Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Believing and Cobwebs

"And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord" Luke 1:45

I hate cobwebs. Yes, I used the word hate, and I am pretty sure that I mean it. I have spent some of my morning removing them from my 10 foot ceilings. While I was on that ladder, reaching for the one I could barely get to, I heard this verse read on the Christian TV channel. Had anyone been here to see my reaction, I am sure it would have made for great comedy....I nearly fell off the third step!

As I finished cleaning up those cobwebs, I began to think about all of the things that life throws at us that we do not see coming. Some of the dirt on those webs were big clumps, but most of it was unseen by the naked eye. As I ran the cloth across it, I could see how thick all of those tiny particles became when put together in one place. Oh how this relates to us who have gotten caught up between what the world says we are, and what our God says that we are.

The angel Gabriel appears to Elizabeth telling not only of her child, but also her cousin Mary's child. When Mary came to her, she exhorted her friend for BELIEVING THAT WHICH GOD HAD SPOKEN OVER HER. How many times have we witnessed a word from God being spoken over us or someone we love only to be gradually overtaken by the small particles of doubt, disbelief and negligence. Can you imagine what would have happened had she focused on the first person that said, "Whatever Mary, you do not even have a husband." Instead, she believed God and found favor in His sight.

I have heard is said that many believe IN God, but few ever think about BELIEVING God. We believe that there is a God. We believe He is our creator. We believe He is our savior. We believe He is our deliverer. We believe He is our redeemer. BUT, we stop just short of believing He has found any favor in our lives. We look at people around us and are genuinely happy for the blessings God had preformed on their behalf, but because we have collected so much "invisible dirt", our view of our own lives and situations are clouded. We are not so far different than Israel of the Old Testament, Ps 106:12-13 says: "They believed his promises and sang his praise. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel." By allowing the dirt to build up in that one little cobweb, we forget the Glory God has already shown on our behalf, and move forward blinded and crippled by the screaming of the world in front of our face.

What if we returned our focus to God instead of ourselves. What if we decided we were going to get out of our comfort zone and clean those stinking cobwebs that have taken over quicker than we ever thought they could. What if we opened up our Bible to receive more of Him, not to just "prove" that what we are going through is in there. What if we became open to hear from the Holy Spirit those things which are not so pretty about ourselves in order to clean them out and make us better ministers of His word.

It takes a lot of hard work to clean cobwebs. I was a little sweaty reaching for the furthest one, and then, just when I thought I had it, I saw one more spec of dirt to be wiped away, calling me back to that uncomfortable position to clean it so well that it did not bother me tomorrow. That is what my heart is stirring over for people in the body of Christ. Taking responsibility for cleaning out the dirt we have allowed to accumulate and bringing us to a position of being able to see the purpose God called us to. Until we are ready to deal with the unseen dust, we are not truly ready to walk fully in our calling.

Keep On Keepin On!
In His Grip!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

This is the Year I was Suppose to Die

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result..." Genesis 50:20

I had a REALLY cool "Candy Apple Red" walker with one of those fancy seats on it that I could use to rest when I was exhausted from walking. It also had this really big basket on the front. In a way, I felt like I was 10 years old again and I had just gotten my first pink dirt bike. See, my mom picked out my bike when I was 10....she also picked out my walker when I was 30. She said, "If you are going to have to have it, it is going to be the prettiest one there is."

Over the last couple of months, God has been requiring that I remember where I have been. During worship, I have been reminded of the mountains that were not just moved, but REMOVED. It was as if when I was looking "BACK", I could not really identify with who that girl was. I would remember things as if I were looking at a dream, or reading a novel. Often, it would play back like a movie, with credits being paid to all of those people who had helped me through the roughest points in my life up until this present moment.

Today, for the first time in 5 years, I heard the words "Devic's Disease." My heart sank, and yet, at the same time, I felt it leaping. As I listened to the story being told to me, I could hardly keep quiet. She had heard I had MS in the past, and that I did not have it any longer. She wanted to hear about the miracle God had performed on my behalf. The memories came flooding back. I recalled being paralyzed on my right side, I remembered missing my daughter's "debut" as the lead in her 1st grade program. I thought about how, for 3 weeks, I was barely able to get out of bed. I do not remember a lot about those days, but what I do remember is the pain and the absolute feeling of helplessness. On my most desperate night, I laid awake with my tiny kids on either side of me. I cried out to God, "Lord, you know what I have been through in my life. Not once have I walked away from you, not once have I denounced your presence in every situation, and God, I need to know why, why me, why these precious babies, why now?" Some people would say that we really should not ask God why, but I have to tell you, that in that moment, God said, "Wait and See."

