Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reign Real Now! Your Place is on a throne with a sword.

I want to give credit to the amazing artist who created this, but I cannot find the name. 

Greetings Princess Warriors! I didn’t quite make my seven day posting commitment … but I am close. I’m hoping the following teaser for my upcoming book: Reign Real: Becoming a Princes Warrior for Christ makes up for my lapse! I’d be thrilled to have your thoughts, suggestions, and comments, and I hope you take time to complete the activities at the end of the chapter. I believe they will challenge you and draw you closer to the One True King.
(Please note: The “sidebar” boxes will be on the sidebar in the actual book, not smack dab in the middle of the text. So use your imagination!)

Introduction
Ding-dong! Ding-dong! The doorbell chimed impatiently.
With my overflowing candy bowl in one hand and my Gospel tracts in the other, I courageously opened the door to a crowd of dancing, hopping, and very noisy costumed characters. A kitty-cat, Superman, Batman, and one, two, three…little princesses squirmed anxiously, anticipating more tasty treats to add to their already overflowing buckets, bags, and plastic pumpkins.
“Mom, I wanted to be a princess, too,” the incredibly cute kitty-cat whined at her mother who hovered protectively nearby looking none too pleased by her daughter’s public proclamation. 
Considering the manner in which Miss Kitty-cat was eyeing Disney Princess number three, I thought a hiss and loud meow might be forthcoming. Thank goodness the animal control truck was rounding up critters in another neighborhood! Hurriedly, I handed out candy and the story of salvation to eager hands.
“Thank you,” they all chorused.
As the group scampered down the walkway, Kitty-cat stopped in front of Princess Three. “I wanted your costume because I’m a princess, but my mom said I had to be a kitten this year.” Her shoulders sagged with obvious regret.
To my amazement, the princess offered this fascinating explanation, “I wanted to be a ninja warrior, but my mom said I was a little princess. You can have my crown if you want.” Before her mom could protest, she dramatically removed her sparkling, jeweled treasure and placed it on Kitty-cat’s head, just behind the fuzzy-leopard ears. “There, now we’re both princesses, and I’m a warrior, too,” she added, proudly.
“Me, too.” Princess number two agreed, nodding enthusiastically.
Me too, I thought, still amazed by Princess Three’s generosity. A bit selfish at times, I’m not sure I would have parted with such a prized possession.
Thankfully, though, as a daughter of the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords, I am royalty, created to reign forever with my Lord. Just like the delightfully dressed-up-princess, sometimes I reign with a wand and other times I brandish a sword. Living as a Princess Warrior, seated on a Throne of God’s glory, isn’t always easy, but it is the most rewarding and exciting position any woman could possibly have. Really.
Not to mention there are enough crowns for all God’s girls!
So, if you dream of becoming a princess — crown, gown, scepter, and all the royal trimmings — you’re not alone. If you sometimes envision yourself lifting your royal ruffles to launch a swift kick at an unrelenting enemy, or unsheathing your saber instead of your scepter, keep reading.
Ladies, when you belong to the Ultimate King of Heaven and Earth, you truly are a priceless princess and a worthy warrior. Although the two titles may seem decidedly incompatible, please, consider again.
Should you be reading this book with hair rollers dangling from the very lochs they’re supposed to curl, your mascara clumping on areas other than your lashes, and un-matching socks with holes in the heels (don’t ask how I know about this stuff) there is still a throne for you. The King says so!
Indeed much has been written about understanding our position in Christ and how to fight the good fight of faith. But, have we as women accurately embraced our inclusive identity as both princess and warrior?
If not, don’t worry. You can join me as together we discover how to reign real in an increasingly wicked world, accepting the thrones our Heavenly Father fashioned just for us. And remember, in this Kingdom, women with ample behinds (that’s me), messy hair (okay, me again), and a ton of imperfections (need I say more?) fit perfectly on the thrones they've been given.
A hallelujah moment: There’s no need to “get pretty,” lose weight, or visit the hair salon before sitting on your throne, scepter and sword in hand. Jesus Christ has taken care of all the details. It’s simply up to us to believe and hold on to Him.
And remember, because of Jesus, we really can live happily ever after, not like a false, fairytale princess, but as a godly warrior princess. Our happiness will not be fully realized in this world or this lifetime, but by reigning real here and now, we will reap riches and rewards beyond our wildest expectations in our eternal Kingdom to come. After all, the Kingdom we belong to will always exist; and not just in our childhood dreams, but forever and ever (that’s a long, long, time) in the presence of God Almighty.
Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession.
                                         Deuteronomy 14:2 NIV 

