Do you ever struggle with your thought life or the words coming out of your mouth? I know I do! In fact, I believe that Joyce Meyer may have written her book,Me and My Big Mouth, just for me!
For my entire life, I’ve battled speaking impatiently, in anger, thoughtlessly, or too bluntly. My wise husband Ray says it’s not necessarily what I’m saying (because I speak truthfully and honestly), but that it’s the way I say it, how I often come across to others. His title of endearment for me is La belle dame sans merci. (The beautiful lady without mercy)
My precious sister Maria, who drips with the gift of mercy, calls it my “bull in the china shop approach!”
I’m working on it!
As a professional, Christian speaker and author, I’m well aware of the power of words.
The American adage that children often recite in response to bullying in school, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is simply not true. Words can hurt deeply. Words can also heal and impart life.
God created the world and everything in it with His words. (Genesis Chapter 1) In fact, Jesus Himself is called “The Word” in John 1:1.
Because God created everything with His words, and we are made in His image, the words of our mouths are powerful, too. In fact, each word is a gift. This is especially true for speakers and writers!
I’m going to be speaking on this topic at a Christian Women’s Writers’ Workshop, The Gift of Words, in Hutchinson, Kansas, with my friend, author Missy Hoffman, on September 21, 2019.
The workshop will be 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the Hutchinson Public Library.
The address is 901 N. Main Street, Hutchinson, Kansas, 67501.
Missy and I would LOVE to see you there! Admission is free, but seating is limited. If you’re interested in coming, please email Missy at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact her here on the Facebook event page to save your spot.
Missy is a self-published author of three books, and she will also share about her own writing journey. Our hope is to encourage Christian women to share the story God has given each one of us and to help each woman experience healing through her own writing journey!
We will meet in the Library Conference Room #1.
The book signing for both of us to sign our books is that same day, September 21, at Metropolitan Coffee shop from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Join us for some delicious coffee and fellowship!
The address for Metropolitan Coffee Shop is 1329 E 17th Ave, Hutchinson, Kansas, 67501. (There is no charge for the book signing! Our books will be available to sign and/or for sale!)
We can wait to see you there! Remember, each word you speak is a gift from God and for God’s glory! Your story matters.
Several years ago I stopped making New Year resolutions, because, let’s face it, they were broken the first month (sometimes the first week!)–like walking again or eating healthier! I heard about instead, creating a #oneword and a Scripture verse(s) to go along with it.
When I began to do this, I no longer felt condemnation that I was breaking my New Year resolutions so quickly. I also discovered that as I earnestly prayed to God about this matter, the #oneword always turned out to be a prophetic theme for the entire year.
For example, my #oneword in 2018 was JOY. At times, last year was anything but joyful! There were many hard times. I have cried a lot the last several years, more than I ever have in my entire life.
We all have stress and battle worries–relationship problems. Business or ministry challenges. Health issues. Financial struggles. But joy is a choice. You can be joyful even in adversity or a major crisis! Joy is not the same as happiness.
God wants us happy, just as we do our own children. But joy, like faith, isn’t based on circumstances. The joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) We must choose faith, and we must choose joy.
Usually, the last week of December of each year, I pray about the coming new year, for God to protect and bless me and my family and friends, for His guidance and presence with us, and for a #oneword and Scripture(s) for the coming year.
I ask Him to be mine and my family’s compass, our “true north.” (This expression comes from the great chick flick movie, Message In A Bottle, with Kevin Costner!)
God speaks in a myriad of ways to His children:
primarily through His holy word, the Bible;
by His still, small voice to our hearts as we pray and listen to Him;
from other people, sharing His words of truth and encouragement;
in nature (“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”–Psalm 19:1, NIV);
through signs in the sky, such as the sun, the moon, the stars, etc. (Luke 21:25);
in other signs, such as red cardinal birds, mourning doves, eagles, the wind, a billboard, a car’s bumper sticker, something said on a podcast, radio or TV show, a voice in a crowd, etc. Obviously, we can’t base our lives on these “signs,” but God can speak to His children however He wants to get His message of truth across to us. Sometimes it’s like He needs a two by four to get the message through our thick heads and stubborn hearts!
