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On Saturday my daughter, my niece and I went to pick out a Christmas tree. Just before we went into the outdoor tent I got a phone call from mom’s sister. She told me that my mom was ok but she had slipped when they were moving her from her chair to her bed and had hit her head as she fell to the ground. In case you are reading this and you don’t know this already, my mom suffered a traumatic brain injury 20 years ago in a car accident. She lives in a nursing home and is unable to move herself except for the use of her left arm. She is also unable to eat and although she is trying hard and is managing a few words here and there she can’t speak either. To add insult to injury the gash was right in the same area as the shunt that was placed in her head right after the accident.  So they had to call in a surgeon to take a look at the damage the fall may have caused. He was on his way to the hospital on a Saturday night to do emergency surgery. 

Not exactly what I had planned for the evening. There was nothing I could do but wait for the updates so the girls and I went about picking out a tree and I tried my best to engage in the festivities although I was definitely preoccupied.

I was comforted to know that I had an upcoming visit to see my mom planned for a few days later and could get on an earlier flight if I needed to. 

When we got home the girls put on the movie Super 8 to watch while I strung the lights on the tree and ran out for Chinese food. 

As they ate and watched the movie I went through the boxes of decorations. I felt a huge lump in my throat as I came across some of the decorations my mom had given me over the years. The one for Danny and I – Our First Christmas Together, the ones for Baby’s first Christmas for both of the boys, Our First Home one shaped like a house… So many lovely memories. But also some pain. 

I went back to finish putting the ribbon on the tree so the girls could start decorating and the movie was wrapping up.  A poignant moment of dialogue in the movie made me pause and listen. The teenage boy (the leading actor) was trying to reason with the scary but sensitive alien monster who was taking out his pain on the earthlings (I know – crazy right?) …but listen…this is what he said:

“Bad things happen, But you can still live”. 

That line pierced through my heart. 

A few minutes later my sister texted me and said, “Just read Psalm 27:13 and thought of you.”. It was the verse that God gave to me at my lowest point after my mom’s accident twenty years ago. It has become my life-song.  It says,

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.     (NAS)

God was reminding me once again. That promise was true. I have seen so much of the goodness of God in this land of the living in these past twenty years. 

And that promise is still true today.  We need to make a conscious choice to BELIEVE it. This life brings pain but it also brings joy if we allow it to. 

This is a tough season for many but there is joy to be had and hope to hold on to. 

My mom pulled through her surgery and is doing well and is in good spirits. 

Sorry this is so long but I am on a plane with nothing to do but think and write. ( I have finished flipping through the latest edition of InStyle magazine!)

In a few minutes I’ll head to the same hospital she was in 20 years ago only this time with the wisdom of past experience to know that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Whatever you may be going through this season I pray that you hold onto that hope too…

Yes, bad things happen. But you CAN still live!

Love and peace to you and yours…may your day be merry and bright xo

Tracey

My kids tease me and say that I have a song for every situation.  I’m realizing as I continue this blogging thing that they are right.  Music is probably my greatest source of inspiration so I guess that makes sense. So, this time it’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash.  Side note: that song was released in 1981- I can’t believe it’s 30 years old! 

I have found myself in this place time and time again throughout life.  Where I feel (that word right there will get you in trouble most of the time) that it’s time to move on but something is just not quite clicking.  It’s like I know there is something out there but it’s accompanied by this feeling of unrest.  I have this sense that there is something more to be had or to be done…something out there that I should be pursuing but I’m not quite sure what.  Other times I have known exactly where I wanted to go or at least where I believed I should be going but something was stopping me from making the move.  The doors were just not opening as I had hoped.  And so many, many times I have found myself asking this question, “Should I stay or should I go?”

Last night I was reading Genesis 26.  The chapter opens up with Isaac getting ready to move to Egypt. The land he was living in was experiencing a famine and history tells us that at the same time Egypt was prospering with plenty of water flowing from the Nile and no signs of famine.  I probably would have been anxious to move there too if I was him!  Feast or famine?  No brainer right? Sometimes that place you are just itching to move to looks SO much better than where you are right now.  But here is what God spoke to him and I knew He was whispering it to me last night.  He said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while and I will be with you and will bless you.”  God knew that eventually it would be time for Isaac to move on and that there was great blessing in store for him but it was not time yet. 

