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Operating in Faith walking in God’s Calling

Word of the Year

My chosen phrase for 2020 is “operating in faith”, to begin walking in God’s calling for me. I have verbalized God’s calling easily to others yet haven’t moved as much as I needed to act this out. As I prayed over what my word of the year should be, I felt Him impressing this phrase on my heart over and over.

Working on 2020 plans I began to think how the word “go” is tied to that. When you think about the word go, it implies action. The word begs for forward motion. And as you move momentum builds.

So if I say I feel God’s calling to go and yet remain still, how can I expect God to grant me more when I cannot handle what I have?

Walking in God’s Calling

His word speaks to this in Luke 12:48. To paraphrase, those who have been given little will be entrusted with little and those who have been given much will be entrusted with much more.

To be given more in terms of growing my blog, growing a ministry, and more importantly growing my relationship with Jesus, then I have to go.

I knew I wanted more from life this year. I knew God wanted more both from me and for me.

That last part is critically important. God is FOR me.

Operating in Faith – His love and will

Consider Ephesians 2:4 – “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us,”.

Or 2 Samuel 23:5. David on his death bed declares the goodness of the Lord. That He alone orders our steps, keeps covenant with us and brings about our salvation and desires.

Desires according to His will for us. What we want needs to line up with what God wants.

The goal is not to go more so I get more. God isn’t an ATM.

His calling makes me move

To succeed in God’s calling for me I have to GO! My answer to Him requires action from me.

But it can be hard and scary to go where we haven’t gone before.

Therefore my phrase for the year, “operating in faith” fits well. My going requires faith that He has my back. And God’s calling will always be backed by His word.

Operating in Faith walking in God's calling

Action Plan for 2020

There are 5 areas I feel God calling me to grow and go deeper with Him. As a result, in 2020 I have committed to “GO” in further in my relationship with Jesus:

  1. By leading more confidently in my women’s group.
  2. By reading specifically selected scripture and devotional to gain more knowledge of Him.
  3. By learning specific blogging tools to expand my ministry.
  4. By praying specific, detailed prayers.
  5. By being mindful of my words with my husband.

I’ll be detailing the how and why of my “GO” action plans to answer God’s calling in 2020 over the next month. My prayer is they will inspire and motivate you to “ GO” with God too!

Prayer

Jesus,

Let us be encouraged and empowered by your Holy Spirit to “GO” in the direction you have chosen for each of us in 2020. Give us wisdom to learn what is needed to live out our calling. Let us not fear or put off your instruction and will for us. Don’t let us be like Jonah. Fill us with a boldness to bring the gospel into every aspect of life and to do so with humbleness. Amen.

4 things I want to leave in 2019

As I stare at 2020 I realize there are things I want to leave in 2019. Leave for good. This decade has been a hard one. It has been marked by financial strife, personal health issues, relationship problems and more moves than I would like to count.

As I reflect on what the decade has taught me there are some things that I want to leave in behind and not visit again.

By God’s grace this next decade will be the beginning of my life.

Strange statement seeing as I’m 44.

Obviously not new at this going around the sun thing. However, I have let life drag me along on this journey rather than taking charge and charting my life according to God’s will for me.

I’m done settling for less than God’s best for me.

Here are 4 things I am leaving in 2019

  • Self-doubt. I am a Child if the King, an heir with Christ. As such there is no reason for doubt to enter in. I will trust.
  • Quitting. If you want change and growth you cannot keep quitting those things that are stretching you. Fear is not a reason to stop. Growing weary is not a reason. What others think about it is not a reason. Keep going.
  • Intolerance of others. I expect more from some than they can give. I judge too harshly…not out loud, but in my mind and it affects my ability to love well.
  • Fear. I have lived most of my life in fear. Worry over what I cannot control. I am relinquishing this area to God and trusting in Him that I will overcome.

I’m not going to pretend that there will not be hard things to come in 2020 or even in this new decade as a whole. However, I know that with a change in perspective and a change in attitude that this next year and decade will be better than the last.

Through prayer and planning I aim for this decade to be God focused, kingdom minded, and light filled. How can it be anything else when my eyes are turned towards Him?

I am ready to begin my life now. Welcome 2020!

The World or the Word?

Having the right mindset is a matter of choosing the world or the Word.

