Leaving Our Comfort Zones

Mountains of faith rise from the valleys of failure.   –Mart Dehann


Don’t hate your failures, learn from them.

This looks good on paper, but let’s face it, most of us hate failure.  I know I do.  I’m pretty tolerant of other people’s failure…it’s mine that I despise.

Failure is embarrassing, and what if people laugh at me…it’s happened before, and will probably happen again.

I guess that’s why it’s good to learn to laugh at ourselves.  I’ve found laughter helps to ease the pain…and it lightens the mood of an awkward situation.

I like what’s written in Romans,

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, [failures]  for we know that they are good for us–they help us to learn to endure.  And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation…”

Now, I don’t believe God expects us to turn cartwheels over our failure, and he certainly understands our disappointment when we fail.  It is for this reason–his understanding–that he seeks to encourage us in the midst of failure.  God doesn’t kick us when we are down.  He is our loving Father who picks us up when we fall, applies ointment to our skinned knees, pats us on the back, and whispers,

“…it’s okay my child…just keep keeping on…We’ve got this…” 

Lately, I’ve been feeling God wooing me from my comfort zones, and it’s scaring me to death.  I’m afraid I may goof up, look like an idiot, or a babbling fool.

And to that, it seems God is saying…

“You’re right, those things may happen…but so what…”

Looking at failure from that perspective takes away the pressure for perfection.  It’s as if God is giving me permission to fail!

And…you know what?  It feels good deep in my soul.


“God, I’m scared to death of what you are calling me to do, but I’m going to do it anyway; and if I fall flat on my face…I know it’ll be okay.”




Sometimes Resurrection Requires Letting Go (Amanda Miller Garber)

3254a0cb305b209fbf29469efcfce9c0Mother’s Day is difficult for me.  Since it always falls on Sunday, I usually play hooky, so I wont have to put on the façade of “happy mom.”  However, this Sunday was different.  As fate would have it…or maybe God…this Sunday I was slated to help with communion service.  So for that reason, I sucked it up, and went to church.  “Let the acting begin,” I thought, as I walked through the door.

Now, you may wonder, why Mother’s Day is so difficult.  Several reasons.  One, my mom is dead, and yes I miss her, but, I also do tremendous guilt for not spending more time with her while she was alive.  Two, I miss my own children, who live far away, and I also do tremendous guilt for decisions I made in the past…decisions that negatively impacted their lives.   Some of those decisions needed to be made, but, none-the-less, I do guilt…and I do it well.  I usually hear from them…a text or a call, but I can’t help but wonder how Mother’s Day would be if I’d only chosen a different path.  It torments me.

On Mother’s Day I just want to crawl into a hole, but this year the hole sat empty, as I sat in church.  Listening to the pastor’s sermon, something she said jumped out at me, and caught my attention.  She said, “Sometimes, resurrection requires letting go.”  She asked the question, and I paraphrase, “What is keeping you from experiencing true resurrection in your life?  What are you holding on to, that needs to be let go?”


Today, intellectually, I realize I need to let go of the past, but I’m discovering it’s not easily done.  I guess, a good first step would be forgiveness.  Somehow, some way I need to figure out how to forgive myself.  My prayer is for God to show me the way.  I’m sure it’s not something that’s said and done, but rather, something that must be practiced on a daily basis.  I pray for God’s strength.

Just like a baby learning to walk, we have to let go, to move forward.  More often than not, what we desperately cling to is toxic.  If we fail to let it go, we begin a slow death that eats away our individuality, until we no longer recognize ourselves.

We all teeter on the precipice of transformation, but to get there we must let go.


“Sometimes, resurrection requires letting go.”   __Amanda Miller Garber


The God Who Sees Me…

“You are the God who sees me…” __ Hagar



I’ve always felt a kinship with Hagar.  Hagar was the maidservant of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

This is her story:

Sarah, the wife of Abraham, was barren.  None-the-less, God had promised  that through their children would come the nation of Israel.  Abraham and Sarah had tried to have children for many years, but now they were old, and Sarah finally gives up hope.  One day, she tells her husband…  “The Lord has kept me from having children.  Go sleep with my maidservant (Hagar); perhaps I can build a family through her.”


[Pardon the interruption…it’s just my wheels coming to a halt!  Okay, if I had been the writer of this Genesis’ story, I would have written it, more to this effect,

“…go sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her,” said, no woman ever! 

Call it a hunch, but, I have a sneaky suspicion this idea was more Abraham’s than Sarah’s.]