So the question becomes what do we do in the meantime?  We are not being released to move on so what do we do?  I know what I do a lot of the time.  I pout.  I do the bare minimum where I am.  I stay but I’m not happy about it.  I resist putting down roots of any kind because in my mind my bags are already packed.  But that’s not what Isaac did.  And by the way – in verse 8 it tells us that he was there for a LONG time!

Here’s what Isaac did.

He planted crops.

Maybe this is where the expression “bloom where you’re planted” comes from.

He planted crops and in that same year reaped a HUNDREDFOLD. God blessed him for listening and not pushing forward before it was time.  The story goes on to say that he became very rich and his wealth continued to grow until he was very wealthy! Pretty good stuff.

As I read this passage last night God really spoke to me personally but this morning as I was praying I just felt that this was a word for someone else too.

Is there somewhere you’d rather be but God is telling you to stay in the land that you’re in for a while? Be encouraged today that He is with you and He WILL bless you! That’s one of the things I love most about Him ~ He is faithful to deliver on His promises.

Feel free to leave a comment…it would encourage me to know that I am not the only one that thinks the grass is greener on the other side at times 😉

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I always feel the same way this time of the year just before school starts up again.  As summer nears the end I am painfully aware of how unraveled my life has become.  Any semblance of schedule and order in my life has gone completely out the window.  I sleep in because I can which sets me back time-wise, then I don’t get as much work done as I should. I skip exercising because we are busy doing fun things and I eat bad things when we do fun things. My house is messier because we’re on the go a lot and the list goes on.  We definitely have fun in the summer!  We go on vacation, hit the beach and the theme parks. But all of those good things can be distractions to every day life.  And pretty much every summer I end up off course!  
This can happen so easily in any area of life…home, school, work, ministry.
I know that just in the past three years since FTGI began we have experienced the need for some course correction as an organization.  At times we’ve gotten distracted and started down a road that has taken us off the main path.  It’s important to realize that not all distractions are bad in and of themselves.   Sometimes we are taken off course without realizing it because the distraction appears to be a “good” thing.  We have learned the hard way that good things can take your focus off the main thing. (And that’s not usually a good thing!) 
But remember – it’s NEVER too late to correct your course. I came across this definition of course correction as related to a spacecraft and I loved it!
Course Correction
When a spacecraft gets off of its trajectory, or path through space, it must be put back on the right path. The location of the spacecraft is determined and its course vector (the speed and direction of its flight) is calculated. This is compared with the path it should be on. A new vector is computed that will put it back on course. The ship’s attitude thrusters aim the ship and the main thruster pushes it along the path.
Isn’t that great? The right attitude thruster will aim your “ship” in the right direction.  Don’t beat yourself up because you’ve gotten off course. Give yourself a little pep talk and let that attitude thrust you back in the right direction. Chuck Swindoll writes in his book Strengthening Your Grip, “Attitude is that ‘single string’ that keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.”
Once your attitude has got you aiming in the right direction it’s time to revisit what your “main thing” is.  This is certainly not a new concept and sounds too simple but it is so true.  We need to work hard to “keep the main thing the main thing.”  Protecting your main thruster, whatever that is, will push you along the right path and cause you to soar higher than you ever imagined!!  
And for those of you have gotten so off course that you feel like you don’t even know where you’re going – do not despair.  God has got it all mapped out.  He will direct your paths.  Remember that His word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. (Psalm 119:105) And if you stop long enough to listen God promises that:
Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.
Isaiah 30:21 (NLT)

For 26 years Danny and I have had an unspoken deal.  The inside of the house is my responsibility for the most part and the outside is his.  So the general upkeep of the yard, care of the pool (when we had one), taking out of the garbage…all his.  The great part of the deal is that he has always helped me inside with the general upkeep of the inside household stuff too.  I, however, have never really helped him outside except to follow him around talking at him while he gardened or cleaned the pool.  He loves that 😉 He has tried to get me to help but it’s never worked.

