Monday, November 4, 2013

Surrendering the Lies


 “Are you giving anyone the greater authority over your life than Jesus Christ?” author and speaker Marian Jordan  asked the crowd of 70 plus women. I shifted in my seat, the labels of my identity, the labels that I recognize that have locked me away from what God calls me to do flashing red behind my eyes.

Unwanted

Unworthy

Unnecessary

“We are either walking in truth or the voice of the father of lies,” Marian continued.

The voice of lies.

Unwanted, unloved, unnecessary—all the voice of the father of lies. Often our lies come from outside of us—comments from parents, siblings, teachers that become our ‘truth’. In childhood I began developing the lie that I was ‘unwanted.’ Later this belief transpired to thoughts of unworthiness, showing up in my life through believing there was always someone who would be better in the space I was taking as friend, sister, wife, mother and employee. It is a battle I recognized and a war I constantly fought.

And then came Marian’s transforming words:

When we sit at Jesus feet, we are transformed; the labels are dropped, and we walk in God’s truth.  We do not need to try, to strive to rid of these labels that keep us locked in schemes of the enemy. When we bring them to Him, He sheds them as that is His way, and the truth.

What is the truth?

I walk with with Him-I am a daughter of light and not of darkness.
 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:5

I am Wanted-I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption in sonship (daughtership) through Jesus Christ, in accordance to his pleasure and will- Ephesians 1:4-5

 I am Worthy-I have been fearfully and wonderfully made.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:14

I am Necessary-I am God’s workmanship-His handiwork born anew in Christ to do His work.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
 
Are you holding on to lies that keeps you locked from God’s destiny for you?

You can find out more about Marian Jordan's speaking engagements and purchase her books at Redeemed Girls Ministries.

 

 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Learning to be safe



Fort Edmonton Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
lynn j simpson 2012
“Love, however, depends in part on our ability to own and share our faults. The one who is forgiven much, loves much (Luke 7:47).” From Safe People, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
Now where did that come from? I tapped my head a couple of times on my steering wheel then looked up at the cars in front of me wanting to exit the park, and then at my friend (well, who knew if he was still my friend after what I just did) stepping into the cab of his truck, angry looks from drivers caught behind him. Caught, stuck behind him.

Because of something I did. But I went and blamed him. Why?

It was not one of my finer moments.

Moments before we had been sitting on the open tailgate of my Jeep, discussing where we may want to go next after spending a crisp, fall day walking the cobble and dirt roads, exploring the fur trade, the churches, the pioneer days of 1885, 1905, and 1920.  My camera around my neck, he patiently waited each time I stopped to frame a shot, and I happily listened to his tales of time with his kids when they were young, and when he was young, growing up the German way on the ‘farm.’  

Then he said it. A comment that made my stomach feel like it was trying to digest a bad piece of bannock. It wasn’t the first time. And it wasn’t malicious on his part. It was just the truth. A truth I was still having trouble believing, but his truth nonetheless. I slipped off the tailgate, stepped into the passenger side of my truck, pretending I needed to get something from my purse, just needing a moment.

“Want to go for a ride on the bike?”

I brightened. “Sure!”

He grinned, his hand resting on the top of my open Jeep door. He knew how much I liked being a passenger, wind whipping in my face, while on his motorcycle. Often when we rode I would see him checking his rearview mirror, checking if I was smiling.

I slipped over into the driver’s side of my truck, and pulled out of the parking spot, glancing in the rearview mirror. All was clear. Too clear.  My friend, already in the line up to leave the park, stopped suddenly, stopped all the traffic behind him, waved at me frantically.


“What?” I looked at him questioningly, out my open passenger window, and as he strode by my truck his dark eyes locked on me for a moment. I turned my head, looked behind me and then understood why the view had been so clear. My tail gate still open, he picked up my lap top bag that had fallen out on to the pavement, placed it back into my truck before shutting the gate.

 I heard him muttering as he walked back to his truck. “Unbelievable.”

I yelled out. “That was your fault!”