Chapter 1
Are you a Princess Warrior? No not Zena!
A Princess called Caraboo
Nearly two-hundred years ago in a small English town, a princess appeared. Ta … da! This striking beauty spoke an unrecognizable language, and was found dressed in exotic attire. A number of concerned (a nice word for nosy) and fascinated people attempted to decipher their mysterious visitor’s language, and the whereabouts of her native homeland.
Unfortunately, other than her highly unusual behavior that included sleeping on the floor (ouch), refusing to eat meat, dining on pineapple (fine by me), swimming naked (not fine by me), fencing, practicing archery, and praying to a god she called Allah Tallah, no one knew who she really was, or, where she came from.  She called herself, Caraboo, Princess Caraboo.
Eventually, a Portuguese sailor said he could translate her gibberish. A tale of intrigue unraveled, revealing the exquisite foreigner was actually “Princess Caraboo” and she had been captured by pirates who had kidnapped her from the island of Javasu in the Indian Ocean. Miraculously, Princess Caraboo had somehow managed to escape her tormentors by throwing herself into the channel and swimming ashore. (Is this girl for real?)
For several months, the lovely princess resided with a prominent and wealthy family who flaunted her exotic royalty to the local bigwigs, only to discover later that their infamous houseguest was actually a cobbler’s daughter named Mary Baker.
Sidebar box: Royal Reminder: Hiding doesn’t work! In a game of hide and seek even the best “hider” is eventually found. For whatever we do in the dark eventually comes out in the light. So, why bother trying?
Miss Baker had created her own royal personage and a language derived from gypsy words and her imagination. Following this untimely disclosure, Miss Baker continued her façade, traveling to Spain, France, and ultimately back to England when her act finally proved unsuccessful. Many years later, after becoming a “saleswoman” and selling leeches (the blood-sucking kind) to local hospitals, she died as a lonely, old woman buried in an unmarked grave.
Mirror Mirror on the Wall
After first reading this tantalizing, and somewhat scandalous tale, I was intrigued (nosy), shocked, and then somewhat depressed. Why would a beautiful young woman go to such extreme lengths to “be” a princess? Why would someone reinvent their whole identity?
Instead of allowing myself to pass judgment on this haunting figure, I took an extended look in the mirror of my own life.
Sidebar box: Royal Reminder: Shining the light of God’s truth in your heart is like pointing your flashlight under a bed; you can no longer ignore the dirt.
There I discovered what many of you already know ― sometimes, oftentimes, we don’t believe we are worthy. We don’t believe we’re enough. We feel hopeless, helpless, hostile, and even hateful. We fantasize about what our lives would be like if only we had the perfect fulfilling career and lived in a luxurious castle, married to the perfect prince, with a perfect nanny and servants to help us raise our almost-perfect children. Did I forget the — if only I had the perfectly sculpted, toned, tanned, figure without having to work for it and all would be well syndrome? 
Sidebar box: Royal Reminder: If only: The two words that best describe dissatisfaction. How often do you utter the terrible two? Tell the truth, girls!
Some of us have taken our own dissatisfaction a step further and determined to become somebody different. In fact, as a young teenager, I had already survived several years of relentless teasing from a group of girls on my swim team. I’m not talking about a few unkind words here and there; rather, I was assaulted with menacing words, not only by my female teammates, but by several team moms as well. During this time, my vocabulary expanded with words that even a seasoned sailor might find offensive.
Why this attack started, I can only guess. I assume it was triggered by some sudden swimming improvements on my side of the pool, and the fact that a previous swimming-princess was dethroned, while I became the number one seated ten-year-old.
You’ve all read about the “cheerleader mom syndrome,” right? Well, unfortunately, I’d become a target of one such mother. As I entered my tender teenage years, I developed a strong sense of dissatisfaction with who I was. So as I sought approval from others who didn’t know me, I’d often change my name, my age, and behave in a way that was not properly suited for a young girl of thirteen. Needless to say, this “identity” led me down some paths I wish I’d never traveled.
I remember later in life, one brave therapist asked that I bring my photo albums to one of our sessions. Although I found this request rather odd, I complied. As we carefully explored the worn photos, page by page, something fascinating was revealed. The therapist, looking closely at my sixth grade picture asked, “What happened at this point in hour life?” (yes, I was ten) He went on to explain that my eyes had changed. The twinkle was gone.
Are you with me, ladies?
That was the very same time the swim team debacle had started. Hiding our pain isn’t as easy as we might believe. That camera sure captured it. Our hearts sure feel it.
Perhaps you haven’t taken on a whole new identity like Princess Caraboo, or pretended to be someone else as I did, but I suspect somewhere in the painful valleys of your life, you, too, have sought a mask or two, or three … to hide behind.
Maybe we no longer fit into those frilly princess costumes of days past, but with excruciating efforts we can force ourselves to squeeze into identities not created for us. Yet, why would we do such a thing when right now, this very moment, an eternal King has unlimited royalty positions open, enough thrones to go around, and heavenly real-estate priced at the all-time, rock-bottom, no-hidden-fees or gimmicks price of ― free. Yes, free! 
Sidebar box: Royal Reminder: Put away that checkbook! Heavenly real-estate prices and percentages never change. They are permanently secured at zero. No hidden fees to pay, no annual percentage rate increases, no late charges, ever. Jesus Christ covered the cost. With His life, He paid the price.
Ladies, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Heavenly King, we wear the robes of royalty. Our whole identity changes for the better. Not only do we finally find a real prince charming, but we also become destiny-filled, priceless princesses and worthy warriors who are able to reign real from thrones of grace. Hope is restored, and God redeems us and sets us free … indeed.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1a NIV
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

