Nehemiah: Daily Repentance/Worship/Recommitment

Friday, May 30, 2014


If I’m going to tell you a story, I guess I should start at the beginning 
Just a quick update, my name is Annie and I’m a yoga instructor. It’s not where I saw my life going, but God did. He called me to be a light in a dark community. If you want to read that story, start here. Go ahead, I’ll wait …
So, by now, you’re probably wondering what that’s got to do with Nehemiah. I’m not quite there yet, just hang with me a minute. So, after a while of teaching yoga and learning how to do that well, I wanted to know more. I wanted to go deeper. I prayed about how to grown in knowledge and still guarding my heart. One of the things God was teaching me at the time was that I couldn’t teach what I didn’t know. If I was going to be a light in a dark community I needed to be in His word deeper. I needed to know yoga deeper. If I was going to be taken seriously on either subject , I needed to know more. After a while of praying and listening, I found Holy Yoga.
Over the next few months God made it clear that was to be my next step. But it was not quite time. It’s really hard when God shows you a bit of your future, but will not let you have it. There was work that needed to be done first.
One day I was praying and confused and frustrated. God took me to Nehemiah. Through our afternoon there, God told me that there was a great work to be done. He was preparing and providing for each step of the way, I needed to listen and trust. He showed me there would be a time of waiting and planning, He would give me a plan. There would be opposition from the outside and from the inside, because a mighty work of God does not come without some pushback. But that opposition was not for me to worry about. He would take care of all my obstacles. And the last thing He told me that day was, all of this time of waiting has a purpose. When the time comes to move, just like Nehemiah and the King, it will be quick.
For the sake of time here, we’ll just say that last 11 months have been a refining period in my life. God has been working in me and burning off things that I cannot carry into the next chapter of my life. Some have been very painful and some I didn’t even know I still carried. He’s grown relationships and cut some others off. It has been a good and sweet and very hard time with the Lord. If I tried to tell you everything that’s happened over the last year, we’d be here forever. So can you just trust me that He’s spoken in some pretty significant ways? Just to give you a taste, I’ll tell you this one with most of the details.
So a few weeks ago I was again at a place where, in reference to Holy Yoga, I was broken down and frustrated and confused. I know beyond a shadow of doubt this is where I am supposed to be, but I just don’t see a way there. (Did I mention this is about a $3,000 commitment?) What I’m about to say, I do not encourage as a way of speaking to God. But this day, I got angry. Praying I said, “God I just don’t understand what you’re doing. (knowing full well what I was saying was wrong) God if I am too distracted by Holy Yoga to see what you really want from me, please take this desire away. But God if this is what you want from me then do it! God I want there to be a clear sign. I want someone to come up to be and hand me a check. I want them to say, ‘God wants me to give this money to you for Holy Yoga’ and God, I don’t want it to be someone who knows me. I want it to be a complete stranger. If that happens, then I will know that this is you. If not, then I’ll forget about it and walk away.”
Pretty bold way to speak to God. I think He was laughing at me. Literally four days later, I got a message from a woman I don’t really know. She’s been a friend on Instagram, but other than that, she’s a stranger. She said, and I kid you not, I would like to pay your down payment to register for Holy Yoga. I wanted to do it a while ago, but I didn’t feel like God wanted me to yet.
I was floored. Again, even in my unwillingness to just trust, God was faithful. Because that’s who He is. Over the next week, Jamie and I prayed about it and talked about it. On Monday, Jamie went on a trip, one that I would not have contact with him for a week. On Monday, SHEREADSTRUTH started the book of Nehemiah. I was thrilled and could not wait. I could feel the Lord working and I couldn’t get into this book fast enough. On Monday, I got a call from Holy Yoga about my down payment. It was time to put the plan into action. I was worried but God made it clear through that first day in Nehemiah, the time of waiting was over, put the plan into action. I will take care of the rest.
In the last 17 days in the book of Nehemiah, God has taught me so much.
  1. Extraordinary things happen when you move with God. Not running ahead but walking beside.
  2. Keep God in His rightful place. Don’t exalt the power of man and diminish the power of God.
  3. God’s plan always has more eternal value than we can understand.
  4. What good is a strong wall, if the people inside the wall are corrupt?
  5. Faithfully living for God includes DAILY Repentance/Worship/Recommitment. DAILY
So why does the book of Nehemiah, a great and mighty work of God, end the way it does? The people have yet again, taken their eyes off the Lord. They have intertwined their lives and beliefs with those around them. They have forsaken the word of God. Why is that encouraging to me?

Because if the book had ended one chapter before, I could walk away with a list of things to do, and thought it would be easy to return to God and keep all His laws. By seeing this, I am again reminded that, it’s a DAILY Repentance/Worship/Recommitment. Don’t get comfortable in thinking that I worked for the blessing in my life. It’s nothing that I’ve done, but all the goodness and good gifts of a loving God. It’s all Him! Never forget, don’t get lazy, keep working to know Him better.
I’m so thankful that God has used the book of Nehemiah intertwined with my yoga journey. It’s a reminder to me over and over that God can do great things I don’t understand through me for the kingdom if I trust Him and walk with him step by step. For me to be used, I must continue to learn, because I can’t teach what I don’t know. That goes for yoga and His word. And He’s teaching me to keep my eyes on Him always, DAILY, so that I don’t get lost in the culture around me that could easily draw me away from God. Keep my eyes on Him. Give Him all the praise and glory. Keep Him in His rightful place. DAILY repentance/worship/recommitment.
What big thing is God doing in your life?