My dad and I took the trip to The Cleveland Clinic in the Spring of 2006. We walked into the Mellon Center, and were very abruptly faced with MS in many stages. On one side, a young lady walked with a slight limp, and across the room, a man sat paralyzed with a breathing machine attached to his wheelchair. I had been told that more than likely, I had what was known as "Devic's Disease." Devic's affects the spinal cord, therefor, compromising the nervous system, leading to the shut down of involuntary necessities, the most important being that of breathing. Because Devic's attacks the nervous system so aggressively, I was told it was terminal usually within 5 years.

I pushed that walker to the front of the church. As my church family prayed for me, I continued to cry out to God, asking WHY? My uncle, the pastor of my church, called me to his seat. He said, "Bon, I felt it right there, you were healed." I thanked him ever so sweetly and headed to my seat still having to grip the walker with all my might. On my way out, my uncle again said to me, "Bonnie, listen to me, you were healed!" I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Then why can't I walk, why can't I see, and WHY AM I STILL IN PAIN?" Before I had even gotten out of the church building I had questioned the power of my God.

It took an entire year to walk out my healing. Very gradually, the pain started to leave, the vision came back, and my balance got better. It was not until I had visited BOTH of my neurologists who came back with "Healing" reports that I totally walked in the healing God had done in my body. Sometimes, healing is an instant revelation and realization, and sometimes, it is a continuous walking out of what God has spoken over your life. I am a firm believer that God heals us in the very best way to show HIM to the world. While I did not understand then, and I certainly do not understand it all now, I do know that what the enemy thought might be the very last thing to make me fall was the VERY thing to catapult me for the cause of Christ.

People can speculate, people can judge. When moving from Woodland, I found all of the MRI's I have had done. I thought about pitching them in the attitude of "THAT IS NOT WHO I AM ANYMORE." But, I held onto them. If not for me, possibly for someone else who needs just a little more proof than I do that our God is still in the business of physically healing people given a life sentence.

I realized this afternoon that this is the year I was suppose to die. I realized this afternoon that this is the year in which I have been re-born. God does not waste anything. Everything belongs.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shoes and Hearts

"Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united spirit intend on one purpose." Philippians 2:1-2

There is very little more damaging to one's future than what they believe of themselves. We often define ourselves by the world's standards, our looks, personality, education, hair, and come on, let's be serious, on the cutest shoes we can find to wow our girlfriends! In a world surrounded by "People Pleasing", we have lost who we have been created by God to be. Viewing ourselves through the eyes of society has become the "norm" , not only for the "world", but for Christians as well.

My girlfriend was recently commenting on some things she saw as "strengths" in me. Because she knows this has been a difficult area for me, I laughed at her and said, "Don't COMPLIMENT ME!!" (let's face it, it's hard to take praise a lot of times), she never misses a beat, she looked at me with that half-smirked smile on her face and said, "I am NOT complimenting you, I am encouraging you, there is a difference." I had to digest that for a minute, because I truly did not "get" the difference.....but I do now.

A compliment speaks to that which "WE" have control of, our hair, our clothes, and our really sweet red pumps. We all enjoy compliments, it's part of that"People Pleasing" mentality. It means our choices have been accepted by our peers, and that we are being praised for our efforts to "fit in". Compliments are not a bad thing, not at girlfriends have the cutest clothes, the best hair, the prettiest jewelry AND the SWEETEST shoes, they of course know that because I never miss an opportunity to express my "acceptance" of their efforts. Women and Men alike enjoy the accolades of their buddies.

Encouragement comes from such a different place. It speaks to the desires of our hearts, who we truly want to be, and who we want people to see us as. When encouragement comes from a friend, it is wrapped in a big beautiful package and delivered with extra care and thought than a mere compliment. It means that in our life they have witnessed the attributes that would draw others to Christ. In our relationships, giving encouragement to someone is the very thing that Paul is talking about in Philippians 2:1. It is an "atta girl" to continue the calling God has placed on your life. It is taking our compliments, and placing them on the heart of the people around us. It is taking great care to edify and exhort those we are doing life with to continue on the road, even if there is persecution and sacrifice.

The word Encouragement here means to "exhort, admonish, comfort, summons" it holds in it's context the demand to continue on, even when the road gets tough and the light has dimmed in the distance. It is a very personal way for Christians to take part in each others lives as we together continue on in this life for Christ.