Just prior to January 2019 beginning, I noticed the words “humble” and “humility” in a couple of different places. First, the words StayHUMBLE were inscribed on chapstick that I’d received in a gift box.
That’s interesting, I thought. The words “humble” and “humility” started popping up like Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Butter popcorn on Facebook posts.
Then I started seeing the words a LOT! A recurrent theme.
Oh no, I thought in dread. Uh oh—wait a minute!That’s my one word for 2019, isn’t it, God?
I knew what that meant (God was going to smash my PRIDE), and heck no, I did NOT want that word! Which is probably exactly why He is giving it to me!
Why couldn’t I get a nicer, easier, funner word like adventures? Or dream bigger? Or overflow, especially in our bank account? Or laughter?
But no. My words are humble and humility! Yes, I know humility is a beautiful, Christ-like virtue and God is doing this for my own good.
You and I know there is just no use fighting God. In the end, He’s going to get His way. Because He’s God!
We can wrestle with Him until daybreak like Jacob did (Genesis 32:22-32), but we’ll walk away with a painful limp. God is bigger and more powerful than you and me, so we might as well submit and obey!
So I started researching the definition of humility to begin preparing spiritually for 2019. (Here goes nothing!)
freedom from pride or arrogance;
a lack of ego;
lowness; an attitude of service;
the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance;
serving others for their good, as well as your own;
a realistic appreciation of your strengths, as well as your weaknesses.
Synonyms for humility include:
You know, traits that are so unlike me! People who know me well would NOT describe me as demure–reserved, bashful, shrinking. Instead, my sister Maria describes my approach in life more like “a bull in a china shop.”
Antonyms (the opposite) of humility are even more revealing–and alarming!
STOP! Is anyone else getting uncomfortable here?! Well, I sure am. But then it’s my #oneword, not yours–unless God says so!
Remember that pride, and then rebellion, was Satan’s sin. We don’t want to be like the devil, do we? I don’t!
Mother Teresa said, “If you are humble, then nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”
No doubt that I have some family members, or even friends, who will remind me throughout this year of my #oneword humility and how I am being so NOT humble!
Maybe humility isn’t your strong suit, either. I have good news, dear friend. When we stumble and fall, as we surely will, we can get back up.
That is why Jesus died for you and me; nobody is perfect but Him. He’s teaching us to be more like Him each moment.
You and I can breathe again, and be thankful that God’s mercies are new every beautiful morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
This week, I ordered a used copy of Andrew Murray’s book Humility from Amazon to start off the year right and plan to do other studies on this topic as well.
My Scripture verses for 2019, based on these words humble and humility are:
“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33, ESV)
“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6, NKJV. The NLT translation says, “And He gives grace generously.”)
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:6-7, NKJV)
This last Scripture shows me that I need to be alert in Spirit this year. Satan wants to cause destruction in mine and my family’s life, to devour and kill us. I thank God that Jesus Christ is more powerful and the battle belongs to the Lord, who has the victory already!
The great news in all this? If we humble ourselves before God and cultivate a lifestyle of humility, depending on and trusting solely in Him, the Bible says God will give us HONOR and EXALT us! (Good surprises for us, for HIS glory!) Isn’t that exciting?
Do you have a #oneword, Scripture verse(s), and/or theme for the new year 2019? Please share it below with me! And let’s pray for each other this year to walk it out with God’s grace and help!
We took so many pictures with our phones that I need to break up the posts, to make it easier for you to read, as I know you live a busy, hectic life like mine and you don’t have lots of spare time!
I hope these blogs inspire and bless you. I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, who made this amazing opportunity and prayer possible.
“No description is possible. I can only say, go and see.”–Dinah Maria Craik
As Leah and I made our way to our last B & B in Ireland, I felt both thankful to God and so sad that we’d be leaving soon. I wanted to stay much longer. The next town we stayed in was Kilkenny.
We know for sure that Leah’s relatives on her dad Ray’s side originally came from Ireland. It is also possible that my own relatives from my dad’s side were, too. He has done a lot of genealogy work on both sides of our family.
