Are you getting nervous?.....I'm at Laced With Grace

Are you feeling nervous about this election? If you are like me, no matter what happens, you will probably be relieved when it is over! It has been a hard election with much strife, ugly words, bringing division in our country.

Even though I am tempted to worry about the outcome,I do not have to fear. God already knows the outcome. He is not anxious. He is not worried. He is "working all things together for good."

"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them." Daniel 2:20-21

God lifts up rulers and removes rulers. Our hope is not in the king or the next president, but our hope is in God, the maker of Heaven and Earth!

As my good friend, Michelle reminded me, "He is Sovereign. He reigns."........

Please visit Laced With Grace to finish reading this devotion.

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No Voice

She doesn't have a voice.....but you do. Vote McCain/Palin on Nov. 4

Please check out these awesome posts on the unborn.

Eight days of Prayer for our Country

“If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face,
and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven,
and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
-II Chronicles 7: 14

I found this online and was interested. It spoke to me!

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

I am writing to you today with heaviness deep within my soul for the people of our nation. My
heart has grown disturbed by the shadows of darkness which lurk in every nook and corner of our country. The cloak of wickedness is causing death and destruction to the very foundation upon which our great nation was built.

America was founded by our forefathers as “one nation under God”. So why are so many trying to take God out? The evidence of this is everywhere! Violence has increased, marriages are crumbling, our children stray from their family and faith, abortions continue in staggering numbers, and the name of God is mocked rather than reverenced. Sadly, the church echoes with complaints and complacency rather than fervor, zeal, and passion in serving the Lord. We as a nation have become comfortable. Our wealth and prosperity has poisoned us along with the accelerating busyness of our day…no time to rest, no time to eat, no time for family, no time for church, no time for prayer, no time for God!

Yet in the midst of these dark shadows across our land, there is still a thread of God’s grace…a
redeeming light through the act of one solitary man…Jesus! He is the hope of true freedom and
we as believers in Christ are also a light! God does not need any of us to fulfill His plan. He is
sovereign over all and chooses to use us. As children of the light for such a time as this, we must
humble ourselves as servants of the Lord and through His direction join in fervent prayer together for our nation to have an outpouring of the Spirit of God across this land.

The Lord has placed upon my heart a vision of churches across our country joining together in
concerted prayer for our nation and the upcoming election. My hope is to unite fifty churches, one in every state, in a “Concert of Prayer for the Nation”. This would start on Sunday, Nov. 2nd at 6 pm and continue with a 24 hour prayer vigil leading up to Election Day. The way this plays out in your church is up to you and your leadership. The way this plays out in our nation is up to
how seriously we take this message and unify together to stand up and pray for “such a time as
this”. We would love to have your congregation join in this combined effort to bring about a
revival for our country!

Please let me know if your church would be willing to participate in this network of
congregations joining together for a “Concert of Prayer for the Nation” by e-mailing . Also, you can find this information posted on

Please feel free to pass the word along. Thank you!
For His Glory and the Advancement of His Kingdom,
Sonya Naugle with the support of the Pastoral Staff and Elders at Fleetwood Bible Church

Lord, I cry out for our country. Lord, help us. Guide us. Lord, pour out Your wisdom on us. Father, in the Name of Jesus, I come against all power of the enemy. I bind Satan and his demons. Father, may Your Truth and Your Light reign. Lord, I confess the sins of this country. We have turned our backs on You. We have denied You. Forgive us. Have mercy on us. Jesus, You have already done it all. The BLOOD of Jesus has washed us clean.

Heal us. Lord, bring together Christians under the head of Christ. Bring a Spirit of unity.

"O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

7 "Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.

"Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.

15 "Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.

17 "Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."

Daniel 9:1-19

Thankful Thursday

This week Iris has reminded us of the importance of special friendships for her week of gratitude. I was thinking of a very special friend for my TT....

the Holy Spirit.

Last night, I was honored to come talk to the youth in our church about the Holy Spirit, and who He is to me. My passion is that they would know Him!

Sometimes we can get confused about this part of God. The Holy Spirit is also God! God is made up of the Father, Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, as Christians, we know and love the Father and Jesus, but we forget about the precious gift we have in the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is God LIVING IN ME! He is the very Presence of God.

He is my Helper. My Counselor. My Friend.

He leads me and guides me.

He comforts me.

He fills me joy unspeakable!

He fills me with boundless love and peace and joy.

I couldn't live without His presence daily!

