Hearing The Voice

Do you hear it? No, not the noise of the television, the radio, or the kids playing not even the to-do list screaming in your head. I mean the real soft whisper, the one that you struggle to hear, the one many times you respond to in your mind saying “oh that was good, I need to make note of that, I will do it later,” then you get busy and usually forget.

Later that day, that week or that month you find yourself talking with others about how you don’t know how to tell if you are really hearing from God or if it is just yourself talking because it is something you really want. The conversation might also be with a friend discussing the issue where you just don’t hear God speak to you at all and you don’t understand why.

I have spent years bouncing between the two statements above, either not hearing His voice or if I was hearing a whispering voice wondering how I would know it was God. After spending all kind of time listening to podcasts, sermons, reading blogs, asking Bible study teachers, pastors and friends I finally realized a few things.

One, I was making this way too hard, analyzing way too much. Like most people I probably will not hear a booming voice out loud. That doesn’t mean I am not going to hear from God, it just means I’m going to have to listen closer.

Which brings me to number two to hear God I have to do the one thing I don’t like, spend time with myself, and no other noise. I don’t like doing this because it is easier to hear the convictions of things I do wrong and need to ask forgiveness (I don’t have a problem asking for forgiveness, I have trouble fighting perfectionism.) It is also time when I have to relive some extremely painful times in my life that still need healing and I keep looking every place else for it when I know the only person that can provide the healing is God.

While reading Jo Ann Fore’s book “When A Woman Finds Her Voice” I read this statement
“As you learn to recognize my voice, you will uncover yours-a voice directly tied to your identity and purpose, to my plans for you.”
Oh, I’m so grateful for this book, for Jo Ann listening to God and writing this book, for God placing me as part of her launch team, I can’t tell you how I have been blessed over the last several weeks. I can tell you I did get confirmation on one last thing of hearing God and of also finding my voice.

The final thing I learned was there were a few steps I needed to follow and as long as I do these things, God has yet to not show up in His perfect timing. Those steps are:

Get quiet and listen closely. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I do my best to remember it usually means God wants me to spend some time with Him. I can usually look back and see where I have not been doing my quiet time as I need too.

As Jo Ann stated “On this journey to find our voices, we must first hear his.”

If I’m not sure I’m getting a clear direction, God is accustomed to my hard head so I just ask Him to provide clarification or more of an explanation. I have so many stories on how He has provided this to me, from family members, songs, television shows, mail I have received or just the same message repeated, the same scripture showing up.

I make sure it lines up with scripture. I do my best to find out if what I think I should be doing is going to honor God and make sure He gets the glory.

Many women are now stepping out and taking a pledge to find their voices and help others, I am one of them, would you please join us, come on, take that first step of faith, there are many of us that are right beside you!

Pledge: I will become a Silence-Breaker, courageously speaking what God presses me to share.

Link to the Pledge: http://joannfore.com/take-the-pledge/

To purchase the book you can follow the link below:

Long link to the book: http://www.amazon.com/When-Woman-Finds-Her-Voice/dp/0891123873

Check out what Jo Ann Fore has to say: http://www.writewhereithurts.org/2013/10/when-god-calls-your-bluff

Have you lost it or found it???

What have a lost and found…..my voice!

Being part of a small local community was a blessing to me and my family, but unfortunately I found out how hurtful and difficult that same community would be, if I was completely honest about myself within that community.

My family started finally attending a local church and within a few months my husband and our daughter was saved and baptized. Then a few months later the church split. Wow, talk about major changes all in less than two years.

Within the course of a little over six years in the new church we had watched issue after issue come about among members and leaders. Everyone had their own stories, but so many, including myself didn’t feel comfortable enough to tell all and be transparent within the congregation.

Oh I wanted to tell all, I wanted people to understand why emotions were all over the place, why I had a hard time being comfortable and trusting people. I would make the decision that I was going to tell a friend what I was withholding, but every time I came to the most pivotal moment, or would ask for accountability partners, nobody wanted to listen or take on the obligation. So I just decided I didn’t want to hurt anyone else by being too honest, or by being too much trouble for anyone, therefore, I would just stay to myself. Speak when I saw the people and be nice, but just not expect anything from anyone. Then when the truth finally all came out, it hurt several people and we were basically ask to leave the church a few years ago. To this point, we have heard from a total of six families within the community and some of that was at the passing of my mother.

