Friday, December 3, 2010

Salt and Light

"You are the salt of the earth;......Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:13a&16

These verses in Matthew intrigue me. They are picture words describing the life we as christians are called to portray to the world we live in. This is the view that people in our sphere of influence should see, as well as feel, when looking through the window of our life. Have you ever wondered if your life is living up to the standard God created it to be?

That may sound silly to some people. For the majority live their lives justifying their actions in the mirror of the world instead of through the hands of the very one who knit us together in the womb. I find it fascinating in a way, that we as christians have found that view of ourselves to be acceptable; my how we have settled for less than what we truly are.

I have come to realize, that so many people have been stunted in their growth as ambassadors for Christ, because they have taken on this "false" persona. They live in a world surrounded by people who do nothing more than pat them on the back as they continue to do the same old thing, the same old way. To live in this "place" is ok, I guess. It is very possible to live a life less than what we were created for and survive, but who wants to merely "survive"? Would it not be more fulfilling to live a purposeful life, a life that is used by God to bring His glory into a dark and dreary land? Of course it would, because that is the very reason we are here!

Mediocre is NOT fulfilling and purposeful. We must surround ourselves with people who see us through the very eyes of Jesus, who love us for who we are, and SHOVE us to growth, even when it hurts. These are people God places in our lives to help us get to the next level. From that discipleship we grow in our knowledge of God, who He is, and how He wants us to then live our lives in front of others; then happens the domino effect of one life touching another, and another, and another...Oh the possibilities for God's Glory!

So what do I see when I look in the mirror? I see a broken, fallen, messed up girl who God has lifted up, filled up, and called into ministry to be used by Him. I often meditate on these verses in Matthew 5, because they are such clear and accurate pictures of what I want my life to be when another woman looks at me. To be Salt and Light in a world, to women who have been left out, hung out, and forgotten. God's promises are for all, and if God can turn my life into something this wonderful and blessed, then He can, and WILL certainly do it for anyone!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


"Wise men store up knowledge...." Proverbs 10:14

I seriously had one of the most humiliating experiences of my life yesterday.

This would be a good time to disclose that I am taking the next step in God's calling on my life by entering Bible College in March 2011. It is something I have ALWAYS wanted to do, and felt God wanted me to do, it just has not presented itself so perfectly until now. That being said, I must also say that at the age of 34, taking a Math and English placement test was NOT my idea of a "Red Carpet Welcome"....I mean, seriously, I have an Associates Degree already, WHY must I prove I can add 2+2 and tell the difference between a noun and a verb? Silly waste of time if you ask me! Little did I know......

"Mrs. Mahnke (which I HATE being called) is also required of every applicant to take a "Pre-Entrance Bible Test" myself, I thought...."percentages may throw me off...sentence structure may give me fits....but this BIBLE stuff....NO PROBLEM!!! Or So I thought!!

I can tell you the stories of the Bible. I can pull a Bible verse out of the inner most part of my brain on the spot....I can answer Bible Quiz questions....I can win a Bible Sword drill against almost ANYONE...I was, after all, BORN A PK!!! But this....this test....well, I think the point is to prove to those of us who are entering this vocation, that being "born entitled" is a scam, and that for certain, we must each dig deeper to be prepared for such a calling.

I am not saying that everyone has to go to Bible college or be called into ministry to be so humbled by God. What I am saying, is that God is slowly stripping back the layers of who I "thought" I was. He is taking everyday situations in my life, and demonstrating to me that He created me for a specific purpose, and that purpose has nothing to do with my birthright here on earth. Being born "entitled" as a daughter of a preacher, is an identity I took on from the day I was born. It has created for me wonderful opportunity and great love from hundreds of people. What it also did for me is create a false sense of who I was. Every choice I made, every choice I did not make...every relationship I had....every relationship that broke my heart....every THOUGHT I had eventually found it's root in the heritage I had here on earth, not the heritage I have in Heaven.

I love being a preacher's daughter. I love all the "spoiling" that has come along with it...all the gifts, all the memories, all the laughter, and even all the tears. But today, today I am reminded of who GOD wants me to be OUTSIDE of that label.....a fully sold out, knowledgeable, never wavering, deep and transparent Child of the Living God.

Needless to say, I left the library laughing out loud at the inadequacy of my Bible Knowledge....saying to myself and anyone around...."NO OSMOSIS"...!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Who am I?

" I am holy, chosen, a special treasure for the Lord." Deuteronomy 14:2

I have recently had an opportunity to hold a mirror in front of my face. Not only in front of my face, but in front of my heart. Today, I call it an opportunity.....a few short weeks ago, I would have called it an assignment. It was an assignment from God, and I eagerly took part.....until I held that mirror REALLY close, and then....well then, I saw the flaws.

