others compliments go to your head or their criticisms go to your heart.”
When we are placed in leadership at work, in our church, or just on the kid’s soccer team, that position can quickly go to our heads. I am just as guilty as the next person of “believing my own press” sometimes, but I am even quicker at believing the negative because I’ve told it to myself so long. “I’m not good enough to do this…if “they (who are they anyway?) only knew the real me they wouldn’t believe me, I’m too emotional, too sensitive, too ______ (just fill in the blank with what your own battle).

Well friends, as I have said before, it’s time to stop it.

The best way to battle each of the blockades that satan puts in our path, and it is satan, is to go to God’s word and writing His promises on our hearts.

Isaiah 26:3 says “You (God) will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
God will keep us, (never let go, never leave, never throw us away) in perfect (perfect, without flaw, without error) peace (without doubt, fear, or worry) him whose mind is steadfast (firm in purpose, unwavering, established, fixed into place and direction), because he (me, you, each one of us, not just the pastors, and the leaders of the Christian world, not just the ones who you think have it all figured out, every one of us) trusts in You (leans into, believes, relies on, knows that God’s wants the best for His children).

So here are some application steps for this chapter. Read Galatians 5:17 and John 8:32. Write them down and put them somewhere that you can study and memorize them. Come back and leave a comment about what those verses meant to you.

I challenge you my friend to become a woman who says yes to God in all things no matter what. In order to do that we need to keep our focus on our Heavenly Father (Psalm 141:8).

In closing chapter 5 of “What Happens When Women Say Yes To God” Lysa shares a prayer that Saint Patrick from Ireland wrote:

Christ shield me this day:
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
 Christ in me,
       Christ beneath me,
        Christ above me,
      Christ on my right,
         Christ on my left,
         Christ when I lie down,
     Christ when I arise,
    Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me,
            Christ in every eye that sees me,
              Christ in the ear that hears me
                                                                                                   This was from St. Patrick’s breastplate.

As we step out of the comfort zone, out of the boat, into the unknown and face our fears, our doubts, worry in all it shape and form, cling to the words of God and rely on Him for all of it. He is our shield and I know I am striving every day to just say yes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Coffee Talk Chapter 4

Chapter 4 of "What Happens When Women Say Yes To God" covered how we will never know how God will use us until we let him. 

This chapter really stretched me while I was reading it.  Gave me a lot to chew on, think about and pray about.  I had to ask myself the question, "Do I praise God in all that happens, good and bad?"   Do I trust God with my daughter, with my family and friends, with my finances, with my job, etc.  With every aspect of my life, do I trust God or do I have it all under control until I get overwhelemed, frustrated, or scared?  Is God my go-to person in all things in my life or only when things get hard? 

Really, truly, and in all honesty.

Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don't. 

But God knows that.  He knows that I'm going to run around like a chicken with my head cut off and that I'm going to get overwhelmed and that I'm going to doubt and that sometimes I'm going to miss it.  Just like we as parents know that when our children try to walk, run, ride a bike, drive a car, manage a checkbook, go off to college, etc. that they are going to make a mistake.  Do we expect it, yep.  Do we love them less because of it, no, No, NO.  We don't.  We love them through it. And that's exactly what God does with us.  but we have to trust Him and His plan for our lives.

Lysa and Art had one of a parents biggest challenges when their daughter became very ill.  They had to give her to God and "we had to get settled in our hearts that we will love God no matter the outcome".

No matter the outcome.

You lose your job, you lose your car, your home. You become sick.  A loved one becomes ill.  Pain, regrets, mistakes.  No matter what the outcome. 

Settle in your heart that you will love God no matter the outcome and see how that changes your perspective.  

