To Be A Witness For Christ Or Not

“To be a witness for Christ or not” is a question that many of us Christians ponder. We’re placed in situations where we see someone struggling and we just “know that we know” Jesus is the answer, yet something holds us back from speaking God into someone’s life.

We don’t want to feel judged for talking about God to someone who might not believe. We worry that someone will be confrontational and we’ll end up in a debate situation defending our faith. We don’t have time.  These are just some of the reasons I’ve played in my mind.

This happened to me yesterday as I was getting my teeth cleaned. The hygienist began telling me of her life challenges. Her mother had fallen and broke her neck leaving her with irreparable brain damage. She fell in love with a man that had severe mental issues and was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. She went on to tell me how she loved her lost boyfriend but also hated him, how she missed him but couldn’t stand certain aspects of him.

I began thinking about my life and how I had experienced similar difficulties, yet made it through all of them with the power of prayer. Then I felt a tug on my heart from God, telling me to minister to her and tell my story.

Have you ever felt that nudge to be a witness for God,  but then felt awkward because the timing or situation didn’t seem right? ….. That was me!!! …. I had JUST met this gal, had no idea if she was a Christian, AND she had sharp metal tools in my mouth!!

Despite my reservations, I kept getting that nudge from God and I wanted to be faithful.

I began to tell my hygienist how God has a plan for each of us.   I acknowledged her sorrow and explained that God would introduce her to a wonderful man, in His timing.

Then I shared about my period of loneliness and how I finally met my husband. It wasn’t through a friend, a chance meeting in the grocery store, or by “trying” to find one. It was through a specific  prayer, long waiting, and trusting that God was orchestrating a perfect plan.

For TWO long years I prayed this prayer:

“Heavenly Father, you know my heart and you know I am lonely. I know I’m not ready for a healthy relationship right now, but God I am asking you to help me BE ready. Prepare my mind and heart. And prepare the mind and heart of the man you have waiting for me. God I trust Your will in my life and if I have to be lonely for a longer period, I will wait because I know your plan is perfect………….”

Long story short, my prayer was finally answered and God brought me a man that was exactly what I prayed for. It didn’t happen over night though. I prayed and waited. I cried. Sometimes I felt hopeless. But the more I leaned on God for the things I needed (companionship, guidance, wisdom), the more healthy I became. I learned patience. I learned to trust in God’s almighty plan.  And I learned to love myself.

I was telling her this story because I wanted her to know that God would bring just the right man into her life when she was “ready” ……. and that maybe her plans didn’t work out because God had a better, more divine plan for her life. I suggested she pray for guidance, for truth and understanding, and then trust God to do the rest.

My decision to minister to her was confirmed as the right decision when she looked at me and said, “you know, that is exactly what my mom told me before her brain injury”. She told me that her mother could no longer carry on conversations like that with her and my words (from God) were just what she needed to hear. With a tear in her eye, she thanked me and then gave me a hug.

To be a witness for Christ or not?  Absolutely!!

God will put us in situations to minister to people, to be the answer to someone’s prayer, to speak words of love/faith/compassion to someone hurting. All we need to do is have a willing heart to be God’s vessel.

We need to press beyond those thoughts  telling us the timing isn’t right or those fears telling us we will be judged. People are hurting and we may be the only person in someone’s life to speak Godly wisdom.

(I wonder how many opportunities I’ve missed, to be a witness for Christ because I was afraid of what someone might think?)

Psalm 96:3 Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Please comment below how you’ve been able to witness to the people around you (I would LOVE to hear your stories!)

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Faith During Trials

Welcome to Faith, Farm & Family Table!!

First let me say thank you to all my readers who stuck around during my blogging hiatus. I am slowly working my way back into a routine (and having faith during trials) after dealing with some crazy things in my life.

About two months ago my computer had some major problems, then one thing after another, things went array.  As the saying goes, “when it rains it pours” ….. and it poured!!!

