Tuesday, December 31, 2013


"Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past.  Behold, I will do something new.  Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?  I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:18-19

The year 2013 has found its way to the top of the list of years I am happy to say goodbye to.  There are so many reasons, none that are worthy of putting into written words, but never the less, reasons that justify its placement there.  It has been a difficult year for us, and yet, I am completely reminded also of the beauty it has brought to my life. Whatever I write will not be expression enough of the gratitude I have to God for smiling on me and my family this year, it is a simple attempt to share the faithfulness of He who began a good work....

I have watched my children grow through adversity.  So many times, through so many things, I have wondered how they would cope, how they would rise above the seemingly unfair situations that they were forced to be in the middle of.  And time after time, I have observed them turning to their faith in Jesus.  Michaela quietly writes a memory verse on the board in her room....Josiah verbally seeks answers to "why" God allows things.  They truly do inspire me to do this right, to exemplify, even in the weak moments, that God is always actively at work around us and through us.  My kids, they have truly been the Joy of my heart, in 2013.

I have been blessed with a job that has challenged me and chiseled me.  The strategic moves of God I may never understand, but I take comfort in believing it is all for His glory.  Being involved in ministry has not looked the way I thought it would look.  In fact, it is absolutely the opposite.  In that, I have learned so much about myself, the people I work with, the lives we are chosen to touch, and the God who's sovereignty reigns in it all. Working in a 'Life Center' has brought me to my knees; It has also often made me want to put on my running shoes and flee.  My job, it has been one of the scariest and best things that has happened to me, in 2013.

I have been given the gift of True Friendship.  A quote by Paul Tripp sticks in my mind as I try to define what this has looked like... "True Friendship calls you out of the darkness of personal privacy into the loving candor of mutual concern.  It moves you from being a sealed envelope to being an open letter."  I have been the recipient of exactly this from the girls who walk beside me.  Never once have I felt like whatever was going on in my head would not be heard by them, and not just heard, but felt.  In God's very awesome way, He has given to me friendships that are so different, and yet, so exactly the same; bringing perspective filled with love in the midst of chaos.  My Best Friends, they have been one of the most valuable gifts I could ever receive, in 2013.

I have been touched by the love of my family.  Though far away and defined differently than it had been in years past, I have felt the support and care from all those who love us and call us "theirs".  They may not clearly understand why we have such crazy faith in God, they may not always agree with how we may be doing certain things, but that has not stopped them from being there for us, helping us, praying for us, and loving us.  My Ohio family, they have demonstrated their love, in 2013.

And so, with so much Thankfulness and Praise to God for His provision, graciousness, and love, I say goodbye to 2013.  Goodbye to the struggle, goodbye to the scary, goodbye to the uncertainty.  And I say Hello to 2014.  Hello to the struggle, hello to the scary, hello to the uncertainty....because in it, lies the Greatest Gifts God could ever give...Roadways in the wilderness and Springs in the desert....

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Here I am. Send Me.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here I am.  Send me." Isaiah 6:8

I grew up in a little country Baptist church.  From the time I was a very little girl, I sang, and in the 4th grade, I had my first solo.  I still remember that song, every single word; 

" Here am I Lord, send me.  Here am I Lord, send me. 
 I will serve you faithfully, Here am I Lord, send me.

 Lord I give my life to you, take control each day, 
I will follow anywhere, near or far away.  

Here am I Lord, send me.  Here am I Lord, send me.  
I will serve you faithfully, Here am I Lord, send me.  

Lord I want your perfect will, be my faithful guide, 
I will never be afraid, you are close  beside.  

Here am I Lord, send me.  Here am I Lord, send me.  
I will serve you faithfully, Here am I Lord, send me.  

Let me see my mission field, all around each day.  
Fill my heart with Jesus' love.  Use me Lord, I pray.  