As a member of the launch team for Jo Ann Fore’s book “When a Woman Finds Her Voice, Overcoming Your Life Hurts and Using Your Voice to Make a Difference.” God placed in my life the following quote “When we stifle the need for connection, we sacrifice a healing intimacy and companionship, forfeiting the opportunity to unfold that which cannot be discovered in solitude.”

I completely agree with the quote, I could never imagine going through any part of life without someone to talk to, someone that can understand what it is like to be a woman, wife, mother, business owner, servant, sibling, caregiver and the many other hats we wear. We do not need a large community to help us find our voice and heal from all of our wounds. We just need to know God will bless us with the community He knows we need and wants us to have.

“There is nothing that replaces the open-hearted power of a live, intimate conversation with a trusted friend.” – Jo Ann Fore, “When a Woman Finds Her Voice, Overcoming Your Life Hurts and Using Your Voice to Make a Difference.”

Many of us have signed the Pledge agreeing to finding our voices and using it to help others. Please click on the link and come join us. Link to Pledge: http://joannfore.com/take-the-pledge/

To purchase an advanced copy of Jo Ann’s book, click the link below. Then on release date it will be shipped right out to you:
Link to book: http://www.amazon.com/When-Woman-Finds-Her-Voice/dp/0891123873

You can read more over at Jo Ann’s blog, Find Your Voice Make a Difference, just click the picture!

Jo Ann Fore

Finances, Teaching Your Child a Basic Necessity

There were many things we wanted to make sure our daughter, Kierstyn, was taught throughout her life, but three things my husband and I knew we wanted to make sure our daughter knew, as a young adult, before leaving home. None of them have been easy to teach but I found letting go and putting her in a “sink or swim” pattern has brought the best results. The three were, time management, basic household maintenance and finance management.  All are very important lessons to learn but the one that our daughter has resisted the most was the financial management.

When I left the apartment management business and went into financial planning/stock brokerage I learned so much, the first and most important question I had was “Why didn’t anyone teach my husband and I about finances and investing as we were growing up?” Instead we learn about it after we are neck deep in debt, have a child, a house we were outgrowing and NO idea about investing. Now they teach the very basics in school but still not what students need to go out into the world and be successful.

Tony and I came from families where inheritance in not an option. Tony and I have paid for funeral/burial for some of our family members and we help support children because the family members either do not have the means or refuse too. One way my parents did one better for me was teaching me about life insurance and always having your affairs in order. Because of that Tony and I made sure at age 18 we purchased our insurance and put a Will and Living Will in place. Then when I was pregnant we put everything in line for Kierstyn to have insurance and made sure our affairs were in order. This was crucial because Kierstyn’s heart condition has made her uninsurable for life insurance. Now at least she has some insurance if she has a family.

I had my first checking account when I was 16, so as soon as Kierstyn was old enough to open an account, she and I visited the bank and established her accounts. I was still one of the biggest control freaks ever at that time so needless to say Kierstyn, who hated math, would constantly resist all the pushing I did. In return I kept pushing her to learn about keeping a checkbook, budgeting, credit cards, compound interest and investments. Needless to say, it was not a pleasant time here at the Taylor home whenever a discussion needed to take place about finances. I kept letting go of some things a little at a time but was still controlling in ways of not giving her credit card advertisements when they came in and I was trying to keep track of her bank accounts. Finally I decided I needed to give in and just see how she handled things. I am happy to report, at this time, she is handling things well and has for the past year. She refuses to look at any advertisements, realizing her debit card works perfect for her. If she uses one of our cards that we have given her she always asks first, tells us what it was for and she pays us back or offers too. She is teaching dancing while going to college and has had no issues with her bank account that I am aware of. She does still live here at home but has actually ask if we would help her get her cell phone moved over to her name because she wants to take on more financial matters…She still hasn’t went in to talk to my former business partner about starting an investment account but I think that will come in time. Since I had to leave the business because of my health nose diving and my mother passing away things have been quite hectic but I continue to see positive steps forward, and since that is all God wants from us, how can we ask for any more from our child

Perfectionist “Unglued”

“the emotional demands keep on coming. Unrelenting insecurity. Wondering if anyone appreciates me. Feeling tired, stressed, hormonal. 

