Kaleidoscope of Faith

Sometimes I forget just because I have not literally seen His face, audibly heard His laughter or physically sat at His dusty, divine feet, does not  mean I have not truly experienced His goodness.


If I would only be still, and look at my life through the kaleidescope of faith, I would see Him more clearly.

The little hands that work so hard to write their letters perfectly just to hear their teacher say, “Wow, great job!,” is His voice whispering, “I have called you to do an important work.” 

My Savior’s sweetness can be felt when a precious little one takes a break from her lunch just to come give her teacher a hug.

The Holy Spirit’s grace abounds as this writer’s pen flows with words of wisdom and encouragement that can only come from the heavenly place where living water flows endlessly.

My Father’s loving arms embrace me when my friend sends me a text to say, “Hey, I just wanted you to know I miss you and I’m thinking of you, always,”

And, how about the calls and texts from my baby brothers that make me smile and laugh with such sincere joy? That is a taste of what it must have felt like to walk next to Jesus as a friend and brother.

My list could go on and on.


The myriad of ways God shows Himself present and active in our lives is beautifully variegated.  Oh that I would be more open to see the subtle, yet profound, truth – ordinary moments become extraordinary in the presence of the King.





Sidenote 😁
Lisa Harper is an amazing Bible teacher and a Spirit-filled speaker. Her book, Believing Jesus, is what the Lord has used to stir my heart tonite. The book of Acts is going to be an incredibly moving study, I’m sure.

Join us and share all that the Lord does in your life too!!

I look forward to hearing from you!!

Companion Faith

I began my author’s journey a few years back, only dreaming of one day getting to know different women of faith (and writing about them.)

In January of this year, the Lord impressed upon my heart 12 sisters of faith (from the Old and New testaments) to open my life up to. He has placed them on my heart faithfully every day, calling me to learn more the beauty of how He uses our unique personalities (and walks) to influence and mold our individual faith.

God is, after all, the Creating Personality, as A.W. Tozer said in his precious book, The Pursuit of God.

I must give a shout out to my “Isaiah-til-we-are-100” friend, who encouraged me to jump in and kick-start the introduction process to these astounding women of faith. She challenged me with this text – “Tell me how Priscilla’s faith inspires you?”

Honestly, I thought I knew a little about her already, however, as with any individual, there are personality layers, and if you want to get to know them, you have to spend quality time with them. Therefore, I asked our Father to introduce me to his precious daughter in a way that would change me for the better, and I know this is just the beginning.

Priscilla was an amazing woman of God. It is evident her husband was sure to trust in and depend on her. I have no doubt he knew her worth was greater than all the rubies in all the world.

She was always mentioned alongside her husband, whether it was in the family business of tentmaking, the mentoring and discipling of Apollos, giving the Apostle Paul a home, hosting Church in her home, or in being willing to lay her life on the line for the sake of the gospel and her friend.

One commentary made this statement, regarding the quietly humble and faithful discipling ministry of Priscilla (and her husband Aquilla,)

“If we cannot be great, by God’s grace we may be the means of making others great.”

She willingly and graciously partnered in the gospel – being a woman poured out for Jesus. She is only mentioned a handful of times, but what an impact one woman’s faith – in the hands of her Father – made!!

She was humble, steadfast, hardworking, and a wise servant of Christ as she aided in furthering His gospel and building the Church.

After spending a little time with our Father, and meeting Priscilla in a brief encounter through the Word, I believe what inspires me most is that her companion style faith was genuine and steadfast.

She was a true partner in both marriage and in ministry. What a beautiful picture of her unique faith.

The quiet, yet profounly influential, life of Priscilla, resonates with my teacher-heart.

The children placed under my care are the future, what a privilege to learn from this woman of faith about being compassionate and gentle in the way I mentor and teach the truth of His love for us.

Our Creator knows us – He knitted us in our Mother’s womb and called us to do annointed things for Him. He will use our uniqueness to design our faith. And, He most assuredly will use one woman’s faith in the most marvelous of ways!

Choices

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.                    (Deut. 30:19)

Today I have been reminded how fortunate I am – and how powerful choice is.

Life, marriage, relationships – all require a choice.
…a choice to love (even when it’s hard,)
…a choice to serve another (and not yourself,)
…a choice to respect the process (especially when it’s a slow one,)
…a choice to share the bad along with the good (we all have both in us,)
… and a choice to see the good around you (it’s a matter of perspective,)
…a choice to walk by faith (and not by sight.)
…a choice to live in gratitude (even while walking through a valley.)

There are people around the world who have had the privilege to live life in freedom stripped from them. They are not allowed the opportunity to marry whom they choose, or work where they want to. Many folks cannot speak freely without fear of imprisonment or death, yet they choose to rise above it and courageously live in joy and not bitterness.

Choice. A tiny, but life-altering, word.

I pray to be reminded swiftly if I should begin to see this game-changer as anything less than a blessed gift.

May my choices have the purpose of Christ behind them,

be infused with surrender to His will,

and sparked by servant-hearted motives.

Oh, that I would always choose life, as the Scripture encourages me to do.

Going in Circles

It was a late-into-the-night kind of experience when the Lord brought me to a soul moving passage of Scripture five years ago. I remember sitting in the middle of my bed crying and begging God to speak to me- to show me what I should do. The battle between my spirit and sinful flesh ensued through the night – weeping – negotiating – reasoning – reckoning, and in the end, when the sun began rising, resolving to surrender.

