WFMW: It’s Time For A Change {Exciting Announcement}

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This is my three-hundreth and sixth Works For Me Wednesday post.

306.

And it’s my last. 

WFMW has been around for years and I have loved hosting it. But I’ve been out of good ideas for a long time and I want to pass it along to someone who will give it new life. The baton was passed to me and I want to pass it to someone you will adore.

Mary, from Giving Up on Perfect, is a long-time WFMW participant and (real life friend). We’ve written together at (in)courage for years and one time she drove a big van full of bloggers across a state with me navigating. (Her driving is a lot better than my sense of direction).

I will miss this weekly link-up, but I hope you’ll join it at its new home starting NEXT WEEK. (I’ll keep reminding you this month).

Some of you have been linking up your helpful tips for as long as I have. Thank you. I hope you’ll continue.

WFMW: Saying Yes In Your Weakness

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I’m happy to introduce you to this week’s guest poster, Rachel, for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

Sometimes the life to which God calls us is not at all what we expected. It may not be what we would have chosen, and it may not even make sense to us. However, we can trust that it is what is best for us and that God will use it for His glory.

I have been chronically ill for many years. There isn’t much that I can physically do, and some days I am tempted to wonder… “Wouldn’t it be better if I were able to serve the Lord by cooking meals for my family? Wouldn’t it be better if I were able to serve the Lord by teaching a women’s Bible study or a children’s Sunday school class? Wouldn’t it be better if….?” But God has not called me to a life filled with energy and “doing.” He has called me to a life of weakness.

Though there is much that I cannot do, I can serve the Lord in small ways that do not take a lot of energy. I can serve God through writing on my blog, through praying for others, and through encouraging my family. I can humbly submit to His plan for me, embracing this life and living a faithful testimony before a watching world. I can say “yes” to God in the midst of my chronic illness.

“Sometimes God’s plans don’t make sense to us. God never promises us that He won’t give us more than we can handle; He promises we won’t be alone.” – Kristen Welch

Shine Quote

Saying “yes” to God in the midst of chronic illness is not always easy. There are many days when it feels like more than I can handle. And maybe that is the point. I cannot handle this life on my own. My weakness is a constant reminder of my need for God. My life, lived in weakness, is the perfect place for God’s power to be displayed. Any spiritual strength or wisdom that others see in me is not from me; it is from the Lord.

“God wants us right in the middle of our mess because it is the perfect place for Him to shine through our imperfections.” – Rhinestone Jesus, page 133

I am encouraged by 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (ESV).

I am learning to embrace this life with all of its challenges. This is the life God has called me to, and He has a plan and a purpose for my chronic illness. I pray that I will be faithful to serve Him well so that He may be glorified in my weakness.
Rachel Lundy bio pictureRachel Lundy is a pastor’s wife and stay-at-home mom. She lives with dysautonomia, a condition that leaves her mostly homebound. She writes at Cranberry Tea Time about life with a chronic illness and the hope and joy she has in Christ.

WFMW: Yes to Grace

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I’m happy to introduce you to this week’s guest poster, Sara, for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

I’d been waiting on the call for four years, but it still took me by surprise. The call wasn’t telling me to hop on a plane and fly across the ocean as I’d planned. Instead, the call was about a little girl a state line away with an immediate need. I opened the picture from our adoption caseworker and stared into the sad face of a blonde-haired girl in a dress with pink ruffles. She looked disheveled; it was obvious she needed a mother’s touch and a big pink hairbow.

I wish I could say that we acted without hesitation, but it wasn’t so simple. There were the unknowns to consider and the questions you never voice outside of a prayer. We had long, whispered talks in bed that led to sleepless nights.

In the end, we said, “YES.”

Our family grew to 3 kids in 3 weeks–it took twice that long for the honeymoon to wear off. And then, we were left with a mess–someone else’s mess that magically became ours with a simple three letter word…

Y-E-S.

It’s funny how such a small word can hold such weight and power.

frozen hat

Call me naive, but I thought that the big yes would be enough, that I would somehow be off the hook from other yeses. The thing about saying a big yes, is that it demands a million more.

Will you walk through deep grief and explosive anger with a little stranger? Yes, Lord.

Will you peel back the layers of trauma that are keeping this child in bondage even when it gets unbelievably ugly? Yes, if I must.

Will you keep her and change her name to your own when everyone who knows you best and everything within you says to raise the white flag and scream no? To tell the truth, I’m still pondering that question. Trust me when I say, “It’s complicated.”

Sometimes saying yes means adding to your mess.

It isn’t easy parenting someone else’s child with huge, gaping, flesh wounds of trauma. It’s downright messy and the wounds don’t heal fast. In fact, it gets worse before it gets better as you peel back the layers and uncover years of hurt and behavior patterns.