I had done some research before traveling to Ireland and found the location of a castle that very strongly could have belonged to our family’s clan, if we indeed have Irish roots.
I wanted to visit this family’s fortress that is located in the remote countryside on a huge rock and built in the 9th century, but it would add an extra hour going to Kilkenny. Leah had not slept the night before in Kenmare, and was exhausted, so I decided not to do it this trip. It would be almost three hours long as it was. She slept much of the way in the car.
On the way there, I needed to go to the restroom and saw that the convenience store where I was stopping had that delicious Irish ice cream cones, which was even better.
Parking is often a problem in Ireland. I had pulled into the convenience store parking lot, and didn’t see any spaces, so I decided to pull out into the highway to my right and enter the parking lot to look for a space again. Driving in Ireland requires a mental shift, because you drive on the left side of the road, from the front right seat, which is opposite of what Americans do.
I looked to my left but didn’t look carefully enough to my right to see if any traffic was coming toward us, and just as I was about to pull out into the two-lane highway, a semi truck came barreling toward us (on my right). I literally felt wind from the truck and it moved my outside mirror!
It was a VERY close call. The semi almost hit us. If it had, I truly believe that Leah and I would be DEAD! GOD AND HIS ANGELS HAD PROTECTED US! Thank God no one was hurt!
It badly shook me up. I found a parking space in the convenience store lot after that, and I sat a few minutes with my head on the steering wheel, thank God for His protection and literally shaking from fear. Leah was shaken, too.
The semi truck driver actually stopped his truck and came back to check on us as I went inside to use the restroom and buy an ice cream cone. Later, I drew a stick figure cartoon when writing a letter to my sister Maria, about Ireland’s ice cream cones solving any crisis. (I sometimes use humor to cope with life!)
I bought Leah a cold drink and she sat in the car, working on her tablet. I stood outside in the fresh air, taking a break and enjoying my cone, still thanking God for watching over us. One of the things I’d specifically asked my family and friend intercessors to pray for me traveling was that we would NOT get into any wrecks or be hurt in any way. God answers prayer! It’s important to get prayer cover every day, but especially when you are traveling!
After that, because I was so shaken up from the incident, I made several wrong turns and missed the highway going to Kilkenny. Leah became frustrated and said that she was just ready to go home and be in her own bed, and would be glad when she was not having to deal with me driving. This really hurt my feelings, but I realized it was stress-related.
By this time, we were both tense from the near-accident with the semi and tired from traveling. Be alert to fatigue, hunger, anxiety, and stress when you’re on a trip. The Waze app on my iPhone helped us so much to navigate in Ireland and not get lost (majorly!), but at times the road signs didn’t match what the GPS was saying, and I’d try to go by road signs instead. This would annoy Leah, who asked me why bother with the GPS if I wasn’t going to use it? Good point!
Eventually we got to Kilkenny and we both calmed down when we were able to find a parking garage and a place to eat–this time, we opted for American food and ate cheeseburgers and fries!
Then we found our last B & B. When we first pulled up to the B & B, nobody was there. I had visions of us sleeping in our car the last night of our stay in Ireland and prayed silently, “Not now, God!” Another guest had parked his car in the lot, waiting, smoking a cigarette, and telling me that maybe the owner had the time to meet us wrong.
Then a few minutes later the hostess drove up in her car, smiling and waving at us. I sighed with relief! As usual, the place was beautiful and clean.
Our room had yellow curtains, comfortable quilts, pretty wall art, and was cheery. I was so thankful we stayed here the last night of our stay! The tea and chocolates that the hostess had waiting for us were a welcome refuge after a long drive. This was such a pretty B & B!
One thing I loved doing at each B & B was taking a hot shower after our drive there and getting into my comfy pj’s! I think I only saw one bathtub our entire stay in Ireland!
The B & B hostess looked at Leah when she met her and said to me, “She is so beautiful!” I smiled and agreed, “Yes, she is!” This blessed Leah and made her smile. She looked so cute in her dress and flip flops!
