When Noah was sixteen months old, I went to pick him up at Montessori school after an exhausting day at work. Ms. Lupe, his caretaker, pulled me off to the side with conviction in her tone.
“Ms. Holly! Today I was praying over Noah while he slept and I heard the Lord speak, clear as day. He told me to tell you to read Psalm 91.”
I furrowed my brow, “What does Psalm 91 say?”
“I have no clue! All I know is it’s yours!”
Hebrews 11:6 boldly says, “Without FAITH it’s impossible to please God!” So with my faith strapped like a shield around a solider, I got home as quickly as my legs could carry me. My exhaustion had now been replaced with excitement. I flipped through pages of my bible in search of this delicacy until I met the pleasing aroma of Psalm ninety-one.
I’m not sure, those who are reading this, if you’ve ever received what the Greek refers to as a ‘Rhema’ word? It’s when the Word of God is spoken to us for a specific occasion in our life. It’s when you are reading the Bible and the ink leaps off the page and saturates your heart (Hebrews 4:12-“The word of God is ALIVE and active). He will speak to you so personally that you will never read those verses the same again. It compels you to memorize every word while holding it close to your heart so you can speak it back to the Lord in prayer!
In those moments, face to face with Psalm ninety-one, I received a ‘Rhema’ and I cried! These are the precious moments where God pushes through the ‘religious’ walls rectified in our lives and genuine relationship and trust are birthed. It’s a moment in time where Heaven tangibly invades earth!
When my eyes landed on verse fourteen through sixteen, the Lord whispered,
“Holly, there is a time coming soon where Jason will need this promise from Me. You can trust that I will fulfill My promise to him. Hold onto Psalm 91, specifically verse 14-16 for Jason.” I used red ink to mark the date in my bible, next to Jason’s promise.
A year had quickly passed by and with no warning Jason stepped into the most terrifying season we had yet to face! His circumstance appeared practically impossible and I was immediately gripped with fear.
Instead of running to the phone and consulting a friend, I ran to the Throne and fell flat-faced to the ground. Puddles of tears were forming on my carpet.
“LORD! How did we get here? What are we supposed to do now?”
“Psalm 91,” The Lord immediately whispers to my heart!
“Oh my gosh, that’s right...Psalm 91!” I had forgotten about God's promise to Jason for such a time as this.
I grabbed my bible while trying to remember what the promise said!
Before I could read Jason’s verse, my eyes were distracted by the red ink which captured the date God originally gave me the promise!
It said, 10/25/10. With complete shock, I looked at my current calendar and it was exactly one year to the day God gave this oath to me. It was now 10/25/11. I took that as my confirmation.
“Because he (Jason) loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
Every fear that I wrongly gave permission to torment me, disappeared the moment I read this (Rhema) promise! Not only did God do exactly what He guaranteed and we walked out of that season supernaturally untouched but God delivered me from the torment of fear I would have joined with until we were out of that long season!
People often admire my faith but I tell you, it was this challenging season that built my faith to the mighty giant that you see now! When you watch God perform on your behalf so intimately and precisely, your relationship with Him will never be the same!
Which leads me to today; This past season, Jason and I were struggling over believing God for something. So we began to pray and had a group of prayer warriors also praying. We were unsure if God was promising this to us! It was causing some fear and anxiety. That’s when the Lord stepped in!
During church one Sunday, Bridget, a Godly woman prophetically painted a rainbow during worship. In the Bible, a rainbow signifies a promise! At the end of church she came to the front and addressed the congregation. She said this painting was a reminder that God keeps His promises and she quoted 2 Corinthians 1:20,
“For all the promises of God are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through Him, our ‘Amen’ is spoken to the glory of God.”
She then handed the rainbow to Jason because she said the Lord told her it was for him. Little did Bridget know just how desperate we were to confirm if God’s promise was a “yes” for our current situation! We took this painting as our confirmation.
Fast forward to this week and God came through and we finally received what He promised us! Hallelujah!
You know, it’s common that when life throws you a lemon, to rationalize a quick, simple solution (to eliminate your pain) is the best recipe on how to make “lemonade!”
We desperately seek any ear to hear our frustration and like a vending machine we expect to receive in return, an immediate answer to our dilemma.
Yet keep in mind, what’s often delivered from a vending machine is subpar and rarely nutritious! When I’am given the opportunity to work alongside a woman whose still sticky from those lemons, I will always point her in the direction to find a specific promise from God that breathes HOPE into her situation! Because, when you receive a promise from God over your difficulties, it pales in comparison to any ‘good advice’ offered from a confidant. The difference is like receiving Doritos from a vending machine versus a Filet Minion from Tom Colicchio’s steakhouse. #YesAndAmen
I was recently asked by a new mom if I could offer any advice I learned along the way in raising my kids. Without hesitation I said, “Keep a close eye on your child and an even closer eye on their friends!”
Who your teens choose to hang out with will reveal what’s hidden in their hearts. It’s as simple as the saying goes, “Birds of a feather, flock together!”
Over the years I could discern if my daughter, Lexi, was struggling simply by the people she chose to bring into her circle. As her mother, I closely monitored her friendships and at certain times her selections warranted intervention. It was never easy and often met with resistance. Yet in the end, Lexi would personally thank me and agree that severing those ties rescued her from entering a dark pit.
As we traveled down this journey together, I made it a priority to pray for God to send wholesome, solid, loving friendships. Where Lexi would be surrounded by girls who would hold her accountable to faith, integrity and trustworthiness.
As Lexi walks into her senior year, I can say with confidence God has answered my prayers. Lexi is surrounded by wholesome, solid friendships who build her up and hold her accountable! I’m proud of the circle Lexi has placed around herself and it reflects the purity of her heart!