Feeling unglued is really all I’ve ever known. And I’m starting to wonder if maybe it’s all I’ll ever be.

 What kept me from making changes was the feeling that I wouldn’t do it perfectly. I knew I’d still mess up and the changes wouldn’t come instantly.

There is a beautiful reality called imperfect progress.

Imperfect changes are slow steps of progress wrapped in grace…..imperfect progress.

Progress. Just make progress. It’s okay to have setbacks and the need for do-overs. It’s okay to draw a line in the sand and start over again-and again. Just make sure you’re moving the line forward. Move forward. Take baby steps, but at least take steps that keep you from being stuck. Then change will come. And it will be good.

These honest words enabled me to begin rewriting my story. Not that I erased what came before, but I stopped rehashing it and turned the page afresh.”

 These are just a few lines from two pages of Lysa TerKeurst’s newest book “Unglued.”  Wow, what a powerful punch these words provide. Imagine reading the entire book.  That is what a group of over 15,000 people are doing with Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Study (www.melissataylor.org) we have just read the first two chapters so far and I have already received so much from the book, the leaders and the other ladies in my small group on Facebook.

I mean let’s face it, life is hard on its best day, for someone who was raised as a perfectionist and that good, is not good enough, life, at times, just seems impossible.   I mean how are we to hold everything together with all the expectations not only others put on us but that we put on ourselves.  We are made to feel as if we should be superwoman all the time and if not, then we are not good enough.

I kept thinking I was doing well learning how to be a better person and how to handle things better but I still was fighting spiritual warfare, still coming unglued way too often.  I knew it was in my thought process but I couldn’t figure out the steps to take to fix it.  Well Lysa gave me those steps.  Every thought that comes in my mind, each individual one, I just stop and ask if it is a positive or a negative thought.  If it is positive, yay for me & God, if it is a negative thought then I try to find a way to correct it to make it a positive thought.  One major thought I had as I was reading the first two chapters was “where was this during the first 20 years of my marriage and when my only child, an eighteen year old daughter was growing up.” I then realized, God put this in my life now, for such a time as this.  Why I didn’t learn this before, I don’t know but He will let me know in His perfect time. For now, I am to continue focusing on God, this book, and being a better person today than I was yesterday. Does that mean I have it all figured out, not even close, but I am making progress, imperfect, slow, progress and for me, the perfectionist, it says a lot about who you can become when you allow God to work.

Today is dedicated to my baby girl

Seventeen years ago my baby girl made her appearance. It was a Tuesday morning, the due date given at the beginning of the pregnancy and the C-Section was scheduled for 10:00am. The weather was fine when we arrived at the hospital but by 9:30am as family was arriving there appeared to be a major ice storm starting. Of course Kierstyn came into the world with a mind of her own refusing to make delivery easy and wasn’t born until 11:35am. I guess it was very interesting for family and friends to get home. IU played Michigan that night and we put her in her IU sleeper and watched the game from the hospital room. The ice storm was the worse Bloomington, Indiana had seen for years shutting almost everything down the remainder of the week. We finally convinced the doctor to send us home on Thursday. Seventeen years later and you are still making us so proud and just as you defied the odds over the last seventeen years with various health problems you are still proving to the world that with hard work, determination and dedication anything is possible. I am so proud of you, you not only blessed our lives seventeen years ago but you have continued to bless our lives each and every day. Love you bunches baby girl.

Thank you for allowing me to take the time to make this dedication to her today.

Do you consider yourself a “Good Christian?”