Xena, Xena, she’s not our gal
Before we go any further, we’ve got to talk about you know who — Xena “warrior princess.” Gorgeous brunette, curvy figure, leather attire, and an array of skin-slicing weapons with an unforgettable battle cry, yep, that’s the one. Please, don’t try the battle cry; it hurts.
I know; I shouldn’t have brought it up. So, if you’re curious (I can practically hear you begging me for more information about that notorious screech) go to handy dandy YouTube and do a Xena search. Just type in “Xena war cry.” After you’ve screamed like a banshee once or twice, hurry back to this page. Don’t tarry!
Now that you’ve returned, erase her image from your mind, most of it anyway. Certainly, we can find some parallels to our royal cause, but, quite frankly, a majority of the time, this captivating heroine stayed stuck in the warrior mode, and like Princess Caraboo, she was worshipping the wrong entity — herself.
For those of you who don’t know, Xena Warrior Princess was an American television series airing from 1995 to 2001. The show continues to have a cult-like following and anxious fans eagerly await Xena’s reappearance on the Big Screen someday. Like Star Trek’s infamous “to boldly go where no man has gone before” opening, the Xena voiceover proudly proclaimed its own unique message:  “In a time of ancient gods, warlords and kings...A land in turmoil cried out for a hero. She was Xena, a mighty princess forged in the heat of battle. The power...the passion...the danger...Her courage will change the world.”
Ah … can you sense the excitement, the danger, the adventure? Surely there were some defining moments as Xena fought to overcome her hateful and dark past. I’m certain many of you can somehow relate to that process. However, Xena went about it all wrong. Her mission, to save so-called “innocents” from harm and redeem herself sounds noble, but it’s a lost cause. She bravely fought a long list of villains during the show’s 134 episode run (not to mention her appearances on Hercules) in an attempt to find the redemption she so desperately desired — redemption she could never earn.
Sidebar box: Royal Reminder: A sexy, leather-clad Xena may be worthy of a theme song, but it doesn’t make her deserving of a Throne. Real royalty is lifted from the ashes of sin and born again by the grace and glory of God.

Ladies, we cannot liberate ourselves. No one, not even Warrior Princess – Xena can perform enough harrowing rescues or good deeds to obtain salvation. No matter how many toilets we scrub, noses we wipe, business meetings we attend, church committees we’re on, no matter what we “do,” we will never measure up … without God’s grace.
This book isn’t about powering through life in thigh-high boots, with a baby on one hip and a sword strapped to the other. Although, that makes an interesting picture, it doesn’t make sense, nor is it God’s desire.
Rather, in the following chapters we will discover what a godly, princess warrior does from her throne and the protocol that allows her live faithfully as her King’s daughter. I think you’ll be surprised to discover she spends a great deal of time helping others find their thrones, while eliminating those things that try to topple her from her own.
Royal Decree: The position of Princess Warrior is open to every woman who believes and belongs to Jesus Christ. If you have not yet accepted His gift of eternal life, please, don’t wait another moment. For we are not snooty princesses or ruthless warriors, we are the real deal, and reigning real only makes sense when you’ve been crowned as part of His royal court, God’s family. Dear sister, your throne waits …
Sidebar box: Royal Reminder: All of Heaven applauds your decision to wear the Crown of Christ. Go ahead girlfriend … put it on!

Right now, I’d like to pray for you.
    Dear Heavenly Father, my mighty King and valiant Savior, I ask that you reach deep into the heart of my sister. As she reads this prayer and the words from Your love letters, the Holy Bible, may she find hope for her situation, and may she drink from Your living water in order never to thirst again. Allow her to see Your truth and the amazing fact that You died a horrible death on a filthy Roman cross to save her. Had it been only her, You still would have died to set her free from sin and death. Give her the courage to reach for You, Jesus. May she ask for your healing, forgiveness, and grace. In Your name, Jesus, we pray, amen.               
If you already belong to the King, hallelujah! I’d like to invite you also to pray the above prayer, inserting the name of any friend, coworker, or family member that does not yet know the King of Kings.
From the King’s Desk…God’s Love Letters to His Princess Warriors:
I will call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.
Psalm 18:3 Amplified Bible
Jesus is "the stone you masons threw out, which is now the cornerstone. Salvation comes no other way; no other name has been or will be given to us by which we can be saved, only this one." Acts 4:11-12 The Message
God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
 Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
 Romans 12:9 KJV
From the pen of a princess:
At the end of each chapter, you will find several questions or activities specifically designed to help you further embrace God’s truths and will for your life. Take time to explore and share what you are learning. Feel free to use these activities for small group discussion.
·         When you were a little girl, did you want to be a princess, or envision yourself as a warrior? If so, please explain.
·         Was there a time in your life when you, like Princess Caraboo, pretended to be someone else? What circumstances or feelings led you to take on a different identity?  What type of “masks” have you hidden behind?
·         What about Xena? Is there anything about her that you find appealing? If so, what? and why? If not, please explain.
Timeless Truth:
God loves His daughters with an everlasting, unceasing love. As a Princess Warrior there is no need to hide your face, ever, for you are free indeed.
Enter His Throne Room and Bring your Blunders:
All right girls, now is the time to lay it on the line, to air the dirty laundry, to take out the trash. Are you ready? A key to reigning effectively is the ability to confess our sins to God and one another. I call it “telling on myself.” When we keep secrets we become weighted down. One popular cliché states that we’re only as sick as our secrets. So … let’s lighten our load and stay spiritually fit.
·         Share at least one way that you have acted phony or fake in relation to others this past week. For example, have you been dishonest, devious? Do you pretend to agree when you really disagree? Are you pretending to be okay when you’re really not?  Let’s check our honesty levels, ladies. The truth will set us free.
Dear Holy King,