I’m glad we went to town first before the B & B. We parked in a garage and walked around the town square a bit, then ate our cheeseburgers and fries at the American restaurant. This was one of the hardest towns to find good parking, so you might locate parking on your GPS before going into town. You have to pay for the parking there, usually a pound or a couple of pounds. It’s best to have both coins and dollars on you at all times for parking expenses. I didn’t see any machines that take credit/debit cards.
The Kilkenny Castle looked interesting, but it was getting late. Leah was wearing a dress and flip flops and it was getting cold and windy, so we decided not to tour it this time. We needed to get to our B & B and do last minute packing before flying back to the United States the next morning. The castle was built in 1195 and was a symbol of Norman occupation. The garden has a fountain and beautiful flowers.
As usual there were street musicians in town, such as a saxophone player and a harpist. As we passed the harpist, I quickly took a picture and suddenly Leah said, “You always do that.” I asked, “What?” She said, “You never stop and listen to the music. You just take pictures and go on.”
Leah is a musician, so of course she listens to music intently. But her remark about me surprised and convicted me. We need to pause, look, listen, and enjoy this life, especially with our loved ones. I stopped walking and listened with her to the harpist playing so beautifully.
I saw a mom and her kids and also two women sitting and chatting by the harpist. We all need friends in our lives! I’m so thankful and glad that my beautiful, precious daughters are also my friends!
Since Leah and I had bought souvenirs for family and friends, and had dirty laundry, we had to repack everything that night. I checked in for our flights online as Leah did her college homework. The next morning we’d have to get up early at 4:15 AM to be able to leave at 5 AM for the airport.
Unfortunately, we did not have time to explore Dublin. I would have liked to seen the Book of Kells, which is a beautifully illuminated Gospel book containing the four gospels, dating back to the 9th century. Maybe our next trip!
We’d have to get gas on the way and then refill the tank completely before turning in our car to the rental agency, or they charge you extra!
I knew we were also taking a major highway in Dublin, where we’d have to pay a toll. If you don’t pay the tolls in Ireland, you can be fined, sometimes pretty heavily. Leah and I never saw a sign where to pay the toll. She told me to ask about it when I refueled the car at a gas station, and I was able to pay the toll there–her prophetic gifting!
I was nervous about having a flat tire or getting lost on the way to the airport, and missing our international flight. I did take one wrong turn, but we quickly found out way back. There was no problem at all turning in the rental car.
Since we arrived at the airport at 7:10 AM, we had some time for me to buy the remaining souvenirs (duty-free) and for us to eat breakfast before catching our flight. I wanted to try an Irish coffee (with Bailey’s Irish cream) before I left Ireland!
Be sure you have PLENTY of time to go through customs and security when you’re flying internationally! I thought we’d have enough time eating breakfast and getting our last souvenirs. In the customs’ line, I even asked an agent if we were going to make our flight okay and he looked at our plane tickets and said yes.
As soon as we got out of customs, another agent told us our plane had already taken off and we had missed our international flight! We were RUNNING to our gate to see if somehow we could make it, but we didn’t! I felt this was a good teaching moment for Leah how travel can really be sometimes!
God gave us favor. The gate agents told me that normally we’d have to pay EXTRA to change flights, but they were putting us on another plane for FREE. Thank God! This actually worked to our ADVANTAGE later, as it allowed us to make all US flights back to Kansas City, that I had been worried about due to the short time between catching flights!
There wasn’t a lot of choices when I originally booked the return flights, but I got the best one even though it looked “iff” and prayed for God to work out things for us! He answered that prayer!
On the final flight back home to Kansas City, Leah put on her sleep mask and used her neck pillow that I had bought her to try to get some sleep. I felt so terrible for her as she was so exhausted. Then we had a drive in the car at the airport parking lot, that was over an hour long getting to our home!
Fortunately Leah and I both were able to catch up on sleep the week after we arrived home in the states. This pic below shows how tired she was, asleep on the final plane, but she had lots of fun and so did I!
What an amazing trip to Ireland. Thank You, Jesus! My heart is overflowing with gratitude that You answer prayer and make our big dreams come true!
In my next post in this Ireland Blog Series, I’ll share pics of the beautiful Saint Mary’s Cathedral and a few others, and wrapping up this blog series on our trip to Ireland. Stay tuned!