I pray daily to be sensitive the Holy Spirit.

He is always here whispering to me, gently leading and guiding me.

But, I know that I need to spend time with Him. I need to get still and quiet before Him, or other voices begin to crowd Him out- Satan's, my flesh, TV, the radio, phone calls.....

I am so thankful for the gift of the Holy Spirit!

When Jesus was preparing the disciples for His death, He told them that they would be thankful that He (Jesus) would be leaving them, because when He did, then the Holy Spirit could come. "It is good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." And then, Jesus tells them that the Holy Spirit will guide us in all truth. John 16:5-16

"...Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance of those who are God's possession..."
Ephesians 1:13-14

"...If you then now how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" Luke 11:13

And Paul tells us in Ephesians, "Be filled with the Spirit." (5:18)

And, when we don't even know how to pray, "the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express!" Romans 8:26

Answered Prayer!!!!

Thanks for your prayers!

My computer power cord was beeping and I couldn't use the computer. (Anyone know what that's about???) Now it is OK.

Brian fixed washing machine last night after work! Shoe laces (I didn't wash shoes!) clogging the drain......

Thanks, God!

At the Well

At the Well
Monday, October 20, 2008
Hostess: Natalie

Blog:I Am (not)

Topic:Our home is an extension of who we are.

How does your home reflect who you are?

I have to admit.....when I read the topic for this week's post, I CRINGED! go all my insecurities, the things that I don't like right now.

My HOUSE is NOT where I want it to be-

Sure, it looks great if you are just a visitor seeing what I am allowing you to see. It looks clean. The decorations are out. And, most days if you visit, there will be a candle burning.

BUT, my walk-in closet needs to be organized- it's a MESS.

I am behind on laundry- there are piles of it in all of our bedrooms.

There is dust in the corners.

The floors need to be scrubed.

The kitchen counter has accumulated junk.

I try to be organized.

I want our house to be a HOME. So, my longing is that it IS tidy, organized, clean, decorated, bread baking in the oven and a beautiful candle burning.

I visited a friend's home last week and was reminded again, I need to spend time on my own getting it back to where I want it to be- for me and for my family.

So, when I read the topic, I thought, "Oh great. My home is a refection of me- unorganized, dusty in the corners, nice on the "outside", but don't look deeper....

And then it hit me.

My home IS a reflection of me.

It isn't perfect.

It needs some attention.

AND, most of all, it needs GRACE.

I need GRACE.

When I was pondering this week's topic yesterday, I looked at my Proverbs flip chart.

Oct. 19's was Proverbs 15:6.

It read, "In the house of the righteous there is much treasure."

How true! I am righteous becaue of Jesus. Inside ME is much treasure because of what He has done. There is love. There is joy. There is peace. There is patience. There is kindness. There is goodness. There is faithfulness. There is gentleness. There is self-control.



Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for posting late on Thankful Thursday!

Why, you wonder?

Well.....first because I am late due to a crazy morning! (Will tell you about it in a minute..) But, also because I spoke at a MOPS group this morning. If you would like to learn more about MOPS, or Mothers of Preschoolers, click here.

I am thankful for the incredible opportunity to share my beautiful Jesus with these precious women.

I am SO thankful for the organization MOPS, which connects women with other women who have young children. It gives them an opportunity to meet with other "grown-ups" a couple of times a month, fellowship, do a craft together, and listen to a speaker. Because they offer childcare, mothers are able to have a couple of hours of uninterrupted, "Mommy" time.

Today, I am thankful for a crazy morning. You know, one of those "every thing that COULD go wrong, DID go wrong" mornings!!!!!!

One thing that I haven't mentioned is that since the end of September, we have been "doing life" with 1 van (Brian's brakes went out)- which means taking the kids early to school, taking Brian to work (15 min. drive each way), picking him up, or getting him at lunch, HIM bringing me home, and me walking to school to walk kids home...... It hasn't been too bad, just a little hectic.

So, today, because I am speaking, I need to "get ready."

Andrew is the 1st one out the door. He came downstairs carrying Abigail, who had an EXPLODING poopy diaper. What timing, Abigail! Didn't have time for that!

I had forgotten to put Andrew's jeans in the dryer! OOPS! Got them in quickly.

Now, Andrew missed the BUS.... That means I have to run him to school quickly.

When I checked on the girls to make sure they were on time and on track, I noticed that Buddy, our Golden Doodle monster dog had eaten the kids' breakfast- scrambled egg sandwiches- off of the counter!