It’s humbling to be the first person to tell her about Jesus and grace. It’s even harder to live it and extend grace again and again and…again, but these are the small yeses that my big YES demands. So, I keep loving and living grace even when it feels like love will never be enough. I fight for her healing, for therapy appointments, for someone to just help her already with the stuff that I am not equipped for. I set the bedroom door alarm at night to keep everyone safe from her and to keep her from hurting herself. I raise the expectations and wait for her to live up to them…slowly.

pink gloves

But most importantly, I keep buying the pink hat and gloves with Elsa and Anna on them when I’m on my self-imposed “mommy time out” after a day that threatens to break me. And, in the morning, I give them to her with a fresh smile and a simple explanation.

Her eyes turn downward and she quietly says, “I don’t understand why you got me a present, Momma. I wasn’t very good.”

I pause, take a deep breath, and reply, “You’re right, sweetie. You don’t deserve a present, but I don’t want you to be cold. When I saw this hat, I knew it would make you smile.”

She thinks and stares at the pink hat and gloves with Elsa and Anna on them for what feels like forever. Then, slowly she lifts her chin and whispers, “It’s kinda like grace.”

My throat grows tight and tears burn hot down my face, ” Yes, baby. It’s exactly like grace.”

And with that, I’ve got enough energy to say the next YES.

 

Bio:
Sara headshotAn accidental homeschooler, Sara never would’ve guessed she’d trade her Master’s degree and a traditional classroom to teach her kids at home. Sara spends her days keeping her three active children busy with a little bit of creativity and a whole lot of mess. She blogs at Happy Brown House, where her passions and life collide. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and of course, Pinterest.

WFMW: Sometimes Saying Yes Means Saying No

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I’m happy to introduce you to this week’s guest poster, Lisa, for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

Heart exploding “Yes!” swiping at tears, I finish Rhinestone Jesus.

Hours “dreamstorming” follow, “It’s sort of like brainstorming…Except instead of writing down ideas, we’re writing down our dreams. The wilder, bigger, and crazier, the better.” (p.57)

Sometimes Saying Yes Means Saying No

Excitement resurfaces. Eagerness returns.

God shows me my life is like a Texas-sized steak dinner complete with a loaded baked potato, corn on the cob, and a fluffy roll. All on a cheap paper plate.

My plate is too full. I need to limit my portions so my paper plate won’t fail and find my juicy life-steak wasted.

I ask God how; He shows me:

Sometimes saying yes means saying no.

Walking away from good things hurts. Weeks of prayer gives birth to the courage to say yes…By saying no.

Hours of sending resignations, RSVPing refusals, and politely rejecting requests bring sadness yet relief. With every agonizing decision, I feel my load lessen.

Like a child, I lift my plate to God showing Him how smaller portions perfectly fit my plate.

Satisfied with my new routine, I set goals based on my “dreamstorming” list and make progress. Slow progress. I determine to be content with slow.

When suddenly life navigates surprising turns.

Yes1

And I learn:

Sometimes saying yes means hearing no.

God’s “no” is a result of my yes.

Sometimes saying yes means hearing God say no.

In the no, I sulk; I sigh and, like a child, my disappointment fills the air thick.

I draw strength through Kirsten’s words:

“It all comes down to this one question: Do I love my comfort more than Christ? I get a different answer every day. But I believe we need to struggle…Struggle is the food from which change is made…Those who accomplish change are willing to engage in the struggle.” (p. 193-4)

Today finds me caught. Struggling. Hope for new tomorrows battles fear of future change.

I remind myself:

Sometimes saying yes means saying no.

His no reveals divine purpose. Freedom is found here. If I search for it, there is always a yes in God’s no. His way for my one thing. [Click here to tweet this]

Kristen says, “I believe we are all called to do something, just not everything. Focusing on our one thing and doing it well to His glory is both liberating and life-changing.” (p. 163)

yes in my mess

His no to me becomes my yes from Him.

Saturday Kristen spoke at our church.

“As women we fill our plates then add a side of Jesus when He is calling us to empty our plates then fill them with Him,” she says.

My heart shifts.

I understand my cheap plate is meant to hold only one thing. Jesus fills my flimsy plate perfectly.

He fulfills. Only Him. Always Him. When He says yes and even when He says no.

Yes is my response.

And sometimes saying yes means saying no.

“God’s yes and our yes together—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 (MSG)

 

lisa
Lisa Smith is a wife, mother of four, and Children’s Minister in North Houston. Long talks at coffee shops, big sales on cute shoes, and all her girlfriends inspire her. She writes at LisaSmithOnline.com and posts regularly on Facebook and Twitter. She enjoys speaking at women’s events and is working on her first book.

