Category Archives: Tuesday Tidbits

Here you will find mini moments of encouragements from the Bible Studies I’m currently doing with my PWOC Sisters and Burke Community Church Sisters.

Tuesday Tidbit- Growing in Prayer

I have the privilege of leading a weekly woman’s Bible study.  We are currently going through Stormie Omartian’s book and study guide “Prayer Warrior”.    I don’t think many people regularly put these two words together, so it might seem like a strange book title to you.  Either way  I hope you will grow in prayer with me as I share how I’m growing in this study.

In the first chapter Stormie shares why our attitude toward prayer needs to be deeper than the basic morning, night time, and meal time prayers.  Life as a follower of Christ places us in the middle of a unseen battle that calls us to live as prayer warriors in Christ’s army. The apostle Paul writes about this battle in the book of Ephesians and goes into detail of our response in Ephesians 6:10 -18.  Where he describes the Armor of God we are given and the two weapons his warriors are given the sword of the Spirit(the word of God) and prayer guided by the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18).   If you are not familiar with Ephesians 6 take some time to read it.  I believe it is foundational for recognizing the battle of good and evil is real and continues daily.

Do believe there is an devil?  Do you believe he has plans for the destruction of you and your loved ones?  The most dangerous position to be in a battle is in-between two fighting forces- the impact zone.  We can find ourself there when we live our life in blissful ignorance.  Choosing to ignore the warning signs that we are entering a danger zone.  Please don’t ignore this sign today.  Step into the protected zone.  You might still be wondering what is a prayer warrior?

Stormie defines it as a person who “has a heart of compassion for suffering people and bad situations, and desires to do something to make a difference.”  The heart of a prayer warrior fulfills Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  It is a person who prays for others using the truth of God’s Word lead and prompted by the Holy Spirit.  Here are Seven questions from “Prayer Warrior” that  Stormie proposes as insights into the heart of of prayer warrior.

Do you have the heart of a prayer warrior:

  1. See suffering and it bothers you?
  2. Recognize evil proliferating the world?
  3. Experienced injustice in your life or identify it in the lives of others?
  4. Observe wrong things happening around you and want to right them?
  5. Have certain people heavy on your heart and it concerns you but are unsure why?
  6. Observe tragic situations happening to others and feel helpless to to anything to stop it?
  7. Become grieved in your spirit when you see blatant disregard for God and His ways?

If you said “yes” to any of the questions you have the heart of a prayer warrior.  Are you surprised?   I’m not, I think because as God’s children, who are being transformed into Christ’s image we can’t help but have heart of prayer warrior.  Christ was a prayer warrior in John 17:6 -26 he prays for his followers both current and yet to come.  I don’t know about you but I think it is pretty clear we all have a role a prayer warrior.  The question is will we answer the call?

When we say “yes Lord I am willing to be your prayer warrior” we are taking a step closer to the Lord so we can hear his heartbeat.  I hope you are taking that step.  I know it is a scary one.  It might be overwhelming because you don’t feel prepared or ready to pray in this new way.   We can grow together.  Keep meeting me here as I share insights from my experience and the book.

Call to Action:

Read Ephesians 6: 10 -18

What verse stands out to you today?

Who or what are you burdened to pray for today?

Personalize this scripture as a prayer for you today:

Prayer adapted from Ephesians 6: 10-12; 18

” Lord help me be strong in You Lord and in Your mighty power.  Remind me to daily put on the full armor of God, so that  I can take my stand against the devil’s schemes.  For my struggle’s are not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, again the powers of the dark world and again the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  “Please Lord teach me to pray according to your Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  Keep me alert and always praying for the Lord’s people.”  In Jesus precious name, Amen

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do,

and he will establish your plans.”

Proverbs 16:3

 

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3 Steps to Re-Start the Year

Does anyone else need a re-start for the New Year?   Today I feel like I missed the start due to the fog from a New Years cold. I just can’t seem to get moving in the direction I intended and feeling a little frustrated. Can anyone else relate?   Or maybe you’re frustrated because you haven’t been successful with the plans you determined to start off this year with a bang. No worries, we can still finish this year better off than we started. We might not be off and running like we planned and feeling passed by those who got out of the starting blocks quicker but we just need to remember a runner with a slow and steady pace also reaches the finish line.