Sounds easy to say but it is hard to practice but it is so much better to live a life that says yes to God every day and deciding now that you will love God through it all, then it is to wait until it is tested to decide that you will do it.   Satan wants to worm his way into our thoughts, and undermine our belief, not only in ourselves but in our God as well.  
"I got mad at DD and WH today, lost my temper and said some awful things.  What kind of Christian am I?  How can I profess to have Christ living in me when I can't even control my temper?" 
Ever had those thoughts?  God knows it, He knows we will never be good enough on our own, and Lamentations 3 tells us "His compassions are new every morning."  Every morning I get a new day, a new chance, and yesterday is gone.  Instead of allowing my thoughts to run rampant with "I'm not going to get a gold-star in Christianity today." I need to ask God for forgiveness, those that I offended and hurt for forgiveness and move forward.  Satan loves nothing more then to get us immersed in the quicksand of our mistakes and short-comings so that we are not able to step out onto the path God desires us to walk with Him on. 

God wants to use us my friend.  We all bring to the table a plethora of experiences, life-lessons, and stories of how God worked in our lives, how His promise and love are real, and He will use ALL of our experiences, not just the 100% gold-star, yeah I'm a good Christian moments, but also the "I messed up, I was wrong, I'm sorry, major oops, moments of our life too."  

There are people all around us that have bought the "I'm not good enough, God can't love me, I've made too many mistakes" that satan has been feeding them.  It's a lie. 

Did you hear me? 


Don't believe it for one more second.  Don't waste one more day buying into it'  I did for too many years and all it got me were ulcers, gray hairs, and worry lines (not attractive at all).  Say yes to God starting right now, this moment.  Settle it in your heart.  I may sound bossy but I truly believe that it is that important. 

You are awesome, amazing, astounding, and we love you.  God thank You that Your compassion is new every morning and help each one of us settle in our hearts that we will love and trust You no matter what we are going through.  God, help me to continue in my pursuit of You and Your desires for my life and God no matter what You would have from me, give me the strength, the courage and the ability to say yes to you every single day.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fasting for a reason.

As you have read previously (on "One Life To Live"), sorry couldn’t help it), we will be starting a fast on Sunday for 21 days. There are a lot of churches that are starting out the New Year and the new decade fasting.

If you are here from Martha’s blog at welcome! Martha, my pastor’s wife, has put together some great tools to help our church face the fast with less fear and trepidation but with more excitement and equipped to succeed.

I wrote a book review for her blog on Jentenzen Franklin’s book, “fasting” and it really has changed my entire perspective.

Last night at church Pastor Matt (go to his website here, , they are a bit competitive) spoke on how he was so excited about the upcoming fast and I can honestly say he is not the only one. There is a feeling of excitement bubbling in my soul. An apprehension, a holy fear almost about what is to come. Yes, I am nervous, yes, I want to make it to the 31st but more then that I just cannot wait to see what is going to happen in my life, with my family, and in my church during and as a result of this fast.

Last time we fasted I did it because the church did it. If you have read some of the blog entries and reviews on Martha’s blog you will see that I wasn’t alone in this. The church said fast, so I fasted. I didn’t understand the purpose for it and I didn’t understand the mechanics of it. It would be like giving my DD (darling daughter), who is 13-years-old, a brand new car. It is a great tool, will enable her to do things and give her freedom, but there is one problem, she doesn’t know how to drive and so the car would just sit in the driveway. She will have to become old enough (mature), be taught how to drive (given instruction) and then guided onto the road with someone beside her (support) to help until she is fully capable.

That’s what the book on fasting did for me. That is what Martha and the rest of us are working towards with the blog entries and the meal plans, etc. It is to come alongside and instruct and support and yes, there is a certainly maturity in your walk with Christ that is needed for fasting, but you also grow exponentially when you fast.

The other matter that has been weighing on my heart is that there can be many things to fast. Our church is doing the Daniels fast, which is no meat, no bread, and no sweets and I really recommend that you try it. The food is good and the recipes are fun, and if you follow Martha’s meal plan I think it would be cool to know that we are all eating the same thing together every night (is that weird??).

But you can fast other things as well, no television, no computer, no video games, there is even a financial fast as well, no buying ANYTHING not a necessity, I think we might be looking at that as well.

If you want to keep it in the realm of food, then fast no cokes (in the south that means no soft drinks, everything is “coke” and then you specify if you want Mt. Dew, Pepsi, or an actual Coca-Cola), or you can fast no sugar, no meat, no chocolate, etc. But the important thing is that you fast something that will be an impact on your daily life because when you are craving, wanting, desiring that, you go to God instead of the fridge, the pantry, or the drive-thru. 