[…now…back to the story]

So, Abraham, “obeyed” his wife, and slept with Hagar, and Hagar, became pregnant.  Of course, tension mounts between the two women, until one day, all hell breaks loose within the camp.  Sarah, in a jealous rage, mistreats Hagar.  Scripture gives no detail as to how, but it was bad enough for Hagar to run away, and hide, from her mistress, in the dessert.  Scared and alone, Hagar finally finds a spring of water and pauses  to drink.   God sees her at the spring, and begins a conversation with her.  It goes something like this: 

God:  Hagar, what has happened and where are you going?”

Hagar:  “I’m running away…”

God: “Go back… face the problem, and I will be with you.”

Hagar: “You are the God who sees me…”

And so, Hagar returns.  The problem doesn’t go away, but God is true to his word, and helps her every step of the way.  Eventually, she is blessed with a son, she names Ishmael, and through Ismael’s descendants the Arab nation is born. 


In my life, I have endured many “Hagar moments,” and I bet you have too.

How often I’ve felt…

  • …alone
  • …misunderstood
  • …unloved
  • …without hope
  • …a victim of circumstances, beyond my control
  • …an outcast
  • …ready to give up


When I read God’s words to Hagar, I read them as if they were written just for me.  He tells me, “Go back, my child, and I will be with you.  Don’t give up, I have a good plan for you.”

I’m so thankful, He is the God who sees me.


Daily Prompt: Measure

Everything we need is give through His good measure.



The Luxury of His Power

A Conversation with God 8/8/2016


Me:  God, I’m so tired of looking fat.  me and rm  glasses

God:  Talk to me about it.

Me:  Well, most of the time I feel okay about it and then I catch a reflection of myself in a mirror or a store-front glass…I see myself as others must see me… and then, just like that [snaps fingers] my whole mood changes and I feel bad the rest of the day.  I look so ugly.

God:  You are My dear child…made in My image so there is no way possible you could ever be ugly.  I have children who’ve been burnt with fire, scarred with acid, malformed from a bullet or deformed from birth, and not a single one is ugly.  They are My precious children and are beautiful in My sight.

Me:  I’m sorry Lord…I guess what I’m really trying to say is I don’t feel good about myself.

God:  Don’t be sorry, My child for such are the feelings of humans.  Feeling bad about yourself and being ugly are two different things.  As I said before, no child of mine is ugly for I have a purpose for each and everyone.  I put them exactly where they are-in life- to be an inspiration and a light to all those around.  They are my vessels filled with my Spirit.

(God pauses…)

You, Lisa, are My vessel and I actually live inside your physical form.  I can use you to change the world if you would be but my willing.

Me:  Yes, Lord, I will be your vessel; please use me as you see fit.

God:  Lisa…

Me:  Yes, Lord?

God:  I makes me sad when you feel bad about yourself.  I want you to feel like the beautiful creation you are.

Me:  I’m sorry Lord…I don’t want to make you sad.

God:  Oh my child, don’t be sorry.  Come to me and let me help you with these feelings.  I am always eager to help my children.

Me:  Oh God, I so need your help!  I’ve tried over and over again to eat better and to exercise but I always…ALWAYS…screw it up!

God:  Any task you undertake is a journey of many steps, and like all journeys there will be ups and downs, and curves in the road with bumps and potholes scattered about.  And know this, Lisa, no matter how hard you try, eventually you’re bound to stumble over some of these obstacles.  That will always be the case as long as you inhabit your physical body.

Me:  Well…that’s kind of depressing, Lord.

God:  The key is to realize you are MORE than the physical.  You have the luxury of My Power  inside of you.  My Power, that has changed and recreated my children through the centuries.  Once, this Power, raised my only Son from death and the grave.  YOU, Lisa…YOU have access to the very same Power!

Me:  Wow, Lord, when you put it that way I feel like a superhero!

God:  And so you are!  The key is to tap into that Power.

Me:  But…how Lord?  Please tell me how…

God:  Through prayer and faith in Me.  You see, Lisa…the truth of the matter is this:  You will fall and you will “mess-up,” as you say, and when you do your first instinct will be to berate, kick yourself and entertain thoughts of giving up.  Don’t listen to these lies! Instead, say My Name.  There is Power in My Name!  Forgive yourself, call out to Me and I will help you up; and then press on.  Press on and don’t look back!

Me:  Thank you, Lord.  You make me feel strong…You make me believe I can do it!

God:  You can do it and I will help you!

God:  And…Lisa…

Me:  Yes, Lord?

God:  When you go to Planet Fitness today… (God pauses and winks)…kick butt…


I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

 …forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:13-14

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  James 6:16

“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”  Mark 5:34

 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  II Corinthians 4:7

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me… For when I am weak, then I am strong.  II Corinthians 12:9-10

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31