Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Power of a Whisper by Bill Hybels

Shhh, did you hear it? Can you feel it?  The nudge or whisper you just heard could be from God.  If your like me it can be a challenge to know if the voice you heard was from God or just your imagination gone wild.  In Bill Hybels newest book, The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God. Having the Guts to Respond, Pastor Hybel shares story's of God whispers in people's lives. 

This was the first book I have read by Bill Hybels and I was pleasantly surprised.  For a non-fiction, religious book, it was a easy read, yet there was a great many pondering thoughts that could challenge a person. (if you take the time to ponder.)  One of the things I appreciated about the book was the authentic nature it was written.  The examples and story's are very real and believable. 

Throughout the book, Pastor Hybels takes the reader on a journey of how he responded to God nudges and hearing God whisper in his life.  He leads through example on how we, too, can hear God whisper.

In my opinion, one of the greatest resources Pastor Hybel gives us is short list of five filters that can help us test every whisper we receive.  Below is the filter list, you should read the book to get more details.
Filter 1:  Is the prompting truly from God?
Filter 2:  The Scripture Filter
Filter 3:  The General-Wisdom Filter
Filter 4: The Wiring Test
Filter 5:  The godly Counsel Test

This is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone who needs encouragement that God is active and alive in our daily life or if someone is searching for the next step in their life journey.

I was given a copy of The Power of a Whisper as an advanced reader copy by Zondervan in exchange for my reading it and writing an honest review of the book. No other compensation was received and all views are mine and mine alone.

The Eve before I leave...

Just thought I would touch base with you all before I head off to my long anticipated trip. 

My desk has all these notes with great pearls of wisdom and thoughts I wanted to share with you all, however time has slipped away, so I will share them with you when I get back from my trip. 

Are ya wondering what my thoughts are tonight as I make the final preperations...

"I can't believe it!", "What am I doing?", "I'm so excited!", "I can't wait to see what God has planned!""I hope God didn't pick the wrong girl."'I'm trusting God.""Wow!" "Stop time, I want to prepare some more!"

Ok, just in case you are wondering...

Typically when packing for a trip, I follow this sequence.

1)  I pack my books that are on my TBR pile. (To Be Read)

2)  Oh, there's some more books I better bring along.

3)  Geez, I wonder if I'll have time to read this book too.

4)  I better bring a notebook with, just in case I have time to journal.

5)  Hmmm...I wonder if I will have time to go through these magazines too.

6)  Yup, I will confess, I typically don't even think about packing anything else (like clothes, make up, etc.)until 5 minutes before we leave.

So, since I am limited with the amount of space for this trip, I restrained myself and only packed two books (plus my small bible) and one note book.  Still debating on bringing the lap top, but since my lap top has been like my best friend this past year and a half, he will probable come with me. 

Now I know why I don't pack too far in advance as I had a major clothes melt down tonight. I am so fashion challenged, which typically doesn't bother me.  However, I have been browsing other She Speak attendees and they talk about things like shoes and purses matching???  I could be in trouble.   By the time I finally found one acceptable outfit, every shirt and pants that were in my closet were now on my bed, floor, and rocking chair and the tears were beginning to fall.  Thankfully my hubby helped wipe away my tears, gave me a hug and a suggestion and the dirty job of picking out one more outfit!  (Now watch me spill and have to change clothes...urggghhh.)

Just a few more things to finish up and off to bed. 

Thanks for your support, encouragement and thoughts as I take a great big step into my future.

ps.  As long as I keep my focus on the Lord, I am calm...but the minute I start looking at myself....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Air Travel Tips

Hi there!  Just thought I would post a quick request for any tips on travel that any of you may have...

Next week, I will board a plane, travel to Minneapolis and transfer to another plane and than proceed to North Carolina for the long anticipated She Speaks Conference.  For simplicity sake, I will be doing only carry on luggage with a purse.  Any tips you can share for this first timer, would be greatly appreciated!  Hope everyone is having an awesome weekend!