Before the computer crash, I believed I was doing what God had called me to do with my blog. I was enjoying the time I spent writing and sharing. I felt I was making a positive difference in some people’s lives.

In fact, the week I had computer problems, I was nominated for a Bloggers Award and some of my posts had been featured on other websites. I felt accomplished and full of joy.

Unfortunately, all the stress with my computer caused me to question whether I should continue my blog. What if this happens again? Maybe I’m NOT making a difference? Maybe there is something else I should be doing with my time?

As I contemplated whether I should continue with my writing, this scripture came to my heart.

John 10:10 The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Then it dawned on me!!

Through my blog, I was working for the Kingdom of God, connecting with other Christians, sharing God’s word and sharing how He has worked in my life. I was making a difference. What does the enemy do when he feels threatened by our good works? He tries to steal our peace, causing us to question our purpose. He tries to do ANY thing that will take our minds off Jesus Christ.

Some stressful situations were presented into my life and the enemy just swooped right in whispering negativity into my life. One day I was blogging and believing God for amazing things. The next day I was worried about all the “what if’s” and filled with doubts. I had slipped away from trusting God and having faith during trials.

So today I took a serious look at my life – my crazy, blessed, chaotic life. I decided that I was NOT going to let the enemy steal my peace (or my blog!).

This is where I was two days ago. The temperature was 110 degrees. I sat on the patio and enjoyed this lovely view while I had my morning coffee. The baby quail feeding on berries, the hummingbirds sipping sugar-water, the baby bunnies bouncing in the rocks.

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This is where I am today. The temperature is 45 degrees. My jacket is in our condo 3 hours away and I don’t have any of my winter cloths here. BUT, I have a pot of coffee, a thick bathrobe and a new pair of warm slippers.

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And this is where I will be sometime next year (maybe).

Front yard

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Our cute little farm-house and garden. This is where I will grow fresh food for my family (hence, the reason for Faith, FARM, Family Table), breath in fresh air,  and watch wildlife passing through our yard.

Do you ever those days when you are “here” one minute, “there” the next, and then not sure where you will be tomorrow?

This is my life today! But through it all, I’ve been reminded of a few things.

God is faithful. He has brought me out of hundreds of trials in my life time with His unfailing love. Some of them HUGE. If He could pick me up out of drug addiction (over 10 years now!) and mend my life, surely He can handle anything.

When life becomes overwhelming,  all I need to do is stay connected with God. Regularly (daily, hourly, sometimes minute-by-minute) fill my spirit with the word of God. When the enemy comes to steal my peace, I need to stand strong with God and keep my faith. Turn off the computer, television, and phone. Open my bible and read, pray, then trust God has it all worked out.

He is my rock, my peace and  my wisdom.

The bible says God is strength in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and peace in my confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). He is the helper and upholder of my life (Psalm 54:4) and the provider of ALL my needs (Philippians 4:19).

God IS amazing!

How do you stay connected with God when life throws all its challenges your way?

Chasing The Wind

Ecclesiastes 1:14 I have seen all the works that are under the sun, and behold, all is vanity, a chasing of the wind.

My car was a brand new Honda Accord Coupe and it was the first new car I had ever owned. I had struggled for years to pay off bad debts and increase my credit score. I guess you could say my car was the trophy for all my efforts.

After my car was a few months old, I found myself in a financial bind with the new car payment, rent and raising two children on a single income. Turns out my trophy was more of a bad decision, a burden on my already tight finances.

The days were becoming stressful, yet I was reading more scripture and trying to rely on God’s faithfulness. The more difficult life became, the more I delve into my bible, trying to find words from God that would give me hope and strength.

That’s when the book of Ecclesiastes came to my heart. The story of a king who had everything he could ever want (money, women, power and every pleasure known to man), yet he had an unexplainable void in his life.

In Ecclesiastes 2:17-18 the king says, “So I hated life because what is done under the son was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a striving after the wind and feeding on it….”