The last few years have been a struggle in various ways for my husband and I. Financial hardship has especially taken a toll. Therefore mindset has been negatively impacted.

As a result there have been many things we have wanted to do that have had to be set aside. Home purchase, vacations, replacing old furniture.

None of these things are critical. Yet I have sometimes allowed self pity over my situation to keep me focused worldly instead of diving into the Word. Human nature does that.

Keys to Happiness

In the secular world, material things and business success are supposed to bring you happiness. This is reflected in every aspect of our western culture from movies to music as people are portrayed as happiest when they are acquiring things or career success.

Those barely getting by are not applauded…in fact, they are often portrayed as inferior.

As Christians, we know things are not what makes us happy. The joy of a new home or a job promotion will fade.

We get it twisted

And while we know this to be true our human nature rebels against it.

We want the things. We want success. We want recognition.

When placed in appropriate context these are not necessarily bad. Unfortunately, our perspective is often skewed and we desire more world than we do Word.

The World or the Word?

Kingdom Mindset

Shifting from a world view to a Word view is essential in influencing the culture towards a relationship with Jesus. Looking at the world through the lens of the Bible shapes our lives, our homes, our communities and thus this world.

Satan prefers we remain focused on the world so he attacks with worry, hardships, fear, and the pursuit of power (success) to distract us. If Satan can keep you focused on chasing success and things, then he keeps you from Kingdom work.

Jeremiah 29:13. Psalm 19:14. Isaiah 26:3. Psalm 112:7.

All four of these verses point to peace and joy and a lack of fear when our gaze is turned on God.

Becoming Wordly Minded

Obviously reading your Bible helps get the Word in you. But it isn’t enough just to read it.

Life application and change only happens when you pursue a deeper relationship with God. That requires studying the Word.

Set aside time for prayer and meditation on what God would have you glean from your scripture reading each day.

Be intentional about your studies as you would were you in school. Take notes. Read multiple versions of the Bible. Use a good Bible commentary to enhance your understanding.

Progress not perfection

Give yourself grace in adapting to study of the Word. If this is not something you have ever earnestly pursued, it will take time…like any new habit.

Family Favorites for the Thanksgiving Feast!

Thanksgiving and Christmas always have a few staple items that have been on our family table for longer than I have been alive. I am sure the same could be said in your house.

For me, these are traditional, southern dishes that are ubiquitous to a lot of southern family dinner tables.

Deviled eggs, green beans with ham or bacon, pecan pie, million dollar pie, potato salad and or mashed potatoes, homemade cranberry relish. And dressing.

Old Traditions

Yes, dressing. NOT stuffing. 

Good, old-fashioned, Southern-style buttermilk cornbread dressing.

It isn’t fancy. It is very unassuming, but oh so delicious!

And it simply wouldn’t be a holiday feast without it. PERIOD.

When my dad was still living, my mom would make two giant aluminum pans full of this fabled dish for his holiday get-together at work.

And not one crumb would be left.

New Traditions

When my husband and I got married and his family tasted our family recipe, it became a standing request that my mom make the dressing from there on out.

It is that good.

Now, all that being said, now that I make the dressing, I have gussied it up a bit.

Nothing radically different mind you, but a few tweaks here and there that just up the flavor profile.

So, here it is in all of its glory.

Mama’s Southern Cornbread Dressing

Ingredients for the cornbread

1 large egg

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup melted unsalted butter

2 cups Self-Rising Buttermilk Cornmeal 

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp fresh parsley, minced

½ tsp fresh sage, minced

HEAT oven to 450ºF. Use non-stick spray or some butter to coat bottom and side of baking pan (8-inch round or square). Place in oven to heat for about 5 minutes.

WHISK egg in medium bowl. Stir in buttermilk, melted butter and corn meal mix until smooth. Batter should be creamy and pourable. If too thick, add 1 to 2 tablespoons additional buttermilk. 

ADD black pepper & minced herbs, stir to combine.

REMOVE pan from oven and pour in batter.

BAKE 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

When cornbread is done, turn out onto a cooling rack to cool.