When Noah was two and a half years old, he would love to get into the store buggy. He would wave at strangers passing by and bless them with his contagious smile.
This particular day we were strolling through Target and Noah felt the urge to sing Old McDonald! He didn’t care that strange looks would glance his way. He simply sang to an audience of one... himself!
Before I could encourage him to lower his song, an employee started to sing along with my son. All of a sudden, “E-I-E-I-O” filled the isles of beautifully displayed merchandise. Noah would raise his voice and then she would follow suit. Back and forth they went until laughter broke out!
Her name tag read, “Judy.”
After their concert ended, I thanked her for being such a blessing. Judy told me that she loved to sing that song because it reminded her of fond memories.
In the next few moments, for some reason she felt safe to share her heart with me about her current struggles. Two strangers in the middle of Target. Unconventional, yet unconditional!
I began to share with her my relationship with Christ and how good He is. She told me that she wanted Jesus but didn’t know how to ask Him into her life.
With excitement, I told her that she could ask Him right now and I would help lead her in prayer. She eagerly said, “Yes!”
So in the middle of ceramics and rugs, Judy and I joined hands, bowed our heads and I led her to her Savior! We cried and Noah started singing again!
To think that the Lord used Old McDonald to bring His daughter to Himself! Sometime He uses the least likely things when we least expect it!
And Jesus said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
The other night, Jason and I went to the movies. On our way home, I was craving pancakes and asked my sweet man to take me to a place we rarely go, IHOP. Yet there aren’t many options for pancakes at ten o’clock at night, so I guess IHOP will have to do. As we walked into the location in front of our neighborhood, the hostess greets us and said, “You probably don’t want to eat here. We only have one server and one cook.”
Just as she said that, a customer walked out the restaurant and told us it was the worst food she has eaten. Jason and I both look at each other and our faces communicated to get the heck out of dodge.
My craving was still in charge, so I convinced my husband to travel down the road about ten miles to Denny’s. I was bound and determined to eat those pitiful carbs! As we reached the door at Denny’s, a handwritten sign said, “Sorry! Closed due to maintenance!”
You got to be kidding me! Are we being punked or does my diet know that I’m trying to cheat?
We returned to the car, and my stomach is more rebellious than before.
“Let’s keep going Jason! Just drive to the IHOP in SugarLand!” Another 20 minutes down the road.
One thing about Jason, he will do anything to bring a smile to my face. He always says, “He’s happy, when I’m happy!” (Girls, find yourself a man like that).
Finally, I sat down to order my beloved pancakes, with a grin ear to ear!
Unbeknownst to me, Jason overwhelmingly begins to hear God’s heart towards our waitress. The Lord whispers to him some very specific details about her life and then God gives Jason a word of hope to share with her in those struggles.
For anyone who walks in the gift of “Words of Knowledge,” you know that fear and doubt will stop at nothing to convince you to keep your mouth shut! Yet Jason, decided to take a risk that night.
As he boldly began to share what God showed him, this waitress quickly confirmed what Jason heard was correct and she got tears in her eyes because she knew God was speaking straight to her, through this stranger.
So, in the middle of a busy, late-night IHOP, we all bowed our heads and Jason prayed over this single mom. He blessed her, encouraged her, spoke life over her and then left her a surprise monetary tip the size of Texas.
Sometimes we get frustrated with unforeseen circumstances, all the while God was leading you to something greater than yourself! So next time you’re upset because you are unable to get your “pancakes.” Stop and consider that maybe God is orchestrating a supernatural encounter!
Typically people do not air their dirty laundry, especially on a forum where the majority only post the picture “perfect!” I, on the other hand have a different portrait to paint tonight! All for one simple reason... to maybe give hope to one person who may thirst for it!
Over the past month or two my marriage has taken a hit. There has been strife, discord, frustration, offense, anger, selfishness, and at the head of it all, PRIDE! But before I address that, let’s back up a couple months to the fact that I had found myself increasingly distracted from pouring into my relationship with Christ. I’ll spare you from listing all the different road blocks, because quite frankly just about anything can be a deterrent from spending quality time with Him, if you allow it!
When I regularly spend personal, quality, one on one time with God... Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self control is the wellspring that flows from within me.
Another words, when you meet with Love, you become Love!
Although the opposite is also true.
If you meet with Pride then you’ll become prideful!
As distance with God grew, I quickly found myself snapping at my husband. Expecting from him, demanding from him, disrespecting him. Then in response, he would attack back and I would then partner with offense! Self pity would be my confidante and I would put my trust in her, a very toxic relationship.
If I had chose to spend time with God, He would quickly remind me of love, grace and mercy.
Instead, the wicked step-sisters, Offense and Self Pity, were encouraging me with anger, frustration, and self protection.
The more I joined with offense, the harder it was to give mercy, simply because I had none to give. That wellspring had dried up.
This past Sunday, I felt the Lord nudging me to come to church, to meet with Him! Clinging to Self Pity, I didn’t want to go. But the Lord was relentless and I agreed. In case you have not encountered an authentic relationship with God yet, allow me to paint a picture for you. It is extremely difficult to meet with Love while holding onto anger, offense, frustration and unforgiveness. If you authentically meet with Him, all of that poison will melt in His presence. Which is exactly what happened. God used the pastor to speak directly into my heart about my own behavior in my marriage. One of the things he said was,
“The divorce rate in the church is the same as out the church. How is that possible? It is only possible because churches are filled with professional listeners. What would happen to the divorce rate within the church if we truly followed God's word above our own SELFISHNESS? The world would change over night if we implemented just half a verse ‘Love your enemies’...We have to be people who follow Christ, not just talk about Christ and fool ourselves. We will never make a difference until we live different.”