Introduce yourself on her blog this week and be entered to win a free single Fair Trade Friday pack and a copy of Kristen’s book Rhinestone Jesus.

WFMW: Saying Yes Changed Everything

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I’m happy to introduce you to this week’s guest poster, Jennifer, for my Wednesday series Yes, Works For Me! Please welcome her and be encouraged by her yes to God and continue to link up what works for you.

We were in the front of a little church in Nsongwe Village praying for women during a women’s conference. All of a sudden, one of my friends grabbed me, honestly I thought she was coming in for a hug, but she wasn’t. She held me tight and whispered in my ear, “Your yes matters.” She went on to say that because of my yes others would come to know Jesus and work on their faith. I was startled to say the least. How could she have known I had just been reading that very same phrase in Rhinestone Jesus? We weren’t even Facebook friends yet! After that I just balled like a baby. I love how Jesus works. When you say yes to Jesus, He just trickles into every aspect of your life.

Saying yes to Jesus changed everything for me. When I said yes my life was in shambles. My husband was on his way to prison. I was a new wife, a new mom, and newly living with my mom. This was not exactly how I pictured my life going down. I remember kneeling at the end of my bed after putting my baby girl to sleep. I just laid it all out for God and the mess I was in. I asked Him to come into my life and everything changed.

jennifer

Saying yes to Jesus changed how I lived marriage. I had been married before. It didn’t end well. I made selfish choices based on my ideas. I thought I knew Jesus then. I thought I really knew Jesus. Divorce is painful and I was headed that way for the second time when I said yes to Him. Truly.  Some things in our marriage were gradual others were instant. I remember sitting down with my pastor and he looked at me with all the love he could muster and told me that love is a choice. Just like Jesus choosing to go to the cross for me. That was a game changer. If God would still choose to love me as unlovable as I could be, how could I not try to follow His plan for marriage instead of my own? I knew how my version ended. It was not good. My husband and I gave Jesus our marriage and watched Him do amazing things. Six years later we’re still going strong, because our foundation isn’t built on sand anymore. To this day, I’d rather walk through that mess again than never have done it at all.

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Saying yes to Jesus changed how I lived motherhood. I had never been a mother before. I knew how to babysit, but at the end of the day the kids go home. I knew the basics of mothering my daughter in her infant stage. Like feed, burp, change, bathe, sleep, repeat. I knew there would be more though, because that precious girl in my arms was going to grow. What then God? I read my Bible about parenting, read the attributes of God, and prayed my heart out. I found a godly woman at church who seemed to have this parenting thing somewhat together and sought her out as my friend. I drilled her with questions and sometimes I just watched how she parented. I still do that. Saying yes to Jesus means I don’t know all the answers, but God does. It means hitting my knees and seeking His Council for her life. It means disciplining with a Biblical perspective and not my own opinions. It means living and giving grace and mercy. Plus loving that sweet girl like it is nobody’s business.

Saying yes to Jesus changed how I lived loving others. Sometimes that means shutting up when I really want to say something. I need my Philippians 4:8 filter and a glue stick instead of a chap stick. Sometimes it means doing things I myself don’t want to do, because I’m selfish like that. Mostly, it means trying to love people like Jesus loves people. Maybe it’s bringing a dinner, helping with homework, reading a book, making a phone call, or visiting in the hospital. For me it means partnering with a maternity home in Africa that is saving lives. Or as a family, going to the mission field and telling others about this amazing love that compels us to tell everyone we meet about Jesus. That His great love changes everything, because He first loved us. To share with others that God loves them, values them, and that they are important to Him. It means dying to self. Somewhere along the way I realized I must have been the Grinch. I continue to watch as God enlarges my heart, and more love than I thought possible fills it up. Just when I think it might burst at the seams, He fills it up again. Loving others Jesus’ way will do that to you.

Saying yes to Jesus changes everything if you let Him. He comes in and turns your whole world upside down for the better.  Saying yes to Jesus will take you places you never thought you would go. For me that’s Mercy House, Africa, Ecuador, and one Thanksgiving hunting down someone who was hungry to give a turkey to. People are watching your yes. Jesus is watching your yes. You might not always do your yes well, I don’t. That’s where grace and mercy comes in. Dust yourself off and keep going. Your yes matters to God. Your yes matters to you. Your yes matters to others. Your yes matters to your spouse, your children, family, friends, and even strangers. Leave a legacy of yes. Let Jesus change everything.

 

Bio:

bioJennifer lives in Florida with her husband and daughter. Her family has a heart for sharing Jesus with the nations. She loves her family, coffee, books, good conversation, travelling the world, and most of all, Jesus. You can find her writing about her adventure with God, marriage, motherhood, and ministry at This Grace Life.