In running events a re-start happens when someone has jumped the gun or a malfunction with the starters gun. So if you feel like you need a re-start maybe you just need to refocus on running this year like a turtle in a marathon rather than a rabbit in a sprint. I don’t know if you have the experience of participating in a marathon.   If you haven’t let me help you get the picture of what I mean by “running this year like a turtle in a marathon”.

Large events like a marathon start in waves, which are led out by the professional and competitive athletes right at the starting line. Then the rest of the participants are lined up based on expected completion times to keep the race moving efficiently.   If you are a walker you will be in the final waves of people.   Can you see it? The crowd of thousands gathered, each participant focused on their race and their plan to reach the finish line. Each person has prepared differently and holds a different vision of a successful finish, but all aim to cross the finish line. The announcer comes over the speakers and gives the 5-minute warning. Next the starter comes over the speaker “Runners on your mark, set”, and bang goes the gun. The race has started and the runners are off. Waves of runners, joggers, walkers, and buddy teams move forward and cross the start line, one wave at a time, for the race they intend to finish.

Whether our start was what we planned it to be or not we can still finish well if we keep moving forward one step at a time. That is what it takes to finish the race slow and steady not looking back but looking forward and moving forward. How do we do that?

Here are three steps to re-start your year. First refocus. Stop thinking about what you wanted to do and do what you planned to do. Start small if you have to scale back your plan. Choose to do one new thing today.  Second do it. Get up and do the one new thing today. Thirdly, celebrate your accomplishment and invite someone to join your re-start. Once you’ve done it tell someone, do your happy dance, and mark it off your list!

Okay, these three steps might sound simple but if you start to use them everyday you are on your way to “running this year like a turtle in a marathon”.   The finish line is calling you! The crowd is cheering for you! My favorite part of running a race is the encouragement and inspiration of my fellow runners!  So get a running buddy today.

My re-start consisted a revitalizing; with fresh bedding, a neatly made bed, and freshening up the house with disinfectant spray to keep the cold at bay. Then I did my happy dance, I told a friend about my need to re-start, and finished it off by sharing it with you.   I hope this spurs you on and encourages you to persevere no matter what comes your way this year.   Here are two verses that inspire me to keep moving forward one step at a time. I hope they bless and inspire  you too.

Hebrews 10:24-25

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another— and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Philippians 3:12-14

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Please share your three steps with me! Let’s keep inspiring one another on!

Looking for a starting point or investing in a successful finish check out “My Intentional Year”  See you at the next water point!

 

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do,

and he will establish your plans.”

Proverbs 16:3

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Walls or Bridges?

Walls or Bridges?

I was leading a Bible study group through Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer when this “tidbit” rocked my world. I hope you are encouraged. In this study, at the end of each study day, she asks us to write down our “Actionable Intel”(a personal take a way). This particular day we were studying the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace. Priscilla asked us with each piece of armor, we studied, to step back from our life circumstances and ask the Lord to reveal the spiritual realities influencing our daily interactions and experiences. That day we focused on how the enemy seeks to demolish the peace that God gives us in life. One way he does this is to keep us off balance and distract us from close relationship with God, the people of God, and the other people in our life.

Ephesians 2:13 – 18 tells us “he (Christ) himself is our peace, who has made the two groups (Israel and Gentile) one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility (verse 14 parentheses added). Christ reconciled both Israel and Gentile to God through the cross. The cross is the bridge he built to bring the peace of God to mankind for all mankind to have peace with him and one another.

My “actionable intel” for that study day was the following:

“Christ builds bridges of peace~unity~strength~love. Our enemy builds walls of deception to separate~isolate~weaken~spawn hatred. Which architect will you hire?”

This “actionable intel” is a challenge to be alert and ready to stand strong with our “Shoes of the Gospel of Peace” strapped on securely. Living as peacemakers who build bridges in the power of Christ through love, forgiveness, gentleness, and unifying strength.

 

Reflect on your relationships.   Which are they more characterized by tension or peace? The answer to this question will reveal if your life is full of bridges or walls?

 

Reflective Prayer:

Lord we come to you asking you to strengthen us in your love and peace. Help us to recognize the areas where we have worked with the enemy to build walls in our heart, our relationships, and our lifestyle.   Soften our hearts with your love, forgive us of our sins, and restore us to our peaceful relationship with you. Guide and teach us how to build bridges and walk on those bridges with you. Thank you for the bridge of your cross, which secures for those who believe in you, Jesus, that nothing can separate us from you— no wall, no sin, nothing! In Jesus name— Amen

Romans 8:38-39 Nothing can separate those in Christ from God!

