life beyond the 51/49 principle

{painting by Melanie Dorsey} - It will hang in my classroom.

{painting by Melanie Dorsey} – It will hang in my classroom.

 

The 51/49 principle. That’s what my daddy calls it – the not so scientific (much less highly spiritual) approach to making decisions.

Your gut leanings . . . 51% in one direction; 49% in the other. When in doubt, go with the 51%.

When making smaller decisions, the 51/49 principle seems to carry less weight. When making larger decisions (those choices involving critical, life paths)? Well, the 51/49 principle is a bit harder to digest. Personally, I prefer the 99/1 principle when choosing a critical, life path—a two-by-four to the head that clearly says, “This is the way; walk in it … ” (see Isaiah 30:21). Unfortunately, that kind of clarification has rarely been my privilege over the years. Instead, I’ve learned to trust my gut, even when it teeters within a few percentage points of taking the alternate (often times, less desirable) path.

Sometimes, 51% is all I get. But every now and again, a 99% shows up . . . maybe even 100%, and there is no need for agonizing deliberation. I am grateful for those occasions; I’ve learned to be obedient to them as well.

Like three weeks ago, when I walked through an open door that (trust me when I tell you) wasn’t even on my radar – not one little bit. Three weeks ago, I was heart-deep in wedding preparations—a season filled with enough emotional trauma to clutter and confuse reasonable thought processes. Choosing the color of my toe-nail polish was a struggle, much less choosing a life-path. Still and yet, a choice presented itself, one that would not only alter my life, but also the lives of my family. That decision?

After fifteen years of being a stay-at-home mom, I’ve decided to take a job outside the walls of my home. Instead of homeschooling my children, I’ll be teaching someone else’s children – fourth graders at a small Christian school just down the road. If this opportunity hadn’t come about in the way that it did, I wouldn’t have had the courage to walk through this door. Even a year ago, I wouldn’t have had the strength. A year ago I was busy giving away all of the contents of my teacher boxes in an effort to lighten our load prior to our move to this community. After hauling that mess around for years, I had no intentions of ever, practically using any of it again. I kept one banker’s box, the contents of which are less practical and mostly sentimental.

And so, I’m starting from scratch, walking down a road I never imagined I’d be walking down again, and I’m doing so with a 99/1%, two-by-four affirmation in my pocket that will, undoubtedly, buoy my “want to” as this season unfolds. It may not make a lick of sense to others, but it makes perfect sense to me. Accordingly, I offer no apologies or explanations to the naysayers; I simply walk through this open door in obedience, knowing that the favor of God and the shine of heaven rest upon me.

The accumulation begins!

The accumulation begins!

This is my next, and I’m ready to turn the page, ready to let go of any previous notions of what I thought I should be doing (those 51/49 wranglings of the heart) and ready to step into the 99% I know that I should be doing. It’s just that clear and, relatively, simple. How grateful I am for a reprieve from the constant, internal debate regarding my next!

I don’t where you are today as it pertains to choosing a life-path. Maybe you are contentedly walking with a 99% affirmation in your heart; maybe less contentedly, hovering between your 51 and your 49. I understand them both. This is the life of the faith . . . walking forward with God and trusting that, even when it’s with a 51/49 affirmation, he will establish your steps as you go and strengthen your witness for his glory and his renown.

Step on, friends. Step forward. Step always with God. These next steps matter. You can make them confidently, knowing that, wherever the path leads, you’ll never walk alone. Not ever.

Rest in the company of our King today. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

PS – The winner of Leah’s study, HeBrews: a Better Blend, is Rebecca! Please be in touch with your mailing address, friend.

Into the Cloud

11540872_sI came across a verse this Sabbath afternoon while working my way through HeBrews: a Better Blend. I don’t think my author-friend, Leah, meant for me to park my thoughts at this particular verse for any length of time; nevertheless it parked alongside me, keeping company with my soul for the last several hours.