“My fault?” he questioned back. He looked up, raised his hands in the air. “My fault? Unbelievable.” He stepped into his cab, started driving to the relief of all those behind him. But first he made sure I was let into the line-up, letting me pull in front of him after, I am sure, he saw me bang my head on the steering wheel a few times.

A little later, after I let him merge in front me, following him back to his house, I wiped a tear from my cheek. Why did I blame him for something that was obviously my fault? I’d forgotten to shut the tailgate of my truck. But I blamed him because he was the last one sitting on it. But that does not make him responsible.

I have a hard time with my imperfections. And when someone else, especially those I am close to, sees my imperfections.

So often I’ll make the silliest mistakes—keys in my freezer, forgetting my cell phone at a friend’s house, not closing the top of the Tupperware container so the contents dries up, or spills out the next time I reach for it. When I get caught, my excuses? I am creative, I say. I get distracted easily. Or I say, I am so focused on you, my company at the moment, that all else does not matter.

Bologne.  These may be truths, but the full-truth is I am not perfect. None of us all.

“Unsafe people….project an image of perfection, and their image becomes more important to them than the relationships they are in. If someone threatens their image, they will attack that person, for they must keep up their image at all costs.” Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.

Standing on my friend’s driveway, as he passed me my helmet to keep me safe, I apologized to him, for my words, for reacting from hurt instead of love, for blaming him, for projecting my insecurities of not being perfect enough, on to him. He nodded, appreciative, forgiving, and checked that my helmet strap was tight. My hands on his hips, we cruised out to the road, and he quickly sped up to the speed limit, the crisp wind on my cheeks, and his eyes in the rearview mirror checking if I was smiling.  

Are you okay with your imperfections? Do you allow God's grace to forgive you so you can forgive yourself and others of their imperfections?
 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Importance of Community and Support for Writers by Laurel Garver


                              I have the priviledge today of hosting author Laurel Garver!

Laurel Garver is the author of a  Never Gone, a young adult novel about a grieving teen who believes her dead father has returned as a ghost to help her reconcile with her estranged mother. View the trailer. Add it on Goodreads. It is available as an ebook and a paperback at Amazon.com, Amazon Canada, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, CreateSpace.

The importance of community and support for writers

 
by Laurel Garver, author of Never Gone

 In my novel Never Gone, my protagonist Danielle loses a parent, yet has more support available to her than she recognizes at first. Some of it feels periphery, like the funeral flowers and “influx of condolence cakes and casseroles.” She has a hard time being real with the caring adults at her church, like her youth pastor and confirmation sponsor (someone who is a mentor in your teen years). Danielle focuses on her close friends’ absence (out of town for the December holidays) rather than how they try to be present for her over the phone and Internet. She misreads her mother’s attempts to be strong as cold-heartedness. Danielle’s British relatives aren’t nearly as stoic and “keep a stiff upper lip” about the loss as she believes, either.

 A big piece of Danielle’s struggle is losing the person she relied on most for support, her dad. Over the course of the story, she awakens to the fact that not only has God not abandoned her, but he’s also placed her in the midst of a web of relationships that offer abundant support if she’ll only accept it.

 Community has been essential to me as a creative person. I never would have written a novel if it weren’t for a good friend challenging me to take up writing again when I was becoming fidgety and bored as a stay at home mom. She kept me accountable by asking to see pages each month of “anything you want to write.” In those early years of developing craft and taking up and abandoning ideas, another friend gave very practical support by babysitting or taking my daughter on outings “so you can write,” she said. I finished my first draft of the novel largely because my Bible study group asked week after week how progress was coming, how they could pray, and how they could help with research.

 And research! Well, I relied on a network of knowledgeable people to answer all kinds of questions: medical diagnoses and treatments, the sociology of various New York neighborhoods, how Anglican clergy live, therapeutic techniques for grieving kids, and much more. Anything I found in a book or online, I liked to double check with an expert.

 When I finished the second draft, my “beta readers” were church friends who read avidly. They gave great feedback that helped strengthen the story so much. My support network expanded when I began thinking about pursuing publication. I joined two critique groups--one focused on children’s literature and the other made up of writers I knew through church connections. They gave me helpful advice on revision and encouragement to keep a steady pace of production.