Thank you for loving me with an everlasting love. Your grace is truly amazing. Thank you for Your compassion, for You pursued me with love even when I tried to hide from You. Today, in this moment, I choose to lay aside any dishonest statements, actions, false identities, or useless masks, and instead put on the robes of royalty, a heavenly crown, and the powerful armor You have provided so generously for me. You have saved me from the law of sin and death. I am willing to serve You and reign real in this world, helping others see Your love shining through me. May I be Your light in the darkness, Your voice in the desert, and Your hope for the hopeless. I love You, my King, Jesus. Amen.

Thank you for taking time to read the introduction and first Chapter in my upcoming book. Again, I welcome (would love to have) your feedback. This book is for you. I will be posting chapters two and three as well. I hope God spoke to you and touched you in some small (or big, mighty) way. Blessings to you, my sister in Christ. You are indeed a Daughter of the King.


Friday, April 4, 2014

It's Time to Begin Anew


Precious Princess Warriors, it has been a very challenging couple of years. My mom was diagnosed with Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia. We did everything possible to keep her in our home. However, eventually, due to her obsessive need to go out the front door, and I mean obsessive, we made the heart wrenching decision to transfer to a nearby memory care program. She is doing as well as can be expected. In addition, I lost my "day job" of six years, and struggled with chronic pain and exhaustion related to Fibromyalgia. Let's just say it's been a tough two years that have challenged my faith, my warrior heart, and my desire to serve. I discovered the desolation of desert living and spent time wandering in circles, stuck in my pain, and lost in questioning thoughts.

I did very little ministry outreach, and spoke only at events where the planners found me, no longer reaching out to 'promote' my ministry or offer my services. But little by little, as I clung to my Princess Warrior identity, and who God was, is, and always will be, I began to smile again. He is always good regardless of our circumstances. He works together for our good even through tragedy. He loves us despite our mistrust and misgivings. He forgives and forgets our transgressions. He gives us hope for better tomorrows. 

My better tomorrow's have come. I believe that and hang onto that statement through the trials and tribulations that are part of everyone's life on this fallen planet. Until we celebrate together in our heavenly home, tears will continue to be a very real part of our lives, but so will smiles, laughter, and times of joy. 

If you're new, I'd like to welcome your to my website/blog, if you've stopped by before, welcome back. Here we reign real. We lay it on the line. We're women who love God in all our imperfections and weaknesses. Together we learn to depend on our King, and support one another with his love, encouraging all women to embrace their identities as His Royal Daughters. I'm back. I'm speaking. Sharing. Praying. And ready to once again encourage you. I hope if you've visited over the past two years you have enjoyed your times here and have been touched and moved to draw closer to Jesus through my older posts. 

Now it's time for the new. 

I am committing to share with you at a minimum of once a week, likely more. But learning not to over commit is just one of my recent lessons. So I'll start small and dream big! I will also be updating the sections on the site that were left empty and waiting. And I encourage you to share you prayer requests, encouragements, lessons, and comments on the "prayer page." 

I'm expecting God to move in BIG Ways as we come together, as His Princess Warriors. I'm finally working on the book that was waiting for me to finish. I'll leave you with the cover art. I hope it inspires you and reminds you of His beauty. I can't give you a release date just yet, but it is coming. 

Remembers, sisters, with Him and through Him, all things are possible. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Year: New Choices. (Choose Patience)




Paving the Road with Patience: Living in the Light

A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.
Proverbs 14:29

I could barely see beyond my rain-splattered windshield. Thankfully, I managed, with the wipers on high speed, to locate my exit. Letting out a sigh of relief, I prepared for the final leg of my journey home following a long day at work a stressful day to put it mildly.
            Just as I merged onto the off ramp, another vehicle sped by, cut in front of me, and headed up the ramp, only to slam on his brakes and skid to a stop before redirecting his car back onto the freeway. To make matters worse, he performed a certain, unacceptable hand “gesture” as he raced away into the stormy night.
            Shocked, and more than a little dismayed, I analyzed my choices:
1. I could tear off and follow him in a radical display of road rage.
2. I could yell not-so-nice things about him the rest of the way home.
3. I could choose to pray and behave in a patient and kind manner regardless of the fact that no one was watching.
Honestly, I started with number two before remembering that I did indeed have an audience of One. This particular “audience” was the One that mattered most. My Savior had a front row seat to my actions. He could hear my words. He knew my heart.
I realized right then that ranting and raving in my car, at a driver already a mile down the road, was just plain foolish. I could follow my Lord’s example or act as ridiculous as the stranger I was angry with had. Thankfully, I stopped my fuming and instead prayed for God to protect this person as he drove away so recklessly, and, in the end, I made it home in one piece with a sense of peace that comes from exercising patience. Patience is possible. Remember, no matter what the circumstance — practice patience and experience peace. We’re foolish not to!
Prayer: Dear Lord, Your Word instructs me to avoid folly, instead making wise decisions in my daily life. One wise choice that will help me avoid foolishness is practicing patience. It may not be easy, but with Your help, it is possible.
Action Step: Take a moment to remember the last time you lost your patience and the choice resulted in foolish actions or words on your part. What could you have done differently? Commit to choosing wisely when future opportunities arise. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

NOT AGAIN!