My eagerness quickly turned to caution as I looked at...."that wound", and "this scar". I became very aware that God was taking me to a deeper level with Him, and in order to do that, He had to reveal to me those very secret places that I had guarded not only from other people in my life, but from myself, and ultimately, from God. There has been NOTHING fun about this process. Wounds and scars are not things that I want to hold a magnifying glass over and look deeper into. They are disgusting and horrendous. They have many layers of death and life, and a stench that breathes out of them. When I looked at these blemishes on my heart, I came to realize that the true purpose of this process was not to name the victimization, but to name the person I had adapted into because of it......the part of me that I am responsible for....the part of me that needed to be transformed back to its original design, the way God created me.

In order to do this, I had to take responsibility for the parts of my character that I had allowed to be manipulated into serving as a protection for my heart. I could see that because of certain situations that took place in my past, I had taken up my own armor, and built a wall around it....a wall that no one could break down unless I SAID SO, and even in giving the permission, still giving myself full authority to stop it in its tracks if I felt too vulnerable or threatened. I had to be in control, if I was not in control, that meant the other person was, and as soon as that happened, I opened my heart up to be wounded once again. In taking all of these steps to protect myself, I focused on how I was going to do it, and in essence, took God out of the equation, and the very intimate details of my life.

We all have these places. They are the places that only we know of....the spots only we can see...and because of that very private relationship we have with them, we control how much they control us. There is nothing more binding than our own perspective on who God created us to be. It goes something like this: "God created me this way,...guess this is my "LOT" in life, therefor, I CAN'T DO THIS, I CAN'T BE THAT, SHE WON'T WANT TO BE MY FRIEND, HE WON'T REALLY WANT TO DATE ME".....messed up as it is, this is then who we become, and day after day, year after year, it builds and builds until we truly believe that this is not only the way PEOPLE see us, but the way GOD sees us. At this very instance is when we take God away and focus on ourselves. No longer do we give God the opportunity to give to us divine direction because we are too busy guarding off this and pushing off that. It is a very comfortable place, and really, we could all live there and not suffer....but what if....WHAT IF we allowed God true access to that place....What if we let go and let God?

I am able to say, that once I gave up the reigns in certain areas...identified the source, and focused on the solution through Christ, my life has been beyond what I had ever dreamed. My relationships with others are deeper and more significant because I know that my identity is in God, and not in those I call my closest friends. Keeping God in the center of my life is mandatory for healthy and meaningful relationship with my children, my husband, my family and my friends. If I count on God to whisper significance into my ear, that takes the pressure off of looking for that love and acceptance from those joining me on this journey. Life is so much more meaningful and full of is more relaxed and comfortable....and honestly, it is SO MUCH MORE FUN!!!

Who am I? I am a daughter of the Most High Heiress....a Priceless Gem....the Apple of His Eye..."I am holy, chosen, a special treasure for the Lord".....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


"Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water" John 4:10

I use to laugh at my parents when we would run into someone they "knew" out in public....because it would not take long after that encounter for them to turn to me and say, "I have NO idea who that was, I went to school with her, I know that, but I cannot remember her name". They were SO OLD, and that would NEVER happen to ME.....or so I thought! I cannot count how many times over the last 5 years that very same scenerio has happened to me.....Unbelievable.
I can so relate with the woman at the well. There have been times in my life in which I have become so"lazy" in my time spent with God, that I have not RECOGNIZED who He was in the middle of the chaos. He had not gone anywhere, but I had. He was still doing His "thing", but I was too busy with life and being consumed by the events of this world, that I did not hear His direction, and to that end, chose my own way. There is nothing more humbling than looking back and realizing He had given me the way around the situation, and I had not RECOGNIZED His face standing right in front of me.
God wants us to WANT Him. He has given us life here on earth NOT to prosper ourselves, but to LOOK to Him in ALL things, and when it is all over, give HIM the GLORY for what HE has brought us through. This is our testimony, our own personal sermon in which to reach those walkig amongst us who have no idea who the man sitting next to them at the well is, because no one has ever taken the time to introduce them.
If we spend time in the Word, and Prayer with God, we will KNOW Him. When we see Him, we will recognize the voice, the hand, the way He is directing us. These are the ways God has given us access to Him, to not take advantage of them is to hinder our walk, and thus, our testimony and outreach to the lost world around us. Prayer fosters a relationship, the Word, an understanding, things we need in order to grow deeper in relationship and love of WHO our Saviour is.
Never again do I want to be in the same place as that woman at the well, not able to recognize the ONE and ONLY SAVIOUR who would not only give her water, but LIFE ETERNAL. I want to see Him at every crossroad and every direction I take, and be able to choose that way because I KNOW HIM, and I TRUST Him.....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


"Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" Philipians 1:6

Most days, I can not even tell it ever happened. Most days, I carry on in this fast paced life, forgetting where I have been. Most days, I am so focused on the next scheduled activity, that I do not take the time to be thankful for my stability, ability, and mobility. And then, there are days like today.