This was God’s way of saying,
“Holly, I have commanded you to respect your husband. I have asked you to love people who are difficult. I have personally shown you that forgiveness and mercy are the only way! Go, make it right with your husband. Drop your ‘position’ and ‘rights’ and pick up Love! Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and when it’s time, I will lift you up in honor (1Peter 5:6)!”
The Bible says, “the Truth will set you free” and that’s exactly what happened that morning. If anyone reading this, has ever joined with offense, self pity, anger, frustration, etc ... you know how challenging it can be to set your PRIDE aside and choose humility.
As I left church, my best friend (God) gave me a gentle warning,
“Holly, when making it right with your husband, DO NOT bring up one thing he has done against you. Only confess your wrongdoings and ask for forgiveness.”
Which is exactly what I did and my husband immediately responded with gentleness and the foolish walls that had been our fortress began to crash down.
My old back-stabbing friends, Offense and Self Pity, tried hard to convince me I needed to tell him what he had done wrong, so I could vindicate myself and show Jason how he had been acting in response. But I was done listening to them. They had gotten me into the pit I was currently in, for crying out loud. I had enough!
But God, He wasn’t through! Later that day after confessing and asking my husband for forgiveness ...
The Lord then began to speak to my husband about his own behavior. You see, God didn’t need me to do that, it was never my job and it would never had been effective (especially coming from me)!
First, God spoke to him through a person and then The Lord confirmed it in a dream Jason had that night. Those encounters with God, shook my husband and Love gripped his heart! The rest of those “walls” came tumbling down.
The result: Peace, love, unity and respect once again ruled my marriage from both sides!
I share with you my struggles, in hope that if someone may find themselves currently befriending my ex-friends...
My prayer for you tonight, is that you refuse to drink their poison any longer and instead choose to go make it right, in Love! Because #LoveAlwaysWins
Noah (age 7) and I were walking through the parking lot to my gym. He was lagging behind, taking his time, humming along to the song in his head. While I, on the other hand, was hurrying to the beat of my own drum. When all of a sudden, I hear Noah's voice take on a tone of urgency.
"Mommy, mommy! Stop, come back here! Hurry!"
Concern, with a hint of curiosity is what convinced my feet to move quickly in his direction.
I find him standing in front of a tiny baby-blue Smart Car. With his hands held over the hood and with strong conviction, he said to me,
"Mommy, we must pray right now for the person who owns this car! We must pray that they stay safe if they ever get into a wreck! Pray with me Mommy, pray right now!"
So in the middle of the parking lot, in the hot Texas heat, me and my son bowed our heads and prayed for the owner of this car.
Unbeknownst to Noah, I actually knew the owner of this car. Her name is Jill and she is a regular at the gym. When I saw Jill that day, I told her about Noah's conviction and she squeezed him tight and thanked him.
Several weeks later I saw Jill at the gym and she told me that a week after Noah prayed for her, a large SUV wrecked into her tiny baby-blue Smart Car.
She said, "Your son has a gift and he saved my life because he prayed protection for me BEFORE this wreck happened! I know it was because of his prayer!"
I have walked many, many parking lots with Noah and he has never prayed over one single car, not even mine.
He never felt led to... until he walked by this little, tiny baby-blue smart car!
Jill was right, Noah does have a gift. He hears from God and then, in faith, he acts on it!
Here is the good news....Those who believe in Christ and have a relationship with Him, ALL have this gift! Every. Single. One. Of. Us!
It's part of the package of being connected to the All-Knowing God! And apparently my 7-year-old son has already figured that out for himself!
My question is, have you?
WE ARE SO EXCITED!
Last year I posted a story about my daughter (Lexi) and what it looks like to respond in LOVE when somebody hurts you.
When I clicked "send," I had no idea the legs this story would have, as it literally journeyed across the world.
The story quickly went viral and I had two video production companies, news stations, journalists, several huge online media companies, all contact me to publish our story!
The most exciting of them all is 'Love What Matters' published a book with the most inspirational internet stories and our article was selected and published in their book! We received the gorgeous hardcover gem in the mail and I surprised Lexi by wrapping it. She couldn't believe her story was published!
(Rosey News created a video of the story below... here it is)
I was driving down the road to meet with a group of people. When all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit began to randomly download information about a specific lady that was apart of this group. "The download" was so intense, I had to pull my car over and grab a pen to jot down everything that was being said to my heart. I wrote down very specific details that I could NEVER had known or imagined on my own.
In order to protect this person's privacy, all I can say is the 'word of knowledge' shared with me was so personal and revealed a secret this person had struggled with and been tormented over.
You may be asking yourself, why would God share someone's private information with me?
I'll tell you why... because He also provided me with answers that this person had not known (about this situation) and desperately needed to hear.
He provided me with a "key" to unlock this person's doubt, unforgiveness towards herself and shame.
God is not in the business of gossip, He is in the business of setting people free and He wanted to partner-up, by asking me to communicate this message to His beloved! The only thing standing in the way.... was me!
I battled with my own doubts,
"What if I made this up?"
"What if I'm wrong?"
"This person is going to think I'm crazy!"
"I can't share this with her, it's too personal and I don't really have that kind of relationship with her."
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!
Here is what I can tell you; When a message comes from the Lord... IT WILL NOT GO AWAY UNTIL YOU ACCOMPLISH WHAT HE ASKED YOU TO DO!
I would stay up at night thinking about this. It would flood my mind during the day, and even visit my dreams! The Lord was relentless until I surrendered. You see, I was thinking about myself, God was thinking about her freedom!
I finally reached out and when I shared what the Lord had told me... she cried!