 A few constant encouragers were my husband, my neighbor friend Kate, and one of my Sunday school students (now in college), who called herself my #1 fan and wanted to see drafts as I wrote.

 Writing itself is a solitary activity that eventually becomes communal. But staying plugged in can be a challenge for writers because of the time demands.

 Here are a few ways to offer support to writers:

 1. Take an interest. Ask what they’re working on, what they like about it, where they’re struggling.

 2. Offer resources. Research can be a major challenge--offer helpful Internet links, books, and access to experts the writer could interview.

 3. Provide practical helps. Babysit or invite the writer’s kids for a playdate with your kids. Offer to drop off their dry cleaning when you’re planning an errand run. Carpool. Take the family an occasional meal.

 4. Encourage. More than anything, writers need voices of hope in their world. Writing is labor intensive and filled with rejection and disappointment. Writers need to hear that stories matter, that using a God-given gift brings more light into the world.

 5. Advise only if invited. Well-meaning folks often tell me what they think I should be writing. But I can only give my heart to a story that captures MY imagination. On the other hand, I’ve really appreciated friends who let me bounce ideas off them very informally, and given me a sense of what might or might not work in a story.

 6. Celebrate. When a writer publishes something, even if it’s in an online literary magazine, praise them and celebrate with them. Share links on social media sites. Purchase copies of their work for yourself or as gifts if it’s a genre that might appeal to others more than to you.
 
What community support helps you acheive your goals?
 
 
"From the sky-scrapers of New York, to the hills of England, Garver brings you on a lyrical journey that rolls with highs and lows, full of valleys of tenderness. I highly recommend this book to both adults and teens!" Lynn J Simpson

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A new day



Well hello again. It has been awhile since I have posted here. Where have I been? Reflecting on this, I am not sure actually! But I did make the choice of not writing and, instead, used my time elsewhere, mainly to cultivate relationships with new and old friends, reading, reflecting, letting go of old dreams, grieving, and creating new visions with the help of my friend, HOPE

Merriam-Webster defines HOPE as to cherish a desire with anticipation.

My desire is to Encourage and Uplift others through my words and actions. I don't always acheive this especially when I react from a place of hurt instead of love. However, whenever we fall we always have the HOPE of doing better in the next moment, or the next day. Every moment is new.

Recently I received my Christian Life Coaching Certification. After a few coaching calls, one of my first clients commented how she now felt HOPEFUL again.

And my heart leaped for her.

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”

Emily Dickinson

What hopeful tune are you singing today?







 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An Invitation

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.


Rocky Mountains touch crystal blue skies. Rocks, shimmering like glass, peer from the lakes that hug the mountain highway. My hands gently steer the wheel. As the hours go on, the mountains and lakes will soon be replaced by mountain ash trees and prairie grass. I slow, my eyes drifting to a deer grazing on the highway edge. Beautiful. My tires grind on rivets. I've crossed the line. The deer jumps, and gracefully disappears in the nestle of trees. I steer left, aligning myself right on the road again, glancing beside me and in my rear view mirror. My passengers still rest, eyes closed. I let out a breath, content that I did not disturb them. My traveling companions, these three ladies, are counting on me to get them home safely. And with all my heart, I am going to try my best to make sure I do.

We call ourselves the 'Tailgate Girls', Kerry, Laurel, Marilisa and I; a name derived from a planned outing of hanging out on the tail gate of my Jeep on the banks of a river only accessible by a 4-wheel drive. Although a rained out road de-railed our picnic to a spot just off the highway, the name stuck. Since then the four us have hiked the trails of Jasper, dined together on pizza and steak, and danced to the wee hours of the morning. And we have shared our stories, and hopes, and dreams. But what I appreciate most about these ladies is how they have lifted me up in my faith journey. And it all started from an invitation.

An invitation that saved my life.

In a time of brokenness and shame, I searched out healing. Led to a small group at my church, I met Mike, who invited me to attend an event for other singles within the church community. This one invitation led to me meeting the 'tailgate girls', and such an abundance of new friends and other events that there are too many to write in a blog post! But know, that one invitation did touch my life deeply. And I am forever grateful.