Here am I Lord, send me.  Here am I Lord, send me.  
I will serve you faithfully, Here am I Lord, send me.  
Here am I Lord, send me.  Here am I Lord, send me.  
I will serve you faithfully, Here am I Lord, send me."

There is always a song in my head..but the song began in my heart.  God used music to imprint His will on my life; the words above are the first to ever touch so deep that they became a part of me.  And tonight, I am not just reminded of this song, but of the faithfulness of God.  

I did not fully understand at 10 years old how God would craft the calling He had destined for me...but today, I see it full well.  I am ever willing to do my part to bring Him glory by walking in that plan He had for me...long before I ever noticed His light in the very dark places.   In the words of my dear friend, "If I went through it all just to help one, it was worth it." 

I will follow anywhere, near or far away.
I will never be afraid, you are close beside.
Fill my heart with Jesus' love. Use me Lord, I pray.
Here am I Lord, send me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Sound

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

It was too dark to see it, but I could hear it.  Its rhythm was calming, its presence called for quiet.  As I closed my eyes, I knew God was saying it once again, and this time, I was listening.  I awoke many times, but never without gently being lulled backed to sleep by the sound.  The waves crashed and receded, and as they did, I heard Him speak...peace.

I wrestled with the sound of peace because peace has no sound.  Within the chaos of life, there seemed no place for silence, no room for nothing.  Circumstances built chaos, and chaos produced confusion.  In the midst of confusion, finding my footing seemed the best way to overcome, and victory always seemed to come quicker with a loud battle cry. The warrior I had become was not of kindness and gentleness, but of quick tongue and brassy edges.  And yet....He was calling me to peace....

In John 14, Jesus is comforting his disciples after telling them of his immanent death; in verse 27 he says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, do not be afraid."  This is the kind of peace that God wants us to have.  In the face of uncertain circumstances, He offers to us something the world cannot give.  The world can give us chaos, confusion and instability, but it cannot give to us the peace that transcends our own understanding...but Jesus can.  

The sound of the Ocean became something more to me... it has been written on my heart in a new way, straight from Heaven.  It's view is magical, it's world a mystery, and it's sound...it's sound is peace.  When I wrestle with falling back to brassy, may I remember the music of the waves dancing to a rhythm written by God...calling me back to being still....calling me back to peace.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Valley of Purpose

"The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and sat me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones.  He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry." Ezekiel 37:1-2

So here you stand, in the middle of the valley looking around at a place that is dead and hopeless.  The smell startles you, a familiar stench, and yet foreign.  Your memory jogs and suddenly you realize you have been here before.  It has been a long time, so many things have changed, and yet, the valley is so very much the same.  

Your head is hanging low as you try to recall how you got here.  One wrong turn there, not listening close enough here; on and on you go for what seems like several minutes as you trace the steps to this very point.  Every mistake you have made is blazing in your ears, you cannot see past the regret of doing it wrong; and yet, in the midst of the chaos going on in your mind, you hear His voice.  It is a calm voice, calling you gently back, speaking words of Life and Truth, reminding you that you are His and He is here; even in the valley.

Today I read Ezekiel 37 verse one and had a sudden jolt in my spirit.  In Ezekiel's vision, he clearly says The hand of the Lord was on him, and HE (the Spirit of the Lord) brought him down into the valley.  What? God brought him down into this valley?  WOAH!!! You mean, it wasn't because of the wrong turns, the misplaced steps, the huge mistakes he made?  It was GOD??  And wait a minute...God brought Ezekiel down to the valley to use him?  To empower him to speak life and breath into dry bones? The chapter goes onto explain the vision in greater detail, that God was preparing Ezekiel to go speak that same LIFE into the people of Israel.  