Not Again!

(An Article I penned in 2004 just seemed appropriate to share today when so many people I know and work with struggle with the "not again" syndrome. Myself included. Thankfully, we have hope)


“Oops, I did it again…” the teen-theme song blared from my neighbor’s boom box as the fourteen-something, belly-baring-girl shimmied around her mom’s car, soap dripping from the sponge turned microphone in her hand.  I didn’t know car washing could be such an event!  But the lyrics of this seemingly mindless melody caught my attention. 
Sadly, in my before-Christ and even my after-Christ life, I had danced to the beat of that same theme song.  I’d find myself saying, “How could I be so stupid?  Why, God, why did I do this again?”  Well, the answer, although simple, is not always easily understood, and breaking free from the I-messed-up-again-cycle can seem like a daunting task without the right steps to follow. 
I learned the why was fairly obvious – because I am human, and I have fallen short of the glory of God.  When Adam and Eve sunk their pearly whites into that luscious fruit, we, the people of today, were deeply affected.  In fact, throughout history, the mantra “I did it again” has been repeated more than a few times, by more than a few people.  Every time I eat that second serving of dinner (or third) that I promised myself, and God, I would avoid, I repeat that age-old mantra.  When I used to be involved with drugs and destructive relationships, I’d continually beat myself with the “not again, not again, not again…” club, which I had grown very accustomed to swinging.  Stopping seemed like some elusive ideal, achievable only by those super spiritual individuals who lived in isolation, far away from the wear and tear of daily life in a mixed up, torn up world.  However, as I have gotten to know my Savior and His Word on a deeper level, I have discovered we truly can start singing a new song—a song of hope, redemption, and love.
Thankfully, we serve a God of second, third, and even three hundred chances.  In fact, most of our biblical ancestors messed up really bad (I mean bad) and they were still able to find forgiveness and a new hope in their Lord when they were truly repentant and sought His Way.  I’m certainly not implying their personal consequences vanished, or all godly correction was avoided, but they did find forgiveness and grace to continue on and influence us for the better, today. 
Paul’s famous words explain that our internal battles are not only expected, but with God they can be corrected, and even conquered.  Romans 7: 14-15 (NIV) states -- We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.  Now granted, we can gain a sense of comfort in these words just by the knowledge that the great Apostle Paul struggled, too.  However, left with these words alone, we’d still be stuck in our “not again” syndrome. 
Thankfully, Paul doesn’t stop there.  In Romans Chapter 8 (NIV) he reminds us, Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
The good news – there is a solution.  In our relationship with Jesus, we can find freedom from this vicious cycle of sin.  Utilizing the “Three R’s” we will discover no matter what our mess might be we serve a God who is in the transformation business.  He doesn’t just leave us stuck in the muck of our mistakes.  Our incredible God can and does take those ugly, messy, mishaps and somehow finds a way to turn these experiences into calling cards that highlight His goodness and glory.
First, we must Recognize our mistakes.  If we don’t remove our rose-colored glasses and take an honest appraisal of our mess, or possibly multiple messes, we will remain rolling in the mud of our sinfulness.   God doesn’t cleanse us when we stand cockily, with our hands on our hips, shouting heavenward about how we don’t need His help…thank you very much.  Recognizing and accepting that we have made a big, smelly mess is the first step out of the darkness of denial.   
Have you ever noticed when someone makes a mistake, often times he or she starts blaming anyone and everyone but him or herself?  The old “he said, she said” fault finding madness begins.  As a former vocational counselor, who worked in a drug and alcohol treatment setting, I witnessed this phenomenon on a daily, actually hourly basis.   The story goes like this:  The client enters my office and shares they relapsed and used drugs, again.  Then, instead of saying, “Hey, I made a mistake.”  The list of whose fault it was is rolled out in front of me for examination. 
The dog died.
My shoelace broke.
I was angry.
I was sad.
They hurt me.
I hurt them.
They made me.
I couldn’t help myself.
Yes, life happens and life hurts.  However, just like Eve had a choice in the garden, we have a choice today.  Life is so much easier, and freedom is attainable when we simply start off by recognizing we have made a mistake and created a mess.  When we do this we open the door to the clean-up-step.  The Second “R” stands for Repent and Release.
Once we recognize that we have fallen short of God’s best, and fully understand the choice was ours, we can confess and turn from our mistaken ways.  I have a friend who described mercy to a group of school age children with the following story.  She explained one way to understand God’s grace and mercy was to picture Him working away in a humungous kitchen.  Every morning, He welcomes His children, us, around a magnificent table.  Here, He dishes out a fresh batch of mercy that He whipped up for the new day.  After all, God’s mercies are fresh every morning. 
When we repent, and release our sins into His capable hands, we can expect to be fed a fresh batch of grace and mercy prepared specifically for us.  We no longer have to wallow in our mess.  Just as the Prodigal Son rose from the filth of the pig pen to return to his father, we must recognize we are in the mud, climb out, and release our sin and heartache to our loving Father. 
Finally, like the robe was draped around the returning prodigal, our Heavenly Father wraps His love around us.   The third “R,” God’s renewing power, revives and revitalizes.  This is the step, where God steps in, takes over, and does His incredible work in our lives.  Scripture compares our Lord as to a Potter is to his clay, a Vinedresser to his vineyard, a Silversmith to his precious metals, a Father to his child, even as a mother hen is to her chicks.  In other words, He is now at work restoring and renewing his creation – us.  Although, this restoration and renewal process may be painful at times, we can expect the end result to be beyond our wildest expectations.  Just as a designer carefully draws his plans to restore an old, dilapidated house, and as the builder makes changes on the outer structure, and the remodeling specialist enters and works on the inside of the home, our God is at work on, around, and in us.  This particular Designer, Builder, and Restorer has our best interest in mind, always.  
Instead of saying – oops, I did it again -- when we sin, we can quickly recognize our mistake, repent and release it to God, and expect Him to renew us once more.  No mess is too dirty.  No sin is too ugly.  Nothing is too difficult for our Lord.   He takes on the toughest projects and is able to complete them all using His perfect design plans.  No matter how messy our lives may be, or how many times God has started to clean up our “insides,” no matter how many times we have cried out… “Not again!”  God still loves us with an everlasting, unceasing, and eternal love.   The best way to avoid messy mistakes in the first place is to stay close to our First Love -- Jesus Christ.  When we begin to understand the depth of His love, life will never be the same again.


