Category Archives: Spiritual Journey

When Fear and Anxiety Try To Win.

I have moments where I worry just like you. I let my thoughts run wild. I don’t discipline them and before I know it, I am awake in the middle of the night doing the exact opposite of what I tell other people to do. Anxiety fills me. Fear grips me. Stress takes over my physical and mental being. It’s an awful feeling. I long for morning, because I need a new day. A new grip on life. I need Kris to wake up and reassure me what I need reassure myself.

Last night was that kind of night for me. I tossed and turned. I let fear grip me. Hold me. Wrap its ugly hands around me. Grab hold of me like it owned me.

I finally slept the last hour. My alarm went off. I peeled open my eyes. And, I reminded myself of this scripture:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. 
2 Corinthians 10:5

DEMOLISH those thoughts that don’t come from Him. Take them captive. Interrogate them. Hold them captive so they can’t hold you. Remind your soul of who God is. Recall every time God proved Himself faithful to you.

Recall every stone that has piled up in your life as a memorial to the goodness, the faithfulness, and the mercy of God.

Remember every situation that looked impossible and how God grabbed you and said, “I am for you.”

Hold onto thoughts of His goodness. Hold onto His love that stretches wider and deeper and longer than anything we can imagine.

Hold onto THOSE thoughts.

Hold them tightly.

Demolish those other thoughts. Take them captive. Strip them of their power. Because, the One inside you is greater. He is truth. He is good. And, in Him, we have no fear.

This Sunday at Eagles Way, I will be opening up our new series, Silent Night, with this very message. I will preach it with as much passion as I possibly can. Because, I know what it feels like to be gripped by something that takes the wind out from under you. But, I also know what it feels like to send those thoughts back to hell. And, to rise up with a renewed confidence, a renewed mind, and renewed passion for TRUTH.

His mercies are new every morning. And, because, of those mercies, this is mind is new….and finally, it caught up with what my Spirit already knew.

 

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Filed under disappointment, God Stuff, life, Spiritual Journey

So, This Is 40.

Completely lame to title a blog post after a movie. But, I’m in my 40s now. So, I’m comfortable being lame. I always thought turning 40 would bother me. Because, in my mind, I am always, always 18. Aren’t we all? Sure, we don’t feel 18. But, we are always that 18 year old who still feels like they are navigating through this thing called life. I can still remember as vividly how it felt to be embarking on my college career as much as I can remember how I felt walking my third child into school the first day. Feelings are just so powerful. And, they hard to forget. I can remember walking into Mrs. Howard’s third class at Jackson Road. I can remember how she made me feel secure. I can remember almost drowning in the Gulf and my father never letting go of my hand. I can remember holding onto the OUTSIDE of the escalator of Southlake Mall and riding it up until my mom climbed on top of a brick display, grabbing the soles of my shoes, pulling me back down.

I can remember the first time I felt the presence of God and thinking that I never wanted to leave it.

I can remember graduating from college and looking into the mass of onlookers and seeing the gleam in my grandfather’s eye.

I can remember not being able to stop the tears when John Henry was born and holding him in my arms for the very first time. I remember looking at my mom and saying, “My world is right now.”

I can remember being heartbroken. But more than the heartbreak, I can remember my friends taking care of me and being there.

I can remember opening my heart up to love again. I can remember kissing Kris Takle on his brother’s sofa for the first time. I can remember my mom’s tearful face when we loaded up in a King Air and moved to Oklahoma City.

I can remember when Anna Takle was three years old, and I realized that I had to start recording how fun she made my life.

I can remember deciding to have a third child after swearing two was enough. But, then, looking at that future super-hero in the face with gratitude and thanksgiving that he was mine.

I can remember Kris telling me, “I think we can do this,” when he told me we were moving back home to Georgia.

I can remember fully surrendering my life to the ministry and my father ordaining me a pastor.

I can recall exactly how those moments felt. And, I am so thankful for them all. For the good moments. For the bad. The good have taught me gratitude. The bad have taught me forgiveness and love.