AAHH! Make another QUICK breakfast (do oatmeal raisin cookies count as breakfast? Oatmeal.....raisins....hmmmm)

Get the garbage out- it's garbage morning!

Take Andrew and get home before Brian panics- he can't be late for work!!!!!

WOW! But, on the way to Andrew's school, I realized that the devil was trying to STEAL the joy from our day- especially me getting ready to speak in less than 2 hours! He wanted me to be flustered and stressed.

I LAUGHED! I told Andrew what I was thinking and we prayed over our morning. I explained to Andrew that because I have the Holy Spirit living inside of me, I have the fruit of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control! He that is in me (Jesus) is greater than ani of the devil's schemes! I didn't have to get upset! I didn't have to lose my temper! I didn't have to scream! I chose to laugh! I chose to WALK in the Spirit and not the FLESH! It had NOTHING to do with ME, but all to do with HIM!

Lord, thank You for Your Holy Spirit! Thank You that when we walk in the Spirit, the fruit of Your Spirit flourishes! Thank You that You offer me peace and joy, no matter what irritating circumstances the devil will bring against me!

Thank You God!

Please visit Iris for more thanksgiving!


The next two posts (WFW and a tribute to Brian) are on "love." As I was sleeping, I was waking up off and on, pondering this...(do you ever do that? think while sleeping then wish you would have written it down before waking up???)

As I was thinking about "love" and our anniversary, especially in terms of the 1Corinthians verse I use below.....

I thought LOVE, true LOVE, is so much more than a FEELING. Hollywood sells us the "feeling" line, and when the FEELING comes and goes, we think there is something wrong and that we have "lost" the LOVE. This is one reason for so many divorces. People don't "feel" the same way and think that their marriage should end. Then, they go out and look for someone else to give them that FEELING.

But, LOVE is an ACTION. LOVE is a verb! Love is CHOOSING to be patient(or the NKJ says, "long-suffering") when we feel like exploding.

Love is CHOOSING to kind, even when the other person doesn't deserve kindness.

Love is CHOOSING to not to be envious, even when you deserved the same thing the other person got!

Love is CHOOSING to be humble, not proud. It is CHOOSING NOT to say, "I told you so."

Love is CHOOSING not to be rude, even when I am tired, or when the check-out girl has made several mistakes, delaying me several minutes...

Love is CHOOSING to look to someone else above and before m own needs.

Love is CHOOSING not to lose my temper, even when I am "right."

Love is CHOOSING does not "keep score." Love does NOT remind someone of past mistakes. Love forgives and forgets, NOT dredging up failures and betrayals from the past.

1Corinthians 13:1 says, "I speak in tongues of men and of angels," (in other words, no matter what I say or how beautiful my speech is, or how correct it is), if I don't speak in love, it sounds like a resounding gong or clanging cymbal." OUCH.

Verse 2 says if I have an AMAZING faith that even moves mountains, I am nothing without love.

Verse 3 says that no matter what m good works are, even "surrendering my body to the flame," if I don't walk in love, it doesn't mean anything!

Lord, may I always WALK out LOVE. With family, with Brian, with friends, sisters in Christ, may I look to LOVE as an ACTION even when I am not FEELING like it.

Word-filled Wednesday

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1Corinthians 13:4-7

In honor of our 20th anniversary, I posted one of my favorite verses from 1Corinthians. Whenever I read this verse, I am reminded that GOD IS LOVE. God is always patient. He is always kind. God is never proud, rude or selfish. God is NOT easily angered. God does NOT keep a record of wrongs. God never delights in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, is HOPE. God always perseveres.

Please visit 160 Acre Woods for more WFW!

Happy Anniversary, Honey

Happy Anniversary, my sweet man!
On October 15, 20 years ago, I married the love of my life and it has been amazing.
Brian, each day I fall in love with you more.
When we started out, we were kids. We struggled....We lived on macaroni and cheese and didn't even have a dollar for a slice of Garcia's pizza! We didn't know HOW to love one another. But, we always knew we wanted to- we knew that God gave us to each other. We've made mistakes over the years, but we have become stronger through them.
Brian, you have always encouraged me. You have always supported me. You have always lifted me up. I could never be the mother, daughter, speaker, writer that I am without your encouragement and support.
You are my best friend. Whenever I am discouraged, you know just what to say. When I am scared, you calm me. You make me laugh. I love being with you.
You are such a wonderful father. I love watching you with the kids. They love to play with you. They have such a love and respect for you....because you spend time with them....because you love them.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it
does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is
not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1Corinthians 13:4-7

Brian, you are patient. You are kind. You are not envious. You do not are not proud. You are not rude or self-seeking. You are not easily angered. You keep no record of wrongs. You do not delight in evil. You protect our family.
You are the love of my life.
Happy Anniversary.

