Tag : as-father
Tag : as-father
My study is a mess.
It’s the staging area for all of the stuff we have to take to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention (NRB) next week—books, pens, flyers, our Level Up Conference marketing cards, more books and some décor for our POP Talk television/radio exhibit booth at the NRB expo.
Our NRB schedule is packed. I have a tendency to squeeze in as much as possible because I am people person who wants to learn from, and interact with many, whether it’s through our POP Talk interviews or meetings.
Some things don’t change. As a sportscaster, I also loved covering the big events like the Super Bowl or the Olympics. I probably did my best work at those premiere sporting events, and I consider NRB the crème de la crème of broadcasting conventions because scores of Christian broadcasters and authors who make a difference for the Lord will come together in one place. It’s exciting.
But it can also be stressful, as there’s still more to prepare. However, I was reminded this morning that I cannot proceed in my own strength. My prayer is the Apostle Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14: “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.”
I may not have unlimited resources, energy, or strength, but God does, and now is the time to tap into that reservoir.
Paul closes out Ephesians 3 by giving glory to God for this mighty power at work within us because we are able to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. The definition of infinite is: “limitless or endless in space, extent, or size; impossible to measure or calculate. ‘the infinite mercy of God.'”
I am wondering. Do you need a vat of God’s limitless power right now?
It’s available. Just ask Him for it. He’ll give you infinitely more than you imagined.
Sometimes God might ask you the question, “Would you give it all up for me?”
I was just asked to apply for a job with a nationally-known ministry, but it’s not based in the Dallas area where I live. If I was offered this position, I would most likely have to give up the bulk of my ministry work with Pearls of Promise and the doctoral studies that I felt called to last year.
My first thought was Absolutely not! I love my home state of Texas and I am satisfied by the media ministry work I am currently doing. I was slated to start doctoral studies in the fall. This abrupt directional change did not make sense.
But then I talked to my husband, Jeff, and I prayed. Jeff was surprisingly open to the idea of relocating to this major metropolitan area, and through prayer, verses like this one came to mind: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24–25).
Jeff said, “Maybe this is a test.” After giving the decision over to the LORD, I decided that I wanted to pass the test, so I told the executive recruiter that I was open to applying.
Realistically, while I am qualified for the position, I find it highly doubtful that I will be their candidate, for several reasons, but it is a compliment to be asked to put my name in the hat. However, this possibility made me say to God, “If you want me to go, I will. My life, and everything in it, belongs to you.”
Today, I want to ask you if God called you to leave the comfort of your home and the niche you’ve created for yourself, would you be willing? Would you pass the test?
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1).
“God has given us a desire to strive for something greater than ourselves.” That was the statement in the devotional I’m reading on YouVersion called “How to Plan for Success.” It struck me that in my own flesh, I could never accomplish what the LORD has put on my plate. At times, when I don’t spend enough time centering myself in the morning, feeding on the strength of God, I get overwhelmed with the task list and start to back-peddle. But then it’s time to return to the place of sustenance, the presence of God.
In a few weeks, Pearls of Promise is taking on something that, on paper, seems over the top for a small ministry. We have purchased an Exhibit booth at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention and will be taping interviews at the booth with some of the leading Christian media and writing professionals of our time like June Hunt, Joel C. Rosenberg and Richard Blackaby, son of Henry Blackaby.
Both Dr. Lynnette Simm and I will be doing book signings in the Exhibit Hall. She will be signing her book, And the Day Came, and I will be signing, and hoping for a divine appointment for my apologetics book, The Root that Never Died. I will also be speaking in the Exhibit Hall about Pearls of Promise in a message called “The Promise of the Pearl.”
All this is greater than myself!
But as I prayerfully produce eight interviews and ask the LORD how I can honor Him on the platform, I relax, knowing that it’s not about me and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). I have also realized that the LORD called us to do this because it often feels like an “out of the box” experience. When I start to think from an earthly perspective about all involved, I get a little anxious.
When we are called to do something greater than ourselves, we must submit to the one who is Greater.
I often worship in the morning to songs about God’s greatness like Great are You Lord, (the Casting Crowns version), or Greater Than by Gateway Worship. It’s my way of saying to God that I am nothing. I can only accomplish this calling if His greatness flows through me. When Jesus came on the scene, John the Baptist said, “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30).
One of the interviews we are doing is with the CEO of “Ministry Watch,” Warren Cole Smith. He wrote a book about all the religious scandals over the years called Faith Based Fraud: Learning from the Great Religious Scandals of Our Time. It occurred to me that those scandals probably happen when people are called to something greater than themselves, but they begin to rely on themselves.
Do you feel like a burden for something greater and feel ill-equipped to proceed? Then know that if it glorifies God, it’s probably from God. And you cannot proceed without Him. How great is our God!
It used to be the secret no one talked about.
A family weakness brushed under the rug.
But now mental illness is no longer a hush-hush subject, and as we approach the end of mental health awareness month, I want to share my personal feelings about this issue that impacts many families across the globe—and for many years—my own family.
I first became aware that there was an entire month dedicated to mental health awareness when I began seeing public service announcements produced by the NFL Players Association concerning the issue. Several players have admitted to struggling with their own mental health, including the Las Vegas Raiders Solomon Thomas who experienced depression and anxiety after the suicide death of his sister, and D.J. Clark of the Jacksonville Jaguars who struggles to overcome fear.