Two days after I read this book, I left my evening shift at work to find someone had slammed into my brand new car and drove away. They didn’t leave a note, just a huge dent on the side of my car.

I filed a police report and went home sobbing. My prayers to God that evening were prayers of frustration and anger.

“Why God? After all the trouble I went through to pay off my debts and buy something nice for myself – how could you let this happen?”

The next day I called the insurance company to report the hit-and-run. They sent out a claims advisor to do an appraisal on the repair. When all the paperwork was done, he said that the amount insurance would pay me was $1300. The damage to my vehicle was $1800 but I had a $500 deductible!

Again, I called out to God, “WHY??”

I couldn’t even afford to pay my rent, how was I going to come up with the money to get my car fixed.

With a subtle voice, God reminded me of the book of Ecclesiastes – a king searching for fulfillment in worldly things and never being satisfied. Then he showed me how I had allowed my car to become more important to me that it should have been – my image, my material things.

Three days later, I received the $1300 check from insurance. It was then that I realized God had turned a bad situation into a blessing in my life. When I didn’t have enough money to pay my bills, he provided. With the check, I was able to pay my rent, pay my utilities AND buy groceries for my children!!

God doesn’t answer prayers the way we always want Him too, but he DOES answer prayers! When I received that check, I thought about the king again. How he chased after all those material things and was never satisfied. I became satisfied in God’s amazing wisdom and plan for my life.

The hit-and-run was over seven years ago. Since then, I’ve had plenty of financial opportunity to get the dent fixed, but chose not to. Every time I walk towards my car and see the dent, I am reminded of how faithful God is, how he took care of me when I couldn’t do it myself, how he turned a bad situation into a blessing.

What are some interesting and surprising ways God has worked in your life? Please comment below, I would love to hear some of your stories.

Thanks for stopping by, Rene’

Just SING

Over 30 years ago, I stood in the front row of a kindergarten performance. We were singing for all the parents at the elementary school. I wore a beautiful dress hand-made by my mother. My hair was long and styled in a curly Q, Shirley Temple sort of fashion. I felt like a princess.

During the performance, I sang “from my diaphragm” just as Mrs. Summers instructed. My heart felt as if it would pound out of my chest when the audience applauded our performance. Since I was in the front row, it was as though everyone were clapping just for me.

At the end of the performance, Mrs. Summers spoke words that would impact me for nearly a lifetime. She walked up to my mom and said, “she certainly is the most excited and eager student I had this year, but she couldn’t carry a tune in her pocket (hahaha)”. Most certainly she was just making a joke, but those words hurt me.

From that day on, I was insecure about my singing. It became a source of embarrassment and I didn’t want anyone to hear me. When I was home alone though, I would belt out songs as if I was on stage. It made my heart dance and my soul felt alive.

Years later when I began attending church regularly, I found a place of comfort where I could sing freely. One morning a woman asked why I didn’t join the choir. She said I had a beautiful singing voice and sang from my heart. I gave a little chuckle and told her  I KNEW I wasn’t choir material. With a look of surprise, she simply suggested I pray about it because I would be a nice addition to the choir.

That night I prayed and God began to show me how those words from my childhood found a home in my heart. He showed me that, even though the words didn’t play in my mind, the feeling from them came to surface each time I sang.

With the new revelation about why I had a hard time singing in front of others, I began to do some research. What did science say about singing? What did the bible say?

Professor Graham Welch from the University of London studied the health benefits of music and singing for over 30 years. His findings suggested that singing was good for the heart and lungs because it was an aerobic exercise. In addition, he said that singing reduced stress and increased our emotional well-being because it increases the “feel-good” hormones called endorphins.

When I went to my bible I found this scripture…..

Psalm 33:3 “Sing to Him a new song; skillfully (on the strings) with a loud and joyful sound”.

Science was saying that singing was good for me, and my bible was saying I should be singing loud and joyfully!! I cant even tell you how excited this made me feel!