What walls need bridges in your heart?  I’d love to hear……

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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ADORE Series: Outrageous Joy

Welcome to the third post in the ADORE Series: Outrageous Joy—

What comes to mind when you hear “Outrageous Joy”? Is it a loud memory or a quiet gentle one?   Is it a memory of a time experienced with others or a personal moment? I have experienced joy in so many ways it is hard explain the source of my joy at times. Especially when tears accompany it. This week let’s take a moment to reflect on the “outrageous joy” that Mary carried within her as the mother of our Savior. She gives a brief glimpse of it in her song found in Luke 1: 46-56. I wonder what it was like for her knowing she was blessed to carry the Savior of the world but unable to share her miraculous experience outside of a very small circle of relatives for fear of ridicule and a possible sentence of death.  Her life was marked by suffering, persecution, separation, and danger.  She experienced brief highlights of honor, acceptance, delight, and peace which she pondered and treasured in her heart.  What gave her the strength to continue?  I suggest that, like Jesus, she endured all the circumstances of her life for the joy set before her (Hebrews 12:2:3)–  the fulfillment of the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah and the message given by the angel, Gabriel.  Her strength was born out of the presence of the Holy Spirit that released the power to create Jesus, God made man, and burst forth as “outrageous joy” that would sustain her and point her time and time again to “the joy set before her”.  That same Holy Spirit that sustained Mary and Jesus while they walked the earth is alive in us.  So no matter what we are facing now or in the future we need to tap into the strength of the “Outrageous Joy” only He can provide.  I hope you will experience the “Outrageous Joy” of Christ this Christmas!

May I suggest starting with this Chris Tomlin song “Joy to the World(Unspeakable Joy)”?  I personally think Mary’s joy is expressed well by the chorus lyrics—- “Joy, unspeakable joy. An overflowing well, no tongue can tell. Joy, unspeakable joy. Rises in my soul, never lets me go.” (check out the whole song on YouTube @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC3SwhJsLqU&sns=em ) Be careful I have had this chorus in my head for about two weeks now it is very catchy!!!

 

As you read the joyful Psalm below reflect on the birth of our Savior and the “outrageous joy” His birth brought into our world for us each to experience.

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Worship the Lord with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his;

we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise;

Give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

(bold added)

How will you keep his “outrageous joy” alive in your heart this week and all yearlong?

 

Who can you tell about the “outrageous joy” of Christ’s birth?

 

Leave a comment to let me know what brings you “outrageous joy”!

 

Prayer of Adoration:   We come to you, Lord, with thanksgiving in our hearts  and your “unspeakable joy” in our souls for all the ways that you love us.  Your expression of love is deep and never ending.   Your outrageous gift of salvation through your Son our Savior leaves us in awe of you.   We ask that you the God of hope will fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in you so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit(Romans 15:13).  We love you, Lord, even though we have not seen you.  We believe in you and know that you are the one who fills us with an inexpressible and glorious joy-— the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls(1Peter 1: 8-9).  Just as you filled Mary’s heart and soul with “unspeakable joy” as she carried our Savior and released Him for your glory.  May you be glorified this Christmas season as we seek to live joyful lives in reflection of your gift of eternal life!  Please strengthen us  as we fix our eyes on you, Jesus, and run the race you have set before us.  We want to live like you did enduring the things of this life for the joy set before us.  Help us to not grow weary and lose heart(Hebrews 12: 1-3) but to consider it all joy that we will be made complete in you.(James 1:2-8)

In your holy name, Jesus– Amen

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

 

 

 

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Cooking on the Wrong Burner

Have you ever started preparing a meal and discover you have had your pan on the wrong burner? Once again I found myself wondering how in the world I didn’t notice sooner that nothing was happening in my pot that should be boiling any moment. As I reached for the handle it was very hot to the touch but the rest was not. That’s when I realized I had turned on the wrong burner and proceeded to increase the temperature as required only to succeed in heating the handle not the contents. After rectifying the problem I moved on the next item of importance. But as I looked back at the stove with my hand still stinging from grabbing the piping hot handle, I thought “ispot-820012__340n’t that just like life.” I wake up each morning with a basic plan and focus to spend my time and energy according to what I think is most important. Then I’m off and running.  The next thing I know I’ve turned on the wrong burner!   My energy is not directed where it is required to accomplish the necessary tasks for the day. Can you relate? I also thought of how quickly these “wrong burner days” can easily become weeks, months and sometimes years if I don’t seek daily guidance from the Lord on how to spend my time and energy He has given to me. His word tells me that he has “created me for good works” that He has prepared for me (Ephesians 2:10).  I don’t want to focus my time and energy into a burner that isn’t warming His prepared task for me. In order to put the right amount of energy and focus into each burner I have to seek Him first.