Today, my arm was dead weight. I could not open the jar of pickles. The bucket was too heavy for me to carry. I could not turn the door knob. Today, my leg was numb. I could not feel my toes. My foot was cold. Today, my eye was blurry. I could not read the sentences in a book. I could not read the sign on the road. My eyelid was heavy, I could not see.

To focus on where I am going, I must be reminded of where I have been. To be fully used of Him, I must remember how I was healed by Him. To be healed by Him is not a miracle of my own, it is a work He preformed for His Glory. A show for the lost and saved alike, a testament of His power.

Today I remember the disease that had me bed ridden. I remember the days of uncertainty and fear. Today, I remember the doctors, the nurses, the prognosis, the death sentence....but most of all, I remember the feeling of His arms around me. I remember the words of the doctor, "It's gone, I have no other explanation, is that good enough for you"....and of the next, "Your eye is healed, I cannot tell you why".....and those very special words, "YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAME, IN JESUS NAME."

I have scars of my past, but I do not fear them, in fact, I welcome them. They are my constant reminder that He delivered me, and I cannot keep it to myself, there is a world to be told of the Faithfulness of our God. There is no doubt that I have been called, there is no doubt He is guiding my life, there is not doubt, and I am "Confident, that He who began a good work in me is faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus."

Monday, April 5, 2010


Genesis 12:1....The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you..."

It JUMPED off the pages!! Now, I have read the Bible before and heard the voice of the Lord, but I cannot tell you in recent history when it has touched me like it did that day in January.

Over the preceding months, I could hear my "out loud voice" saying; "Oh, yeah, I know that God is in this move! I am SURE we will be fine, I am SO EXCITED"!! And at the same time, I could hear my "inside voice", the one spoken by my heart and mind, and often, the physical pain I felt in my stomach, it was screaming, "Are you KIDDING ME? NO WAY!!!" I have two young children who are taking every cue they have about the future of our family from me. There is no doubt that I have to portray the "matriarch" role, the one of wife, mother, and ultimately, the one who is going to keep our small family of four together through this huge transition. I cannot let them see my weakness, my fear, my uncertainty. For these two precious beings, I will stay strong and confident, but in all seriousness, I don't want to go!

"God Moments" began happening all around me. This verse first showed up in the weekly Bible Study I was doing with my best friend. We had to pause the DVD and rewind, because I was SURE I had not hear it right! I of course DID hear it right, and God spoke to ME in that moment from the ancient scriptures written to Abram so long ago. How humbling to realize God was speaking to me, just as He had Abram. A few weeks later, while preparing for our Wednesday night Bible Study, this verse once again made it's appearance. There is nothing more amazing than the confirmation of God through the Holy Spirit.

As I think back to those days a few months ago, it gives me joy and hope. I am not silly enough to believe that God has promised me a nation, as He did Abram, but what I DO know, is that God is the reason we are here in California. In the Bible Study I was doing before I left home, it focused on putting ourselves where God is doing a Work, and He will open our eyes to the Will He has for us. For this, I am SO excited!

It is about God, and winning those to Him. I have come, and I am willing!....

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Journal Entry January 2010

From my journal:

Today is January 17th 2010. Mike and I are in California! This is a different kind of place, I have to actually SEARCH for a palm tree, but Mike has one on the property where he will be working, so at least we will have a little of what we thought California would be. When we flew in, we saw all of these fields filled with water......all this rain explains that! It's raining, and the forecast calls for ALL rain for the entire week.....this could be a bad sign.....not exactly the "Welcome to California" we were expecting! We are in a nice hotel, the town seems nice, ate at a Ruby Tuesdays for dinner. It is late.....10pm here, which means 1am at home!

January 18th.
Met Sam Anderson today. What a KID!!! He's younger than NATHAN! He seems very down to earth, and very intelligent in the Rail Division. I really liked hearing about his family. He certainly has potential to run this entire company some day, very good work ethic. He seems very lonely, but I am happy to hear that he is getting married in July. He says he will bring his wife with him when he travels. Weird day just driving around a little bit, thank heavens for the GPS!! Gonna start looking for churches tomorrow!! RAINING CATS AND DOGS!

January 19th.
Chase is 16 today, man do I feel old! It was -30degrees the day he was, where I am, it's 55 and rainy. Drove around looking for a church in Woodland today. I went to the one I had found on line, the Baptist church with the school....looks kinda "Old School" to me..the last thing I want is to raise my kids in all that tradition. UGH!! Saw a few other churches....look like Spanish missions.....maybe we're suppose to be missionaries!! WHAT???
Met with our new land lord, she seems sweet. Took pictures of the school for the kids and the house as best we could in the rain. The school is really neat! We ate at a nice place in Sacramento with Sam, it was really neat to drive in and see the Capital building at night. I think this is going to be a nice place to live....IF WE CAN FIND A CHURCH!!!!