Then I read a People Magazine article featuring well-known actress Glenn Close. Her sister is bi-polar and her nephew was just diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. In the article, Close said something profound: “You can’t solve problems unless you start talking about them—and not whisper. That changes everything.”
Talking about it is the first step to healing. In recent years, I have been very open about my mother’s mental illness, but that was not always the case. Until I was in my fifties, I never told anyone about her struggles because of a fear of judgment from others. I had forgiven her for many years of emotional neglect and honored her at the end of her life, but still kept it all to myself. However, until I began facing the truth about my mother and opening speaking about her—that this was a reality in my life—there was no healing, nor could God use me to help others who needed some tools to be stronger.
So maybe you are still trying to hide this part of your family history. I hope this blog helps you as I thought I’d share some things I learned through my experience with a mentally ill loved one.
While this situation affects you, your mentally ill loved one is not you. I kept it quiet because I didn’t want anyone to question my sanity. Mom started out with depression but was later diagnosed as “Paranoid-Schizophrenic.” As a preventative measure throughout the years, I have claimed 2 Timothy 1:7 over my life that God has not “given me a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” While I can be a little quirky, I think my mental health is overall normal.
Embrace the good in the person. My mother was a beautiful woman who had an incredible musical talent, an expert at both the piano and the harp. One of my fondest memories is watching her fingers glide across the piano keyboard, playing a song that I labored through, yet she did it effortlessly. In addition, mom had a calm demeanor. She was never violent, and often had a smile on her face.
Know that they cannot help themselves. In most cases, mental illness is the result of a chemical imbalance in the body, or as the result of some post-traumatic stress disorder. My mother forever changed after witnessing the sudden death of her beloved husband, my dad, while she was seven months pregnant with me. The loved one doesn’t choose to, nor do they want to behave poorly, but it’s the short-circuiting in their wiring that causes inappropriate behavior.
Release expectations. I used to beg my mom to work outside the home so we would have more money to provide for basic needs. Again, they are not you. My grandmother didn’t understand why she couldn’t do normal things. Mom simply couldn’t, and in retrospect, that was okay.
Love unconditionally. In John 13:34, Jesus gave us a new commandment saying, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” God had me turn down a full-time reporting offer from ESPN to go home to San Antonio and love and honor my mother for the first time. It did not come easily at first. It was a process, but eventually the LORD helped me to see her through His eyes. I have never regretted the decision to take a step back in my career to love my mother. It’s now a big part of my testimony. Unconditional love means you love without expecting anything in return.
So today, I can honestly say I am thankful for my mentally ill mother. Because of her, God has given me a love for broken people. Whether it’s good or bad, I don’t know, but I am a hopeless overachiever, something that began as a mindset to not be sedentary like my mother. While I never pursued music as a career, I adore music, start my day in worship and often write songs. It’s in my DNA. Because of the scenario I grew up in, I was open to a relationship with the LORD, and it was through that bond, I received the strength I needed during difficult teenage years.
I am glad this is no longer a secret in my life. And in whatever scenario you endured, know that if you’ve placed your trust in God, He will take the past dysfunction or problem and eventually create a beautiful pearl out of it—and that is a promise.
I could do it. I could easily sell everything I own and become a beach bum. I love waking up to the sound of waves crashing the shore. I love the salt air and the feel of sand between my toes. And I could eat a Grouper sandwich or shrimp tacos every day. So what’s stopping me? It’s simple. I can’t disregard the calling on my life and that call is not to make sand castles every day.
I’ve heard the audible voice of the Holy Spirit only a couple of times, but both times it was about what I’m on this earth to do, so I keep doing it, even when it seems difficult to maintain.
Today I was reading about the Apostle Paul who, in 2 Corinthians 11, who listed off all the hardships he faced during his evangelical outreach. “I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm” (2 Corinthians 11:23–27, NLT).
Whew! I wonder if Paul dreamed of retiring to a little villa by the sea?
But Paul had an encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road, and continued to hear from Him throughout his life. He had a calling that he could not dismiss or walk away from.
The truth is that even though I’m here at my happy place, I’ve still worked. I’ve produced one POP Talk television show and I’m working on another. I have finalized a prayer event for church and will be editing a radio show today. Although a little later than usual, I wrote this blog. Even in the midst of a more relaxed gulf-side environment, I can’t escape my calling and so I keep at it, while taking afternoon breaks for beach time.
So what calling has the LORD spoken in your ear? Every believer has a purpose. But is it becoming difficult? Maybe you are thinking it’s time to retire. I’ve got news for you. Except for the Levitical priests in the Bible, God never instructs us to retire. Our lives are a living sacrifice for Him. If you are feeling tired, remember your encounters. Those times when you unmistakably heard the voice of the Holy Spirit or felt an impression on your spirit. The touch of God will be enough to keep you moving forward in your calling.
Won’t you join us for POP Chat on Wednesday, May 26th at 6:30 p.m. CST? Dr. Lynnette Simm will be speaking about “Being You Bravely.” Our guest Worship Leader is Flautist, Katherine Legg.You won’t want to miss this, as it’s our last POP Chat before our Summer Break. Just click on the link to sign up.