In Other I a Pharisee?

I love the quote Amy is asking us to ponder today!

“A pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself,

but a spiritual man is easy on others and hard on himself.”
by A.W.Tozer

I love this! Oh, how Jesus was so MAD at the Pharisees of His day. They continued to burden people with rule after rule to follow while ignoring rules themselves. (Matthew 15:1-9) He calls them hypocrites and says, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men."

Pharisees want to follow the rules without offering grace. Jesus said, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice (Matthew 12:7) It is so much easier to look out "there" and see Christians who are messing up or who are not living out the Word perfectly. We can say, "Look! The Word tells us to do this and they are doing THAT!"

While we want to encourage one another in the faith, we are NOT to be the Holy Spirit for others! When God convicts US of something, it is NOT our "job" to impose it on others. I openly share my trials and what God is teaching ME and convicting ME of. Often other women share with me that the Holy Spirit convicted them of the same because of my testimony. But, it is the Holy Spirit who does the work!

That's why I love this Tozer quote!

"When we are hard on ourselves," we are looking at our own faults, seeking to follow Christ, picking up our own cross, allowing the Lord to shape, mold, and refine us, NOT telling others to pick up their crosses.

It is a fine line because we see Paul admonish the churches through his letters and challenge Believers. And, we are called to speak the Truth (and here is the key!) IN LOVE. What are our motives? Are we being self-righteous, "holier than thou"? Or, is our motive a genuine, loving concern for someone. Sometimes God calls us to lovingly approach other believers about sinful behavior. Last year, after MUCH prayer, I talked to a good friend about a sin she was caught in. It was wonderful and she knew that I loved and cared about her- in fact, loved her enough to be tuthful with her! But, it was GOD who led me and gave me the words and prepared her heart in advance.

So, as I ponder Tozer's quote, I am challenged to look at my own heart, asking God to search ME and refine me. And, as I openly and honestly share these situations with others, sometimes it will challenge, encourage, and inspire them to do the same.

This quote reminded me of another favorite quote.
"A child needs your love the most when she deserves it the least."
Lord, may I never be a pharisee to those around me, especially my children!

At the Well....Kindness... Are you too busy?

Welcome back to the well! I haven't written here for a few weeks, but I have checked the question each week, pondering and praying over the discussion questions. I am so thankful for Chelsey at Joyfully Living for organizing this awesome spot for women of all walks of life (and places in our faith walks) to gather for encouragement and wisdom.

This week, Lori from I will take it Lord, all You have to give is hosting.

Topic:"Interruptions, Delays and Inconveniences"

Lori reminds us, "Titus 2 reminds us to ...'to be kind,' but are we really as kind as we can be in our daily lives or are we so focused that we only see the interruptions, delays and inconveniences as frustrations instead of the opportunities that lie in them for God to reveal Himself.How do you handle interruptions in your days? Do you plow right on over them missing opportunities God has placed on your path? What interruptions frustrate you the most? How are you working to overcome that?"

I love that Lori brings this topic up! It is sooooo important in today's hustle/bustle, goal-oriented, gotta-finish-my-to-do list generation, and so important as Christ followers. If we look to Jesus, we see that He was so aware of those around Him and no matter how busy He was, He made time for more! (I mean, how much busier could we be than JESUS????)

One of my favorite examples of this is when Jesus was going to the home of Jairus to heal his daughter. On the way, a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years touched the hem of Jesus' coat and was healed. Now, Jesus could have just kept going. The woman was healed and Jairus and his followers were hurrying Jesus to get to the little girl. But, Jesus stopped to show her kindness. (Matthew 9:18-22, Luke 8:40-48)

One of my greatest challenges is caller i.d.! I am guilty of peeking at the caller i.d. and thinking, "Oh, I just don't have TIME to talk to that person right now!"