Proverbs 16:3
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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Shared previously with Planting Roots

Can I get an amen if you can relate???

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Courage to Reflect

 

I remember that Sunday morning well. The summer sun peaked through the bedroom blinds before my eyes were ready to greet the day. Sounds of a squirmy infant and toddler encouraged one more attempt at squeeze just 5 more minutes of sleep before I faced the activities of the day. Then it happened– the whimpers of a hungry little guy. Before I knew I was awake I found myself settled in the rocker with a nursing bundle in my arm and my snuggly brown eyed girl in my lap. After the morning snuggle we were off to the races to get everyone, Dad, Mom, and three kiddos under 4, ready and in the van for church.

At some point, I called out “Where is Erika?” Our brown eyed, 19month old was not under foot and too quiet for my comfort. After an unsuccessful, thorough search of the three story home, panic set in Brian’s and I’s heart. Then came the knock at the door. Brian opened the door to find little Erika standing there, hand in hand, with a wombonding-1407833_1280an he did not recognize. She proceeded to ask in a sweet voice “Is this your little girl? I found her wandering along the road.” He immediately lifted Erika into his arms and held her tightly while answering “Yes, thank you so much!” When he turned to follow-up with the kind woman, she was nowhere to be found. It was like she had vanished. He and Erika looked down the street and around the corner, but it was like she was gone without a trace. Brian was puzzled and smiled as Erika announced, “Bye-bye, all gone, bye-bye” in her sweet little voice.

He rounded the corner of the stairs to share the mystery of Erika’s morning adventure outside. After hearing the story of the disappearing lady, Sara, our 4 year old, declared, “She’s an angel! She brought her back!” Brian responded “Your right Sara. She must be an angel, because I’ve never seen her before and she disappeared so quickly.” We took a moment to say a prayer, thanking the Lord for protecting Erika and a blessing be given to the angel that returned Erika safely. Then off to church we went with full hearts.

Has your desire ever taken you on a dangerous adventure like Erika that summer morning? She had a strong desire to go outside that morning, and she was inspired by the sunshine to go explore. All she needed for her adventure to begin was the courage to open the door and take that step out. In my previous post, The Journey, I talked about having the “courage to take the first step”, following through on the desires and inspirations the Lord places in your heart. Today I want to follow up with having the courage to challenge your hearts desire. Proverbs 4:23 instructs: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Have you ever let your guard down? Have you ever regretted doing or saying something? My answer is a resounding “Yes!” I have reduced the regularity of such regrets and moments of a lax guard over my heart and mind with the Slide4practice of self-reflection and others to help keep me accountable in my walk with Christ. It takes courage to be honest with yourself and listen with an open heart when you ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal any wickedness or pride that lingers. It takes courage to align your thought life to Philippians 4:8. Are my thoughts focused on whatever is true, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy? When I’m on a short time line and my family is on their own time line, my thoughts are not very lovely. Or when I’m driving and the drivers around me seem to have forgotten what it means to merge, yield, or go at a green light; I struggle to turn my thoughts to admirable truth. The natural human tendency is to pridefully elevate my needs above the needs of others. It takes courage to be selfless and keep my selfish desires in check.

I struggled with my desire to elevate myself above my husband in the situation of Eriblue-925209__340ka escaping on her adventure that summer morning. After all “He was responsible for her…she never would have got out if it was my responsiblity.” I’m thankful I had the courage to catch myself in the unloving thought pattern and to change it to one of praiseworthy thoughts before my thoughts became my words.

Luke 6:42

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

 

Have the courage to guard your heart and reflect on the purity of your desire.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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Warrior~Princess Reflections

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             “you just need…”

Everywhere we turn from social media, TV, to magazines, and ads we find headlines aimed at self-improvement: “try the latest…”, “how to…”, “you just need ….”.  I’m sure you can add more to the list. We live in a world that bombards us with messages that speak to our desire for more. Do you think we would be constantly exposed to all these suggestions if there weren’t the need to satisfy a craving?  Are you familiar with it-  The unexplainable desire to search for “the answer” that fills the void within your soul?