Give a compliment when you love her shoes; Give encouragement when you love her heart.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


"What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” Mark 10:51

I wanted glasses from very early age. I remember looking at girls with fancy frames and envying the "cuteness" it brought to them. I wanted to "see" what it was like to "see" through those cool little glass lenses, and experience the altered "vision" they would give. In the fifth grade, I FINALLY was able to flunk the vision test and I not only got ONE pair of glasses but TWO!!! How terrific to be able to change my frames with my changing moods!!! I was SO excited!!! But gradually, over a period of time, my dependence on those glasses became more and more, and they went from being a new fashion statement to a necessity to walk the next step. My vision had become dependant upon the very act of putting those glasses on my face....not to ALTAR my vision, but for my vision to be clearer.

How many of us want to "see" the vision without first depending on God to show us what that vision truly is? In our selfish minds, we just want to GET TO THE GOOD stuff promised and forget the journey we must take to get there. We like to blame this on the fast paced, techno world we live in, that we desire instant gratification because we have been warped by the generation we were born into. I would suggest that we are really not too far removed from the first humans created who wanted to "see" the way God did, and caved to the temptation to get there "quicker" by listening to the lies of the enemy. God is calling us to step out of that trap and into a deeper, more fulfilling, God focused walk into the purpose He created us for. Not to ALTAR our vision, but to see HIS vision.

God is calling us back to FOCUS. It is time to forget about how "cute" we look in the latest frames of the world, and clear our vision by looking on Jesus. There will be days of which our eye sight seems blurry, this is just God reminding us to look through the lens of His glass, and "see" what He has for us in that very moment. On days when we cannot see past the chaos of the day, FOCUS. On days when we have deflected every arrow and are tired, FOCUS. On days when the old wound is opened, FOCUS. On days when we are attacked and are innocent, FOCUS. On days when we react instead of respond, FOCUS. On days when WE are the ones who inflict the hurt, FOCUS.

God is calling us back to focus on worship. God is calling us back to focus on glory to Him. God is calling us back to focus our relationship with Him. God is calling us back to FOCUS.

"Visual", in the way God spoke it to my heart, has everything to do with the future He has called us to. It is going to be OK, it is going to be GOOD, but only if we keep our "vision" set THROUGH Him.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jesus With Skin On

Titus 2:3-4 "Older women likewise are to be reverent in their that they may encourage the young women......."

Could someone PLEASE tell me when I went from being part of the SECOND group in theses verses Paul wrote, to the FIRST group!!!??!!! It has been a transition that I really did not see happening. It is said that we are only as old as we feel, and honestly, I feel better than I ever have in my entire life, so that should make me right about 24!!

I look around me and see young women with so much potential for the Kingdom, yet so much baggage from the world. I know what that looks like, because I use to see that reflection looking back at me everyday. On the outside is a woman with so much anticipation and excitement for life, yet, on the inside, there are places so scarred by human interaction, that it nearly paralyzes her before she steps out the front door. As she attempts to forge forward in life, she tries with every breath in her to push those memories into the deepest part of her gut. If she pushes far enough, they will eventually disappear, and in the next step, she will be able to move on. With every year, it gets harder and harder to push down that memory, that hurt, that abuse, that neglect, that feeling of unworthiness put on her by someone else in her very innocent place of childhood. Instead of doing as she intended by pushing it far from her mind, it begins to take on it's very own corner of her heart. This corner then becomes a place that is so guarded and protected, that it secretly begins to form, in some way, her view of the people and world around her. It cannot be held so tightly without the pressure beginning to seep into the corner next to it, down to the one below, and over into another. Before she is even aware, this place only known to her, has manifest itself into a pattern and character by which she judges every single action she or anyone else does. And without the absolute transparency of another woman becoming "Jesus with Skin On" in her life, she may very well wilt and die before ever given the chance to flourish into who she was created to be.

If we do this thing right, we have the ability to change a generation of women growing up around us! I am reminded of Ruth and Naomi, the love and devotion Ruth felt towards her mother in law was in reciprocation of the love and wisdom Naomi had poured into Ruth's life. Although Naomi did not understand why Ruth would not leave her, Ruth knew that the gifts Naomi had given to her in those years was so precious because it had prepared her, ultimately, to be the wife of the kinsman redeemer, and in turn for what Naomi had instilled in Ruth, they both were blessed through what God brought to pass in Ruth's life. I am POSITIVE Naomi spoke life into Ruth during her years in her home. Could it be possible that God would use any one of us to be "Naomi" to a "Ruth" in our sphere of influence?