But, lately God has been convicting me of answering the call to talk to friends/family and spending time on relationships. There have been several recent conversations lately when I knew that the caller needed a friend and a listening ear. God, in His goodness redeemed my time and I was able to finish my chores. And, when I am "behind" on my "to do" list, God reminds me of the kindness extended and how THAT activity was more important than anything on my LIST!

What we must do is pray to be sensitive the Holy Spirit and His leading. We may not always SEE the person needing a kind word, smile, or help, but the Holy Spirit does. He will whisper to us, lead, and guide us, but we must be listening! And, I try to pray that God would bring people across my path for me to bless.

There are so many hurting people that need to be shown kindness- both unbelievers AND believers! Our husbands.... our children....the people in our every day lives! Sometimes we have no problem extending grace and kindness to strangers, but forget to do it with our own family members! We roll our eyes, sigh heavily, and wonder how the household survives without us!


Am I generous in my kindness? Am I, when showing kindness, doing it "as I am doing it as unto the Lord" or keeping track of my "kind acts" and keeping score?

Have you heard the awesome song by Brandon Heath? Watch the video here. The chorus is my prayer!

Give me your eyes for just one second. Give me your eyes so I can see... Everything that I keep missing. Give me your love for humanity. Give me your arms for the broken-hearted. The ones that are far beyond my reach. Give me your heart for the ones forgotten. Give me your eyes so I can see.

Lord, I never want to be so busy that I miss the brokenhearted- the one who needs a SMILE....grace....a kind word....

Please visit Lori this morning for more wonderful wisdom on kindness...

Camping Fun at Lake McBride

Thank You, God! We just enjoyed a beautiful family weekend together camping at Lake McBride. (This is the same gorgeous state park where the family pictures in my sidebar were taken last year.) We hiked, made sandcastles, visited the dam and spillway, and camped over night. What a beautiful time of year this is with the leaves changing. Lord, Your Creation is amazing! Thanks for the incredible blessings!

Oh, no! Here we go again.......

Do you feel like you are on a roller coaster?

Do you feel scared with the economy, the election, hurricanes.....?

To read about it, please visit me at

Thankful Thursday

Today is the "Day of Atonement" in the Jewish calendar.

On this day of the year, the Jewish priest would bring the lamb and lay hands on it, confessing all the sins and putting the sins on it. There was a bull sacrificed to take away the sin of the priest and a lamb sacrificed to take away the sin of the people. And, there was a lamb let go into the wilderness, a scapegoat, in case they had forgotten any sins....

I was reading Numbers and Leviticus this morning with all of the Law...

I am so thankful that Jesus came and BECAME sin for the forgiveness of my sin. He was the perfect sacrifice. We no longer live under the Law, but we live under grace.

Jesus has done it all.

He has taken away the sin we are aware of AND the sin (like the scapegoat) we aren't even aware of...

He has forgiven ALL.....

I am so thankful for Jesus.

I am so thankful that I live under grace and not law.

My true Thankful Thursday is contained down below in

"Wow! God is so AMAZING!"

Please take a minute to scroll down to read.....I am so thankful for this encounter. Please pray for James!

Rise up! Now is the time!

Mamas, Mothers, Grandmothers....

Now is the time to rise up...awaken! God has placed us here in THIS time, at THIS place, in this generation "for such a time as this." He wants to do great things in us and through us!

We need to nurture the next generation of daughters!

We need to show them that life is more than shopping malls, American Idol, and soccer! God has called us to be Light and Salt. There is a hurting world starving for the affection of God, for the Truth, for the healing of our Savior .

He has called us to be on our knees crying out to Him on behalf of this fallen world. He has called us to reach out, beyond ourselves, outside of our comfort be the hands and the feet of Jesus.

The theme of the JM convention was being a relentless woman- pursuing God with everything we have, everything we are.

I want to be that woman.

Praise You, Jesus!

WOW! God is so amazing!

I just returned from a Joyce Meyer women's convention! It was AMAZING! Worship was led by HillSong. His Spirit FILLED the dome of 20,000 women. I wept as He completely washed me.

WOW! (and thank you, God!) is all I can say.

My computer went down the day before I left (Thursday), so I have been unable to blog.

But, I wanted to share what happened to me right after the event. It ended Sat. and I was alone waiting to fly out on Sun. This is an email I sent to my Speaking Thru Me Sisters.