“The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.” –Exodus 20:21

Where God was.

Where was God? In the cloud – shrouded by thick darkness. Moses knew it; the Israelites knew it. Still and yet, they allowed their fear to overrule any measure of faith. Moses? Well, he’d been down that road with God before, back in those beginning days when his fear might have kept him from the greatest faith-adventure of his life. Instead of giving into the fear, Moses approached the darkness—the burning bush, the throne of Pharaoh, the Red Sea. Why?

Because God was in there, in those places of great testing. Moses, better than the Israelites, valued the presence of God and understood that, sometimes, it’s in the darkness where the Light is most radiantly revealed. God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. But in the darkness, when we cannot see clearly for the thick fog surrounding us, God’s light is a holy, welcome resource.

We should not fear the unseen. Just because we cannot see the light doesn’t mean that the light isn’t waiting for us just beyond the veil. Sometimes the way through is clear and obvious. Sometimes, it’s only by taking those initial steps of faith into the cloud that the light will be revealed. Sometimes, it’s our steps forward that bring the sacred flame into focus.

Not long ago, I stepped into the cloud to meet with God. Was I afraid? A little. But like Moses, there was a greater fear that penetrated my heart – The fear of not taking those steps forward. I think that Moses, like me, clearly knew that God had something more for him (beginning at the ripe young age of 80) . . . something beyond the routine of sheep-tending on the plains of Midian. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with sheep-tending. Sheep-tending is a good living unless God wants to move our tending to the other side of the pasture, or in Moses’ case, the other side of the Red Sea.

Every now and again, we have to be willing to let go of good pastureland in order to take hold of God’s Promised Land.

And so, I said “yes” to God and stepped into the thick darkness surrounding my “yes.” Do you know what I found once I did?

His extraordinary “yes” on the other side, brilliant light radiating deeply into my heart and bathing my soul in peace. Why? Because God was there. God is there, and God wants me to be where he is.

Friends, I don’t want to live my life beneath a cloudless sky if it means missing the beauty of a trust-filled walk with the Lover of my soul. I don’t want sunny skies if it means I cannot have the thickness of God’s presence surrounding me. I don’t ask for the darkness; I much prefer sacred revelation without it. But I’ve walked with God long enough to know when he’s inviting me to a deeper level of trust. This is one of those seasons. Accordingly, I have stepped beyond the veil in recent days, and I have seen with my own eyes and felt deeply within my soul what it is to move beyond my fears and to walk with faith as my anchor.

Have I crossed the Red Sea? Not yet, but I’ve dipped my toes into the waters of anticipation, and I’m ready to make that journey through on dry ground.

This is faith from the inside-out, all the way through to Canaan. God is there. He is my next, and he is my peace . . . for the journey. I can’t wait to read the next chapter in this crazy book called “My Life.” Thank you for joining me on the road.

PS:The winner of a surprise gift from Lisa Dixon is Cindy from Letters From Midlife.

Leave a comment today for a chance to win a copy of Leah’s new study, HeBrews: a Better Blend. It is a fascinating, challenging dig into the life of faith. I hope you’ll take advantage of this soul-stretching resource!

Also, have you heard about my summer-combo book deal? You can secure copies of Peace for the Journey and Beyond the Scars for $20 (includes shipping – USA orders only). I’ll be happy to sign them for you and get them in the mail this week (sent media mail). You may order through paypal using the link below or by contacting me directly by clicking here.
wedding summer special




Photo Credit: mihtiander / 123RF Stock Photo

worn out to wearable . . .

lisa fabrics 4“There’s something in there, Elaine. I’m not quite sure what ‘it’ is, but there’s something in there.”

So says my artist friend while staring at a pile of scraps in her attic sanctuary. To the casual onlooker, those scraps don’t look like much. Just a pile of colorful leftovers—cast-offs from somebody’s closet and the thrift store down the road. I cannot see what she sees on the front side of her creating. I can only be thankful for her visioning that leads to a finished product that is both beautiful and functional.