But recently something changed.  I was outside on my porch and I noticed a bunch of weeds in my garden and without really thinking about it I went down and started pulling them out.  I was getting so much satisfaction from seeing it all cleaned up that before I knew it I was out there for over a hour.  

While I was out there Danny brought me a glass of iced tea. A few minutes later he brought me out some gardening gloves and cute little shovel to help with the tough weeds.  The next thing I know he had brought the ipod outside and he was playing music for me – all my favorites. After he brought out a kneeling pad so I wouldn’t hurt my knees I realized why he was being so attentive!  Poor guy…he’s waiting 26 years for this! He told me he wanted to encourage this behavior!!

Anyway, a strange thing happened after that day.  Every time I walk up my walkway now I notice the state of my garden.   It’s like a light went on.  One day recently I noticed a vast difference between two of the same plants that I have on either side of my walkway.   One of them was noticeably thriving while the other paled in comparison. When I looked closely at the leaves of the struggling plant I saw that there were holes all over them.  I went inside to “google” the possible causes of these holes and discovered that most likely caterpillars were eating them.  What I read jumped out at me. 

The article stated that while this particular plant is under attack it will stop flowering. 

I realized immediately that the reason the plant looked so pale in comparison to the other one is that the flowers had closed up and no new flowers had sprouted.

As soon as I read that I recognized a parallel to my own life. When I am under attack whether it be flesh and blood or the enemy of my mind and soul – I stop flowering.  Creativity shuts down.  I want to withdraw and hide.  My confidence is ebbed away at and I begin to wilt.  It doesn’t usually happen overnight either.  My plant did not get invaded overnight.  One caterpillar crawled up and began chewing away…one self-deprecating thought enters my mind and starts to eat away at my confidence. Then another caterpillar came and joined in…I begin comparing myself to someone else that I think has it all together.  Before I even had a chance to notice there was a caterpillar feast going on in my front yard…  Before I know it I am being bombarded by thoughts of inadequacy and self-doubt.  Something has to be done – it’s called pesticide!!

As soon as I was onto the caterpillar caper I pulled out the arsenal.  I sprayed the plant and within minutes the caterpillars were curling up and dropping off!  What amazed me was that within just a few days I noticed a huge difference in the appearance of the plant and I was thrilled to see little flowers sprouting all over it again.  All it took was me realizing that the attack was underway and then pulling out what I needed to put an end to it.

You may be under attack by flesh and blood in which case I don’t recommend dousing them with pesticide (although that may sound like a good idea to you right now.) Or your attack may be in your mind and spirit but either way you must remember this – our battle is not against flesh and blood.  Your adversary (the stinkin’ devil) works very hard to stop you from flowering.  It’s his full time job. You and only you must be diligent about tending the garden of your mind and heart.  And by the way as soon as I got rid of the caterpillars a few weeks later I noticed these little teensy tiny bugs on the leaves – all over the same plant! But I am ON IT.  I am more determined than ever to keep this pretty plant flowering!

2 Corinthians 2: 3-5
It is true that we live in the world, but we do not fight from worldly motives. The weapons we use in our fight are not the world’s weapons but God’s powerful weapons, which we use to destroy strongholds. We destroy false arguments; we pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.

That’s your pesticide. I want to encourage you to be an attentive gardener of your mind. Be on alert for those destructive thoughts that creep in and take them captive. Pull out the arsenal when you need to and blast them!!

I want to see you flourishing ~ hearty and healthy ~ bursting with flowers!!!

A few months ago I had a really bizarre dream. That is not abnormal for me. I have a lot of dreams. Crazy dreams. Sometimes it’s just because I ate Mexican food the night before but sometimes…occasionally I will wake up from a crazy dream and it will stay with me through the day. And sometimes for days after. When that happens I start to analyze it and wonder if there is some message in it for me. I believe that God speaks to us in all kinds of ways and for me on many occasions it’s through my dreams.