Monday, November 5, 2012

What's New: Prayer Requests


My blog is going to be expanding in the days and weeks ahead. It will become more like a website. The blog page will remain with inspirational and encouraging articles, and include news and and updates from time to time. That will continue to be the main focus. 

In addition, there will be information about my ministry and speaking, and my writing ventures and books. Right now, if you click on the new buttons below the page heading (which has also been updated) you'll see that nothing amazing has been added. I'm simply laying the foundation for what's to come. 

However the one page that is now open and active is the PRAYER REQUEST PAGE. Please post your prayer requests by using the comment sections. Respond to prayer requests, with prayer and encouragement. I will monitor everything before it goes live, keeping any unfriendly comments away. This is a safe site. Your prayers and thoughts are precious and valued. If you respond to a prayer request, your comment should be uplifting, encouraging, and include a prayer. 

Or ... check the prayer request page, and pray. There is no need to comment if you don't want to. I will put up the first prayer and break in the new page. 

Remember the best way to fight and win our battles, is on our knees in prayer. Amen!

Win a copy of Soul Defenders!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Soul Defenders by Carol Van Atta

Soul Defenders

by Carol Van Atta

Giveaway ends December 11, 2012.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Put on the Armour of God (prayer format)


Putting on the Armor of God Prayer


Dear Lord, I come before you today to put on the spiritual armor that You have so generously provided for your Princess Warriors, and that means me. 

First, I put on the Belt of Truth, buckled securely around my waist, for it is Your truth that sets me free. I then put on the Breastplate of Righteousness that covers my heart and emotions and shows I am in right standing with You. My feet are shod in the preparation of the Gospel of Peace, and I take those feet and tread on serpents and scorpions, while bringing peace and love, not anger and discord wherever I may travel this day. I firmly take hold of the Shield of Faith, and use it to quench every fiery arrow the devil may fire at me, and I take the Sword of the Spirit, which is Your precious and powerful Word, and I use it to pierce through the enemy’s wicked plans. For Your Word states, all I must do is submit myself to You, Lord, and tell the devil to flee, and he must go. So, be gone. devil, in the NAME OF JESUS

I choose to follow my Heavenly King this day. May I serve You with joy and perseverance, living boldly and lovingly as Your Princess Warrior. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, I pray, Amen. 


Friday, September 21, 2012

When in Doubt ... Look Up

Friends, I think we all know Thomas isn't the only one who ever doubted Jesus. If I asked you, right now, to raise your hand and confirm you've had doubts, would yours join mine in the air?

 I'm guessing, if we were all honest, every arm would be stretching skyward; because at one time or another, every one of us has doubted either God's existence or something He promised or said in His Word.

I know there have been times when I believed what God promised in relation to you, but doubted whatever it was applied to me. 

Even worse, there have been moments when I was crushed by despair, moments that had me questioning our King's existence. 

When this happens, as it inevitably will from time to time, looking up proves to be the best answer for me.
And I don't mean ONLY looking up, but also: Looking out, looking around, looking over there, over here, and in  the pages of The Word or an inspirational tale of triumph, ultimately looking away from my own situation to the great beyond where God is visible to my hurting heart. 

There's just something about a starlit sky, crashing waves, and towering fir trees that inspire me to believe in my Creator. A newborn's face, a kitten's paw, and a swaying palm tree are all evidence of His majesty and unfathomable creativity. Seeing His creations has a way of renewing and refreshing my wonder. Wonder tends to lead to worship, and worship inevitably draws me closer to my King. 

Remember, we serve a King who wants to be found, who desires a deep and intimate relationship with all who reside in His kingdom. A King who is willing to show the palms of his hands and the hole in His side to one doubting Thomas is a King who understands our tendencies toward unbelief and uncertainty. He loves us no less for our questioning. 