I’ve been reading the book “The Way of the Master” by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. Talk about a life changing book, it has given me so many things to consider. One of those is the following:

“However, people who make a commitment to Christ without the Law may do so because they are seeking true inner peace and lasting fulfillment. They come to fill a “God-shaped vacuum” in their lives. There is no trembling. There is no fleeing from wrath. There is no fear. To them, God is a benevolent, fatherly figure, not a holy God of wrath.
Without the Law, they haven’t been stripped of self-righteousness. They don’t truly believe that their just reward is eternal damnation. Therefore, even as professing Christians, they think they are basically good.

Because of this faulty foundation, these converts are likely to think they are pleasing God by reading the Bible, praying, fasting, and doing good works. They are susceptible to being deceived into thinking that somehow their good works commend them to God, and they are therefore liable to stray into legalistic standards such as “do not touch, do not taste, do not handle” (Colossians 2:21)”

At church they tell us many times people look at God based on their relationship with their earthy father’s. I have heard at church that I am/we are sinners and we can’t get to heaven by good works. I have also, however, been told that it is pleasing to God when we pray and read the Bible because that is part of having a personal relationship with Him.

The book continues by discussing the statistics such as the large number of temporary converts compared to the small number of permanent converts, again, because people are not converted based on the law. It discusses how many people don’t like reading the BIble or going to church and since they don’t understand the severity of sin (the Law) they think it’s not necessary to continue. The book addresses how many denominations may require some brief sessions with the Pastor before baptizing but other than that all the person has to do is stand in front of the congregation and answer “yes” to a few questions the Pastor will ask. I know I fall in the number of temporary converts considering I was seven when I was saved and baptized.

What about you? What are your thoughts on what the book has to say about the majority of people not realizing the severity of their sin? I would love to hear your thoughts and if you have read the book and have a different perspective on what it’s saying I would love to hear it.

Confirming and Encouraging

I decided to have a new outlook starting January 1, 2011. It wasn’t making New Year’s resolutions but I figured it would be a great time to train my mind that the past was just that, the past. One of the things I decided I wanted to do this year was to give more attention to my writing and to make sure I was taking it seriously, this was to include blogging daily or at least several times a week. Well as I started to revamp the look of my blog (another fresh start in my mind) toward the end of 2010 the enemy had other plans, including three procedures/surgeries and one illness after another. So far 2011 has started off with other issues, some good and some not so good including a sinus/viral infection that has been continuously making its rounds in the house for the past four weeks.

Even during all the issues I had one particular blog friend (I’m so grateful to all of my readers) that kept staying on my mind. I knew that she and I connected because of her reading my blog so if, for no other reason I really wanted to get back at it, praying she hadn’t given up on me and quit subscribing or checking it for new posts. I so want to stay in contact with her and get to know her more.

Since I did not get to start in January with the new blog I had almost convinced myself that it was silly to even start back up. To justify the decision, I had many reasons or rather the enemy had provided me with so many excuses/lies such as:

1. You have lost all your readers (not that I had many to start with) because you have waited so long to post.

2. Your health isn’t going to allow you to blog often enough for it to matter.

3. You don’t have anything important to say. This was not what you were to do with your life.

4. You don’t have time, you need to wait until….(you can fill in the blank)

I’m sure you hear many of the same “lies” in one way or another as you go about your daily lives. The one thing I love is Jesus is ALWAYS faithful, and if I will pay attention he will usually give me a confirmation, if it is what He wants, and I continue to second guess if I am doing the right thing. Just as in the past He came through once again a few days ago.

It was a day I wasn’t feeling well but was looking at other blogs trying to get caught up on my reading when my phone went off with a notification that someone had left a blog comment. Guess who it was? It was the friend that I have thought about for many weeks. She asked me to continue writing because she enjoyed hearing from me. WOW!!! First off, what a way for our Heavenly Father to send a confirmation but also what a way to make me feel like I was walking on air. I couldn’t help but think, me??? Someone enjoys hearing from me??? Needless to say her taking that time to write that one sentence has meant all the difference to me.

You may never know how much you have encouraged someone or maybe confirmed something they had been on the fence about, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go ahead and do so. Who have you encouraged recently? If you are the one that received the confirmation or encouragement have you taken the time to let the one that encouraged you know?

Thank you Meg for taking the time, you don’t know how much helped and what it means to me.

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