So a few months ago I was dreaming that I was sleeping in my bed. Have you got that? In my dream, I was asleep in my bed. All of the sudden I was woken up by my cell phone ringing. Bleary eyed, I reached for my phone and flipped it open to see who was calling. What I saw startled me. Where the name or number of the person calling me would normally be was the word ANGRY. Angry was calling me?! I was so puzzled in my dream and I said out loud, “Why is Angry calling me?” Then I woke up.
I told Danny and we laughed about it. But it wouldn’t go away. All day I had this nagging feeling. That afternoon Danny was taking me to the beach for an overnight stay to celebrate my birthday. We went on the motorcycle. I always feel so free on the back of his bike with the wind in our faces and the sun on our shoulders but this time I was disturbed. Why was angry calling me? That’s when I started to realize that this was more than just a silly dream.
I started to pray as we drove. I asked God to show me if I was angry. I didn’t think I was angry. If you asked me the day before if I was angry about anything I would have said no. But when I started to really peel back what had been going on inside of me for the past few months I had a revelation. I realized that some hurts that I had recently endured and some disappointments that had recently come my way and some circumstances that I had no control over that I wanted to make better but couldn’t, were beginning to eat at me and were making me – yep – ANGRY. Not throw things across the room angry (not that I’ve ever done that 😉 ) or yell and stomp my feet angry. Just a simmering anger that things were not the way I wanted them to be.
Since I believe that God is the one that can make all things better and they weren’t better I realized that if I was angry then I was angry at Him. Why had He allowed these things to happen? I did not see how any good could come from them. But I know better than that. That’s when I realized that I had some letting go to do. Walking down the beach that afternoon I let go. Let go of the disappointment, let go of the hurt…let go of the anger and gave way to trust. Trust that God had a plan in all of it.
I called a friend who is further along in the ministry journey than I am and she had some words of wisdom for me. She said, “Tracey I believe that God is showing you a tendency that you have. He is showing you that when people disappoint or hurt you or things don’t turn out the way you want them to, even after you think you are on the other side of it, the residual effect for you is that you tend to get angry. So here’s what you need to do. Now that you know, when you see on that caller id. that Angry is calling you, you need to let it go straight to voicemail. Let the message say, “I’m sorry Tracey is not available to take that call right now…or ever.”
Angry may not be calling you but maybe something else is. Maybe Insecurity calls you every morning. Maybe Fear or Doubt or Guilt calls you on a regular basis. We have to realize that we have a choice whether or not to take that call.
Philippians 4:8
For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
Amplified Bible (AMP)


We are here at our vacation spot in a little town in Maine called Damariscotta. The one thing you can depend on here is that you cannot depend on the weather. We left Florida at six o’clock in the morning and it was already oppressively hot. We were sweating at 4:30am just from spending 10 minutes outside loading our bags in the car. We arrived in Portland about 11:00 am and were immediately taken by the lack of humidity as we stepped onto the jetbridge. After collecting our luggage we all gloried in the fresh Maine air as we left the terminal. It was like that for the rest of the first day but even as we sat watching the lake we could see the waves blowing in from the east indicating that rain was on it’s way. Rain in Maine is very different than rain in Florida. The thunderstorms that roll out as quickly as they roll in to take the edge off of the tropical heat of the day are not common in this northern part of the country. When rain comes it comes to stay, sometimes for days on end.

Such was the case with the rain that blew in that first evening in the cottage. With it came the damp chill in the air that mocked me me as I unpacked. It’s hard to conjure up the memory of this weather when you are packing in 90 degrees. So everything in my suitcases was light and sleeveless for the most part. The cottage is not winterized so it is difficult to get it warm. Thankfully there are lots of blankets and tea. The rain continued on and off for three days straight but when it wasn’t actually raining it was too cold and wet to be outdoors. For someone that doesn’t get to enjoy sunshine for 90 percent of the year this could be disheartening but we made the most of it playing games, reading and watching old movies that we’ve seen a thousand times. It also helped to know that we still had two full weeks ahead of us.

But last night as we drove home from my sister’s cottage after a lively game of taboo that made us laugh until we cried we could see the stars out and Danny encouraged all of us that the sun would be out in the morning. We went to bed hopeful.

