Shut up and Listen

Shut up and Listen. You are talking too much and not listening to what I have to say!” These were the Words I was needing to hear, as I was not paying attention to the gentle words God had been speaking. “Be still and know that I am God.”

For the last two months I have been on a Sabbatical and have been praying, reading my Bible, praying, reading books, praying, going to different churches, and praying some more.  I was getting so frustrated because it was as if my prayers were going nowhere. There were no answers. God was silent. In reality, God wasn’t silent I just couldn’t hear Him because of the noise around and in me.

I realized that I needed to be silent. I needed to allow God to touch my heart. I discovered that it was okay to pray for myself and the things that I needed in my own life. It was also okay to just sit still and be quiet while I listened to what God had to say.

Once I was quiet and asked God for His direction in books to read, messages to listen to, friends to talk with, He started to open up my heart and ears to hear Him more clearly. As I sat quietly reading, listening, and just being still, God revealed to me that I was talking too much, my prayers had become complaint sessions and not grateful sessions. There was too much noise around me – media, appliances, complaints, others, etc. I needed quiet and to be quiet before the Lord.

To help me learn this lesson God took me to I Kings 19:1-18 and the life of Elijah. Let’s catch up to Elijah and see what has been going on. In I Kings 18 Elijah has just defeated the priests of Baal at Mount Carmel. He has prayed for rain and the rain comes.(Served the Lord diligently, doing many good things.) I Kings 19 starts off with King Ahab telling Jezebel all that Elijah had done and she is angry and wants him dead.(Is on the most wanted list of enemies of the Queen.)

So, Elijah is now running for his life. He leaves his servant in Beerasheba and goes a day’s journey into the desert. There he sits down and prays that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (We see burnout with some depression setting in.)

He lays down and falls asleep. An angel touches him and tells him to get up and eat. Then he lays down again and sleeps some more. A second time the angel comes to him, touches him and says, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much forVindija_cave you.” After eating, Elijah travels forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mountain of God. There he goes into a cave and sleeps until morning.

The next day he and God have a conversation. Elijah is telling God how zealous he has been for Him and all that had happened and that he is the only one left. Now he is running for his life because they want to kill him. God tells him, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

A great and powerful wind came, but God was not in the wind. Then an earthquake came, but God was not in the earthquake. Then a fire came, but God was not iwindblowingoverPratoFiorito_JPGn the fire. Then a gentle whisper came, and Elijah went out with his face covered and listened to God and what He had to say.

Once again God asks Elijah, “What are you doing here?” Elijah’s answer is again to tell God how zealous he has been for Him and now his life is in danger as they want to kill him. God then tells him the plans and instructions of what he is to do next.

God listened to his complaining and then told him what was next.

Elijah was burned out and feeling unappreciated for all he had done for the Lord and feeling all alone. He did not know or understand that God had set aside others for His purposes to come. After listening to Elijah, God told him about the others and the future plans for him and them.

God knew what was going on in Elijah’s life and took the time to minister to him in ways that would help bring Elijah back to the correct focus – serving Him. He allowed him the time to rest and be nourished, took him to a place of solitude, revealed Himself to him and then spoke in a quiet gentle whisper letting him know that all is going to be alright because He is in control and has a plan.

God did just that for me as well. He took me out of the busyness of life and ministry, allowed me time to rest and be nourished both physically and spiritually. He gave me the solitude needed to refocus and has revealed that He has a plan for me and I need to trust Him with the next steps.

This was a hard process and lesson to learn as I just go and go and go. Doing things that are needed. Serving wherever a need arises. One thing I have learned is that it may be needed but I may not be the one that is needing to do it. I am still in the learning process of learning how to say “no” in order to say “yes” to the thing that God really wants me to do.

I am learning how to be quiet and listen to what God has to say to me. I am hearing His gentle whisper directing me in new things. He has started to release some great ideas and brainstorming has begun. I can’t wait to see where God and I are going next. I have learned that I need to “Shut Up and Listen.”



Lord, I am excited to see where You and I will go next in this great adventure called life. I am still learning and am thankful that You are a patient God who is helping me to learn how to “Be still and know that You are God.” May I remove the noise that distracts me from Your Gentle Loving Whisper and be still before You. Amen.




A Spiritually Detoxifying Diet

Have you ever heard these comments? “You shouldn’t eat that.” “You should eat that.” I have heard them several times over the years as I have tried to eat healthy and improve my well being. I have probably also said them several times, as I have encouraged people in living a healthy lifestyle. So many people claim to have the best diet plan out there. But the truth is there are foods that may be right for you to eat but not for me. Something you like may make me sick. Or maybe it just throws my whole system out of whack. I have been learning that over the last couple of years as I have taken a closer look at my own eating habits and have had to detoxify my body to discover that I was allergic to some foods that were making me ill.

The truth is there comes a time in our life when we may need to stop and evaluate what we are eating. It may not be good for us and may be causing us to become sick. When that happens we need to detoxify our bodies. So, what is detoxifying? What is a diet? Are there ways to detoxify our physical and spiritual beings that will help to make us live in such a way as to please God? I believe there are. First, let’s take a closer look at some terms and then, see what would be a good way to start the detoxifying process.

Plate-of-Food 7-2014Detoxifying is the freeing of oneself from a dependence on something – drugs, alcohol, food, things, people, recognition, or any number of other things.