A recycled masterpiece!

In wearing her treasures across my body, I carry history into the present. Threads of yesterday are delicately woven into a tapestry that tells a story. My story.

Scraps to salvaged. Parts to whole. Old to new. Worn out to wearable.

Yes, this is my story. And all it took was the visioning of the Artist to see what I couldn’t see. To imagine what I couldn’t imagine. To pause before the scrap heap and to say,

“There’s something in there. I’m not quite sure what ‘it’ is, but there’s something in there.”

A functioning something. A beautiful something. A recycled masterpiece fashioned by the Master, pieced and woven tightly together by threads of sacred love. History into the present . . . a lot of times past that count toward tomorrow.

lisa fabrics 3So here I am – a garment comprised of yesterday’s scraps, sewn up with a lot of grace-splashes. And it works. I work because I am his work. There simply isn’t any other reasonable explanation for how this is all turning out so well – my life.

How grateful I am for the quiet pauses in a day that lend themselves to creativity. To climb the attic stairs and to imagine through to the other side of the scrap heap. To house (even if just a little) the creative pulse of the Creator within me. To have the light coming through the window to crystallize and clarify the blueprint. To remind me when I so often forget that …

“There’s something in there.”

lisa fabricslisa fabrics 2

There is something in there, friends. A holy something. A God something. Whether you’re staring at a scrap pile in the mirror today or whether your work is on the table awaiting a hem line, there’s something in there. The Artist has his eyes on you, and he’s working with the end product in mind.

What you’ve yet to see, he has already seen. What you cannot imagine, he has already imagined. His visioning is holier than yours and his patience enduring. The word on the street is you’re going to be a masterpiece. In the Master’s hands, how could you be anything but? Trust him with and for the finishing details. Give him your scraps and watch him create.

Grace looks beautiful on you, friends. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

PS: If you’d like to learn more about the artist, Lisa Dixon, and how you might secure one of her valuable treasures, please visit her Etsy sight by clicking here . What’s your favorite item? Let me know in a comment, and I’ll enter your name into a drawing to win a secret treasure from her stash. You can also find Lisa on facebook by clicking here.

Summer Book Special – Combo Pack

CIMG1959

Welcome to my wedding-centric, crazy world! We are eleven days away from celebrating the blessed union between my eldest son, Nick, and his bride-to-be, Chelsea. My heart is overwhelmed with emotion and anticipation for the impending nuptials and for the new chapter unfolding in the life of our family. I imagine I’ll have some further thoughts in coming days, but for now, I’m sitting back … taking it all in.

It’s a lot to manage, this turning of the page in my story. But God is enabling me to do just that and to find deep joy alongside. Oh the depth of my mothering years! Thanks be to God for the privilege of counting each one of them – all twenty-five of them – and all the milestones that accompany two and a half decades of growing a boy into a man. Sweet mercy – I barely made it through Nick’s high school graduation! How grateful I am for the family that surrounds me and that will, undoubtedly, shepherd me through the next two weeks.

Would you pray for me, that I would be attentive to the necessary to the exclusion of the unnecessary? I don’t want to be an ogre in this season of bliss. Instead, I want to be an agent of God’s love, a dispenser of the kingdom, not a hoarder therein. I want to live and give my mothering best. I’ve missed the mark on several occasions over the years, but by God’s empowering grace and with his perfect peace at my disposal, this won’t be one of those times. Thank you in advance for coming alongside me and supporting me with your prayers. It means the world to me.