At 6:30am this morning I was awakened by a stream of sunlight finding it’s way through the gap in the closed curtains. The rain was gone. The day was bright. I got out of bed (after sleeping for a few more hours) and did what I had been waiting to do since I got here. I made a cup of tea and sat out on the dock taking in the scenery. The lake looked like a completely different place from the past few days. It was transformed into the beautiful lush peaceful haven I know it to be. Gone was the dark overcast, moody, dreary atmosphere of the past seventy two hours; here was a day of full of sunshine and promise.

I was reminded of something I heard a long time ago that stuck with me.

“Sometimes God takes a long time to move suddenly!”

So true! I have been been in those seasons of my life many times where I felt like I was “frozen in a winter of discontent” (lyrics of a song). Where I knew there was a promise waiting to be fulfilled but it was just taking SO long. So long that I began to doubt if I would ever see the sun shine again. I knew that God promised that if I waited on him he would renew my strength. (Isaiah 40:31) But I felt so weak. I knew that the plans He had for me were to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a future and a hope. (Jer. 29.11) But I couldn’t see how things could possibly work out from where I was standing. I remember feeling like I should be doing something. When all He wanted me to do was wait. Wait and seek Him. That even though I could not see it He was working behind the scenes on my behalf waiting for the right moment to move.

One of those times in particular was when Danny and I were hoping and praying and believing for the opportunity for Danny to become a Chick-fil-A Operator. We had been in the process for several years already waiting for an opportunity in our area to come open. We had interviewed and were waiting for word. I’ll never forget the day they called and said that all the changes in the area had been made and they would not be offering him a store at that point. They did not know when another opportunity in the area would become available. Pretty much – don’t call us we’ll call you. It was not what we had expected to hear. We had even moved, downsizing, during the interviewing process in order to position ourselves better financially. And now all we could do was wait. We were devastated. I remember when Danny told me I was leaning up against the bedroom wall and I just sort of slid down and sat on the floor for a while (and cried.) I was so sure that we were moving in the right direction. Could it have been that we had “heard” God wrong. We could still hope and wait but there was no guarantee that the call would ever come. I got a card from a sweet friend of mine right afterward that said, “I know what they told you but I still believe and I’m standing with you.” Hope. That’s all we could do is wait, hope and believe. And then as quickly as the sun came out this morning, a LONG year later, they called. Completely out of the blue. Chick-fil-A called – some changes were taking place….were we still interested?

It took a long time but then He moved – suddenly!

If you are in that season today where it is dark and overcast and you can’t see how things could possibly change be encouraged today that He is for you and not against you. That even as you wait He is renewing your strength. Whether you feel it or not. Cuddle up and remind yourself of His promises. Rest as much as you can. Be still and know that He is God and He’s got you covered. Before you know it and probably when you least expect it the sun will come out.

Psalm 27:14
Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.
Amp.

Have you ever arrived at an airport all ready to go on your greatly anticipated trip just to see the word DELAYED after your flight number on the departure board? I hate when that happens!

Having worked for several airlines I have had to be the bearer of bad news to many a passenger over the years. There they are – all geared up to check in and head for their gate when I have to break the news that their flight isn’t going to depart on time. That information can turn the nicest passenger into a monster! People do not like their plans to be delayed or changed. One customer-turned-monster threw her hot coffee and bagel across the counter at me. (that little tirade got her arrested by the way!) Then there are the few passengers that “get it”. They seem to grasp the fact that the safety and security of the passengers is the priority and it is more important that they actually arrive at their destination in one piece than take off on time with issues that may escalate to major problems.

There are times that we have our timetable all mapped out and we are just ready to go and God writes DELAYED on our flight board. I have been there and I have played the part of the irritated passenger many times in my life. Stomping my feet and asking “WHY?” But I have learned to look for what God is doing during the delay because that is most likely a very very important part of the journey and where most of our growth happens.

I remember clearly the evening that Danny told me that he thought we needed to hold off on submitting our application for adoption to Great Wall China Adoption agency. My heart sunk. we had already been talking about it for a year and I had been dreaming about it for a while before that. I was SO ready. DELAYED. Why? In retrospect it’s easy to see. Danielle my beautiful daughter was not even born yet. We had to wait because the daughter that God had for us was not ready. But in the meantime I learned and I grew. I learned about trusting my husband. I learned more about the plight of the orphans in China. That knowledge developed into a passion to help other families through the adoption process. Because of how long it took to go through the process of adoption and all the delays I began holding workshops to inform people about the process and helped set the wheels in motion for hundreds of families to adopt. If our adoption had gone through quickly I would have happily had my baby but wouldn’t have sought out the opportunity to help others along the way. DELAYED yes, but well worth it.