I’m no expert in life. I have many more miles to travel and hopefully many more candles to extinguish. But, I have penned 40 things that I have learned so far. Perhaps, next year I will have a different view. A different outlook. A different perception of life. I hope I do. Because, that means I’m evolving. But, today, this is 40:

1. Don’t put too much weight into a present emotion. Because, you never know how you’re going to feel tomorrow.

2. You don’t have to talk through every single feeling, emotion, or issue.

3. Friendship in marriage is just as important as love.

4. Having a third kid is a game-changer. Don’t do it unless you’re willing to change the game.

5. I like our new game with three kids….now that I’ve regained my sanity. Somewhat.

6. My blood pressure rises when I read status updates or comments that portray a God who is ready to take out His vengeance on people. Or when people read the Word but don’t get the Spirit behind what’s being said. God is a God of love. Period.

7. I need to not let myself get so worked up over #6.

8. God is not up there, out there somewhere. He is within me.

9. My mom is the person I can tell anything to.

10. I don’t always have to be right. And, my way isn’t the only way. In parenting, in life. We all have the same mission but different methods. We have to work through our own salvation.

11. It’s okay to simply say, “that’s not going to work for me” without giving further explanation.

12. If I don’t schedule my time, someone else will. Create margin with your time.

13. Gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation, and praise are the keys to EVERYTHING.

14. Pain doesn’t last.

15. Being skinny is fun. But not as fun as a really good meal.

16. Whatever I focus on will expand – whether positive or negative.

17. Kris and I travel really well together. He is my favorite travel partner.

18. It’s important to jump into your kids’ passions and be amazed with them.

19. Never, ever give up on people.

20. Even when you become frustrated with where someone is in his or her life, don’t stop being their friend. They will get through that rough place. Love them through it instead of pulling back.

21. When you know you’re wrong, own it.

22. Say thank you as often as possible.

23. Chill when life gets interrupted. Accept it. It happens.

24. Dreading makes everything worse. Don’t dread what you know you already have to do.

25. If you see a need, and it’s within your means to meet that need, do it.

26. Give, give, give.

27. Laughter is not only the best medicine, it’s the heartbeat of my life.

28. Not everyone is going to believe the way I do. And, that’s okay. (So, let crazy Facebook comments and otherwise go.)

29. My mom thinks my kids are just has hilarious as I do. I am so thankful I can share my life with her.

30. My dad is the most consistently loyal, forgiving, compassionate, merciful person in the universe. Hands down.

31. I have the best friends in the world. And, the older I get the more I realize how much I need them.

32. I could never leave the ministry.

33. I love being alone with God.

34. I either cry or almost cry every time I worship the One who has made all things so good.

35. Don’t sit alone when you’re down. As hard as it is, call someone. Go be with someone you trust. Just don’t be alone.

36. Whenever you think something good is going to come from telling someone exactly what you think or “finally giving them the what for,” please know, nothing good will EVER come from that. Ever.

37. Don’t close the door to new friendships.

38. It’s none of my business what other people think of me.

39. Try really hard to not yell at your children. They are real souls with real feelings.

40. God is for me. So, all moments have been for me. The good ones and the bad ones. Because, God has been IN all of those moments.

If you’re still reading, thank you for indulging me in such a long post. And, thanks to all of you for being in my world. I am so thankful for my friends and family. I am so thankful to serve a God who is full of love. And, I am so thankful to enter my forties. I think I’m going to like it here.

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Filed under gratitude, life, Life Experiences, Spiritual Journey

He Is For You.

Originally written and published in The Grip January 2014.

Romans 8:31 says, “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Minsters quote this all of the time. Heck, you’ve probably posted it as your Facebook status before. But, what does this truly mean? If God is for you, who can be against you? Does it mean exactly what it says? That, He is for you? Always? If this true, then that means ALL moments are for you. Because, God is in all moments.

That interruption in your day you weren’t expecting. That moment was for you. The cereal spilled all over the counter. That moment was for you. The trip back to your child’s school, because he forgot his lunch. That moment was for you. That busted pipe over the recent freeze. That moment was for you. Your spouse walking out the door and leaving you a single mother. That moment was for you.