Monday, July 19, 2010

God working through us!

Just wanted to expand a bit on my post from yesterday.  This morning I sat on the deck, listening to the birds, sipping my tea and watching a thunderstorm approach our area as I had my time with our Lord.  Currently, I am doing a study called Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby.  Hopefully by my sharing a blurb from this study, you will be able to experience my excitement, humbleness and awe...
  "When god purposes to do something through you, the assignment will have God-sized dimensions.  This is because God wants to reveal Himself to you and to those around you.  If you can do the work in your own strength, people will not come to know God.  However, if God works through you to do what only He can do, you and those around you will come to know Him. 
the god-sized dimensions of an assignment from god create a crisis of belief.  You must believe God is who He says He is and that He can and will do what He says He will do.  When you obey Him, you must allow Him to do what He has said.  He is the One who accomplishes the assignment, but He does it through you."
"Only in the active obedience did Moses begin to experience the full nature of God.  Moses could believe in God while living in the wilderness, but he began to dramatically experience God only when he went to Egypt as God had commanded.  What he began to know about God grew from his obedience to God.  In Moses' life we cans see this pattern of God speaking, Moses obeying, and God accomplishing what He purposed to do."

Now, I'm not thinking I'm like Moses or anything...but I do know that my attending the She Speaks is from God.  We have no financial resources--God provided!  There was a potential scheduling conflict with work--God provided!  I have had no formal education regarding writing and speaking--God doesn't care--for I will truly be able to give all and any credit to Him.  My mode of transportation to the conference--air travel--God provided.  I have a bit of anxiety--God keeps saying, "Keep your eyes on ME and I will lead you."

Thanks for letting me share my morning off for a 7 hour car ride....more stories to come...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Highs and Lows

This past Friday evening was a very unusual one at our home.  If you would have stopped by a visit, you would have  found me in my pj's at 5 pm, eating pizza and watching a movie with my hubby and daughter.  If you know me, this scenario would tell you much about the state of my health...pj's are for sleeping, we seldom eat pizza out anymore and I don't do movies.  Last week was a crummy week, healthwise.  I think my lack of sleep was a big contributer.  (and the air conditioning is really flaring some of the chemotherapy side effects of pain in joints and numbness of hands/feet.--as long as chemotherapy worked, I am not going to complain.)--I only share this little ditty for the breast cancer survivors who are walking their own path...that they may be encouraged when they hit a pothole...knowing that others, too, have hit potholes.

My emotions are like a rollar coaster.  To explain, I think I will break it up in high/low:

High:  I have been experiencing the true joy of knowing God!  I am finding myself waking up at 3am with an intense desire to get on my knees in prayer, along with spending time in His word.  I usually fall back to sleep about 5:30 am. (could explain the being tired as I get up for work at 615)  The thing is, I am finding myself  so excited to think that God cares about what happens in our day, week, life.  He wants to partner with us.  He wants to lead us.  He wants to guide us!  We just need to love, trust and obey!  How cool is that?  (My poor hubby, I keep waking him up and saying...did you know this was in the bible?  Did you know God said this?  God's word is just so amazing!)

High:  I am finding that my heart grieves more when I hear about the poor choices some are making in their lives.  (not that I want others to make poor choices, but this is a beginning answer to pray as I have been praying that I have a heart more like God's)

High:  I am going to a wellness conference for work this week.  I have never taken a work trip and health/wellness is a very important topic to me, so it should be educational and fun!

Low:  I have never been away from my family for a week, nor have I stayed in a hotel room by myself.

High:  She Speaks Conference is in two weeks.  I will experience my first flying trip!  I will be meeting many women who also have the desire to love and serve God with their speaking and/or writing.  This is a dream come true!  In my heart, I know this conference is really about HIM and that brings me great confidence when I struggle with the low's.