I heard someone recount the story of Lazarus recently and it has stuck with me ever since. The story of Lazarus paints a beautiful picture of Jesus delaying an answer to a prayer in order to work in the lives of others along the way. Lazarus’ healing was DELAYED but it was intentional in order to build faith in those surrounding the situation. It wasn’t just about Lazarus. It was about Lazarus plus everyone that witnessed the miracle but it was ultimately about you and me.

According to Martha and Mary, Jesus showed up late. If they had had their way their brother would have never died, because Jesus would have showed up and healed him immediately. However, the miracle that Jesus performed and the timing he chose was deliberate and set in motion the chain of events that led to his death on the cross. The story in John 11 tells us that immediately after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead the Pharisees began plotting his death. It was that particular miracle that sent them over the edge and the timing of it was woven into our story of redemption. God knows that immediate answers are not always best. Lazarus had to die before he received his answer, but the result was an exponentially bigger display of God’s power.

You may be experiencing a delay that you don’t understand now but God’s word promises us that if we believe we will see the glory of God. (John 11:40)

Your miracle may be right around the corner! Don’t stop believing.

This Monday night is the GNO (Girls Night Out – for those of you who may not be up on the lingo :) )

How did that happen?

It feels like AWAKEN 2011 just ended. But so much has happened since then. We are still hearing stories of people that were truly awakened during that wonderful weekend that we spent together. Awakened to their idenity as a child of God. Awakened to FREEDOM! Awakened to dreams that had been asleep for a long time…too long! Awakened to the need to connect with other women of like dreams and passions. These are the stories that keep us going.

The other reality that I can’t ignore is that there are also those of us that left the conference fired up and ready to take on the world only to have the winds of life blow intensely threatening to put out the flame that was lit. Some didn’t even make it through the conference before something was threatening to dampen their light. One weekend is just not enough to fit everything in which is why I am so grateful for our Girls Nights Out. We can build on what we began. We can continue the conversation.

At AWAKEN I talked about how we need to be like those trick candles that you put on a birthday cake that just refuse to go out. Just like those candles have a substance called magnesium built inside them to cause them to continually reignite we must have faith built inside of us to help us to keep shining! Faith is our substance. Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1. So even when we don’t see with our natural eye what can be – faith keeps us moving in the right direction.

My heart is full with a message to encourage those that are struggling to keep their flame blazing as well as those that are blazing a new trail. Even though we would all love to believe that we can SHINE without so much as flickering or dimming just a little at times we all know that is not the world we live in.

So the question that we touched on at AWAKEN is still out there…how do we keep shining when there is so much out there that threatens to extinguish our flame? On Monday night we are going to talk about FANNING THE FLAME!

Don’t miss the opportunity to be encouraged. We need each other!

Lots of Love,
Tracey

WARNING: You probably won’t appreciate this unless you’re over 40 :)

Anticipation….Antici-pay-ya-tion…is keeping me wa-a-a-a-aiting!

Ah…Carly Simon – love her. One of my vocal heroes growing up in the 70’s. I just finished up working on my notes for next Friday night when I will be speaking to a bunch of amazing women and girls that gather each year for the AWAKEN conference. I have such a huge amount of anticipation for the weekend and I don’t quite know what to do with it.

It’s a nervous excitement. So many pieces that need to come together. So many details to remember. So much hope put into two days. Hope that women come expecting and leave fulfilled. Hope that they will leave shining a little brighter than they came. It’s impossible to know exactly what God is going to do in the life of each precious person that comes but it is so comforting to know that all His pieces will be there. All His details will be covered so the rest is just gravy. We can rest knowing that when two or three are gathered in His name He is there in the midst of them. We can throw all the bling and chocolate at it that we want to but we cannot match what God does in the midst of his people.