God has us right where we are for a purpose.  It may seem like a valley to us, it may have all the familiar sights and smells of a place of darkness, but today let me challenge you as I have been challenged; to change the lens that we look through.  Instead of being blinded by the darkness, choose to see that glimmer of light.  Instead of being sucked into the despair, reach for the joy.  Instead of giving in to the death, stand up and fight for Life.  Allow your perspective to be filtered  through the eyes of Jesus.  Allow his grace to sustain you as you walk, and his mercy to catch you when you fall.  His plan for your life, for the lives of the ones you love, is nothing short of amazing. Be the agent of hope, and speak LIFE INTO DRY BONES!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Perfectly Placed

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" Isaiah 55:8-9

Like almost every morning, I scanned through my e-mails.  Because I had none showing up in my "VIP" list, (my way of filtering my favorites), I knew nothing was of immediate importance or worth. As I scrolled through, I stopped on a devotional.  If the opening scripture does not speak to me quickly in a moment like this, before my morning coffee has taken on it's full effect, I click delete before I even think about it.  This morning, I continued reading....

Even now, two hours later I can not remember what the content of that email was, but I do know that with that opening verse, God spoke swiftly to a part of me that was searching for stillness amongst the clatter of the things going through my mind.  Finding sleep last night was difficult as I played out every scenario and situation I am currently involved with.  With quite a bit of anxiety, I tossed and turned; with every turn a different topic came to my mind and I was sucked back into trying to "figure it all out."  I did not find a peaceful state to sleep last night, and my dreams continued the craziness in my head.  It was with that opening scripture that God jolted my attention; I was trying to figure it all out instead of trusting Him.

I am guilty of feeling it is my responsibility to make things run smooth in all aspects of life.  It is part of the "people pleaser" in me that is still in recovery. I get so caught up in things that I feel are injustices, that I take on this persona of a warrior going after the kill, and if I am not careful and very purposeful in my approach, I begin to take over where only God is suppose to be in control. I heard God say to me in the midst of my morning fog, "I am not your team mate, I am your leader, Bonnie. Give me back the control and rest.  I have you placed where I want you, allow me to guide you." 

Today, rest in the sovereignty of the Almighty, that He has you PERFECTLY PLACED right where He wants you.  Give Him back the control and allow Him to guide you in the purpose that He is working through you.  Jim Elliot, the missionary martyr once said, "Where ever you are, be all there", don't just be there, be ALL there.  Be ALL that mom that God wants you to be.  Be ALL that wife that God wants you to be.  Be ALL that leader God wants you to be; and be ALL that friend that God wants you to be.  Remember, His thoughts are not ours, His ways are HIGHER~ If God has you in this moment, in that relationship, in that circumstance, it is for a reason.  Trust Him, and give Him back His proper place...the lead....

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Let's Walk

Proverbs 13:20 "He who walks with the wise grows wise..."

Recently, my friend and I decided that as often as needed, we would remind each other that the most important things to get caught up in are those things that have an eternal value.  The words, "And remember, don't get caught up in that, it's not of eternal value" have become a normal part of our conversation...Why? Because almost daily, at least one of us needs a trusted verbal reminder that what we "feel" is not always the best way to determine what we set our passions to.

I have witnessed over the last couple of weeks, an intensity in situations around me.  Some of those situations are of eternal value and deserve the fight, but some are merely a ploy by the enemy to distract me from the things that are most important. Satan is sneaky and deceptive, but he is not smart; I do not do life alone, and if I am weak in my defenses on a given day, you can be sure my friends are on guard.  Sometimes, it might just be a single sentence from my mouth that hints to the battle I am having, and because I am walking with women who seek after God, He works in and through them to stand along side of me. Some days, it's a silent listening ear, and some days, it's a text in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, because quite frankly, I need someone I trust to raise their voice at me to get my mind back on the things of significance and not stupidity; and sometimes, I need someone to tell me to STAND and FIGHT for injustice and FLEX MY MUSCLES!!