I made a decision to stop believing the lie that had been rooted in my heart for so many years.  The following week, I joined the choir at church, singing talent or not, and I began to feel better. Slowly, I started singing in other places.

Now I sing in the streets, I sing in the gym, I sing while I lay outside tanning, and I sing while I drive. It doesn’t matter if I can carry a tune in my pocket or anywhere else, I carry it on my heart. Singing brings me so much joy. When I see someone else singing, I smile because I know I see a happy person.

What is the point of this story? Words (as innocent as they may be) can be spoken over us and they can hurt us, mold us, cause us to believe untruths about ourselves. We need to go to God’s word and believe what the bible says, not what our insecurities say.

Maybe you are insecure about something and you don’t know why. Maybe words were innocently spoken over you that hurt you. Maybe the enemy is just whispering words meant to steal your peace.

Go to God in prayer and ask Him to reveal truth to you.

Love yourself and give yourself permission to enjoy every part of you. Your heart and your spirit will thank you.

References:

http://heartresearch.org.uk/fundraising/singing-good-you    

Hungry, Please Help

The man was wearing tattered clothing covered with stains and holes. His hat kept the hot California sun from burning his face. He stood on a busy street corner, during the middle of rush hour traffic, holding an old cardboard sign.

“Hungry – Please Help. God Bless!!!”

My first reaction was to think about how this man could go out and get a job just like I did. After all, I was a single mother with no formal education and I was supporting two children on my own. If I could do it, surely this man could.

As I got closer to the street light, I actually prayed, “God please don’t let me get stuck at the light, just let me get through”. I was beginning to feel angry at this man for wanting something from me. If I had extra, I would buy myself some new socks or maybe a Starbucks coffee.

Of course, my prayer didn’t work. I was the first one to get stopped at the light so the homeless guy was standing right next to my window. I was doing that thing where I pretended not to see him – no eye contact. Then God gave me a gentle nudge and reminded me that I had just been to Costco. I had a whole tray of apples sitting in the seat next to me!!

God also opened my eyes to the sign that said, “Hungry, Please Help……” The man was not asking for money, he was asking for food.

Immediately I felt convicted, so I rolled my window down and offered the man an apple. Just as soon as I did, he smiled the BIGGEST smile and said, “Thank you and God Bless”.

That’s when I noticed he didn’t have a single tooth in his mouth!!

Just as quickly as God laid conviction on my heart, the enemy swooped in and did the same thing. I drove away feeling mortified for offering a hungry man with no teeth an apple.

I cried and felt totally defeated, “I am such a jerk and totally useless. I can’t even do God’s work right!”

Thankfully, it was Wednesday Night Bible Study and I was able to take my story to a group of women that walked me through it.

We talked about how God speaks to us, but so does the enemy. God gives us thoughts of righteousness, love, thanksgiving, worth, and encouragement. If we aren’t careful the enemy will replace those thoughts with fear, insecurity, anxiety, anger, frustration, and discouragement.. The enemy will tell you that you’re worthless, you’re a failure, you’re ugly …….. “you can’t even do God’s work right”.

After that study, I began immersing myself into bible scriptures. As I learned more about the Word of God and had a better understanding of God’s love, I realized that I could choose to believe God’s words over the enemy’s.

God wants us to believe in ourselves because we were created in His image.

Imagine one of your children (or someone you love very much if you don’t have kids) coming to you and saying, “I’m a loser. Ugly. No good. No one likes me and I will never amount to anything”.

What would your response be?

You would say, “Sweetheart, you are beautiful, amazing and talented. You may be struggling right now, but this wont last forever. I love you.”

God loves us just the same. When a negative thought enters your mind, realize it isn’t from God – be quick replace it. “I am a beautiful child of God and I refuse to listen to the lies”.

What are some of the ways God has worked in your life? Please share in the comment section.

John 10:10 – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

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