Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Princess of the Day

I find it amazing that so many women yearn for a title of royalty. To be a princess ... is the one dream most girls share at some point in their young lives. Tiaras. Glittery gowns. Glass slippers. Shiny scepters. Sharp swords. Wait a minute! Sharp swords and sabers... not something most princess-dreams include. Yet for us, as daughters of the King of Kings, a sword is one accessory never to be left behind. In fact, God's Word, also known as the Sword of the Spirit, is more than an accessory, it's the the one thing we dare not leave home without. It's our foundation, our King's love letters to us, our guide book, our history, our plan, our future, and our hope.

Consider for a moment: The Bible -- a book made up of 66 individual books, written over a 1,500 year span of time, by at least 40 different authors, on 3 different continents, in 3 different languages, with no proven historical errors or discrepancies, all with the same theme. The theme: We mess up (sin over and over), God pursues us and loves us and ultimately forgives us ... again and again. What are the odds of this happening?

That's right, go to the library, find 66 books, by 40 different authors (the majority who'd never even met one another), in 3 different languages, written on 3 different continents, without any historical errors or discrepancies, and put it all together. Would it make any sense? Have the same underlying theme throughout? Of course not! Apart from the inspiration of a holy God this would have been impossible. Period. Then consider the opposition the Bible faced throughout the centuries. How many rulers attempted to wipe out its message once and for all. Yet, somehow, it has managed to stay the best selling book of all time. Its message has continued to spread despite relentless persecution.

Understanding the power of the Bible -- the Sword we wield -- is imperative in our quest to reign real as Princess Warriors for Christ.

This past weekend, I spoke at a women's conference on the Oregon Coast. Coos Bay to be exact. Wow! What a wonderful group of women. I attended the event planners' home church on Sunday morning, and Pastor Phil shared those amazing facts about the Bible. I was once again reminded of the compelling evidence that God has provided about His existence and His plan for our lives. If that wasn't enough, I was treated to His incredible creation everywhere I turned ...

A beautiful, scenic beach cove where we spent Saturday afternoon was evidence of His creativity. The "barking" sea lions lounging on the cliffs certainly showed off His sense of humor. The baby lion I cuddled and the little leopard that sat on my lap were two additional examples of his marvelous mind at work. The wonderful men and women who embraced my daughter and I were perfect examples of His love, grace, and kindness.

Yes, this past weekend, I felt like the "Princess of the Day." How could I not? And God is so good and gracious that my daughter felt like a treasured princess too. And the conference participants also expressed how God had personally touched them with His love.

That's right! We can all be Princesses and warriors at the same time. There are more than enough crowns and swords to go around. In God's Kingdom, we can all reign real and share in His glory. There's no need to fight amongst ourselves when we belong to such a generous Ruler. We can better spend our time celebrating our freedom and encouraging other wounded women to join us.

So often, we are pressed in by troubles on every side. The Bible tells us we will experience troubles, trials, and multiple tribulations. HOWEVER, with God, all things are possible. We can overcome and rise above the most terrible circumstances if we keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. In Him, we truly can reign real and reap the rewards God has for us. Go on, be who He's called you to be. Be a Princess Warrior ... today, tomorrow -- always.

PS. Please pray for a little girl. I don't know her name, but a coworker of mine is donating his photography talents at her special party. Apparently, she is just four years old and facing imminent death due to cancer. She is having a "Princess Prom." I believe strongly that we are supposed to pray for her. God can and does heal. I'd like to ask Him for this precious princess' complete healing. Won't you join me? I'm also praying that she experiences the best Princess Prom any little girl could possibly have. Amen.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Allowing Change to Change you ... for the better

Change. It can arrive without warning and change, well, everything. I
I'm discovering that a ton of little changes can cause disruption to our lives leading to us feel overwhelmed. Or ... we can instead comit to trusting God, and allow the changes that come our way to change us for the better. Easier said than done.
Right now, at work, there is a lot of "rearranging" going on in my department. This means: redoing forms, working with new people (who do things differently), more meetings, more work ... etc. First, let me say that I am super grateful for my day job. I love it. HOWEVER, I'm learning that I still struggle with "being in control." I want things my way at work. (Big surprise! Not.)

Also, I find myself trying to prove my worth in the workplace. You know; making sure those newer employees know that I know what I'm doing. On a more positive note, I am encouraging and helping train these newcomers, and they're great. In fact, the people are in no way the issue. It's simply me having to change the way I do things that gets me flustered. I didn't realize I was such a creature of habit. Okay, I'll just say it: I'm not real flexible at work. I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, but inside I'm growling about it. Grrrrrrrrr. Those inner growlings can turn into loud barks if I'm not careful. My eyes tend to flash my disapproval, making it easy for those around me to sense my discomfort.

As I was thinking about writing this, I was reminded of Disney Princess, Mia. Lovely Mia, dorky school girl transported into the role of pretty and purposeful princess. The changes that girl went through in a very short time (thanks to movie-magic, of course) were phenomenal. I can only imagine the inner stress someone would feel in that same situation, if true. Yikes!

Granted, the changes were positive, just like many of the changes on my job, yet, regardless, change can cause us to become uncomfortable, unwilling, and unrighteous. Yes, unrighteous. If we're not careful we can let our feelings about changes reap havoc on those around us, if we don't learn to embrace those changes with God's plan and purpose in mind.

No matter what change is happening, good, bad, or somewhere in between, God can and will use change to grow us up spiritually. God doesn't let us hangout in a comfort zone for long, does He? He's always stretching us spiritually, increasing out abilities to reign real as the princess warriors we were created to be.

Like Mia, we can wear our crowns with class, or throw temper tantrums along the way. If we belong to King Jesus, we can rest assured that He will help us through any changes and transitions in our lives, if we let Him.

So, in a practical sense, I'm planning to embrace these latest changes with enthusiasm and integrity, adding my creativity and experience to the process in such a way that I help everyone involved. No more whining, complaining, or shooting eye-daggers. After all, change is a fact of life that we can't hide from, and, truthfully, why would we hide? A stagnate body of water becomes stale, even foul. A rolling river moves forward, around bends and curves, always going forward. Sitting in a stale, sour puddle of water doesn't sound real appealing. Riding the rapids of a river may be scary at times, but how exhilarating!

So, ladies, what changes are happening in your world? Are you fighting them or partnering with God in the process? I want to challenge you to take a a risk, get in the raft, and head for the rapids. Although, we may fall out on occasion, God is sure to get us back to dry land.

God bless you!

PS. Readers, please pray for the women of Coos Bay, OR. I will be speaking at their upcoming women's conference in two weeks. I'm asking that God prepare their hearts for mighty change and renewed hope. Also, please pray for my family and finances. I recently lost a significant amount of my income when my position at Bethany House was ended. With the economy in shatters, and donations down, Bethany House had to let all employees, but the director go. Please pray for more people to come along side this vital, life-saving ministry so they can transition into a new program format for single women with children. Thank you!