That amazing sunset you paused to watch. That moment was for you. Witnessing the birth of your child. That moment was for you. Your littlest putting his nose to your nose and saying, “I love you, Mommy.” That moment was for you. Enjoying that incredible dinner with good friends. That moment was for you. Falling in love again. That moment was for you.

It doesn’t mean God caused any of the difficult circumstances. But, He as certainly been in them. And, in all moments. Because, He is for you. And, when you can wrap your head around the fact that if God is for you, then all moments are for you….then, you can learn to say, “Nothing goes wrong in my world.” But, all moments have been for me. On Christmas Day, when my husband and I realized our hot water had been leaking and ruined our downstairs floors….Neither of us became upset. Neither of us said, “We can’t catch a break” or “just our luck.” Neither of us felt attacked by a devil. It’s just life. Things break. And, instead of focusing on that inconvenience, our thoughts turned to gratitude for a wonderful first Christmas on our farm. When my oldest had a lot of questions about his dad leaving, I explained to him that if his dad could go back, he would make a different choice. He responded, “I wouldn’t want him to. Because, then I wouldn’t have my Daddy Kris and my little sister and brother.” Oh, if we could all see life’s moments as a child.

My most difficult moments have been my greatest teachers on forgiveness. My most beautiful moments have been my greatest teachers on thankfulness. And, I know He has been in them all. Because, He is always, always for me. And, He is always for you.

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Filed under God Stuff, gratitude, life, Life Experiences, Spiritual Journey

Observing Life.

Published in The Grip.

“Let us be still so we may hear the whispers of God.” These words are written across a wooden plaque resting in my sunroom, and I see them daily. Yet, still I can forget to heed them. I knew this very article was already past due, but I continued to stare at a blank screen. It's a discouraging feeling – to be uninspired. And, this is exactly what happens to me when I fail to be still. When I fail to slow down. To notice. To watch, carefully, life happen around me. Instead, I can find myself waking up with the sole intent of just making the day happen….instead of noticing the day.

 

I become a participator in life more than an observer. Participating is necessary. But we don't participate well when we don't take the time to observe well. When I'm an observer, I am living in the now moments. I am careful how I respond to those around me. I am careful with my tone. I am careful to notice my eight year old's hands as she scoops the horse feed into the buckets and then careful to watch her walk across the field to be a source of love for those large animals. I am careful to notice my husband's face and see that he needs my encouragement. I am careful to notice the single mother in the store who can't pay for all of her food she struggled to place on the counter while holding her squirmy two-year old. I'm careful to notice how big the sky is and to try to wrap my head around the fact that the Creator of it all actually thinks about me.

 

I am careful to observe life. To notice it. To be thankful for it. And, to participate well in it. Because, I'm still. I still my thoughts. I still my body. And, I hear His whispers in the midst of all that is going on around me. I see Him in the big things and in the small things. And, so, I'm inspired. Inspired to love the way He loves. Inspired to capture and remember the small moments. Inspired to pen words to the emotions flooding my soul.

 

When is the last time you noticed life? When is the last time you observed more than you participated? You don't have to look for God in the obscure places. He's everywhere and in everything. In the young hands of that eight-year old. In the face of your spouse. In the struggling arms of that single mother. Above you. Below you. Within you. And when you stop to observe….

 

When you become still….

 

You will hear His whispers.

 

And, you will see His face.

 

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

 

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Filed under life, Life Experiences, Spiritual Journey

The Hard Places.

“Every challenging situation becomes an opportunity for me to trust Him – to obey, to learn, to grow, to rely more on His grace.” – Christina Fox

I read this quote recently and it has ministered to my own spirit for the past several days. Adjusting to living on the farm has been, well, an adjustment. We labor more than we ever have. Our drive to work is longer. Heck, our drive really anywhere is longer. It’s just harder. But, just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Or a wrong decision was made. Sometimes, things are just hard. And, hard is okay.