Blessings, friends, and as always …

Peace for the journey,

PS: It’s unlikely you’ll see me here at my cyber address for the next couple of weeks. Still and yet, you can always reach me through my contact page. A few closing details:

  • I’m happy to report that the groom-to-be has chosen a winner for Leah’s study, HeBrews: a Better Blend. The winner is Sharalee. Sharalee, please message me your mailing address.
  • Secondly, I want to offer a Summer Book Special – Combo Pack on Beyond the Scars and Peace for the Journey. For a limited time, I am offering both books for $20 (shipping included – USA orders only). Please use the link below to place your order (this is the only link that provides this particular offer). If you’d rather mail me a check, send me a message by clicking on this link.

wedding summer special





“HeBrews: a Better Blend” Bible Study Release and Give-Away

HeBrews-Cover1-796x1024It’s been four years since my friend, Leah Adams, published her first Bible study – From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest: Creating a Godly Legacy. On July 1st, her second Bible study, HeBrews: A Better Blend will be released by Warner Press. I’m so excited to share this interview with Leah that highlights her new study as well as the author herself. Leah is a dear friend, and I am greatly looking forward to digging into God’s Word, utilizing her heart and pen as my guide.

Be sure an leave a comment with today’s post, and I will pick one winner to receive a copy of Leah’s new study!

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Leah, I may have readers who have not met you online. What would you like for my readers to know about you?

 
I am a North Georgia girl who loves Jesus—A LOT. I asked Jesus to come into my heart at the age of 15. Within a few years, I made some horrible moral choices that drew me away from Him. I spent the better part of my 20s walking far from Jesus, and God let me go my own way until I was sick of it. Then, just like the prodigal son’s father, God welcomed me back, and overwhelmed me with a desire for His Word and His presence. He made it clear that nothing I had done, no sin I had committed, changed how He felt about me. God loved me with a ridiculous love. He lavished grace on the heart of His daughter, and ultimately called me into ministry in 2007.

 
My passion is teaching God’s Word, and He allows me to do that through two avenues: speaking and writing. I have had the privilege of speaking to groups all across the United States. While my signature message is about the legacy we are leaving for the generations that come behind us, the ultimate message is always about the grace, love, acceptance, and mercy that can only be found in Jesus Christ. I love speaking to women of all ages, but my heartbeat is for women under 40 years of age. My hope is that the words God gives me encourage and challenge women to walk intimately with Jesus every single day they walk the dusty sod of earth. I want them to know that Jesus loves them more than they can imagine.

 
Another area of ministry that the Lord has assigned to my husband and me jointly is ministry to international students who are studying in the US. Over 750,000 students from other countries study in America every year, and the vast majority of them are never in an American home. What a missed opportunity for the church of Jesus Christ to show the love of Jesus to students who might, otherwise, never hear about Him! Greg and I regularly host international students in our home, and have developed close friendships with many of them. In fact, we have become ‘American parents’ to a delightful young woman from Australia. God brought Bree, Greg, and me together, and she is now very much a part of our family. We love her as if she were our own.

 
What occupies your free time? Hobbies, interests?

I love to read. Christian fiction and biographies are what can be found on my bookshelf, alongside lots of biblical commentaries, Bible translations, and cookbooks. I enjoy cooking, camping in our fifth wheel RV, and spending time with my husband and my girlfriends.

 

What are some items on your bucket list?

 
I would love to visit Australia, Germany, Hawaii, Alaska, and the Grand Canyon. Speaking gigs in any of those places would make the trip that much sweeter! My husband is a golfer, and we would like to attend the Master’s golf tournament. I sponsor two girls in Tanzania through Compassion International, and visiting them one day is definitely on the list. I would like to write another Bible study, or ten, if the Lord gives me the words. As I said, I love to cook, and attending a weekend Southern Living cooking school would be great fun. A return visit to a hummingbird haven where many different types of hummingbirds are together in one place is on the list. I’m amazed at those little fliers.

 
untitled-65How did you develop an interest in writing and when did you begin writing seriously?