She cried because she knew this came from the Lord. It confirmed things she had privately thought about. She told me, this "secret" was the very situation, many years ago, that had ultimately turned her away from God!
I didn't know that but God did and in this supernatural encounter, He mended the gap that stood between them!
I got my hair done the other day and as I went to leave, my hairdresser walked me out. Before we could reach the parking lot, the owner of the salon next door motioned for us to come see her.
As soon as I entered, she looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Holly, will you pray for my business and bless my new salon?"
There were women getting their hair done, so I replied with a little hesitation, "You want me to pray right now?"
"Yes! Right now!" She said with urgency!
I have to be honest, just because I am in ministry doesn't mean I don't get intimidated and caught off guard.
Yet, I have walked with the Lord long enough to know how He operates, and He usually works best when I take risk and step out of my comfort zone.
Just as I was about to begin, another woman pokes her head in (from outside) to ask a question. But instead of getting what she came for, she quietly sits down as if the Lord positioned her to receive in such a timely manner.
As I begin to open my mouth, I quickly learned that I was not there to "bless this business" but instead the Lord had each woman on His mind!
As I prayed, one by one God began to share things with me about each individual person in that room.
What I heard, I spoke. Which released His presence (love) in the room and each individual heart was fused together.
The things I shared could have only came from the Lord (Someone who knew them intimately) and the listener knew it.
It didn't matter that we were strangers. Hair, no longer was the focus. It was Him who was at the center of it all, which means everybody gets blessed (even His messenger).
For a brief moment in time, busy schedules were put on hold, curling irons were set down, walls began to crumble and strangers wept while sharing their secrets.
It didn't matter if you were "religious" or not! We ALL felt His presence and we all agreed that we had encountered Him!
Church doesn't only reside in a steeple, Church doesn't only take place on Sunday. We, the people, are His church and He meets us exactly where we are, even in a hair salon!
True transformation starts on the inside...I often see people posting pictures of their remarkable outer transformation. We admire the hard work and discipline they put into altering their physical bodies by dropping weight and adding muscles. It's great to look at! It's inspiring to all.
But what about a transformation that's more important than that? Because let's face it, you can morph your physical body to replicate Barbie or the Incredible Hulk, but if you're not transformed internally then everything else is meaningless.
This post isn't about some "holy roller" who found Jesus! No!
This is about a girl who was SO lost but now is found.
A girl who was SO blind but now can see!
I remember that girl, all too well. I'm not sure I could ever quite forget her, nor would I want to.
The pain and insecurity she carried was more than she could handle. She would cry in the mirror, every-single-night, wishing that it would be her last day. She numbed her pain with booze, men, drugs and anything else that could temporarily quench her heartache. She was enslaved to the darkness and shackled to its daily (mental) torture.
Some people call this the "rebellious and immature season of life!" I call it, being lost, depressed, hopeless, valueless, shackled, bounded, and in need of true redemption.
Unless you have experienced being filled with fear, doubt, anxiety, insecurity, loneliness, anger, frustration, etc. Then it will be hard for you to understand the importance of being set free of it!
I remember, crying out to God one night from my bedroom (16 years ago), completely exhausted and at the end of myself. Tears rolling down my face I told Him,
"I don't even know if You are real, but I'm tired of doing things my way! Please change me!"
This was my first, authentic encounter with God! There were no bright lights, visions of angels, or an audible voice.
It was just me, an orphan, who found her Father.
My transformation did NOT happen over night. That day, marked the beginning.
In fact, I will continue to transform (into His image) until the day I breathe my last breath!
If you know me personally (before and after) then you can attest to the fact that God transformed me from the inside-out! There is no denying it, no debating it! I am living proof! I have been set free!
I picked up the phone and with a little panic in her tone, my sister said to me,
"Holly, do you have an ace bandage?"
"I do! What's wrong?" I asked.
"Brenna (her daughter) sprained her ankle, there is some swelling and she can't walk on it!"
"I'll be right over," I replied!
I quickly started rummaging through my medicine cabinet and Noah (who was 6 years old) questioned me.
After explaining what happened, he immediately responded,
"Mommy, we must pray for Brenna right now!"
Before he could finish his sentence, he had already grabbed my hands and bowed his head. I joined him!
With authority in his tone, Noah said,
"In the name of Jesus, we speak straight to Brenna's ankle, BE HEALED! Swelling go down, ankle be healed! Lord, heal her! Amen!"
I quickly kissed him on his forehead and rushed over to my sister, Ginger's house, five minutes down the road!
Ginger met me at the door with a confused look on her face.
"Holly, you are probably going to think I'm losing my mind. But shortly after we got off the phone, out of nowhere, Brenna started jumping up and down on her feet explaining that her ankle feels better. I examined her sprain and it's all better! Before that, I had to carry her because she was unable to walk! I swear she really had sprained her ankle!"
Before Ginger could speak another word, I grabbed her hand and told her that she had just witnessed a miracle!
Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, YOU CAN SAY TO THIS MOUNTAIN, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
This painting hangs on the wall at a coffee shop on Taft Street in Houston. My friend and I happened to sit close by it as we sipped coffee and discussed life.
The nails that currently hold up this piece of art, at one point, held up the One who this picture has captured and the message behind it, IS LOVE!
As I curiously sat and watched, some people would walk by LOVE and NOT notice Him, while others noticed LOVE but immediately rejected Him.
Yet, even though this “act of LOVE” happened over two thousand years ago, He still continues to beckon people and draw them in like the ocean tides.