January 20th.
Popped a lot of Xanax today! Anxiety is taking over!! I CANNOT FIND A CHURCH IN THIS TOWN!! I prayed about this....I KNOW God has a church for us, but I CAN'T FIND IT!!! I have to find a church to go to our first Sunday here. We can't move across the country and NOT have a church!! I am counting on having the church as our STABLE here when we leave all of our family and friends. It's raining, I'm watching movie, Mike has been gone all day, and I can't find a Freakin Church!!! It is storming so bad, the trees are being uprooted!! WHERE AM I??? I thought California was always SUNNY!!!! AAAhhhh!!! Gonna take a nap and wait for Mike....after I pop one of those little pills!~

January 21
Driving around again today while Mike was gone. I was driving down Gibson, totally on the verge of feeling like I'm gonna die from a panic attack because I can't find a church.....and guess what I saw.... A RAINBOW!!!!!! I took a picture and sent it to my sister and my dad and was a PROMISE to ME from GOD that HE is STILL in this, even though I am completely feeling like curling up and dying! OK, so there was a peace that came over me, and the song "How Great is our God" started playing on the radio. I'm going to REALLY try not to freak out about this anymore...really Jesus name.... Mike came back to the hotel early, and we had a few hours so he comes in and says, "Let's look for a church in Sacramento". We drove to Natomas, which is closest to us, and looks like a new developed area. We put "Places to Worship" in our GPS, and we drove into about 4 different parking lots with empty warehouses. There was a sign that caught Mike's eye on a building cause it was red. He pulled in the driveway, it said "Mars Hill"....what the heck is MARS HILL??? He stopped the car, turned it off, and said, "Let's go in"...uh, that is SO not like him, so I'm going with God here, and I'm going in. Something amazing happened today, and I don't know if I can actually describe it. As soon as we walked through those doors, I felt an overwhelming presence of God. My heart started beating very fast, and I just got really excited. The lady at the front went and got a Pastor to come talk to us, and out came this young chic....I swear, I bet she's younger than me! She took us to her office. Her name is Kathy Cannon, she gave us a card. She is the FAMILY pastor there, not the Senior Pastor. So, we're talking, a bit, and I ask the MAJOR question..."What denomination are you".....she says: "We are Assemblies of God".....OH MAN!!! ARe you KIDDING ME???? My heart sank. Instead of attending to that feeling of NOOOOoooo, I asked her a lot of doctrinal questions about salvation and SPEAKING IN TONGUES.....Assemblies of God, people who speak in tongues, they always think they're so much "Holier than Thou".....well, I guess we think we are Holier than them!! HAA~!! Something else really kinda weird happened....while we were talking, another lady walked in the room and leaned up against the bookcase....I can't for the LIFE of me remember her name, but when she walked in, my heart did something very weird, and God spoke to me, said: "Don't worry, she's gonna help you".....Okay, whatever the heck THAT means, it was just an overwhelming feeling of....COMFORT when she came in, and about that moment, THE TEARS FELL!!! It was a little embarrassing, I'm thinking maybe they didn't notice I was crying, Laurie has always told me I was good at hiding it! Wish I could remember her name. I think she is a Pastor there, or works there or something, I will have to go on their web-site and figure that out. I have a couple of cards, one says Pastor Kathy Cannon, the other says Pastor Neva Swinson....I don't think her name was Neva, but I could be wrong. Funny thing is, she reminds me of Laurie in a way....not sure why....Oh Well...Anyway, I can't wait to do some research on this place, cause it is OBVIOUS that church is the first one we are going to try! I feel really good, like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders! At least I know where we'll go the first week, Ha! It seemed very modern and hip.....I hope they have a good ministry for the kids! Well, we're out of here in the morning, so it's better that I left here with this peace than the way I was feeling earlier! I told Dad it was an Assemblies of God, he said, "Bonnie, I don't care if you go out there and speak in tongues and all of that, as long as you are in a church where they believe in Jesus and teach my grandkids the basic and to put God first"....well, Dad, I'm NOT going to speak in TONGUES!! ha!

January 22nd
NO, we did NOT get to go home!!! Flight canceled because of this FREAKIN MONSOON!!! People keep telling us this isn't normal weather, that it hasn't been like this in 10 years....I sure HOPE NOT!! We went to San Francisco! I cannot believe we were felt like a DREAM!!! It was SO cold!! So cool to see the Golden Gate bridge! Alcatraz..everything that I have always seen on TV!! I cannot believe we are being given this opportunity! My kids have no idea the gift God is giving them!! This is just unbelievable. Back to Ohio in the morning.....what a TRIP this has been!!!