I just got back from the Joyce Meyer women's convention. Glory! Oh, how what He did!!! Lisa Bevere, who is my fav. speaker- I feel such a connection to her- spoke about our generation- mothers, daughters, grandmothers..... How His Spirit worked! How I wept! Darlene from HillSong was the worship leader all week/end. Worship was amazing! Again, how the Spirit just fell on us. 20,000 women praising Him. God was so good the whole weekend. I was there with my spiritual "mama" and we had amazing time to worship together in the room, talk about Hebrews, Old/New covenant, take communion.... Then, I had an evening to myself!!!!! I had Sat. after the conference until Sunday alone. Praying in the Spirit, reading His Word, worshipping.

The most amazing thing though, was Sat. evening. I took a shower and was going to pray/ read the Word for awhile and then go to dinner. But, God said, "go now."


So, I walked next door to the only restaurant available. My hotel was near the airport, so this was it. I was debating about eating there because it tuned out to be a fancy, expensive restaurant. But, I hadn't eaten anything and was I went in. Being by myself, I was seated where the table of 1s were located. It was a long booth seat with 3 small tables. You sat on the booth couch.

I sat down and soon another lone diner was seated at the 3rd table. The table in between us was empty. It was Asian man watching an Iphone while he ate. I had my Bible and was taking a long, leisurely dinner while reading. It was very nice. The hostess tried to seat another loner in between us mid-meal, but this man asked for another table. (You will see why I am giving so many of these details!)

The Asian man and I had exchanged friendly "hellos" and polite smiles. When he got dessert, I asked him how it was and decided to order the same. He asked me what I was reading. So, this prompted a long conversation about China (where he was from originally, now lives in Detroit since 2001). I told him about my friend who adopted a daughter from China. When he asked why I was in St. Louis, I was able to tell him about Joyce Meyer. He looked her up on his iphone. We actually talked about an hour! (I had originally told the waiter I wasn't in hurry, so he took that literally and didn't come over!!!) On my side of the conversation, I was able to talk about how God is calling families to adopt from overseas orphanages, Joyce Meyer, a Christian speaker being able to draw 20, 000 women.....anyway, lots of "God" references. But, then, dessert was over, and we said our polite, "it was nice talking to you"s.

Oh, I was so mad at myself! I thought I had missed this opportunity to tell this man about Jesus!!!!!! yes, I had talked about God. yes, he could tell I was a Christian by the things I said. But, man, I had been challenged in this conference to make a difference! I wanted more! I had even written out a prayer request card that I wanted to make a difference in His Kingdom! I know, I am Christian speaker. I am a Christian writer. I am a Christian blogger.... Sunday School teacher.....VBS.... I know I have and continue to encourage, BUT

Lord, I want to do more! I don't want to be afraid of offending or putting people off....I want to be bold. I want to bring to others to Christ!!!!!!!

These were some of thoughts I was telling God. So, I had missed an opportunity.

I wrote his name (James) in my Bible. Said a prayer for him. Committed to pray for him. Was glad I told him about Joyce Meyer. It was in his iphone. Maybe he would go back to it.


When I walked into my hotel lobby, there was James walking out!!!!!!! He was staying at a different hotel, but had come over to check out mine. I had told him about the fantastic lobby with free Internet, popcorn, free soda, and wonderful breakfast. (BY the way, he told me he had originally made reservations at a hotel outside the city, but changed because he had a 6 AM flight and wanted to be near the airport. If he would have stayed at THAT hotel, we never would have met)

So, anyway, I asked if he wanted to sit down in the lobby and finish our talk. Now, just to let you know, this place was SAFE. Lots of people hanging out in the lobby- lots of women from the conference, a vitamin salesman giving a speal to 3 women, 2 TVs on..... Big place with lots of activity. Again, I felt God prompting me and knew I was safe.

He told me about his family- 2 children ages 10 and 2. Of course, the oldest a boy because when they had him they were in China. There is a one child law and girls are not wanted. So, when they came here, after time, they wanted another child. He told me how he wanted to escape China because of the Communism. He was a student who, with his other friends, wanted to change the country. And, then Tiananmen Square happened. So, he came here to escape.

During this time, my sweet family called and James excused himself while I talked. He went over to the free Internet computer. (I am sure that is why he came over to the hotel. He printed some things off while he was there.) While he was gone, I wrote on my notebook (can you believe I had my bible AND my notebook?????) all about the plan of salvation, that God loves him, that Jesus died for him.......2 sides explaining God's love and asking him if he believes it. I tucked it away when he returned.

He had made a comment earlier about "not studying religion" when I told him I was reading the Bible.