The answers the world gives are appealing.  They soothe the desperate heart cry for meaningful life.

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Website Scripture Feature Info:

Felt in response to this need and the underlying message sent that we just aren’t good enough yet. One experiences oneself being drawn to each new captivating solution in search of their own  “answer” for them. I have caught myself entranced in the endless search for fulfillment. How about you?  When will this longing and quest be satisfied? What would happen if women were awakened from the trance of the world’s enchantment and recognize that the “answer” lies in  our identity in Christ?

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               Be ready!

Yes I’m guilty. I’ve been known to get caught up in the trance. But thankfully I was awakened to who I am meant to be in Christ- his Warrior-Princess. Not just his daughter or princess but his Warrior-Princess because I’m in a daily battle to walk in the power and truth of whose I am (God’s) and who he has made me to be (his Warrior-Princess). Maybe, like me, you wrestle with questions about God and his plan for you. Some of you might even be asking: “How do I measure up in this world? Or “ Does God really want me?” Or even “Would he ever use me?” Whatever your questions might be let me just say that it is okay to question because that is the beginning of naming “the need” and finding “the answer” to fill the void within.

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          “God doesn’t want me..?”
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Romans 8:38-39

One such question unexpectedly emerged during a heart to heart.  I was listening intently when it came gushing out through sobs that were ushered from the depths of her precious heart- “God doesn’t want me, He doesn’t, He can’t.  How could I be good enough for him?” My precious daughter struggled to speak in the early morning hours. Her words bursting through her apprehension of the reception they might receive from her teary eyed momma.  But she was unable to hold her questioning back any longer. She released the hurt that was tearing at her soul. She collapsed into a tender embrace, reassured that it is okay to question-even question God.  She rediscovered his love and peace in her honest questions.   I encourage you like I did her, to have the courage to believe that nothing can separate us from him or remove his love for us (Romans 8:38-39). Nothing. It takes courage, Warrior-Princess to win each daily battle (Ephesians 6:12).  So take courage because you are never alone!

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“Let’s Journey Together!”

I invite you to join me in my Warrior-Princess journey. A journey I hope will be one of discovery, inspiration, and empowerment. Together we will find strength to live the life we were created to live. I say “together” because my prayer is that we will journey along side one another connecting through our stories. I believe we were created for relationship and need each other for encouragement, growth, and confidence along the way. We might not all be at the same intersection of our journey, or facing the same temptations or trials, but we are able to encourage each other with where we are and where we have been. Together that is what will enrich our life journey.  Let’s journey together!

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Ephesians 6:12

Life has a way for surprising me so to find myself launching a ministry website and on the edge of publishing a Bible study is uncharted territory for me and incredibly unexpected. I am truly humbled with this opportunity just as I was over 15 years ago when I began to serve in women’s ministry leadership roles. These service opportunities have directed my path to this unique threshold. The courage to take the first step into this uncharted territory comes through experiencing the Lord’s direction in my life. He has orchestrated sweet relationships with people who are strong in my areas of weakness and need for growth. It has been a true faith building experience. I’m very thankful for each person’s encouragement and sharing of their gifts and talents to further the Lord’s purposes in my life.

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         “Be a brilliant reflection of God’s love!”

I posed the question in the beginning:“What would happen if women are awakened from the trance of the world’s enchantment and recognize the answer is our identity in Christ?” I believe the answer is -we will live in a brighter world because we will become a brilliant

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Wake up! It’s a new day!

reflection of God’s love in this dim world. In my ministry and military experience I have witnessed first-hand how women strongly influence the spiritual and relational connections within community. “That is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”(Ephesians 5:14)  As the Apostle Paul said we must wake up and live for Christ. When he shines on us he radiates into the world and awakens his people. Arise from your slumber warrior-princess and shine his light!  Our world is desperately searching and in need of “the answer”- Jesus!

Are you ready to live out your identity in Christ: Warrior-Princess?

I’d love to get to know more about you! Will you quickly share a meaningful verse with me?

Psalm 25:4-5 has guided me to this place in my life. “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

Can’t wait to hear yours!!

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always
Warrior~Princess Sherrycrown-1539630__340

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Can we be REAL?

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What is your wall?