It’s in the hard places we truly grow. Growth is impossible without something pushing us forward. Trusting God isn’t necessary unless we have something to trust Him in. We don’t need His grace when things are always easy. We can’t be an over-comer without something to overcome.

Instead of focusing on what “seems” wrong about the place we are in and focusing on how hard things may be, we have to focus on what is good and right while we are in that place. We have to ask God, “What do you want to work in my life through this?” For example, instead of focusing my thoughts on the extra work that comes from taking care of horses, I am changing the way I look at it. I watch my daughter carry two buckets of food and walk across a field to the gate. I imagine what God is working in her as she feeds these large animals. What is He speaking to her spirit on those walks across the field? What does she hear in those quiet moments alone with God’s creation? What if she learns something in these walks that rescues her heart when she is forty? What if?

God doesn’t waste one day of our lives. He uses everything for our growth. For our good. For our destiny. I love living on the farm. But, if I focus on what is hard, I will become bitter instead of better. If I focus on every positive, life-giving thing it provides, I will not only fall in love with every part of it, I will grow. I will be fulfilled. I will be content. I will be full of joy. This is why James said, “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:3-4)

He works all things for your good. Even the hard places. So, begin thanking God for them. It is in these places, we become better. We become complete.

 

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And, I Felt Like I Was Failing.

Jett - february wp

After a very hard evening with Jett, I sat on my sofa exhausted.

Weary.

Feeling I failed in that moment of being his mother.  Even grasping for hope for an easier evening tomorrow.

Tears streamed down my face, and my head collapsed in my hands.

Then, I heard the tender voice of my oldest say, “Mom……..I believe Jett is going to be great.”

Jett is going to be great.

Finally those words began echoing from my own Spirit.  And, then, I began to give thanks.

I am thankful for so many who whisper words of Christ to me.  Who encourage me.  Who renew my mind.  But, there is nothing like your very own child reminding you of who you are.  And, who THEY are.

Jett is going to be great.

I am going to be great.

YOU are going to be great.

Stop believing whatever your mind is telling you.  You tell your mind what to say to your spirit.

Because of Christ IN you….you have everything you need to do everything God has called you to do.

Because of Christ IN you….YOU ARE GREAT.

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Double Digits.

This awesome kid is ten today.  I couldn’t just write ten things I love and admire about him.  I could write one-thousand.  I could write for days.  Because, every moment I’m with him, he gives me another reason to thank God for his life.

John Henry,

I love you.  I love every second I get to spend with you.  You are the most well-mannered, ten year old boy I know.  I love how you are so considerate of other people.  How you are genuinely concerned about the well being of those around you.

I love how your hand-shake is firm.  But, it is confidence wrapped in humility.

I love how you know how to be a gentleman.  How you tell a lady, “You look really pretty,” and always prefer them to yourself.

I love how when you see a need, you meet it if it’s within your ability.  You are always so aware of what’s going on around you.

I love how you are so quick to forgive.  How you really do make allowances for other people’s faults.  And, how you quickly acknowledge your own and are the first to say you’re sorry.

I love how truly thankful you are for everything you’re given.  And, how the gifts you love most are the people in your life.

I think I’m just amazed at how much you already imitate Christ.  I’ve prayed your entire life that you would seek Him always.  That you would grow in Him.  But somewhere along the way, you stopped growing in Christ….

And, Christ began growing in you.

I guess in many ways, I kind of look up to you.  I mean, I’m still your mom.  I’m still going to discipline your behavior and train your character.  It’s my job.  But, I respect you.  I admire the young man you are already are.

I’m so thankful God gave me you.  And, I’m thankful He gave you to this world.  You remind us all that chivalry isn’t dead.  You remind us to be kind and considerate to one another.  You remind us that greater is he is within us than he that is in the world.  You remind us to be thankful.

Happy 10th Birthday, JH.  Thank you for being you.

I love you,
Mom

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Filed under Kid Stuff, Motherhood, Spiritual Journey, Writing