Low:  I find myself struggling with my inadequacy when I review the blogs and websites of the She Speaks team and some of the other attendees.  They all seem so perfect and "put together." I wonder why an I going on this trip, as I feel like I am a newborn babe just a few hours old.  Also, a bit of anxiety with traveling alone.  (OK, OK, refocusing to keep my eyes on HIM!)

High:  I just read in another bloggers site that the Proverbs 31 team prays for each attendee.  This thought touched my heart in such a remarkable way.  To think, they care enough for us, that they spend their time praying for the attendees.  I hear that there is also a prayer room at the conference that has provided some remarkable expereinces for some who have attended prior She Speaks Conferences. 

Low:  Most days I keep my focus on the future and on God...but some days, the cancer fear sneaks in...and along with it, I find myself wondering why?  I don't question God or why I had cancer.  I think my question stems more from medical/physical question why did I get it? After all, I had minimal risk factors.  (not that anyone should have to experience the cancer journey, there are just some who have higher risk factors.) And am I doing all I can to prevent cancer from returning?  Is God going to let it return?  Is this conference just a blessing and when I get back I find a recurrance?  Would I be living my life different if the cancer does return?  I just HATE these thoughts!  I trust God totally...and I plan on spending some extra time in His prescence this week while I am away from home. 

High:  I have loved reading others blogs and surprised at my enjoyment of bloggerville.  I love seeing how God is at work in others lives.  I love reading about others writing journey and so appreciate them sharing their journey with others.  I really appreciate and care for my breast cancer sisters who blog, your understanding in the healing phase of this journey is so encouraging.

Low:  (or high...??)  I am feeling the need to revamp and rename my blog to more appropriately reflect my life.  I want to be a breast cancer supporter and advocate, but breast cancer is just part of my journey.  My greatest desire now is to share with others the hope that can be found through our brokenness.  We will see where these thoughts and ideas lead.

High:  All you readers of my ramblings...I appreciate your words of support and encouragement as I metamorph!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Celebrating the Return of Dreams

In my inbox today was a blurb written by a fellow 10 year breast cancer survivor sharing how when she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at the age of 31, her psychologists told  her she was grieving the loss of her dreams.  That statement took my breath away.  I remember the day I was diagnosed and had the thoughts that I would never dream again.  I didn't think I would live through treatment.  But, slowly, my dreams started to be uncovered and I started planning...

I still remember sitting in the doctors office waiting for my lab results to see if I could recieve my chemotherapy of not, visiting with the social worker and my mom.  I don't remember the topic of the discussion, but I do remember saying "We have to stay on schedule as next summer I have plans to fulfill a long waited dream!" The social worker politely asked me what was my dream.  I shared with her how I have always wanted to go to the She Speaks conference.  (Not that I knew how to write, speak, or anything else, it was just something I wanted to do.) Fast forward 1 year...and it's almost here!  In just a few weeks, I will be boarding an air plane and flying to North Carolina!  I want the time to hurry and get here, yet, I want the time to drag, so I have more time to prepare and anticipate!  Isn't anticipation a big part of fulfilling your dreams? 

There are so many thoughts and emotions running wild in my mind, I can't wait to share 'em!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

To Fear or Not to Fear, that is the Question!

Fear has become an ugly four letter word that keeps creeping in to my mind the minute I am over tired, I have a new ache or pain, a cough, or anything else that might just be a sign of an aging body who went through some very challenging medical treatments to have a chance at life.  I struggle with having fear, as fear is not in my nature.  Typically, I am much to practical to be bothered with fears or worries.  That could be why when fear sneaks it's beady little nose into my business, I get so irritated! 

It was almost a year ago that I completed chemotherapy and had a PET scan in follow up.  When discussing the PET scan with others,  I remember someone saying to me how exciting it will be when we can sing praises to God when I get my "clean" results.   However, that wasn't the thought that kept haunting my mind and heart...the thought and question that kept pestering me was "Kim, will you still sing praises to Me if there is cancer?" This answer proved to be an important step in my spiritual walk.  I wish I could say I was super spiritual and answered with a "yes" immediately. But, instead I spent most of that night shedding many tears and talking with God. (To be honest, I felt like I was wrestling with Him.) I am so excited to share that the next morning I confidently walked in the PET scan room, knowing that I could trust and praise God regardless of the results, saying over and over--"Yes, Lord, I will praise YOU!! NO matter what!" 