Is anyone else tired of the walls and distance between who a person is and who others believe they are? Can we please just be REAL?  Life is tough no matter at what stage you find yourself. When we chose to build walls and keep others at a distance it hinders the growth of authentic relationships.  The extent to which barriers are built can even lead to losing the ability to know how to be “you”.  Leaving the builder, you, with the question to answer: “Who am I?”  Have you ever experienced a struggle within to identify and express your personal opinions and beliefs?  You strain to acknowledge them.  But they are blurred by the mask you’ve worn for the world.  Emotions try to emerge but they are blocked.  All you can feel is fear, numbness and confusion.    curtain-203714__340Reinforcements come to the rescue.  “What will they think of me if I’m really me?”…  “No one will like me anymore.”… “No one has to know I’m struggling…I can just keep hiding.”  The questions and rationalizations are indicators that your chameleon walls are thick and the reinforcements are strong.

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“Chameleon”

How do I know?  I was a chameleon for most of my life.  Growing up I struggled with who I was, so I lived in safety of my camouflage skills, like a chameleon.  My natural instinct was to keep harmony, make others happy, and stay out of trouble.  The expectations of others ruled my world.  I adapted and changed based on who I was with and what their expectations were so I would be accepted and keep the peace.  I thought I was in control.

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“It might not be easy at first glance to recognize it in yourself. “

Do I have any chameleon friends out there? It might not be easy at first glance to recognize it in yourself. Why? Because to an extent that is just part of surviving in our world of ever changing norms and expectations.   I realize it is safer to live with walls.  I’m an expert builder myself. But I have been challenged to tear my walls down and build REAL relationships: Relational through Encouragement, Authenticity, and Love! That means sharing the struggles of life and letting the light of Jesus shine through my weaknesses as my source of strength.

 

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“Can you trust God?”

I  was most challenged with tearing down my walls while living in Germany. Our family was preparing for Daddy to deploy for 15 months and suddenly I found myself facing a medical diagnosis that required emergency surgery with an extended recovery time. Many decisions needed to be made. One decision was “will this be a private walk or a public walk?”

Public was what the Lord required. In 2 Corinthians 1: 4-5 the Apostle Paul encourages us that we go through challenges to prepare us and give us opportunity to edify and relate to others through our experience. So there I was on the receiving end of much encouragement and support from newly made friends and strangers. I was learning to live out Proverbs 27:10 where it tells us that when we are in need of assistance we should get our help from those nearby rather than distant family. Living in Germany didn’t leave much choice.  It was out of my control

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2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Through that experience I gained friendships I never would have had the opportunity for and my witness for Christ grew. At that time I was also a leader in the community so for those who were watching my family and I handle this challenge it strengthened the message that we need each other in the good times and the challenging ones too.   As I let the Lord tear down some of my walls and trust him to be in control I grew in amazing ways.   It  became clear that I was telling women through my actions that a “strong woman is one who knows when she needs help and seeks it out”.   I have witnessed so many women, especially military wives, struggle in their own strength.  They chose to stay behind their walls and fake that they were in control and just fine. slide1 In reality, inside their walls at home, they were falling apart. I had a front row seat to my own struggle. When I let go of my control to the Lord. He broke me free!  I chose to be REAL first with Jesus and began doing life in his strength.  Then I found the freedom to be REAL with the people he placed in my life.

Can you relate to being a wall builder? Do you struggle to appear to have it “all together” when the world looks at you? Are you ready to live in REAL community?    Where do you want do go in your freedom of being REAL?

 

I hope to hear about your REAL Journey!

Armor Up, pride down, Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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The Power of Self

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“Time to reflect”

Can you walk in a straight line? How about with your eyes closed? With our eyes open and something to focus on, yes, most of us are able to walk in a straight line. But when the ability to see and focus on our destination is removed or interrupted we will end up off course.  Is your life still on course? Has your focus been interrupted?  When is the last time you purposefully carved out time to quietly self-reflect with the Lord? The most common time for us to pause to contemplate where our life is going and consider changing direction is when the year draws to a close. I am learning the value of taking this time more often than once a year.  For me, self-reflection is an effective tool the Lord uses to help keep my life on track and arrive at my destination without too many detours.