Remaining Ingredients

1 TBSP unsalted butter

1 onion, diced

4-5 stalks of celery, diced

1 TBSP poultry seasoning

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp fresh parsley, minced

½ tsp fresh sage, minced

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, minced

1 pkg Pepperidge Farm Herbed Classic Stuffing

1 1/2 cartons low-sodium turkey stock (chicken stock will work if you cannot find turkey)

HEAT a skillet to medium heat. Add butter. Once melted, add diced celery and onions and cook until soft and translucent. (takes about 10 minutes).

REMOVE vegetables from pan to cool.

BREAK up the cornbread and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooled veggies, minced herbs, pepper and poultry seasoning. Add 3/4 of the Pepperidge Farm stuffing.

MIX dry ingredients to combine. Add ½ carton of the stock and mix again. Add remaining half of carton and mix well.

Now, this is where it can get tricky…you kind of have to know what the final mixture should look like.  It needs to be fairly wet, but not soupy.

If it appears too wet, add more of the stuffing mix. Too dry? Add stock.

I mix my dressing the day before and let it sit covered in the fridge so all of the flavors have a chance to marry.

The next day I take it out and assess if the mixture needs more stock. If it appears to have dried out a bit, I add stock ½ cup at a time and remix until I like the way the mixture looks.

I know, I know.  This isn’t exact science, but I’m telling you it is the only way to do it!

Family feast pin

Baking the Dressing

HEAT oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 11 glass baking dish with some non-stick spray or butter. Pour the dressing into the pan and smooth out any lumps.

BAKE in oven for 60 minutes or until the middle is set and the top is golden brown.

Time to Eat!

This dressing has all of the Thanksgiving flavors you are looking for in it! And it is warm and comforting to boot!

Pair it with your favorite gravy or some homemade cranberry relish for a real delight. I’d love to hear what your family favorite recipes are!  Drop a note in the comments.

 

You love others, but do you love you?

I have always struggled with loving myself. I’ve espoused a poor view of my body image, my abilities and my worth.

It has negatively impacted me, my marriage, friendships and even my work.

And yet I am always complimenting others, championing those who don’t see their value, and trying hard to speak life to dry bones.

About three years ago my world was absolutely rocked in the most unimaginable way.

It was at that lowest point of my life that I began to see the need to take care of myself and learn to love Ammie.

It took the wise counsel of others as well as leaning back into my love affair with Jesus to lift me up.

And I know it will be a life-long journey as trials with chronic illness and anxiety try to have their way. BUT, it is a journey that is worth embarking on.

Here are 10 Things I Have Learned to Love About Me

  1. I am a good leader. I enjoy encouraging others to be their best and giving them the tools to do so. And I’m not afraid to make tough decisions when needed.
  2. I am a good Training/Development speaker. I have had the privilege of speaking at multiple local and national seminars and conferences and have always received great feedback.
  3. I have beautiful eyes. Hands down my favorite physical feature…besides my hair.
  4. I am Beloved. This is the one thing that has helped me the most in loving myself. God, the Creator of the universe, and calls me His beloved. He formed me, knows my sinful nature, and still LOVES me!
  5. God has gifted me. I have abilities and talents that God placed in me to bring about Kingdom work. Earlier this year at our women’s retreat, we completed a Gifts Test and my top 5 were Teaching, Exhortation, Discernment, Leadership and Pastor/Shepherd. These are directly related to #1 and #2 above.
  6. I am a great furmom. I am unable to have human kids, thus my dogs are in every sense my children. And are spoiled as such.
  7. I am musically talented and sing well. I LOVE, love, love music…and am happy to lift my voice for His glory.
  8. I am an attractive woman. Now this one might sound vain, but it has taken me more than three decades to even think I might be halfway pretty. I’ve always tied my physical attractiveness to being skinny, having perfect hair, etc. I’m currently the heaviest I’ve ever been…and I’ve never felt more pretty. It’s the heart change that made this love attribute happen!
  9. I am creative. I write poetry, songs, make pretty floral arrangements, decorate the perfect Christmas tree, and have recently discovered I’m pretty good at creating color books and bookmarks. I cannot wait to offer these items to my readers!
  10. I am a good cook. I really enjoy cooking and baking, especially during the holidays. And I get such joy out of people savoring my food!

Loving others well is only attainable when we love ourselves well. Not a self-serving love, but a true appreciation of the beautiful, smart and kind human God has created us to be.

You bear the “Fingerprints of God”. This song says it far better than me.

Click for song

Be blessed and loved sisters!