I have enjoyed writing and public speaking from my junior high school days. I always excelled in English, and term papers were never a drag for me. I know . . . I’m a geek.
My deep-end dive into writing came in 2002 when my Daddy was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer. As he progressed through his chemo treatments, I would write a weekly email to family and friends who wanted to keep up with his progress. Each email would close with a few inspirational thoughts that usually included Scripture. After my Daddy graduated to heaven in late 2004, people began asking if I would write a weekly devotion and send it out via email. After a year or so of doing that, over 125 people were receiving each email, but unfortunately, my ISP was deleting the emails as spam. It was at that point that I made the jump to a blog format, where I now offer my writing.

 
When the Lord called me into ministry in late 2007, I needed something to speak about, and that something was the topic of legacy. For my first speaking engagement, I wrote a 15 minute message about the legacy we, as Christians, are leaving for the generations that come behind us. Eventually that message grew into an hour-long message, and ultimately became the foundation of my first Bible study, From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest: Creating a Godly Legacy, which was published in 2010.

 
What is the back story behind HeBrews? What was the impetus for you to write this book?

I began writing HeBrews: A Better Blend purely out of obedience to the Lord. Several years prior to writing the study, I had done a pretty intense self-study of the book of Hebrews. It was my hope that the Lord might allow me to write something out of that time of study, but I wasn’t sure. Perhaps it had just been for my edification. In 2012, I sensed the Lord giving me the go-ahead to write a Bible study from the book of Hebrews. I’ve learned that when God says do something, the best response is ‘Yes sir’. So, write I did. I had no intention of publishing HeBrews, thinking it would just be an act of obedience, and perhaps a study that my Tuesday morning small group would do. God had other plans. When I was about halfway through the writing, my friend, Brooke, introduced me to the wonderful woman who is now my Editor at Warner Press. One thing led to another and before I knew it, God had opened the door for HeBrews to be published. It was totally a God-thing, and I often tell Him that this is His doings, and the responsibility is on Him to place HeBrews into the hands of the people who need to read it.

 
Share with us a bit about your book.

 
HeBrews: A Better Blend is an eight-week Bible study that takes the student through the entire book of Hebrews. The Old Testament constructs that were so important to the Israelites, i.e. Old Testament tabernacle, priest, sacrifice, and covenant, are examined alongside the New Testament parallels that we find in Jesus. Jesus was the BETTER priest, administering a BETTER covenant, offering a BETTER sacrifice, and ultimately bringing us into a BETTER tabernacle.
There are five days of homework each week, and most days the student studies from both the Old and New Testaments. HeBrews: A Better Blend can be done by individuals, and in group settings. At the beginning of each week of study, I offer a dessert recipe taken from my collection, or from the collections of some of my friends and family. Dessert definitely makes Bible study richer. No pun intended!

 
Why should someone read HeBrews: A Better Blend? What does it offer them personally?

The study of Scripture, God’s Love Letter to humankind, is as important to me as taking my next breath. Without it, I would be right back in the ditch of sin that I crawled out of 20 years ago. HeBrews: A Better Blend offers the reader a guided study of the book of Hebrews, as well as opportunities to apply faith principles to their own life, and grow in their faith in Jesus Christ.

 
How can my readers find you? Blog? Social media?

I would love to meet your readers. They can find me at my website and blog, The Point, at http://www.leahadams.org.

I am also on several social media platforms:

Facebook Ministry page

HeBrews Facebook page

Twitter

When and where will HeBrews: A Better Blend be available to the public?

The release date for the Bible study is July 1st. It should be available at major e-tailers, as well as Christian bookstores.

 

Any final thoughts you’d like to share with my readers?

 
I want to encourage your readers to fix their eyes on Jesus. My prayer is that they will raise their eyes above the horizon of their circumstances (good or bad), and look to Jesus for their strength and hope. He is everything we need. EVERYTHING! Developing an intimate relationship with Jesus will not happen accidently. It requires intentionality, perseverance, and lots of time allowing Scripture to speak to the heart. Once a heart gets a taste of walking in intimacy with Christ, there is no going back. I want that for your readers, because I know what a thrill it is to me.