Just as my friend and I were wrapping up our coffee date, a man who appeared to be in his early twenties laid his body at the foot of this painting and began to weep. The Holy Spirit nudged us to go over to the man. My first thought was, “I can’t go over there and disturb him. Besides, I don’t know what to say.” Although the “nudging” was getting stronger, so we surrendered our human reasoning and made our way to this man. The moment I knelt beside him, he began to weep even louder and so I started to pray out loud. As I opened my mouth, words began to form that could only come from the Lord. I was praying very specific things for a complete stranger. I was speaking destiny into his life, through these prayers, without knowing his name. Afterwards, he told me that he had decided to jump off a bridge later that day and end his life. But the specific words the Lord spoke through me, to him, convinced him that God had a plan and that moment, he chose LIFE!
I often think about this story. What if I would have ignored the Holy Spirit’s prompting to go and see about this man who was hurting? Would the story of him choosing LIFE that day, turn out differently?
Jeremiah 29:11- “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans for hope and a future!”
While I was waiting in line at Starbucks, an older woman stepped through the door and headed straight for me. Her demeanor revealed that she was on a "mission" and had no intention on buying herself a coffee.
I happened to be holding a bible in my arms and when she approached me she boldly said,
"The Lord has a message for you, do you want to hear it?"
She reached her hand out to take my bible and without hesitation, I gave it to her while saying,
"Yes, I want anything He has to give me!"
Prior to this encounter, I had been desperate to hear from the Lord about a situation I was facing that had gripped me in fear. I previously told the Lord that I could not move forward until I heard from Him about my situation! I was currently feeling hopeless and scared.
This mysterious messenger took my bible and began flipping through pages as she was determined to find this hidden treasure with my name on it.
In typical girl-fashion , I wanted to connect with this woman, buy her a coffee and talk about the Lord. BUT oddly enough, she had no desire to sit and chat. As she skimmed through the pages, I asked her questions...
"Where do you work?" I inquisitively asked.
"I work for the Lord," she quickly replied.
Just about that time, she had found what she was looking for!
"Here, this is it! This is what He wants to tell you!"
As my eyes fell upon the page, I was introduced to Jeremiah 29:11-14...
"Holly, for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord! Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity."
... And just like that EVERY question I had was answered and the fear that once gripped me, was now but a vapor.
God spoke straight into my situation and breathed hope back into this lifeless body. Only a God who has memorized me and concerns Himself with every detail in my life, could accomplish this!
As for that "messenger" the Lord sent... Yea, the second I looked back up from reading, she had disappeared, nowhere to be found!
People often say, "The Lord works in mysterious ways!"
I would have to disagree with that statement! The Lord is only "mysterious" to those who do NOT know Him.
He clearly reveals Himself to those who seek His face!
Everyone at some point is seeking an answer. Maybe you are seeking answers from your last blood test or possibly an answer from your recent job interview. Some could be probing for answers to life's problems or even their failed marriage. Whichever the case, we all find ourselves at some point, searching!
Recently my dad found himself at a crossroad! Although, he is typically the one you can go to and find "the answers." This time, he was the one who was desperate. So instead of running to the phone to receive direction, he ran to the Throne (good choice). He cried out to God and genuinely asked for a revelation to what he was supposed to do?
He asked God, "Do I wait? Do I do something? Or what do I do?" In that moment all he heard was silence.
You see, my dads been walking with the Lord long enough to know that just because God didn't respond right away... the answer was still coming and he needed to be expectant!
Several days later my dad was preparing to teach at a gun range. He was at a place called, Impact Zone, and for you avid pistol shooters who know this club, you are aware of the high grass and unkept lawn.
Just as God would have it while my dad is alone and undistracted by people, a shiny ray of Light begins to beam from the tall weeds. From the corner of his eye, this small invasion grabs hold of his attention and draws him to the source. He pushes back the grass blades to find a small silver ring mingled with the dirt. In the blazing Houston heat he turns the ring around and just like that, there was his answer engraved on the ring! "BE STILL!"
The chills ran through his spine as a flashback from a few days ago darted through his mind! This was how God chose to answer my dad! Clear and simple, "Be still" and the back of the ring was branded with Psalm 46:10- "Be still and know that IAM God!"
Since this ring was so small, he squeezed it on his pinky because it meant so much to him. He would wear his answer around his finger as a reminder of what he was to do and how special God answered him. Although fast forward several weeks later, he was training a woman who noticed the ring on his finger. She asked my dad where he found HER ring! She said she had lost it and prayed that God would help her find it. God originally gave her that ring to answer her questions through college and she was desperate to find her ring once she had lost it.
Sad to let it go, he handed the ring back to its original owner, while amazed how God used this simple ring to answer two prayers in one swoop.
After my father shared this story with me, I felt led to go online and see if I could find any ring that had "be still" engraved on it.
Since I had never seen the original ring before, I asked Holy Spirit to help me. When I presented my dad with his new ring, with absolute shock he said, "YOU FOUND THE EXACT SAME RING!" Except this one fit his pinky better! Ha! Of course it did!
May this story encourage anyone who is currently seeking answers! Let me ask you this, have you gone to the One who holds ALL the answers? Have you gone to the One who has said, "Come boldly to the throne of grace, and obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16)?
He is waiting to answer you, my friend!
Me: "Jason, have you left the office yet?"
Jason: (Sheepishly) "Ummm, I'm about to leave...."
Me: (Angrily cuts him off)) "JASON! It's 6:30 and you said you were leaving the office thirty minutes ago! Dinner is almost ready and you have not even left yet?..."
Does this sound familiar to anyone, other than me?
To the wives, who put a lot of stock in spending quality time with their family in the evening, especially over a home-cooked meal...
And to the husbands, who have good intentions to try and make it home on time, but the thought of, "Oh, just one more email," often trumps freshly cooked lasagna.
Here is what I want to say to that...