Sometimes, being on the receiving end gets so comfortable that we may never even imagine that there is another side to this. We are poured into, so that then we may pour into someone else. This is truly how God designed the roll of women in His New Testament church. He longed for the older women to live uprightly so that when they taught the young women, they had examples of others after God's own heart, women of high regard that the young ones could then glean from. It is no different in the modern day church. The Bible is active, therefor, it is speaking to us new everyday, we are being called to rise up as women of God to reset the course of someones life around us. I will not miss His calling.

I am experiencing a new level in my walk with God not only because of the Amazing women God has placed in my life "above" me in age, but also, because He has made it very clear that I too have those younger than me, affectionately referred to as the "young ones" in my life of whom also need mentoring and discipleship. I am blown away at how God has spoken to me in this area, because it is not one I would have chosen on my own. Women's Ministry is just that, "Ministry to Women", and it excites me that God is flaming a fire in the hearts of "young ones" around me. I believe with everything in me, that if we keep focused on Christ, the influence of the group of women around us will explode into manifestations of callings that will far reach beyond our current city!!

Here Goes God!!

Monday, May 16, 2011


"Iron sharpens iron; So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." Proverbs 27:17

Women are a complex bunch; I am aware this is not a "revelation", but in this particular stage of my life, it has been a most interesting and amazing discovery. I am humbled at the lessons I have learned over the last several months that have enabled me to embrace the complicated area of women and friendship, and the opportunity given to me by God to not have to study it, but to live it and experience it. There is no better teacher than life itself.

The 'mere word "friendship" causes a whirl of emotions in the heart of a woman. From a very early age we are relational with each other on a deep and intimate level. Sometimes, saying that word brings a smile to our face, but on other occasions, it causes us to think about times we have been betrayed. Unfortunately, because we are human, we are more than capable of hurting each other, but what I have found is that more often than not, our hurt stems from our own expectations of those we call "friend".

What if we, women as a whole, decided to give EVERYTHING to God.......What if we decided that the way WE were doing things was distorted and messed up, and that the only way to be truly free was to completely throw ourselves into the lap of The Almighty. What if we opened ourselves to Christ enough that we trusted Him with it all, our husbands, our kids, our finances, our homes, our jobs......and, our friendships. For me, I never really even THOUGHT about trusting God in friendship...seriously, it was never a big challenge for me to make friends, and I do not say that pridefully, I say it to set up the next point, that in never having to THINK about it, I have never been CHALLENGED to examine the purest form of it. I am not saying I should not have trusted God sooner, I am simply saying that I never had the conviction to, and in that, when God saw that it was time to "clean up" this area of my life, it was NOT an easy and pain free process.

Two months of seclusion is exactly what God had in store for me in this area. I began to look at myself in a different way, wondering, in my own flesh, what exactly it was about me that would attract new friends, what I needed to do to make that connection, where I needed to position myself in order to make "that" friend, who I needed to talk to in order to just......HAVE FRIENDS!!! In the first few weeks of moving to California, it consumed me...all I wanted was to be back in my comfortable place where I had complete acceptance........or at least complete control. I realized very early in, that I was not going to be able to do this on my own, and in focusing on the way God brought us here, He spoke very specifically to my heart that I needed to step aside and give Him the reigns. EASIER SAID THAN DONE for a CONTROL FREAK!!!

The very first place God began to deal was with the image I had of myself. How in the WORLD could I be a friend to anyone if I did not even really know who I was? The amazing thing that happened is that God knew me,, not at all, but overwhelming to say the least. God knew me, because He formed me. He knew I needed a "fresh approach" to myself and others, and what He started in those weeks of seclusion, He continued to transform in the weeks and months to come by placing very specific and healthy women in my life whom HE had picked out, NOT ME!! The very coolest thing about this is that the deepest friendships I have now, are the ones that held my hand and walked with me THROUGH the roughest part of discovering who God had created me to be. I will honestly tell you, that the Holy Spirit had revealed certain friendships to my heart going in, but I wrestled with it in my human-ness, cause I "thought" I needed something different. The friendships that began to be formed those early days were built on NOTHING I had done, NOTHING I had orchestrated, NOTHING I had manipulated, but COMPLETELY and SOLELY on Jesus Christ, and the work He was doing in my life. The very first thing I have in common with EACH of my new friends is that GOD was the beginning. MAYBE, these ladies did not even know going in that such a bond would form, and MAYBE, they too had been praying for healthy and meaningful friendship. What I know is, that God being the beginning, I am more than prompted daily to keep Him at the center.