Give It To God

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sorry I was MIA last week. Instead of spreading this out over several posts, let me just catch you up all at once.

Mothers Day was a sweet day for me filled with Church, Family, a nap!! and some good Mexican Food for Dinner. I got to celebrate with my wonderful husband and my amazing kids.
On Monday morning I stood at my front door and waved goodbye to my husband. And I handed my week over to the Lord. Keep him safe and bring him back to us. Help me to manage my home well without him. And keep my kids from going nuts! God provided like he always does.
Here is what you need to know about me. I (most days) have the house clean and dinner prep ready when Jamie comes home from work. Between real life and making time for him, I don't have a lot of time for projects. I don't like to start something that I cant finish and have cleaned up before he gets home. So when he leaves, I go a little nuts!
We moved into this house a year ago and we still have some bare walls. There is nothing wrong with that, but I'd like to make it a little more homey. I want it to fee like we live here and are not just passing through. So with a very careful budget, I got to work. I made four pieces of artwork and hung them all. Here is a peek at one:
This one was easy. I had a pallet sitting in my garage that Jamie had taken apart for me. Funny, its been sitting out there for a while and the kids have used some of the boards for chalk painting. At first I was upset and now I love the way it looks! I had paint upstairs. I ran to Lowes and bout a few brackets and some handers. Done! So, it's not as crooked on the wall as it looks. This is hanging in my stairwell. You can see it when you walk in the front door.  I've been wanting something there for a while now. It makes me so happy!
When Jamie leaves I try to add as many yoga classes as I can. It keeps us busy and out of the house. So I taught a couple more classes than usual and it was so much fun for me and the kids. One night, we got home and they wanted to do some yoga with me. How could I resist?! So here is a picture of Eva working on her handstand. PS Yes that is a black tutu under a dress. She has a unique style and a bold personality. If you look closely, you can see she's also wearing an eye patch. So, this is a one eyed handstand. PPS notice the empty wall ...
We watched The Pirate Fairy. So for the rest of the week, we wore and eye patch. See:
After I worked on some art, I needed one room in the house to feel like home. I needed our bedroom to be a place of rest and refuge. So the easiest and cheapest way to do that is with a little paint. So, I went to Lowes.
This makes me a lot happier! And I knew Jamie would like it because it's West Virginia Mountaineers colors. Yeah, I'm a good wife.
But even after all that, the two best things that happened this week:
The first, I got to spend a lot of time with my kids. We snuggled, we cuddled and snacked and we talked. I love getting to hear their hearts. I love getting to see them grow and change. If you know my kids, they ask a lot of questions. And they asked a lot of big questions this week. That's why it's important for this Mama to stay in God's word. Because without it, I could never answer the questions these kids through at me.
This. I started a study on the book of Nehemiah. I can't really say anything right now except that it's bigger than this post. Keep an eye out. Because God is doing some pretty big things through Nehemiah. He's working and moving and changing. He's growing and stretching me. And I can't wait to tell you all about it!
Sunday, Jamie made it back safely and we had a joyous reunion! It's fun when he's gone, but I sure do love it when he comes home. And he loved the new bedroom! 
So what did you do last week?

The Top 5 Things I learned from my Mom

Thursday, May 8, 2014

There is absolutely no way I could write down everything I've learned from my mother. She has been more than a teacher, more than a confidant, more than a friend. She means more to me than I could every tell you in words. So in honor of Mothers Day this weekend, here are the top 5 things I've learned from my mother.

1.       Put God first. Surrender and be brave. He is always faithful and He will always provide. Trust Him with your life and with your heart.

2.       Respect your husband and his family. Marriage is hard even in the best of circumstances. Fight for your marriage. It's not always about compromise, sometimes its about sacrifice and sometimes its about getting more than you'll ever deserve.

3.       Love your children. No matter what. They can test you beyond your last patience.  That is were the Lords strength will completely take over and you can do amazing things through Him. Thank you mom for loving me beyond anything I could ever repay.

4.       Work hard. Be tired at the end of the day. Take pride in what you do and do it all for the Lord. Give Him all the glory.

5.       Service. Take care of those around you. See people the way God does and love them. Give to others out of the gifts you've been given.
Thank you mom for loving me. Happy Mothers Day!

Go Deeper: Get Dirty

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

If you are a Christian living in America, you have no doubt heard the song, "Oceans" by Hillsong United. Just in case you've been living under a rock ...

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Those are not just words. That is a prayer. And it's not an easy one. It's one with purpose and power. When you pray that prayer, you better buckle up because something is coming. And you may not like it.
Six days ago I wrote Commissioned Moments for the She Reads Truth linkup. I asked you to pray with me that God would give me a commissioned moment. I asked that you would pray with me for God to move and speak. Maybe not in so many words, but that's what I wanted. I wanted to hear from God more than anything. And friends, I'm here to testify that He spoke. And He spoke clearly. And it was loving, as He's always loving, but harsh.