Ladies, let it go!
Someone wise once told me, the definition of insanity; Is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results!
Let me ask you this... how's your controlling/frustrated reactions working for you?
Let me answer that from experience: ITS NOT!
I know, because that scenario, was me, for many years in our marriage! So much so, that I would allow that scene to dictate the rest of my night, which ultimately didn't pan out well for me, Jason, or the children!
It never produced the type of "change" I was trying to manufacture in my husband.
I'll even take it a step further than lasagna:
I clung to control, manipulation, and angry outbursts all throughout my marriage to try and reproduce what I thought I wanted. While at the cost of not loving my husband and sacrificially putting his needs above my own.
You see, I saw things differently.
I looked at things from an inward perspective. I was focused on MY needs, MY rights, MY desires, MY lasagna ...MY... MY....! Get the point?
Today, I wake up each morning to love my husband. Period!
When I wake up, I do not "need" my husband to treat me/love me a certain way. Otherwise, I am only doing as good as he is treating me, which means he gets to dictate how I "feel" and that will result in an emotional roller coaster. Instead I am filled with Love (not need).
If he is tardy to the dinner table, then I wrap his meal up with foil and greet him at the door with a smile.
LOVE covers a multitude, while a harsh word ALWAYS stirs up anger.
The integrity and strength of a virtuous wife, transforms her husband into an honored king. But the wife who disgraces her husband, weakens the strength of his identity.
Recently I was meeting a friend at a restaurant. I happened to arrive a little early and set my eye on the perfect table. It needed to be cleaned, so I walked over to a man who was bussing a booth close by.
"Excuse me Sir, when you are finished would you mind cleaning off this table?"
He ignored me.
Clearing my throat and elevating my voice a little, I repeated myself.
"Excuse me Sir, when you are finished would you mind cleaning off this table?"
He finally made eye contact with me but his facial expressions quickly communicated his dissatisfaction with me and my request.
While rolling his eyes, he mumbled under his breath, "I guess!" Sigh. Then proceeded towards my table.
Within seconds, I could feel offense begin to rise up inside of me and it quickly begins to scream in my ear:
"Who does he think he is? I should tell his manager, if he is so unhappy at this job! He's not going to treat me like that! What's wrong with him?"
Yet, simultaneously as offense is screaming in one ear, I hear the Holy Spirit whispering in the other ear:
"Holly, don't lose sight of his value because of how he is acting. He doesn't know his own value which is why he acts like this! He is my son and deeply valued!"
While deciding which voice to listen to, I chose to remain quiet and the guy walked away after he finished cleaning the table.
I watched him walk back and forth continuing his job with little satisfaction and frustration.
All the while, hearing Holy Spirit whisper to me, "Go and speak life and destiny into him who lacks it!" While offense continued to wrestle me for my attention.
Finally surrendering to Love, I walked over to this man and handed him a $20.00 bill. He paused and looked at me with confusion.
I said to him, "I have been watching you over the past hour and I have seen a man who takes great pride in his work. I see a man who deeply cares for other people and loves to serve. I want you to know that even when you think no one cares, they do! I want to bless you and encourage you to continue doing these things!"
For the first time that day, his eyes genuinely met mine and with a clearer understanding of his own value, he tightly squeezed my hand and said, "Thank you!" ... And he walked away with joy in his eyes!
Maybe because now he saw himself differently through my eyes... Or should I say, Christ's eyes!
Has someone recently offended you? Have you lost sight of their value, while seeing through the filter of offense?
May I encourage you to change your perspective?
The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger. It is his glory to overlook an offense.
He who covers an offense promotes love.
Offense/hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all wrongs.
There was a man who conned me out of $600.00. He lied to me and told me he could fix the dent out of my car for $500.00.
I believed him and let him "fix" the dent. While working on my car he told me his baby son had cancer and they were struggling. In that moment, I felt led to give him an additional $100.00 to help him in his time of need.
By the time I realized it was a scam, he had taken the money and was out of sight. I had his cell phone number and he told me he would come back and do the job correct or give me my money back. He never came back and I had felt so violated, so betrayed, so angry.
Now I was $600.00 in the hole, plus I had to go spend another $1,500 at the dealership to get the car fixed and painted correctly!
Instead of joining with offense and frustration, I went to the Lord and shared all of my feelings with Him (hurt, frustration, violation, victim, offense, etc...).
You see, only if you have a relationship with the Lord, can you understand how in ONE encounter with Him (Love), He can change your whole perspective and infuse your heart with Love! I can't explain it with words but allow my next action to prove it!
With a new perspective on my situation, I decided to allow LOVE to manifest and not give authority to my feelings... So, I sent that "con-man" a text message and this is what it said:
"Jim, it's Holly! Jason told me that you have faltered on your promise to pay us back and do the right thing. I questioned my ability to hear from God through this process because I thought He told me to bless you with an extra $100, even though I didn't know your intentions were not good for us!
But then God confirmed that it WAS Him who told me to bless you with $100 and He was doing a work with you and it was my job to be obedient. All I know is God is up to something with you and even though He does not approve of your choices, HE is giving you fair chances to turn from your ways and He is choosing to do it through grace and mercy! Wow!
Through this experience, I choose not to be angry with you and to release you and pray that God forgives you for what you did to me!
Because I know that my Father is for me and I wouldn't want His wrath towards anyone on behalf of me. And even though you are doing the wrong thing, I choose not to participate in wrong behavior. So with that being said, I forgive you!"
You see what I didn't mention in the text was the Lord had reminded me that I was called to plant "seeds" of His love and mercy to anyone willing to receive... And I ALWAYS gladly accepted the mission. But what about planting a "seed" when it cost me something deeply (like pride, monetary loss, hurt?)
