Where have you been?     Where are you going?    Every day is a choice.    What direction will you take?

I’ve been looking and looking for something for hours.

Hmmm…I wonder where it is?

Ah, yes…I know where it is.  It’s in a safe place!

Wherever that is.

Yes, my son learned to dread the phrase “I put it in a safe place”.  He usually groans, “See you always lose something!”  I counter with “It isn’t lost.  It’s in a safe place.  I just have to find it.”   Sometimes he laughs at me while passing through a room I’m tearing apart.  Sometimes he gives me a hard time: “Mom, stop putting things in a safe place!  You can never find them!  Really?? Haven’t you learned??”  My retort is always the same: “I’ll find it…I always do…someday.”

Often, I’ll give up the hunt for a day or two only to return to the search for the elusive “safe place”.  On occasion the break is a bit longer…but I never give up.  Like a bloodhound sniffing and searching, I’ll go through a room or the whole house.  Maybe I’ll sit down to do something only to get a thought of where it might be and get up to go and look. Always searching and searching and searching until EUREKA!

So it is again.  I’ve misplaced a stack of training papers that I need to log.  They were soooo very important that I put them somewhere very specific.  Somewhere they wouldn’t get mixed up with other papers.  Somewhere I could find them at a moment’s notice.  You know, “a safe place”.

My son was 7 when he first learned to fear this phrase.  Probably very memorable for him since this happened on his birthday.  And the item I couldn’t find was a birthday gift.  Yes, I did that.  Just keeping things safe, you know?  Up to that day he never knew my safe place was so hard to find, never questioned it.

On that day, he’d had a BIG birthday party inviting the entire 1st grade to a roller skating party.  As always, my son and skating equals a trip to the emergency room, his 7th birthday being no exception.  But that’s a blog posting for another time.  After the ER, we went home to open gifts and we were both quite exhausted. It was after 9pm on a school night that we were finally going to bed.  As soon as my head hit the pillow I remembered another gift I had tucked away for him.  Tucked away in a safe place.

He had been wanting a particular gift at the time and I had forgotten about it hidden away in its very own safe place.  I told him he had one more gift, so we both got up while I went to retrieve it.  In my bedroom closet.  But I couldn’t find it.  Not hidden in any bags, or under the clothes or in the back of the closet.  Not that gift anyway.  However, I did find several other gifts I had hidden away in those safe places.  I had completely forgot about those items!  He was thrilled to receive more gifts so unexpectedly.  But I couldn’t find the one gift I had initially searched for.

I drove myself crazy looking for that gift.  I KNEW it was in the closet because I could see myself in there getting ready to hide it earlier that month.  I just couldn’t remember anything beyond standing in the closet.  I finally had to tell him what the gift was and assure him it would show up.  That I would find the safe place.  One day.  He would ask from time to time if I had found the “safe place” yet.  He asked me to never again put anything in a “safe place”.  Finally, that one day came…over a month later when we were moving…I FOUND IT!  The safe place AND the gift.  It was in a shoebox in my closet.  Go figure.

I always find what I’m looking for.  Always.  Just not when I’m looking for it.  I usually find the item later.  Sometimes much later.  Often, I find it when I’m looking for another item I also left in a safe place.  A different safe place, of course.  Leaving everything in the same safe place just would not make sense, now would it?  I wonder if there is a rehab program for leaving things in a safe place?  When I told my son that I was blogging about my “safe place” he started laughing and asked if I was going to put this blog in a safe place too.  Not funny.

I haven’t found the training papers I’m looking for and our leadership meeting is tomorrow night.  I’m hoping I find them at work tomorrow laying on my desk…all nice and safe.

This is a repost from my previous blog – first posted on 1/25/11

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Meet Abby Nass, an inspirational young woman who felt called to make a difference in the world.  She is authentic with her words, passionate in her calling and has a true heart for the Lord.  Be encouraged and be inspired as she shares a day in her journey.

“Our ministry this afternoon is street evangelism.”

I froze.  I’m not a great conversationalist.  I don’t always know how to relate to people and I’m far too comfortable with silences for small talk to ever feel natural.

But even still, I sat down and engaged in listening prayer with the five other people who were heading into Siem Reap at the same time as me.  After a few minutes, Ronny, one of our squad leaders, said he received a very clear picture of a bridge.  And so with a bridge in mind, we rolled out.  I climbed into a tuk tuk with Ronny and a girl named Cindy.

We ended up sitting down on a footbridge in the city.  Cindy turned to the girl next to her and asked where she was from—“Japan,” she answered.  That’s where Cindy is from.  Immediately they flip from English to Japanese and start getting to know each other.