Are you in a place in your life where God seems distant? a place where He doesn't feel real? I promise, He's there, He's here, and He is (forgive the cliche') everywhere. His love for you is painted across the night sky, growing in your garden, visible in a baby's smile and living in your heart. Just look for Him. He won't run away or hide. He wants to be found. 

Practical Princess Warrior Tip: Some days the best we can do is say: "Lord, I love you; help my unbelief. Lord, I love you; help my unbelief. Lord, I love you; help my unbelief."
Though we can't touch his side the way Thomas did, ultimately, He will find the just right ways to touch our hearts, leaving no doubt who loves us most. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Articles to Inspire




Yay ... I finally found a link to all my older articles that were written over the years for various Campus Crusade for Christ publications. Click here to link to articles on a wide range of topics pertinent to Princess Warriors. 

http://powertochange.com/blogposts/author/cvanatta/



Saturday, September 15, 2012

Soul Defenders: Now Available in Paperback!


I am so pleased (thrilled) to announce that Soul Defenders is now available in paperback. I'll share the link in a moment. 

First I want to share with you about the power of a story. The Bible is filled with stories, stories about people, people like us, people who make mistakes and fall short of God's glory. Thankfully, these same people find mercy and love in the Savior, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Through fiction, although its fiction, spiritual truths can be found, especially if that is the intent of the author, which indeed was my intent. Nuggets of truth are often buried in the words of a story, treasure waiting to be found by the reader. I know I've found my fair share of jewels between the pages of a book. In fact, as a new believer, I read a great deal of Christian and inspirational fiction. I found myself eager to see what The Word had to say about what I was reading. I was drawn closer to our King through the stories authors were faithful to write.

I, too, wanted to reach wounded warriors and our yet-to-be embraced friends, who do not yet know our Savior, through my writing. That's why the following comment on Facebook touched my heart. This is a gal who  I mentor. She has no consistent spiritual upbringing, and has never really wanted to talk about Christ with me. I gifted her this book for her Kindle Fire, knowing she loves to read. Here's what she said: "YYYYYYAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!! Read soul defenders. it is awesome and defintely inspiring. I prayed after i read it."

That's how God can use our stories, even fiction, to touch others and change hearts. I'm looking forward to my next meeting with this lovely sixteen-year old girl who God's placed in my life. We'll have a lot to talk about. 

If you have someone, maybe addicted to drugs, or who has run to the arms of our enemy for fulfillment, consider sharing this book. I believe it can make a difference. Do you have a book or books that touched your heart? - please share in the comment section. Just as important, do you have a story to tell? Maybe it is time for you to tell it too. 

Click on the link below to purchase a trade paperback copy of Soul Defenders

http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Defenders-Black-Orchids-1/dp/1479246964/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347692552&sr=1-4&keywords=soul+defenders


Monday, September 10, 2012

Remembering 9/11


I wrote the following article in 2008. It still stands true today, four years later. 


I can't believe it has been seven years ago that tragedy struck our beloved homeland. Like most people, I can remember exactly where I was that mornng.
Getting ready for work, I'd stepped out of the shower and heard the radio announcer say that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane. At first, it appeared that it might have been a horrible accident. I had to hurry to work, but in the car, as I continued to listen to live news, I realized that this was no accident. Our nation was under attack and no one seemed to know by who.
At work, we all sat open-mouthed in front of the TV speculating about what was going on. World War III was mentioned more than once. Outside the skies were abmormally silent as planes had been banned from flying. Our nation was in shock, mourning, and fear. Yet, there was something else growing beneath the surface and in the hearts of men and women everywhere -- a sense of commonality and love for country -- our country ... a desire to help others and support those who were hurting. People forgot about East Coast/West Coast, we were, after all, one nation under God.
Today, sadly, our nation appears to be split right down the middle, and the political climate is scorching with fiery rhetoric from the right and the left. Our enemy is still out there and we are so busy bickering among each other we have forgotten on some level that we are ONE NATION.
As a Christian woman, I am thankful that I can see meaning and purpose through these dark times. God is still moving and eternity awaits His children. Right now, on this historic day, I choose to love others as God intends. I choose not to engage in political debates. I choose to pray for all our leaders whether I agree with them or not. I choose to honor the brave men and women who are fighting for my freedom here and abroad. I choose to pray for my enemies. May God change their hearts.
For one day, can we just love? I believe we can. God bless you.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Keep your bra on and get your Bible out!


First, before I share today's message, can I just share how much I love this image of the princess entering Heaven and the Lion (our Lord) welcoming her ... someday. I can only imagine. 