Was I still up for the mission in order to reach the people?
I remember one of the first miracles I heard about, was an encounter my mom had with the supernatural. For those of you who know her, understands that she has never been an exaggerator or someone who bends the truth to dress up a story.
Out of pure fascination, every detail of this story had been permanently etched into the fine grooves of my memory bank and it just so happens that today I would like to make a withdrawal. :)
You see, my mom was leaving her office and made it to her car just in time before the rain began to pour. While entering the freeway, a car splashed oil onto her windshield and immediately she was unable to see through the combination of smeared lube, rainwater, and fast-paced wipers.
Her driving location forced her to keep moving forward at a quick pace, yet her vision was completely obstructed and panic began to set in. A wave of fear, the size of a tsunami knocked her over and the only thing she could think to do, as her foot was still accelerating, was grip her steering wheel and cry out to God! With tears streaming down her face, she begged Him to help her.
In that passionate moment of lament, the torrential downpour that had covered her car came to an abrupt halt and she could easily see out her windshield.
Yet, here is where we see the miracle... When she looked to her right, to her left, in front or behind her, the rain was still beating down. Readjusting her eyes and blinking several times...she realized that God had not stopped the rain, He had blocked it from touching her car. Almost like a shield that followed her all the way home.
I often wonder what the people saw who were driving next to her?
Were they paying attention to the modern-day miracle set before their eyes, or could they even see out of their own windshield? I guess I'll never know!
But this I can tell you; My mom was forever changed after that encounter! Her faith multiplied and secured her trust in a God who not only answers prayer but concerns Himself with every detail in her life. It was this encounter that set a fire down deep into her soul and thirty years later it is still blazing!
For the majority of my life, I was a taker and not a giver. For the majority of my WALK WITH GOD, I was a taker and not a giver. So often, over the years, I would run into the Truth where God said, "It is better to give than to receive." Caught in my selfishness, I would feel the invitation to change but in my own strength it was next to impossible! I sincerely wanted to change but I had an unhealthy relationship with money that was rooted in fear. UNTIL about two years ago, I got tired of cultivating this stronghold and I surrendered it to God. Once I was ready, He made it clear, "The way to defeat this was to start giving with heart abandoned!" One of the keys to this was I had to stay connected to the Lord daily so I could hear when the Holy Spirit was asking me to give in the right situations.
I have to say the first year was tough, I was working through fears and continuing to learn how to trust that God would provide. By the second year, things began to shift. In place of fear, I operated in such joy when giving! And guess what... Now it's become addicting! I'm constantly looking for ways to give. My favorite opportunity is blessing complete strangers. It catches them so off guard, for someone they do not know, to give like that. Then when you point them to the Fathers love, they receive His love so easily! No judgement! No religion! They see a God who is love and cares about them, their heart is open.
Yesterday, I went to Smoothie King and the girl behind the register told me she was working extra shifts to save for a ukulele (Hawaiian guitar).
I asked her how much one costed. That night, the Lord said to me, "Bless her!" I knew what that meant so I put the amount she needed in an envelope with a short letter from God and I dropped it off this morning.
You should have seen her face when I handed it to her! Priceless!!! Worth every penny! People standing around heard and were in shock to see how good God is because I clearly gave Him all the glory! Why give Him the Glory? Because I KNOW who I used to be. I was blind, but now I see!
I went by myself to eat brunch at La Madeleine.
As I waited in line, in front of me stood three woman who were clearly friends, all with a strong New York accent. They were laughing, cutting up and having a good time.
As the line moved forward, I heard God's still-small-Voice inside of me say, "Bless her."
I knew what that meant, so without hesitation, I reached over the woman in front of me and handed the server my credit card. Shocked, the woman quickly replied with, "No No!" And then I quickly shot back and said, "Don't rob me of this blessing. The Lord wants to bless you!" She was mixed with several emotions and received the small gift while quickly telling her friends what just happened.
Her friends waived me over and they begged me to join them for lunch and I gladly accepted.
It turned out the woman who God asked me to bless, was an atheist. Even though she didn't believe in Him, He certainly loved her and perfectly positioned me at the right time to be a vessel of that love. Not to "convince" her of Him, but to allow her to receive His love tangibly and for her to see what relationship with the King looks like and NOT just religion.
You see, as I listened to her story of how the church misrepresented Christ and shoved "religion" down her throat....
I thought to myself, "No wonder she rejected God. Jesus never drew people to Himself that way. It's the loving kindness of God that leads a man to repentance" (Romans 2:4).
I began to share my "relationship" with God, to them. Not religion, not rhetoric, just reality!
They listened with such intent and interest that my "new friend" had a tear in her eye. God was all over this and little did I know His intention earlier when He asked me one simple request, "Bless her!" I just responded in obedience and He had LOVE on His mind!
As I walked away from this divine encounter, my new friend hugged me tight and genuinely said, "THANK YOU!"
How are you sharing the love of God with others?
When your daughter gets off the bus, embarrassed and in tears... As a mother, it is considered "normal" for me to want to protect her and come to her defense. Although, I am a woman who is led by the Holy Spirit, and peace, love and grace is what invades my heart.
Lexi (who is 14 years old) explained to me how the bus driver stopped the bus in the middle of her route and yelled at her for ten minutes in front of all the kids because she was sitting on her knees while braiding her friends hair.
The woman, in anger, kept tearing Lexi down with unnecessary words and her delivery was completely uncalled for.
After Lexi calmed down and we discussed the dangers of sitting on her knees and bus rules, I asked my daughter a question:
"Lexi, want to do something radical?"
"Sure!" Lexi replied.