I enjoy my coffee (ok, huge understatement), I enjoy my chocolate, I enjoy my toast and my steak and ice cream and my sushi but by setting these things aside for the next 21 days, when I get up in the morning and my body wants coffee, I will pray. When I am dragging and want that caffeine kick I will pray. When the afternoon rolls around and I REALLY want a snack, I can have one, (fruits and veggies) but I will be intentional about it and I will pray. After dinner, when I want that ice cream and cookies before bed, I will pray. When you talk with someone that much all day long, you cannot help but become closer. How God will rejoice when He sees His children willing to forego something good to have His best.

The second part of this equation though, is like I said before, know why you are fasting. I have written down very specific things that I am praying about. I’m not just doing it to do it. I want answers to questions about God’s plan:
1. for my life
2. for my writing.
3. for my sons and my daughter.
4. for my husband
5. for our marriage and for the marriages of friends.
6. for our finances
7. for our parents
8. for our friends
9. for our church
10. for our leaders in government
11. Other things

Yes, the list is pretty long. I have 21 days and I have a feeling there will be a lot of prayer time during that time (I told you guys I feel great affection for my coffee). The vital point to this is to take your doubts, fears, questions, needs and wants to God. Offer then up to Him to give you guidance and direction. When you get in the dumps during the fast (and it will happen) go to your list and focus on something/someone there and the hunger will fade, the temptation will abate and you will have won that battle. I’m sure we will be talking a lot more about the fast in the coming days.

Leave a comment if you have fasted before and have any suggestions for me. Cannot wait to see what God is going to do! Have a wonderful blessed Thursday my friends!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Just an update

I know it's been a couple of days, 3 in fact, since I've posted last.  Things here in the France household have been a bit crazy but I got some great blog material so tune back in later, (if you sign up to follow the blog it will let you know automatically when I update by the way.) 

Future topics include:
  1. Be careful what you pray for, you might just get it.
  2. Exactly how much junk is cluttering up our lives?
  3. God, I love you more then chicken.
  4. Fueling up to (or too?) fast.
  5. Could Daniel have made it if he had had to compete with boberry biscuits, a Big Mac, or a Frosty?
And many more.  (I sound like one of those greatest hit albums.)

We are preparing to begin a Daniel's fast (will explain what that is soon too) on January 10th and I have been reading a book called "fasting" by Jentezen Franklin.  Check it out

I'll be back soon and let you guys in on what's been going on here. 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

42 Things I Like About You

Today is my WH’s celebration of the creation of his belly button. A little while back a friend of mine wrote a blog post about her husbands birthday and she listed things that she loved, admired, respected and just generally liked about him. The same number as his birthday. I thought it was a great idea and so I’m going to do my own today for WH. Too many times I know I am quick to complain, nag, or be negative in some way and just assume someone knows how I feel about them. This year I want to make sure that those that I care for know how I feel and how much they are appreciated.  Happy birthday my love.

1. He makes me laugh.
2. He is one of the smartest individuals I know.
3. He is one of the kindest individuals I know.
4. He is a very giving man.
5. He has more patience in his little finger then most people have in their entire body.
6. His eyes. Just his eyes.
7. He listens to me.
8. He likes my cooking, a lot.
9. He is solid.
10. He is my sounding board.
11. He holds back the tide when I feel overwhelmed.
12. He can fix anything
13. He cooks and enjoys it.
14. He looks sexy when he grills
15. He is willing to try anything.
16. He is willing to let me try anything.
17. He listens to my dreams.
18. He tolerates mood swings from all the females in the house.
19. He is a very safe driver.
20. He doesn’t mind me camping out in bookstores.
21. He never fusses about how much we spend at bookstores.
22. He can teach himself anything.
23. When he decides to do something there is no stopping him.
24. He is very wise.
25. His prayers are powerful.
26. I would follow him anywhere.
27. When he wraps his arms around me I feel like I can do anything.
28. I can come to him in tears and emotional and when he holds me all the worry and stress goes away.
29. I love to talk with him and listen to his view on things because we think very differently.
30. Even though we think differently we are very similar in our likes and dislikes.
31. He has an enormous capacity to accomplish great things.
32. He has a quiet faith that runs very deep.
33. He stands up for what he believes in, no matter what.
34. He doesn’t allow other peoples opinions or views sway his.
35. He isn’t afraid to admit when he is wrong.
36. He isn’t afraid to say he is sorry.
37. He takes amazing photographs.
38. He loves my daughter like she was his own.
39. He loves my parents like they were his own.
40. He loves me
41. His laugh warms my heart.
42. I can see us growing old together, and I cannot wait to see what God is going to do in our life.