So, imagine my surprise when the other evening I woke up at 3 am finding the horrible Mr fear crawling all over me...I quickly hopped out of bed, trying to shake him off my sleeping body.  After a few minutes I got on my knees.  Realizing, I had a choice.  I could continue to wrestle with Mr Fear or surrender him to my Maker. Being the practical person that I am, I also had to get it okay in my own mind and heart, that if cancer does come back, I will trust that God can still use my life to His greatest glory.  I (once again) surrendered.  Of course, I pray that cancer is a thing of my past, but I am at peace and trust that God has grand plans for me, cancer or not.  (It is my understanding that Mr Fear will be a visitor for awhile, just waiting for an invitation to come in...please don't think I am rude, but I am choosing to ignore him.)
Now, I realize my fear may be that of recurrence of cancer, but you may have another fear or worry..a job, relationship, health crisis, if you do, may I encourage you to please take it to our Lord, knowing that He has a grand plan for you too!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Garden Thoughts

Like most, I had today off, so I decided to spend some time in my neglected herb and vegetable garden.  As I started to pull the weeds, I couldn't help but compare my spiritual life with the life of my gardens. 

The weeds in my garden remind me of the sin in my life.  Left unattended they can overgrow and crowd out any fruit for harvest.  Sometimes the weeds wrap themselves around the plants and in order to get rid of weeds, I need to sacrafice the plant for the good of the harvest.  Just like some activities and projects may appear good, if not careful I end up getting wrapped up in sin. There are all types of weeds in my garden: quack grass, pigweed, crab grass, plantium, lamb's quarter, wild morning glory, and the worse--thistles.  There are many types of sins in my life: insecurity, doubt, fear, jealousy, anger, and worry.  Weeds like sin, don't necessarily need the proper growing conditions (rain, sun, etc.) to grow, they often thrive on neglect.  Lord, please help me to be aware of my time, so that I don't neglect You and the sins of my life start to thrive. As I pulled the different weeds, I couldn't help but notice the different sizes...some had deep roots that were easy to pull, some were baby weeds, and others were small weeds with a really messy rood system that made them difficult to pull.  Being aware of sins in our life when they first take hold, make them so much easier to conquer.  Lord, thank you for the moments in the garden. By pulling the weeds You helped me to be aware of and acknowledge my sins. Working in the garden reminded me that I need to be vigelent in my christian life, focusing my eyes on You always, knowing you will help me be aware of my sins before they take hold and get too hard to kill.

A couple of other things that I noticed in my garden was how there are stray tomato plants coming up all over the place.  These tomatoes have grown from last years fruit that was recomposted this spring.  I couldn't help but smile thinking how when we produce fruit in our lives, we may unknowingly leave a seed to sprout in someone else's life!  Lord, I pray that my life produces Your fruit.  That others can see Your love in my dailyness.

Yikes, a bunny has eaten our sweet peas down to the ground.  To think that a cute, fuzzy animal can destroy our veggies.  This reminded me how sometimes there are activities in my life that seem innocent, but the time and energy invested in them, can prevent me from producing any fruit.  Lord, I pray that You continue to guide my hours and my days, that I may be Your light, producing good fruit.

Our tomato plants were starting to lay on the ground causing the fruit to rot, so I put wire cages around them to provide them some support.  Just like my lovely tomato plants, we need the support of our family, friends and church community to get up out of the dirt, so we can produce beautiful fruit!  Lord, I thank You that You are our rock and support.  Thank you that we live in community where we can support and be supported! 

Thanks for walking with me as I shared my garden thoughts.  How did you spend your day?