"How about you respond to your bus driver in LOVE because she was lacking it today! What she knew was anger and frustration. How about tomorrow morning you present her with freshly baked cookies and a hug!
You and I both know that she doesn't "deserve" it. But after all, isn't that what GRACE is all about?"
My precious daughter quickly replied, "Can we bake the cookies now?"
That next morning when Lexi handed her bus driver those cookies, the woman sat in disbelief because she knew in her heart of heart's that she over reacted in pure anger and foolishness. Yet Lexi humbly came to her, in love.
Trust me when I say, those cookies spoke a million words!
The bus driver asked Lexi, "Can I have a hug too?" ... And just like that, PEACE entered in!
"If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals (of conviction) on his head, and the LORD will reward you."
Years ago the Lord told me something...
He said, "Holly, how can I trust you with the big things that you have been asking Me for, if I can't trust you with the small things?"
He was referring to the "small things" I encountered where it would be easy to NOT follow the rules or do the right thing because no one was looking.
An example of a small thing, would be putting back the shopping cart in its correct spot after using it.
I know, this sounds so insignificant but God would begin to use this as a training process to not only be held accountable but to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
You see, the grocery store allows me to borrow their cart and in return asks me to put the buggy in its designated spot in the parking lot. Yet because of laziness, or lack of time, or weather conditions, I would ignore the request and just leave it by my car for someone else to pick up. That is until the Holy Spirit began to nudge me and say, "Put that cart back!"
At first, my laziness would kick in and I would rationalize by saying to myself, "This is ridiculous, it's just a cart." But then I would remember what the Lord said about being able to trust me with the small things when no one is looking. So I decided to obey the "small" request.... And then came the tests....
I would be running late to pick up my child from school and the check-out lady would be taking forever. I would dash to my car, throw my groceries in the back seat (hoping I didn't break the pickle jar) and I would hear;
"Are you going to put that cart back?"
"LORD!!! Not this time! Come on! I have been doing good. Doesn't that count?"
"Are you going to put that cart back?" He would repeat.
"Okay, okay! I'll put it back!" 😩
I have to say that over the past several years this has continued and I have been faithful with this small task.
Recently I was walking out of the grocery store and as I was putting my things in the car, it began to rain. I immediately thought to myself, "I have put my cart back faithfully for years, I'm sure it is understandable for me to leave it by my car so I can stay dry, I have a party to go to this afternoon!"
Until I heard that Voice again, "Are you going to put that cart back?"
...Well, I'll let you judge for yourself (by the look of this picture) if I put the cart back or not? 😁
Let me ask you this, for those who are reading this:
Can God trust you with the small things?
Jason and I found ourselves on a plane that was about the size of our bathroom. You know, the kind of plane where you pray no one sits next to you because the term "too close for comfort" would be an understatement?
Although, I found my attention was drawn to the airplane attendant instead of the uncomfortable circumstances. I closely watched her assist people with the normal demands of frequent flyers. She quickly walked back and forth helping with luggage, drinks, and comfort... all with a smile on her face. It was getting late in the evening and there were about twenty-five people packed like sardines in this small jet. We were all tired, including her!
In that moment, I heard a gentle pressing on my heart that would have sounded like my own "random thought," if I hadn't known what my Heavenly Father's voice sounded like.
"I want you to encourage her," He begins.
I said to myself, "but the plane is so small, this is not the place to begin a conversation. Besides she is working (AKA- I'm too tired)."
I immediately had another "thought" pop in my head, which I knew Who was speaking, "Then write her a note and give it to her when you walk off the plane!"
Still acting a little defiant and looking for an excuse, I reluctantly said, "Well I don't have a piece of paper!"
"Look in the pocket of the seat in front of you," He replies without hesitation.
Sure enough as I rumbled through the sky magazines and misplaced candy wrappers, there was one blank piece of paper waiting for me as if God placed it there for this very moment. He was laser beamed focused on encouraging His beloved and He went through a lot of steps to make sure it happened. All He needed was a willing participant. I quietly giggled to myself and marveled at His heart towards His children.
As the pen hit the paper and the ink began to spill over the words that came from her Admirer, I could barely keep up with how quickly the message came to me. Before I started writing, I didn't have one word to express. Simply because this note was not from me, it was from God. Yet as soon as my faith superseded my doubt, the words leaped from my heart onto this paper and within five minutes I had a full page love letter to someone I considered a stranger. But this was no stranger to God, this was His daughter who had forgotten her identity and God wanted to remind her. As I walked off the plane, I handed His daughter the love note and I whispered, "May this bless you!"
She accepted the letter without hesitation and thanked me.
My part was complete! I was not given the opportunity to see or know how she responded. Probably because it was intimate and private for her and only God to experience together.
I have thought about this woman several times after our encounter. Had she cried out to God the day before in doubt of His existence? Was she feeling worthless and second guessing herself and God wanted to encourage her?
Whatever the reasons and timing, God knows and He cares! He will stop the whole universe to speak to His children. The real question is, ARE. YOU. LISTENING?
(I snapped a picture of the note while my husband was reading it on the plane before I delivered it to the flight attendant. Yes, I tell my husband everything! LOL!)
I didn't wake up this morning for my husband to cater to my needs or to speak my love language... I woke up with the intent of loving him. Period!
If I only woke up each day for my husband to meet my needs, then he gets to determine how I feel that day and I'm only doing as good as he is treating me.
The truth is, I'm doing as good as God is, who lives inside of me, and He is stable!
It is the Lord, in me, who is established in Love. God doesn't need me to love Him, He flourishes in loving me!
So then why would I "need" love from my husband? I flourish in loving him!
Not because my husband loves me back but because I'm rooted and grounded in Love!