Never do I want to expect from a friend something she is not able to give. It is essential to know that God made us each VERY different, and in order to love a person completely, I have to just celebrate the woman God made her to be, and rejoice that God DOES make opposites attract in many ways, I believe, to hone us like "iron on iron"! How selfish of us as women to depend on another to fulfill who we are! If we plug into Christ, and are full of His Spirit and drink from His well, then we are not going to thirst for the things our flesh would have us to. How about we throw ourselves into relationship with Christ, and allow His joy to manifest in us, and in turn, bless those around us, and then....then, we too reap the benefit of true friendship.

I have friendships that I have had for over 20 years that now, after this journey, are healthy. I praise God in the fact that He can restore what is broken and make it better than ever, with deeper respect and love for one another. I acknowledge that Christ has brought to me in this new season, friendships that are close, deep, and meaningful, and on a level with Him that is more important than what exactly SHE might be thinking of my shoes!!! I thank Him, that in the process, I have found companionship that is FUN, HILARIOUS, TOTALLY CRACK-UPABLE, and yet, a balance, in that, I will NOT hesitate to take the hand of one and bow right then and there to pray with her, to never worry if I need the same, and to know, that when I hear "I am praying for you" from any one of them, I never once question if that is true.

I am thankful today that God has given me clarity in who HE is first and foremost, followed by who I am IN HIM, and how exactly, each of "my girls" play a role in HIS plan for me AND them. I am grateful for the closest one as much as I am for the one that I talk to once every few weeks, because now, I realize God put them each in that position, NOT ME!!

Whew....I Love You Girls!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011


"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future." Proverbs 31:25

I have honestly never liked the phrase "I want to be the Proverbs 31 Woman". I mean, seriously, what woman do YOU know who can attain ALL of these things?... And even if we try our entire lives, to achieve in one area, is to fail miserably in the following. REALLY, not EVERY woman looks good in PURPLE!!!

Yesterday, I had an epiphany in the dressing room of a fine clothing store. Hilarious as it sounds, it is true. I had grabbed a couple of dresses, some pants, and a couple blouses off of the racks....every one had a number on the tag much smaller than I have ever even THOUGHT of trying on. With each successful round of "fitting" into the garments, the smile on my heart got a little brighter and a little brighter. There were so many things rushing through my mind, that I quickly became a bit overwhelmed with the entire experience. As I looked at the final dress hanging on the hook, I thought to myself, "It has a belt, I would never be able to pull off a dainty little belt like that"....I slipped on the dress without looking in the mirror, fastened the belt at my waste, and slowly turned myself to see the reflection looking back at me. Tears instantly came to my eyes, as, for the first time, I saw in that reflection, the image created in the likeness of my God.

In saying that, I need to also say that I was not looking at the PHYSICAL image in that mirror. No, for the very first time, I saw myself for who I was as a person, as a woman, as a child of God. I cannot even tell you when that vision of myself became conscrewed, but I have been very aware for a long time that I did not see myself the way my Heavenly Father does. Yesterday, the girl in the mirror smiling back at me was beautiful in a way that I almost did not recognize, shining through the eyes and the smile was a very real sense of Joy. Joy is where the tears came from.

In those few moments, my mind raced back over the events that have brought me to this point. Very quickly, things from my past that had held me in bondage were brought to mind and released. This was not a process that happened in 5 minutes looking in a dressing room mirror, no, this was the completion of a project God has been working on for many, many months. I realized that the grueling journey of examining who I am, my thought process, my motives, my actions, and putting them in alignment with God, had reached a point in which I could rest in Him and believe that the hardest part had been finished.

I left low self-esteem in that small room...and the feeling of not being worthy of love...I left insecurity and doubt there....along with bitterness and unforgiveness....I gained hold of the worth of my womanhood, the trust in my relationships, and the dignity of myself. In all, I left the broken, abandoned, self manipulated girl there...and took with me the confident, healed, untouched woman who is walking taller, and with more strength in the FEAR of her MOST HIGH GOD...with a smile, looking toward the future!

The latter is the focus of my new found belief in the "Proverbs 31 Woman". If I put one foot in front of the other, without sabotage on my own, and walk humbly in the Fear of the Lord, I will have achieved the greatest part of that entire chapter....from this, the rest will fall into place, and that gray dress will look just as stunning as any scarlet or purple!!