05/26/16

The Hard Yes.

1 Samuel 15:22, “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.’” (NASB) 

Some “Yes’s” are harder than others.

You know what I am talking about.

Those yes’s that squeeze your heart, make you well up, and make you feel as though you are leaving all your hopes and dreams behind. Forgotten.

Those yes’s that you doubt, because saying that “yes” is so circumspect and counter-intuitive that you know it must be of Him, because you certainly would have never said “yes!” to that!

Those are hard yes’s. And sometimes we cannot see the blessings that will come from our sacrifice & obedience until after we say the hard yes, agree, and content our heart to His will.

This devotion is from Proverbs 31 Ministries, you all know is a favorite of mine, written by Glynnis Whitwer detailing her hardest yes, but her testimony remains that “the harder the yes, the more I am blessed!” I hope your heart finds encouragement.

The Blessings of the Hard Yes 

“When my husband travelled cross-country to interview for a job, we had no plans to move. We didn’t think he’d get an offer, and honestly, I hoped he wouldn’t. I had no intention of moving 2000 miles from home. So when the offer came through and my husband was interested, I said no.

With three little boys under age 7, I couldn’t even go to the store by myself. How could I move away from my parents, sisters, friends and church? How could I give up my part-time job that allowed one day a week with a lunch break? Convinced I’d be miserable, I put my foot down.

I even said, “Just because your name rhymes with God …” (his name is Todd) “doesn’t mean you know God’s will for me!” (Ahem. Not my finest moment as a wife.)

Then for the first time in my Christian life, I heard God speak. How do I know it was God? It was something I would never have told myself. God told me to tell my husband yes.

In fact, God was very clear. He said, “Your husband has never demanded his way; it’s his time. Tell him yes.”

You’d think I’d be overjoyed to hear God so clearly. I’d longed for Him to speak to me for years. But why did it have to be about this? Why didn’t God tell me to treat myself to a new outfit or pedicure? Not move across country! But that was God’s command and with a fearful heart, I said yes.

I think of that time whenever I read the account of the Israelites in the Old Testament book of Numbers. They left slavery in Egypt and were travelling to the Promised Land. Only the journey wasn’t clearly laid out before them. They didn’t know the exact destination, and they didn’t know the path God would lead them on.

God gave them direction through a cloud over the tabernacle. When the cloud lifted, the Israelites packed up and followed the cloud, no matter whether it was day or night. During the night, the Lord even provided a fire in the cloud. When it stopped, they stopped.

It was a life of faith as our key verse explains, “At the LORD‘s command they encamped, and at the LORD‘s command they set out. They obeyed the LORD‘s order, in accordance with his command through Moses” (Numbers 9:23).

God knew what He had waiting for His chosen people, and it was GOOD. And that’s what the Lord did for me.

What we thought was a career move for my husband, turned out to be a priority-flipping, life-changing move for me. God pried my tight grip from a life lead by me, and showed the beauty of a life lead by Him.

Within weeks of moving to our new city, God lead us to a church where Proverbs 31 Ministries’ President Lysa TerKeurst “just happened” to be giving her testimony that Sunday. Later that week I heard her on the radio, and God spoke to me a second time and told me, “Call her and volunteer.”

That yes was almost as hard as the first, because I don’t just call people I don’t know. But again, because I knew it wasn’t my own thought, I obeyed. When I reached Lysa and told her I had just moved and had a degree in journalism and I was wondering if Proverbs 31 needed any volunteers, she said, “We’ve been praying for someone with a degree in journalism.”

Eighteen years later, God has transformed my heart, my faith and my family through that first hard yes. In that time, I’ve learned that God seldom gives me a road map for my next assignment. He simply tells me to move and waits for my yes.

As scary as it is to obey, God has proven His faithfulness. Even when it looks like I’m headed into the unknown, it’s only because my sight is limited. God knows His good plans for me, He just wants me to trust Him. And each time I do, the result is better than I could ever imagine.

God has given me joy and peace, He’s removed the fear that kept me bound for years, and my faith has grown. Although it’s a paradox, I’ve learned this truth: The harder the yes, the greater I’m blessed.”

GLYNNIS WHITWER

– See more at: http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/the-blessings-of-the-hard-yes/#sthash.OM0NgdOu.dpuf

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05/23/16

Summer Reading 2016 ed.

I’ve never made it a secret, but I love to make myself a Summer Reading list each year. It harkens back the sweetest memories from my childhood when my teachers would publish our Summer Reading list the final week of school and it would be our choice as to what we read, how many we read, and finally which one we decided to write a book report on.

I was spell bound.

I remember, so distinctly, furiously reading at my Nana & DatDat’s condo, the site of all my most cherished childhood (and young adulthood) summers.

On the beach. By the pool. On the porch. In my bed.

My summers were consumed with sand, surf, seafood, adventure, and imagination.

Those are sweet memories for me.

In fact, I had always casually enjoyed reading. It was something sweet mama had instilled in me from a young age, but it wasn’t until the summer between my 10th and 11th grade years that I fell in love with reading. For it was that year that Francine River’s A Voice in the Wind was on my reading list for Mrs. Wozniak’s Honors English class. It is still to this day, one of the single greatest pieces of fiction I have ever read. Or ever will read, for that matter. I love it and have re-read it half a dozen times!

But, you will never discover that “book you could never imagine living without” unless you read. Read as often as possible. And it’s for those reasons that I submit to you my Summer Reading list for this year and this season.

Some of these books have been on my Goodreads “To Read” shelf for quite some time. Others are relative new-comers that I picked up one day at B&N, read the back cover, and thought- “that sounds good!” While others are recommendations from other friends and fellow-readers of books that you couldn’t put down, and maybe I won’t be able to either!

So, here we go…

Down Where my Love Lives by Charles Martin

{a compilation of 2 of his iconic stories, The Dead Don’t Dance and Maggie together in 1 volume}

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The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

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Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked my God & my Soul by Jennie Allen

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What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, & Love by Carole Radziwill

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A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman

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One Bowl Baking by Yvonne Ruperti

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That should keep my busy for a while…

It’s an eclectic mix of Fiction, Non-fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Spiritual, historical, baking, and sentimental, all wrapped into one amazing summer.

It is sure to be a fun one! Read along with me!

And this week, I find myself ankle deep, toes in the sand under the sunny & breezy skies in Hilton Head Island, SC with my family. I am sure to knock a few of these off the list this week.

The beach and a book. My happy place.

xoxo…

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