One invitation. A life saved.

As the radio plays softly through my car stereo. I tap my fingers to the beat. I think about the single dad on my block who recently had hip surgery. I think about the mom across the street with three young children and a husband who works out of town. I think about the widower next door. I think about the foster home with three teens around the corner. Just around the corner and when have I extended an invitation? Would they be interested in the youth swim party coming up? Or how about the newly divorced woman, Jackie, I see every week at bible study. Would she be interested in the singles volley ball on Friday nights? I let a hand off the wheel. I run my hand through my hair. What if they say no?

Kerry stirs beside me, stretches out her arms in front of her. "I feel better," she says. "How about you? Do you need a rest? I can take over the driving."

I shake my head, smile. "No, I feel good actually. Go back to sleep. You ran at 4am this morning! You deserve your rest." But I am glad for her concern, for her caring.

Kerry fluffs up her pillow. "You're a gem. But if you do get tired, just wake me and I'll say yes to driving." She leans back and I watch her close her eyes before I turn my eyes back to the road, both hands on the wheel.

Maybe Jackie would like to join us for games night? I make a mental note to invite her.

Is there someone you can extend an invitation to today? You just might save a life.

Tailgate Girls

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Costs of Discipline

                                                            Photo Credit

"Discipline always yields results…in time. You’ll need to remind yourself the pain of discipline costs far less than the pain of regret."
Pastor Kevin Beehner, Sherwood Park Alliance Church, Sherwood Park, Aberta, Canada


Each year I choose a word and use that word as a guide for my decisions. Last year my word was Connections. So every opportunity that arose, I'd ask myself, "Will this decision create connections that move me forward toward my end goals?" So when it came to social activity, I almost always said yes. And, wow, did God bless me by deepening friendships I had, and by creating new relationships. The outcome was much more then I imagined when I began 2011. 


The only shortfall...some of the the areas in my life, like finances and heath stayed stagnent or fell below the goals I had set. But I am okay with this. Although balance in all areas of life is a key goal coached by life-consultants, business gurus, and even our mom's,  I think God puts us in seasons where He wants us to grow in areas more than others.


So this year, the word I have chosen is Focus. To stay present and disciplined, completing projects I have started such as my teen novel.  And, as Pastor Kevin explains, discipline, although painful, leads to results of gain in the disciplined areas of your life.  And regret, that is painful too...well, generally leads us to more pain.


We always have a choice.  Discipline or regret? What will be your choice today?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Yup..Another Goal Setting Post!

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” (Zig Ziglar)

I know you have probably been bombarded with goals and new year's resolution posts already! But several of my friends have been asking how I do my goals, so thought I would just blog about it even though I'm sure I am one of many, many others who are doing the same! Maybe you'll gleam something new....


First step: I write "End" Goals. These are yearly and long-term goals. 


Important Note: When writing out my goals, I have to continually ask the question,

Am I serving God or am I serving myself?

To help me do this, I write the following statement on the top of the page before writing my goals.

Living Water-God is working through me


Then I decide on a word for the year. My word last year was Connecting. Next I create my Year Goals keeping in mind my End Goals and my word for the year. My End Goals are broken down into 7 categories-Spiritual, Relationships, Career, Writing, Photography, Fitness, and Contribution

Then at the beginning of each month, I read my End Goals for the current year and, keeping in mind my word for the year, write specific goals in each category for that particular month.

I use Microsoft One Note to set up my goals and then transfer the documents to Dropbox so I can see the goals on my Ipad and my Android phone whenever I like.


Recently I read L. Diane Wolfe's Overcoming Obstacles with Spunk. The entire book is excellent, giving clear direction on how to create and acheive your goals. I highly recommend it.  If you would like to set up your goals using a Smart Phone App, I recommend the Goal Setting Workshop App for Iphone or Ipad. Also this Link will lead you to more Goal Apps for the Apple and Android market.


Next post I'll share how I did last year with my goals, what I learned you NEED to do to stay on track, and I will share my word for 2012.


Do you have a word for 2012?