Okay ... here we go:


We women can be quite resourceful. Yes, men can as well, but I just read a recent news story about a woman who was stranded after she fell while hiking.  
Amazingly, she used her sports bra, attached to some sort of lift-wire to signal her whereabouts. Once the cable started working, her bra ended up in the right hands (that would be anyone’s hands at this point) and she was delivered to safety. Deep sigh of relief. The article acknowledged her intelligent consideration in planning what to send. After all, she needed the remainder of her clothing in order to stay warm overnight. She didn’t randomly choose to send her sports bra, she made a quick, well-assessed plan, and it worked.   
I often wonder if I would be so ingenious in a perilous situation. Do you ever do that? You know, you imagine yourself in a specific hair-raising place or position where you alone are responsible for saving the day, and yourself. I guess you might call this a form of daydreaming. But, hey, when I was an athlete (swimmer) back in the day, I always visualized myself performing well before my events. It worked! – most of the time. 
I’m not sure why I’m even thinking about this. I guess the whole “bra story” got me thinking about emergency planning and preparation. Many of us plan better for what might happen in the “physical realm” than we do in the spiritual. 
Okay, okay, sounds weird, but let me explain. Remember back during the Year-2000-Scare? Many people stocked up on water, food, flashlights. Some even built extravagant underground dwellings where they could stockpile their goods and live for extended periods of time if needed. They were ready for the worst.  
However, according to God’s plan we should be more concerned about the matters of the heart, our hearts. Do we love God? Others?  Do we care about our character and living in a godly manner? Do we spend time combing His Word for those treasures that we can stockpile in our hearts? God tells us we should live in such a way that we are storing up rewards in Heaven not on earth. We try so hard to protect our physical selves, yet, so often, we fail to effectively manage our spiritual condition.  
I also recall during the preparation for the Year 2000 that many people actively, even aggressively, shared their concerns about the future and argued that we needed to be ready for worst possible scenario.  
Friends, the worst possible scenario would be to spend an eternity in hell apart from God’s presence. Yet, how much time and effort do we invest in helping others understand this very real threat? For me, unfortunately, I have to say, not enough.  
Maybe we should think a little harder, plan a little more, and become more ingenious like our lady hiker friend. I’m not suggesting we use our bras to spread the word, but we all have access to God’s Truth and His plan. Today is a new day. Let’s get creative and help people prepare for what’s real, forever, and always. Investing in the eternal makes sense considering where we spend our life after death is final.  
No need to wave your bra or boxers, just wave the Banner of Love.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Soul Defenders: The Black Orchids ... It's arrived!


It's arrived! My book, Soul Defenders is out on Kindle and will be available in print by Monday on Amazon. I'm so excited to share this tale of spiritual suspense and warfare with you. Every Princess Warrior should be prepared on all occasions to fight the good fight. This book is a reminder that we do not fight against flesh and blood.

Here is the link to purchase. Please, please, spread the word and share the story. Thank you and God bless you, sisters.

Order Soul Defenders by Carol Van Atta

I'll provide the link to the trade paperback as soon as its available.

For more reading ... take a peek at Liz Curtis Higgs latest Bible Study book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Girls-Still-Got-It/dp/1578564484/ref=la_B001IOF77I_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347035119&sr=1-1


Monday, May 21, 2012

The Battle is Real

The Battle is Real. There is no question in my mind about that truth. As Princess Warriors for Christ, we face an adversary eager to orchestrate our demise. In my book, Soul Defenders, discover the powerful role prayer takes in defeating the darkness that threatens our lives.

I'll let you know when this is released as an Ebook. Hopefully, in print as well.

Take a moment and think of the books you've read (both fiction and non-fiction) about the topic of spiritual warfare. The Bible, of course, being our best resource. Share your favorites in the COMMENT SECTION. I'm always looking for good reads on this topic.

And always remember, if you are a daughter of the King of Kings, you are on the winning side. Amen!

Monday, April 9, 2012

He Lives! We Live in Him.


This amazing picture captures, for me, the darkness before the resurrection of Christ. Standing in the field is a Princess Warrior for Christ, a woman just like us. The sky is dark and the earth trembles following the death of Jesus. Uncertain, His followers watch for a sign, something, anything, that brings assurance that their Jesus was who He said He was. 

Those present at The Crucifiction couldn't yet see the light behind the darkness. They were lost, confused, and afraid. What if they'd been swindled? What if the religious leaders were right? What if ... ? 

We know the rest of the story, don't we? As depicted in the photo above, light was just behind the darkness waiting to burst forth, bringing hope and healing to hurting people. The light of Christ couldn't be hidden for long. Three days after his burial, He rose from death's clutches and freed us all from its hold. Nothing could extinguish His holy light. Nothing could stop Him from loving us so much He was willing to die a brutal death to save us from our sins, to secure our future in Heaven.

For some of us, right now, our lives feel dark, hopeless. The clouds are rolling in, and the storm is raging. Our swords have grown heavy and we've lost the will to fight. We wonder where our Lord has gone? What if He doesn't come back? What if we've been too sinful for His love? What if ...? 

Forget the "what if's"!

Instead, let us cling to the Easter promise of eternal love and eternal life. Jesus died for us and freed us from all failures past, present, and future. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can rest assured His love is forever, and He will calm the storm. Maybe not in our time, or in the way we'd hoped for, but He will do what is best for all His children, for us. 

We just need to keep believing, standing with our sword held high, trusting in our victory. And, precious princesses, we don't have to do it alone. Remember Moses on the hill, the battle below? As long as he kept his arms up and his staff raised, his fighters remained victorious. In time, the weight of his staff became too much for him to manage alone, so Aaron and Hur literally lifted his arms for him! What an amazing picture! If you're too exhausted to continue, call on your sisters, and allow them to help lift your weapon in battle and your voice in praise. 

Ladies, Easter isn't about a bunny, it's about being redeemed. 

Thank you, Jesus for dying for us, thank you for defeating death, and thank you for delivering us from the sin that so easily entangles us.