I am imagining worship that will take the roof off…laughter that will flow. Maybe a few tears as God touches our hearts like only He can. I am hoping for healing. I am praying for hurts and wounds from the past to be shaken off. And for much needed refreshment to be administered to weary bones!

Thinking of the song “Anticipation” made me crave a little Carly Simon so I threw on her cd as I was working. It’s so crazy how songs can hit you a certain way at particular times. I came to the song “Haven’t got time for the pain” and the words struck me. The lyrics are great when I thought about it as a little conversation between me and God.

I haven’t got time for the pain…
I haven’t got room for the pain…
I haven’t the need for the pain…
not since I’ve known you
You showed me how
How to leave myself behind
How to turn down all the noise in my mind (and that’s a lot of noise)
then later…
You showed me how
How to fill my heart with love
How to open up and drink in all that white light pouring down from the heavens!!

God speaks to me in the weirdest ways sometimes! I just had such a picture of Him pouring down His white light from heaven next weekend…I can’t wait!

In the beginning of the song it talks about how sometimes suffering is the only way we can feel that we are alive. That it’s just how much it costs to survive in this world. (are you singing along?) Here’s the thing. There is pain. Of course there is. We do suffer and there are times that we have to allow ourselves to “be” with the pain. I’ve been there. But there is also a time for letting go of the pain. There is so much to be done. So many lives that need to be touched and if we are going to be His light we don’t have time for the pain.

Yes, in this lifetime there is pain…but there is also joy to be had…unspeakable joy!!

I am praying today that God will flood the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa with His white light from above and fill it with His joy.

Tomorrow morning our team will go down there to pray for every woman and girl that will be attending. It is one of my favorite parts of preparing for AWAKEN 2011…a little foretaste of what is in store for all of us!

Can’t wait!! But we have to…only 1 more week!

Hope to see you there!
Love,
Tracey

The week after Christmas is always fun with all the family still in town from the holiday! Last night we had a family movie night at our house. The scene was just as I like it. My overstuffed comfy brown couch packed full of cousins of all ages, Danny and I snuggled with pillows and blankets on the floor and several others perched on chairs around the living room. (It would have been a little better if Danny and I were on the comfy couch and the kids were on the floor!) The kids selected an epic film to watch as we ate leftover goodies from Christmas. The movie pick was The Lord of the Rings -Fellowship of the Ring.

Anyway, while we were watching it I had a moment. It was an exchange between Frodo and Gandalf that really made me stop and think. Frodo was overwhelmed with the awesome responsibility and burden that came with the One Ring that he inherited from his uncle. The task given to him was to return the One Ring to the place from whence it came and destroy it by casting it into the fires of Mount Doom. I’m sure I am oversimplifying here but the gist is that if he failed in his mission evil would overtake the world. That was a pretty heavy burden for such a little hobbit.

And so Frodo was having a very understandable little pity party for himself. This is how the conversation went:

Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened. Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Gandalf’s wise answer has echoed in my mind ever since I heard it. Haven’t we all felt like that at one time or another when something catastrophic has occurred? “I wish none of this had happened!” Or maybe you have a calling on your life that you know in your heart of hearts you must fulfill but it comes at a high cost. It would be a whole lot easier to just walk away. Something inside you may wish you had never been asked to carry that burden. But that is not for us to decide. Things beyond our control happen. God calls us to bear burdens that we would not necessarily choose to carry. But that is not for us to decide.

What we have to decide is what we will do with the time given us. God knows what you can handle. He made you. He knows that when He brings you through that adversity or when He leads you in your calling that it will have a profound and invaluable effect on you and those you come in contact with.

So what will you do with the time that you’ve been given? Will you dig deep and find the strength that you already possess and carry out that which you have been called to do?

I love how God works. I have been praying a lot about my talk for AWAKEN 2011 Arise and Shine. This subject goes right along with what I have been meditating on. I am going to be talking about Joseph and all the adversity that he endured but I promise you it will be encouraging!

I hope that you will join us in February (if you are a woman/young lady). We are looking forward to a great time together!!

Click here to enjoy the movie clip…

Love,
Tracey

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