Ronny turns to a white guy sitting a few feet away from us and jokingly asks, “What, are you from the United States?”  He isn’t.  His name is Sebastian and he’s from the Netherlands.  Either way, Ron begins asking him questions about himself, learning whatever he can about this Dutch app developer.

I’m not talking to anyone yet, so I start to think.  The Lord gave Ronny a picture of a bridge…when we sat down at the first bridge we passed, when Cindy sits down and talks to the first girl she sees, she ends up being from Japan.  We found a Japanese tourist sitting by herself on a footbridge in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  Obviously this is something the Lord ordained.

And so I start to pray.

Sitting on the edge of the bridge, staring down at the water gently passing by, I begin to lift up Ronny and Cindy’s conversations to the Father.  Following the promptings of the Holy Spirit, I ask that “the Church as a Body” would be the center of Ronny’s conversation with Sebastian—that it would be clear and obvious to Sebastian that the Lord desires a relationship with him, one where they can get to know each other in a pure and personal way.  I pray that Cindy’s conversation would be based in the perfect love of our God—that this girl would come away from her talk with Cindy feeling and knowing the height, width and depth of the Father’s love for her, that she is cared about deeply.  I pray that she would notice something different in and about Cindy.

After over an hour of Ron and Cindy talking with these people, I walk back over to them.  I still don’t understand what Cindy is saying, but Ronny is talking to Sebastian about the Church, about how Christianity isn’t just showing up to a building and listening to a pastor talk—it’s a religion founded on a God who wants US, who wants to know us and to be known by us, a Father who wants to walk through life with us and be our best friend.

Cindy sits down next to me and shares some of her conversation.  At the very end, she prayed with the girl she was talking to, and after she finished up, the girl said she felt something different while Cindy was praying.  She said she felt the love of the Father washing over her.

I didn’t talk to anyone that day.

I didn’t sit down and meet anyone new.

I didn’t share the Gospel with anybody.

But the value and importance of prayers of intercession became so much more real.  Stepping into the gap and pleading with the Lord on someone else’s behalf, standing up to engage in the spiritual battle constantly waging around us, isn’t something to be overlooked or brushed aside.  Interceding for Ronny and Cindy in that moment was a way to release God’s power onto that bridge and into their words—prayers of intercession are invaluable.

Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit…”  The only thing I can offer up to the Father is my own broken spirit.  My broken past, my broken heart, my broken self…all of it is brokenness.  But this brokenness is something the Father chooses to invite along on an adventure with him; a cracked vessel is something he desires.  Offering myself, my actions, and my words up to the Lord won’t always look like “converting nonbelievers” or performing miracles in the name of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes it’s sitting on the edge of a bridge, staring down at a river, and lifting up my brothers and sisters who are on the frontlines.  My sacrifice to my Father is my broken spirit and my broken prayers of intercession.  But through the power and authority of Jesus Christ, my prayers were weapons used to fight in that spiritual battle on the bridge.  My sacrifice may be broken, but the Father makes it whole.  My words may be weak, but the Spirit is so strong in me.  Our Lord will never fail.

Hi! My name is Abby Nass and I’m a 21 year old daughter of the One True King. Toward the end of my sophomore year at Iowa State University, the Lord called me to the nations. So I dropped out of college, bought a 65-liter backpack, and have been working as a missionary abroad in a program called the World Race ever since. While on my adventure with the Holy Spirit, a deep passion for the liberation of women and the oppressed has taken root in my heart. I want to see the power of the Holy Spirit break physical, emotional, and spiritual chains through prayer, love, and connection.

I also want to see Judah and the Lion in concert. But that’s unrelated. God is good and everything I am, everything I want to be, is because of who He is.

Read more about her journey HERE

The lyrics appeared on the screen and, unable to stop them, my tears began to flow…

“God I look to You
I won’t be overwhelmed”

My thoughts cry out: but I AM overwhelmed!

I stand surrounded by people during a Sunday morning service, sobbing, warm tears pouring down my face. The weight of the world crashing in from all sides.  Desperate for the burden to ease.

“Give me vision to see things like You do”

Yes Lord, please, I NEED to see everything as You do because I’m drowning in anguish!  Show me what I’m missing.  Give me the perspective as You see it.  Help me shake this despair!

“God I look to You, You’re where my help comes from”

And what I already know returns to my mind with clarity.  Yes, like a life preserver to a drowning woman He is my help.  Miserably, I had fallen into the trap of seeing my problems bigger than my God.  Now, I lift my head up to the Heavens.

“Give me wisdom: You know just what to do”

Yes, Lord, You know what I need to do. My heart is grieving the deep sorrow known only by a mother’s heart while her child struggles.  My heart.  Weighed down.  Burdened.  With recent events and the unseen.  Worries crashing down like waves pounding the shore.  One right after another.