I am reminded of the friendship of Jonathan and David.  Jonathan loved David so much, that when he saw the enemy ready to take David out, he protected him and told David of the plot his father had to kill him.  Isn't this the way we should be with our friends? So aware of what is going on in their lives, that we too recognize the enemy and quickly bring warning of an incoming attack?  And then I think of  Ruth and Naomi.  Ruth would not listen to the pleas of Naomi to leave her in her distress, instead, she committed to stand with her through the pain.  Isn't this the way we should be with our friends? Heart connected in such a way that we stand with them in their tough stuff, ready to be immovable when their world seems to be spinning?

Living life in community with like-minded, God seeking, Jesus passionate girlfriends is one of the greatest blessings God has given to me.  As a mentor and leader of women, it makes me smile when I see other ladies around me experiencing the same thing; true friendship.  God's design for women is to have relationship with one another in healthy ways, ways that glorify Him, and bring us closer to Him. I can not imagine my life without the ladies who walk on each side of me.  God's agenda far outweighs our own insecurities, and trusting that He has the best in mind for me gives me freedom, because I know it is He who has chosen for me, the "Best of the Best."

True Friendship~
It speaks Truth and Life~It Protects and Defends~It Sits and Listens~It Stands and Fights.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Five Reasons My Eyes Will Not Stop Sweating

Sometimes, God just wants us to thank him in the middle of our junk

1.)  I have this New Job.  It’s called a job because I actually get paid to do it,  but it’s so much more than that, it is a mission and a purpose.  Every day I wake up different than the day before.  The magnitude of the responsibility is so beyond my own capabilities.  Standing in the trenches is the place I most want to be.  And so, my eyes sweat in surrender to the only one who can do it through me.  Philippians 4:13
2.) I have an Amazing Husband.  I think about his sacrifice for our family, and I am so proud to be his wife.  When days get long and I am emotional and exhausted, I remember that we are in this together and that God gave me the best team-mate. His life exemplifies the true transforming power of Jesus Christ. And so, my eyes sweat in gratitude to the one who brought me to him. 1 Chronicles 16:34
3.) I have two Beautiful Children. My kids simply rock.  There could never be two more different flowers from the same garden. I look at them and wonder what I ever did to deserve such precious people of my own. They make me laugh and stir my heart in ways I never knew possible. They make me proud every single day for simply being who God created them to be.  And so, my eyes sweat in thanksgiving to the one who blessed me with them.   1 Samuel 1:27
4.) I have an Awesome Church.  The heartbeat of the local body I call family, is the heartbeat of Jesus.  Transparency and authenticity leaks from everywhere.  Joy fills every room because true love resides there.  It is a place passionate about the things of God and the desire to see each life touched and restored in a supernatural way.  And so, my eyes sweat in love for the one who brought me here. 1 Corinthians 11:1
5.) I have True Friends.  I use to think I knew what friendship was, but I didn’t.  God has so delicately placed amazing women in my life who see me better than my best and call me higher than my highest.  True friendship is without expectation and judgment.  It is viewed with eyes that see into the heart. It is knowing your place without question, and trusting without hesitation. It is listening and being heard. It is comfort, it is strength, it is bold, it is gentle, it is kind, and it is love.  And so, my eyes sweat from a heart filled with joy for undeserved favor, to the one who gave them to me. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Crazy Faith

Romans 4:20-21 "No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised."

I am, by nature or nurture, a tad bit crazy; my personality and unique look at life has always held a certain element of exaggeration.  I will never forget a couple of years ago, a friend and I were on a trolley car in San Francisco; I can't remember at all what I had said to her, but she looked at me so matter-of-factly and said, "You're such an over exaggerator," and then totally cracked up at herself.  I did not laugh; in fact, I began that very day to investigate what that description meant, and how I had been labeled as such in her eyes. As I continued the journey to wholeness in Christ, I realized that those words, words she probably forgot in less than 5 seconds, were true words, but they were not necessarily negative words.  I am an exaggerator, and I am crazy, but throughout my entire life, I was not using those pieces of my personality for anything except drama, drama, and more drama.