It was a life-changing and sorrowful place of truth and wrestling. I struggled with the letting go of what I thought I wanted and moving into what He had ahead for me.

As I read Deuteronomy chapter 2, I heard His heart for me – “Stop going in circles around a mountain you were never meant to conquer, Tonya. Don’t settle for a meager cup of soup simply because you’re hungry, wait for the feast that is your birthright.”

Yet, letting go isn’t always as easy as it should be, especially when the soup tastes yummy – nevermind indigestion it gives you later. How thankful I am God doesn’t give up in His pursuit of my complete heart.

What a treasure it is to know He is righteously jealous for me. What? Me? And just like that, I am stunned by His grace all over again.


Just like with the children of Israel, He has watched my every step. He has blessed me and kept me – all 48 years of my life – and He promises to always be with me, and to bless me.

 

He knows my trudging through the wilderness seasons, He allows them for my good. And even when I cannot sense He’s there, He remains steadfast in His love for me – always.


These days have been odd and challenging, yet they are no different, in many other aspects, as they were 5 years ago. I still seem to head my own way, thinking I am right, and then My Father speaks to my heart, “Stop going in circles, turn your face toward me and walk on – there are better things ahead.”




Look Up Child –  Lauren Daigle

Simple Sunrises – Perfect Vision

Perfect Vision

Have you ever wondered why some days seem extra-ordinary and some just seem a little less? I have. Yet, the more I age, the more I seem to long for those days which are, to others, a little less grand. I don’t think I realized my need for ordinary until I watched a sunrise that was not colored with hues of majestic proportions. I had never noticed how wonderfully comforting it could be to experience a sky filled with the simplicity of basic colors – and fewer strokes from the Master’s paintbrush.

So often I stumble when I allow my heart to tread the waters of “less than” because the world tells me to be special means we must live a life filled with only majestic sunrises and sunsets. To take the most beautiful snapshots and display them for everyone to “ooh” and “ahh” over seems to be the #goal. And, I am not only speaking of the physical photographs, but I am also talking about our lives and how we live them out before one another. It is our natural desire to be noticed, to be validated by others.

But what about the subtle colors we may quietly illustrate with? The lovely strokes of kindness, meekness, gentleness, self-control, joy, love, peace – all painting the way we react, the way we move. These are the simple, yet glorious, pigments that color our lives into the beauty God longs to see.

I believe we have things a little mixed up. Most definitely, God is grand, and His beauty is most assuredly more wonderful than our human eyes or hearts can comprehend. Nevertheless, we do not have to be living lives of extraordinary proportions for Him to view us as beautiful, for He already sees us that way – from the moment we begin to grow in the womb.

It is when we reach the place in our lives where Jesus is our portion, our Redeemer, that God sees us as Holy, for then when He looks upon us, He sees His Son’s righteousness shed over our humanity. Now, that is spectacular!

Our Creator’s eyes roam all over this earth, seeking to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose lives are painting even the most elementary of portraits for Him. (2 Chronicles 16:9) So, the next time I see the subtlest of sunrises or simplest of sunsets, I pray He reminds me the beauty of the ordinary is glorious to Him. What a gift it is to trust He sees me with perfect vision and knows my heart.

48 Seconds

Philippians 4_8A few years ago I read a book written by Tommy Newberry entitled, 40 Days to a Joy-filled Life. The Lord used Mr. Newberry to challenge me to take inquisitive notice of my thought life and begin filtering it through the Word of God. Newberry aptly asserts, “No area of your life is untouched by your thoughts,” and I would have to agree. I see it in my own life, as well as in the lives of my students. A single thought can change the course of an entire day or switch emotional tracks from one to the other.

For a couple of years now I have had a timer set on my phone to remind me to stop and “think on good things” for at least 48 seconds (Phil. 4:8, get it?) And it always makes me smile and feel a little lighter. But on the wearisome days when I ignore my reminder (yep, unfortunately, I do) before I know it, I am traveling down a back road to falsehood, where anxiety, worry, doubt, fear, and lies reside.

This week was a series of those wearisome days; so, I am thankful God knows me well and handed me the gift of a Kindergartener’s insight. This amazing kid said, “Mrs. Brown, I don’t like painting. I can’t’ do it!” I confidently reminded him he could do all things because Christ would help him. With genuine belief, he said, “I don’t need to listen to the Devil, he’s trying to trick me, right Mrs. Brown?” Without a moment’s hesitation, I agreed, “You are so right J, he is tricky!” Of course, I was convicted immediately.  The simple truth of his innocent wisdom shocked me silly! By ignoring the simple, yet powerful truths of God’s Word, I often allow myself to be outwitted. I suppose this is why I am consistently in need of grace-filled reminders from the Author of my faith.

Thankfully, there is a way to combat the enemy’s assault on our minds – put in to practice what Jesus taught us. When we view this life (and circumstances) from a Biblical worldview, it changes us – it redirects our focus back to the truths of God.

Mr. Newberry and the Apostle Paul found the gold in this veracity – think on whatever is right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy!

Philippians-4-8-Shaun-Menary

Praising God for who He is, what He has done, and all He has yet to accomplish has the power to change the course of our thought life if we would only let it! Maybe we could all challenge ourselves to think about the goodness of God, I am quite certain He will change us – 48 seconds at a time!