I love you. Happy Birthday Day.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year, new me, new you?

It’s 6:45 a.m. on January 1, 2010. I am in the mountains of Virginia. The sky is slowly brightening in the east as the sun begins to climb up into the sky.

It is the first day of the new year of a new decade. Last night the door closed on 2009 and it was done, over. The past 10 years have been full of contrast, dark and light, good and bad, positive and negative. I am amazed at how my view of all that has happened to me, my family and friends has changed in the last 10 years. Ten years ago I was celebrating the year 2000 in Cordova, Tennessee with DD’s father. I had no idea what changes were about to occur in my life and had I even been given a hint at what I would go through I probably would have run away because I know, looking back on this year and the last 10, God was there through it all.

God and I had an on and off relationship, mostly off, for the majority of my life. God to me was more like a policeman with mystical powers, someone you called on when you needed help but otherwise someone you avoided because He was just waiting to reprimand, punish and condemn.

I did view God, for a long time, like a highway patrolman out on the road. I can be driving on the interstate, cruise set at the speed limit (okay, maybe one or two over), my seatbelt on, my cell phone off (no texting while driving) and both hands on the wheel, minding my own business, and I see a highway patrolman in my rearview mirror. I start getting nervous, my mind rushing to make sure, do I have my registration, is my inspection up to date, do I have a tail-light out, etc. and I become hyper vigilant about my driving. I haven’t done anything wrong but just because an authority figure, someone who can pass judgment on my actions might be scrutinizing my actions, I start sweating. I know that I am not the only one who does this because how many times have I been traveling on the road and watch every car in front of me tap the brakes when they see a patrol car in the median of the highway. How many of us wonder if we should pass a cop if he is traveling at or below the posted speed limit? Am I the only one who hums the theme from Jaws every time I see a highway patrol car? Da dum, da dum, da dum. (Okay, maybe that is just me, but I still think they look like sharks).

Wow, this post sure didn’t go where I thought it was going to go. Very much like most of my life. I start out going in one direction and wind up somewhere completely different. But while that used to worry me now it really excites me because I realize I am no longer in control of it.

I have also realized that God is nothing like I perceived Him and when my perception of God changed my relationship with God changed.

The last 10 years have been hard in many ways and as I sit here this morning reflecting on all the ways God showed up when I didn’t even want Him around, I cannot fathom what He is going to do now that I am striving to walk with Him and not run away from Him.

17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. -2 Corinthians 5:17-21

The sun is penetrating through the darkness, the clouds are breaking up and the night is giving way to the morning. I start hearing the song from Cats playing in my head, Memories (I love musicals).

“Daylight I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I musn't give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin”

It is a new day on the new year of a new decade. I don’t know what today will bring, or tomorrow, this year, or 10 years from now, but I have a feeling that it is going to be amazing. Memories are wonderful and should be cherished, but don’t get so caught up in the past that you miss out on the new day, the sunrise, and the hope and dreams of the future. If you are reading this, then you are breathing and alive, if you are breathing and alive, then God still has a purpose for your life.

Happy New Year and happy new life. A life that can be filled with joy, happiness, laughter and promise. God wants that for all of His children.  
11 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 hope and a future.-Jeremiah 29:11
May your New Year's resolution be one that you keep long past January 15th and that is to grab tight to the hand of your heavenly Father and walk with Him through the rest of your life. That is my prayer for you.