So, I opened with that. I told him that this was not about "religion" but about having a personal relationship with God.

And then, for TWO hours I shared the Gospel with him. I had boldness I never had before! Thoughts crept into my mind, like, "Tracy, he is going to think you are nuts." So what??????? I knew he was a student and interested in knowledge. I shared about Proverbs and that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I told him about Abraham, David, Moses (which he was soooo interested in). I shared about the plight of the Jews and the Promised Land and waiting for Messiah. I told him the story of the birth of Christ. I shared about the apostles and how they wrote the New Testament. I showed him my bible, explaining about it. (One of the questions he has was how old it was and who wrote it.) Man, God gave me verse after verse in plain language to share. I read him Isaiah 61 telling him that Jesus came to set the prisoners free! I told him all about the miracles of Jesus. I told him about the woman who bled for 12 years and reached out to touch Jesus and was healed.

I asked him if his plane crashed in the morning did he know where he would go? He smiled and said no and then asked me if I knew where I would go.

Whoa!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did he open a can of worms! I told him all about my eternal inheritance as a Christian. I told him Jesus was coming back (this really freaked him out!) to make a new Heaven and new earth. I told him about John 3:16, but John 17:3 where Jesus says, "This is eternal life- to KNOW me!" I told him, "James, God loves you very much. James, Jesus became sin and died on a cross because he loves you and wants to spend eternity with you. He wants you to accept Him as your Savior."

I told him all about sin and how we all have sinful natures. I share about the trinity and that when we accept Jesus, God lives IN us through the Holy Spirit (this he was very interested in!). I talked about other religions being performance based and earning salvation. But, Jesus did everything.

I prayed with him (not a prayer of salvation- but God I am trusting you to complete the work you began through me!). I tried to give him my bible, but he wouldn't accept it. BUT I had the paper I had written, so I gave that to him. I told him God sent me to talk to him! I think he was so surprised by this totally crazy lady that he sat there for 2 hours!

I went back to my room praising God! How he had answered my prayer! I continued to pray for James, and oh, how I prayed for turbulence on James' plane!!!!!!! I so thanked God for this incredible opportunity!

This was the first time I have shared the Gospel with a stranger. I have never felt comfortable to do this! Sure, I can speak to women, help them come to Christ at a retreat, but ask a complete stranger where he was going if his plane crashed?????????????????? Wow, this was amazing! Lord, help me to always remember this and never forget all of the details!!!!!!!!

Please continue to pray for James!

Are you wearing a MASK???

Isn’t it fun to watch kids dress up at Halloween? They’re so excited to pretend to be someone else. Some choose dragons. Others princesses. Some want to be dressed as courageous heroes while others choose to be something ferocious.

Do you ever feel like you are wearing a mask? Do you ever find yourself pretending to be someone you're not? Pretending to “have it all together," but in reality, your "all togethers" are falling apart? You would never want people to see the “real you”, the person behind the mask. You would be embarrassed if you were ever "found out."

So....we put on our masks, go about our business, and when friends ask how we are, we smile and declare, "Great! How are you?"

Because so many of us are wearing these perfection masks, we look around and think that we are the only Christian mom or wife or daughter who is "messing up." We feel like failures. We would never admit to needing help, let alone actually asking for it! Instead of building one another up and encouraging each other in our faith, we pretend that we are just fine and hide behind our masks.

But, God sees through the mask right down to the “real you”. He sees all the flaws and mistakes and failures and yet loves us completely and unconditionally. Isn't it comforting to know how much He loves us? Psalm 139 tells us that God searches us and knows us. He knows us completely, from the inside out. He knows a word before it even reaches our tongue. He is familiar with our ways. He isn't surprised by us. He knows every thought, every worry, every joy, every hurt. There is no where we can run from His Spirit, no where to escape His love, no mask to hide our person from Him. With God, we can stop pretending, take off our mask, and allow Him to love us.

And, I believe that we can also take off our masks with our sisters in Christ, allow them to love us, and share authentic relationships with them. We might find that we all make mistakes, not one of us is perfect, and we are not the only one in the carpool with a dirty minivan!

Father God, thank You for loving me unconditionally. Thank You, Lord that I don't have to hide anything from You, that I CAN'T hide anything from You because You know me completely. Thank You that I can take off my mask. Help me Lord to be honest, authentic and real with those around me. Help me to encourage others so that they, too feel comfortable taking off their masks. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.