I do not like the beach. I know that I just lost half of you and I'm ok with that. I like the idea of the beach. I get excited about going but when it gets right down to it, I hate the actual being on the beach part.

For starters, it's hot and the wind is always blowing in my face and I have to put on sunscreen, which is greasy, and sand sticks to EVERYTHING. Then you get in the water and there are all sorts of creatures you have to look out for or you'll die. You have to watch the waves or they'll knock you down. The water is either really cold or really hot. And you're never quite sure what just brushed against your leg. You have to watch were you step. Its just really uncomfortable and gross.

So this past weekend when I went to the beach to the Women of Joy conference, I was excited but dreaded the beach part. Long story short, the conference was great! I met new friends, was a part of amazing worship, heard beautiful speakers and ate fantastic foods! Plus, there was a Starbucks across the street from my hotel! SCORE! On Saturday when all my friends went to the beach, I stayed in the room and begged God to speak to me. I got on my mat, I worshiped. He was silent. I was frustrated. And tired.

Sunday morning I woke up early, grabbed some coffee and went to the beach. Not the real beach, more like to the pool deck that's right over the beach. That way I could sit in the chairs and relax while watching the sun come up and hear the waves and be a part of Gods beautiful creation. I sat down and got comfortable. The sunrise was to my left. So I was not directly facing the sun but I could see it. The water was quiet and I was the only one up.

I moved out of the shade and took a picture of the most beautiful sunrise. And after waiting all weekend ... He spoke.

So Annie, is this how it's going to be? You have for months sang, prayed and begged me at the top of your lungs to ... what is it ... "take you deeper?" You want to build your trust and build your faith and go where I can lead you? Then why are you sitting here on the deck ... resting in the shade behind a tree. Get up Annie and step into the sun. Feel the warmth on your skin. Take off your shoes and walk out into the sand. Let it squish between your toes. Walk out into the water and feel my power there.

Annie, I love your passion. I created you to be passionate. But if you want trust without borders, you want to follow where I'm leading, it's going to be messy. You have been hiding in the shade so you don't get burned by the sun. You wont step onto the beach because its dirty. Listen, I'm giving you opportunities to be a part of kingdom work. You want it? I'll trust you with it, but it's going to be messy. You're going to have to be willing to get dirty. Can you do that?

So Friends, I found that song last summer, the week it came out. And God didn't waste any time. Me and God, we've been working. For almost a year now, God has been working on my need for control and my fear. He is burning off things that bind so I'm free. In my freedom I'm able to get messy and work for the kingdom. Pray for me Friends. I want to walk totally surrendered to His calling. I want to go where He leads. And I want to do it boldly and with humility. I want for people to hear my story and see His power at work. I want you to know the healing power of God. So thank you for your prayers this weekend. They were honored.

He's good Friends! You can trust Him. I want to hear your stories too. What is God working out in your life? What can I pray with you through?


Commissioned Moments: what road will you follow?

Friday, May 2, 2014

This week our #shesharestruth assignment is about commissioned moments. As soon as I read this I knew what I wanted to share. The problem is that I've already shared it here.

My story isn't a story of surrender and bravery, but of me, yet again, hiding behind my fear of failure. And my fear becomes reality when I surrender to it instead of God. So ... what's left to say? Well, to give you a little update: I have not seen my friend again. I don't know what the Lord is doing in her life. But I am praying for her. I am praying that God will make himself known to her in very real tangible ways. I'm also praying that I get another chance to see her and share with her part of my story. Would you pray with me?

So you want to know what holds me back from commissioned moments. Fear. Plain and simple. I'm an introvert by nature and I walk away from many conversations just feeling stupid. I don't do small talk well. I just don't know what to say. I overcompencate with silliness and I just sound stupid.

Fear. What if I interpret a situation the wrong way. What if what I'm saying is wrong? What if, God forbid, I lead someone away from the Lord instead of toward him.

You know what makes the difference?

“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” Luke 12:11-12
Surrender. Let the Holy Spirit speak through you. He'll give you words when you need them.

"When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. " Acts 4:13
Freedom. This gives me the freedom to speak when I'm prompted. I don't save people. I don't even draw them to God. He does all the work in their heart. I only tell them what I know, what I've learned and what He's done for me.

By the time you're reading this I will be on the road. I'm heading to The Women of Joy Conference. If you know me at all, you know this is not the kind of thing I jump on. This opportunity came out of the blue and in short notice. And I was supposed to be somewhere else this weekend. But God is funny like, He has plans for us that we wouldn't make ourselves.

So would you pray with me again Friends? Would you pray that God meets me there. Would you pray that God would give me, not only a time of refreshing my own soul, but commissioned moments. Would you pray that I, this time, wouldn't walk away afraid, but that I would be totally surrendered to His call?

I cant wait to tell you all about it. In the mean time, what about you? Have you surrendered?
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