The lyrics repeat:
“God I look to You, I won’t be overwhelmed”

Okay, Lord, I lay my burdens at your feet.  I trade the feeling of being overwhelmed for Your peace.  My arms raised, I plead, lift me out of this pit, Lord!

“Give me vision to see things like You do”

I beg, help me see past the turmoil that surrounds me!  You are my hope, to You I will cling.  Clear my sight so that I see only You! Your hope and Your love!

“God I look to You, You’re where my help comes from”

As I wipe my tears, I feel His loving arms around me.  And I am filled.

“Give me wisdom: You know just what to do”

His peace fills me and I know that everything will be all right.  I am no longer overwhelmed.  That simple.  That swift.  Truly, He answers when we call out to Him.  This too shall pass.

Our Heavenly Father is a loving father.  Don’t let the world convince you otherwise!  God isn’t against us.  He is for us.  He sees our pain and longs to be our Comforter.  Will you let Him?

“I will love you Lord my strength”

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalms 29:11

“I will love you Lord my shield”

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalms 18:2

“I will love you Lord my rock”

But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge. Psalms 94:22

“Forever all my days I will love you God”

Yes, indeed, forever and ever!  My redeemer, my Lord!

“Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reigns
Forever all my days Hallelujah”

Yes, our Lord reigns and I will praise Him all my days!

Listen to the full song God I Will Look to You by Bethel Music HERE

In March 2010, Debbie Dowdin started with a desire to help others and turned it into a non-profit organization helping those in the community.  Debbie’s story is inspirational in that she had an idea, and she ran with it.  She didn’t stop and think about how hard it might be, how much of her time it would take or whether it fit conveniently into her life. She wanted to help, took action, gave selflessly and is now making a difference in the lives of others.

Seven Springs began as a thrift store with the intention for it to fund the help they give.  The thrift store covers all overhead expenses, so monetary donations can go back into the community to help those in need.  They started out paying utilities and financial assistance with rent, etc.  Before long, they doubled in size, and over time grew from the original one suite to currently occupying four suites.  She had no idea that following her desire would take a thrift store concept and end up offering so much more to the community.  They now offer multiple programs: Food Bank, Summer Lunch Program, School Supplies, and a God inspired Christmas Project.

Debbie will be the first to tell you that it didn’t start with some grand vision from God.  It all started with a very strong desire to open it; the desire was so strong and obvious she believes she truly didn’t have a choice.  Some would call that His prompting.  She didn’t have a game plan or step by step design of where she was going with it all.  God impressed upon her what to do every step of the way.  And she did it.

Debbie is the Director/Founder of Seven Springs and believes God placed the desire and compassion on her heart, as well as the gift of discernment to understand the needs of her clients and community.  She truly believes nothing belongs to her; God made it all happen and she simply asks Him “What do you want me to do?”

Seven Springs is governed by a Board of Directors with a clear mission statement: Seven Springs is a non-profit, Christian organization committed to helping those in our community, while encouraging self-responsibility, personal and spiritual growth.  Debbie learned through previous volunteer experiences that an organization can be well intentioned but not necessarily healthy for a family as a whole.  Her clients go through an eligibility process and become a community within themselves.  Seven Springs was created to come alongside families, to help the least of these.  In Debbie’s words, “When you are in the pit, you need a little help to get out.”

What desires do you have?
What will you do with that desire?
Debbie started the Place of Seven Springs
What direction will you take?

Visit Seven Springs website here to find out how you can help.
They are continually in need of donations and volunteers.
http://www.placeofsevensprings.com
Phone: 770-736-3377

 

Who doesn’t want to leave their troubles far behind???

As a very young girl, one of my favorites movies was The Wizard of Oz.  The song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” really spoke to my bruised, yet hopeful, little heart.  A childhood wrought with abuse I longed for safety (escape)…to find a refuge.  At such an early age, I yearned for a peaceful (safe) environment where the unexpected danger didn’t lurk around every corner, where drama and trauma didn’t reign.

No wonder these words spoke to me: “troubles melt”  “dreams really do come true”  “someday”  “somewhere”

happy little bluebirds fly
why, oh why can’t I?

I gained enough painful memories to last a lifetime. For years, robbing me of joy, happiness and a normal life. Until I found the other side of the rainbow. Troubles won’t melt away like lemon drops, but His peace can make them less painful. Difficulties will come, life happens, but His comfort can bring peace and hope.

My refuge:  Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  Psalm 91:1-2

My hopeMay the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

The song, even the music without words, still brings me great joy and hope.  But my true hope and joy are found in something more substantial and eternal:  the loving arms of my Heavenly Father.

Dreams really do come true!
What do you dream?
Where do you find hope?
What/who/where is your refuge?
What direction will you take?

 

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