When I talk about what God has done in my life, I sound a little crazy, and people think I might just be exaggerating, when in fact, it's all very true.  I am different than I once was; Where there use to be hostility, there is peace.  Where there use to be fear, there is confidence.  Where there use to be uncertainty, there is promise.  Where there use to be death, there is life. I do not forget the fragile woman I once was, because she is still a part of who I am. I look at her in the mirror everyday, and although I see her, the reflection is very different.  She is still crazy, but she is crazy about the things of God, not the nets cast by this world to entangle her and hold her back.

I cannot imagine living any other way than totally sold out for the things of the Kingdom.  To go backwards would never be ok, because God is calling me forward. Noah didn't decide to stop following God after God brought him and his family through the Great Flood.  Abraham didn't decide to stop following God after God spared his son from sacrifice. Joseph didn't decide to stop following God after he was rescued from the pit. Daniel didn't decide to stop following God after God saved him from the lions; and I will not stop following God after He has healed my body, healed my mind, healed my emotions, healed my heart, and healed my family.  

Call me crazy, but when you call me crazy, pay close attention to the things I am crazy about.  I have crazy faith and crazy anticipation of the promises of God.  I may not look at life the same way many people do, but I hope I challenge those around me to look past their current situation and see God in the middle of it.  I live my life big with an exaggerated personality, but when you see the actions I take that seem exaggerated to you, look closer at the reasons I do them; those reasons are found in the promises already fulfilled by Christ in my life. 

Crazy Faith.

Crazy Faith.
Crazy Faith.

The kind that does not make sense and makes people wonder, but when fulfilled, brings  multitudes into relationship with Jesus.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Do You Trust Me?

"The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God."  Daniel 6:23
Imagine being thrown into a den of hungry lions, left there to be devoured, only to be pulled out not only alive, but alive and untouched.  Daniel's deliverance from the lions is an amazing example of God following through on His promises.  God had promised that He was going to deliver the people of Israel if they obeyed His law.  Daniel took God at His word and continued to obey, despite the threats of death on his life. 
As I was recounting this story in scripture, my eyes were halted and focused on verse 10, I could not get past it-"...and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously."  So, after Daniel knew his sentence of death had been signed, he continued to obey God, even knowing he was about to stare death in the face.  His faith in God superseded his fear of man. 
Seems almost impossible to us, doesn't it? To have the faith to stand in the face of certain death.  To choose to obey instead of conceding to save one's life.  To stand up to the king and say his man made rules do not supersede the law of the Lord. To open the windows and pray confidently to the God who has promised to deliver his people from harm.  It can seem impossible to us because many times, we do not take the stance to hear the voice of the Lord, to recognize Him, and take Him at His word.  The stance of being on our knees, fully surrendered to His will for our lives.
Why don't we find ourselves in that stance? Is it fear? Is it distrust? Is it being too busy? Is it that we might lose control? I would say yes...to all of those and more.  Because we live in a world where authority seems to dictate to us what we do and how we act, we often limit God to those exact permitters, that if He is asking us to obey Him, then we are going to lose our rights and privileges.  While I understand where those thoughts come from, it does not give excuse for us to live our life in disobedience, always doing what we feel would be best for us, never consulting the one who actually created us! We have humanized God so much, that we see Him the same way we do our earthly rulers, when all He wants is to GIVE  to us our rights and privileges as HEIRS to His Kingdom.
Finding oneself in a modern day lions den can be terrifying. But listening to His voice, with the promise of life on the other side, far outweighs the fear.  Not long ago, I heard Him say to me, "Do you trust me?"....Of course I said, "yes"....only to hear Him say, "No, do you TRUST me?" in the calmest and most comforting way.  I felt my heart bow before Him with a tender "YES".  That is who God is, He is our Confidence in the face of fear; He is our Yes in the middle of no; He is our Strength when we are at our weakest; He is our All when we have nothing.
Do you trust Him?....NO, do you TRUST Him??......