Recently, in an almost forced pause for reflection, I was faced with a question: Does the way I live reveal that my identity and self worth are established in Christ? The honest answer was that I’m not sure it is as recognizable as I would

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Psalm 39:23-24

like it to be-which meant it was time to get to work. In my heart I knew that my identity and value are in Christ. However, when I was honest with myself my outward behavior showed that I believe differently.  I was seeking acceptance from this world. In some areas of my life I had put greater value on other’s opinions of success (as measured by this world) than over my unmatchable worth in Christ. The source of my true identity and self-worth were in conflict. My heart was reminding me that I am secure in who God says I am; his child, enough for him, loved, and the list goes on. My mind was measuring differently and offering its own list “You are lacking compared to….”; “You are out of style compared to…”, “You don’t have enough  education to…”, People don’t really like you.”, and that list went as well. Do you ever experience this conflict?

What does the world require of you to achieve its standard of worthiness? By what standard   do you measure and align your identity and your worth?   The world’s or Christ’s?

Here are some verses to remind you of your identity in Christ:

Colossians 2:10 “ In Him (Christ) you have been made complete and He is the head over all rule and authority”

1 Corinthians 6:11 “And that is what some of you were.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Christ and by the Spirit of God.”

 Also-  1 John 4:4 ;   Ephesians 1:3-13;  Ephesians 2:2-13

Do you ever struggle to be truly honest with yourself and minimize your choices?  During my forced reflection time I wrestled with being honest with myself. I had to admit that trying harder was not the answer.  I had to finally surrender to the Holy images-22Spirit’s transforming power and fight the urge to rationalize my thoughts and behavior. Opening my hands and releasing control,  I chose to trust that he would gently show me the source of my weakening witness for Christ.  And he did. The honest truth was I had experienced a pretty painful rejection. Until that time of stillness, I had never named it, but that is what it was. Rejection.

Did you know that the fear of rejection is one of the greatest human fears?? Once I openly assessed my behavior and thought process it became clear, to me I had been rejected. Naming it allowed me to recognize how my thought life shifted from focusing on Christ’s best to my “best” according to the world. The transition blurred my unquestioned security in Christ. This lead to a search for cropped-IMG_2063.jpgreassurance of my value in this world. When the fog of selfish thinking was removed from my eyes, I could see clearly how pride had crept into a corner of my heart. Living in the haze of pride it gave me permission to behave and make choices that I never thought I would. Thank God nothing earth shattering occurred, but enough happened to leave me embarrassed and regretful as I look back. I find assurance and comfort in 2 Corinthians 7:10 “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

I sought after and put more value on the acceptance and approval of people around me that at the end of the day, wouldn’t even remember we had crossed paths. (John12: 43 “for they loved human praise more than praise from God.”; Proverbs 29:25) I images-23pushed aside God’s unconditional love as my creator, the one who has great plans for my life (Jeremiah 29:11-12), and accepts me just as I am. I took my eyes off Jesus and put them on myself. Faced with this truth I was left  to stumble through the questions: How did I not see this happening? Why didn’t anyone say anything to me?

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“Love covers all.”

My answer:  I couldn’t see because I was living out of a place of hurt. It was easier to choose to justify myself and blame the people who were causing my pain for my poor choices.  This included making sure other people in my life knew I was being wrongly treated.  I responded pridefully, rather than trust God to heal my hurt heart and ego. I rationalized that my feelings were justified, and I ended up stuck in a cycle of rejection, hurt, looking for assurance.  Around and around it went. The situation didn’t change, but I became more effective in dealing with my response.  Many months later when I finally gave the situation fully to the Lord I had the strength to put  change in action. The most perplexing factor was that during this whole situation I had not drifted from my involvement with my daily devotions or Bible study. I was living in a false security and blindly choosing not to fully lay that corner of my hurt heart and wounded identity in His arms for restoration. I was going through the motions in that area of my heart.

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“Find your power in your armor!”

Have you ever caught yourself in a similar heart situation? If yes, then you can attest to the sense of peace that comes as you practice the process of surrender. I had to surrender my hurt and release my hesitation for future interactions. I had to forgive and release my need for restitution. I had to repent of pridefuly seeking approval of man and live for the approval of only my Savior.
The enemy is so subtle in his ways. This is just another reminder that we need to live our life as the Warrior-Princess we are and stand fully armed for battle everyday. “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against he powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

Remember~ Armor up and lay my pride down!

Take time to reflect with the Lord by focusing on Psalm 139:23-24 he will meet you in the stillness of your heart and lead you in ways everlasting.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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