Diet is the type or kind of foods you live on, the choice of foods or things you take into your system. It can be regulated, restricted or prescribed. It is a deliberate selection of foods or things you choose to take into your body. It may be good or toxic. It can be a habitual intake or a consumption of something.

Our diet is made up of the things that we ingest both physically and spiritually. The actual foods we eat make up our physical diet. Some of these help us to develop and grow properly while others are toxic and kill us slowly. Our spiritual diet is made up of the things and relationships help us to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Sometimes we start to eat things that taste good although they may not be the best choices for our body to use and function properly. These foods then can cause other problems. We also may start to neglect things like exercise and drinking good clear water. We may take into our bodies other things to strengthen us, but they actually hurt us. These things begin to make us toxic.

The more toxins we have in our system the more we start to have other health problems and need more and more help. Once we realize that we are toxic, full of things that are not good for us, we can start to do something to clean up our system. This is called detoxifying our bodies. Many people do this with a detoxification diet or other cleansing strategy. To detoxify you need to withhold the things that are unhealthy and making you sick and ingest the foods that will strengthen your body. This detoxifying process can sometimes be painful as our body goes through withdrawals as the toxins are eliminated.

Here are some things to help detoxify your body physically.

1. Drink plenty of water.

2. Eliminate the things that cause problems, that your body does not need to function properly.

3. Get plenty of exercise.

4. Get plenty of rest.

5. Find the foods that are best for you, and eat a balanced diet with variety. Everyone needs different foods and things to help them function well. Finding what works best for you is important.

Just as you can make your physical body toxic, you can also make your spiritual body toxic. This happens when things start to take the place of God. When we put things into our minds that are not good for us, things like inappropriate movies, or music. Drugs that turn our thoughts away from the truth. Sometimes we put toxins into our systems by allowing bitterness and anger to set and fester instead of dealing with them.

When we become spiritually toxic we tend to not want anything to do with God or church or even other Christians. We put our Bibles on the shelf and allow other things to take its place. Maybe someone else’s words and not the True Words of Jesus. These things put a wedge in our relationship with God and other people. Sometimes we see this happening ourselves and sometimes we need help seeing it and working through it.

Here are some things that one can do to detoxify spiritually.

eatwellplatelarge 7-20141. Set aside a time and place to detoxify, refresh yourself.

2. Eliminate things that are toxic to your soul – TV, media, people, stuff, idols, ministry overload, multitasking, books.

3. Spend time with the One who made you and knows you intimately – God.

4. Read His Word and pray.

5. Spend time slowly putting things back in place. Find the things that help you to grow in your relationship with Jesus and add them to your daily regimen of spiritual food, just like you add the foods that help you physically develop strength into your diet. Finding just the right balance of time with Jesus in His Word and prayer and serving Him and others helps to stabilize things again.


Father God, we come to You needing help as our lives are messed up. Sometimes we don’t even know how messed up they are until someone points it out to us. Helps us to see the things that entangle us and make us toxic. Help us to find the strength to turn from those things and allow You to detoxify our physical as well as our spiritual bodies. Bring healing to our bodies so we may be the best that You created us to be. May You help us to find the foods and activities that will help us to live our lives to the fullest for Your honor and glory. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

A Spiritually Detoxifying Massage

Have you ever had a massage? You may have scheduled it because of a pain in your back or maybe because you just wanted to relax. You went in for the massage and submitted yourself to the masterful hands of the massage therapist. As she began the process of massaging your muscles you felt some tight, painful spots. Although some of those points were extremely tender, and sharp, you knew it was a good kind of pain.

A really good massage hurts in just the right places to remove the toxins that have built up in your body. Sometimes those toxins are there and you don’t realize it until you get that massage and it is broken up. The pain is great as the toxins are released. As the massage goes on the pain lessens. The toxins are broken down. Following the massage you need to drink much water to remove the toxins.

So is the detoxification of the toxins in one’s life. It hurts, but it is good. The toxins are broken up and released as one spends time in God’s Word and in prayer. The pain lessens the more one intakes of the Word of God and spends time with the master masseuse.

God has begun the detoxification process in my heart and life. It is painful as I am finding that God is breaking up the toxins that have polluted and drained my life. He is digging deep to address and remove the things that hold me captive. During the detoxification process there are times of digging and times of rest and healing.

Sometimes the digging can be so intense that I just want to cry. I cry out to God and He gives me a promise that helps me to rest and find a healing balm of His Words. It may take many painful times of digging, but ultimately God will use this detoxifying massage to make me into someone who is beautiful and useful to Him.

I have already seen God begin to work in my heart and life. I know that He works in the heart of those who are truly seeking Him and wanting Him to touch their lives. That is where I am at this summer. Looking for clarity on the next steps I am to take. Where I am to go and what I am to do.

God has been stirring my heart and drawing out some things that I did not even know were there. God is so faithful and loving and is truly setting me free from my own deceitful heart. So many of these things I did not know were taking root deep in my soul. The tattoos and labels that have made me feel so useless at times. But with the help of God, we are digging out the ugly things that have become a hindrance to my serving Jesus with my whole being.

Through the Bible Studies “Limitless Life” by Pastor Derwin Gray, and “The Storm Inside” by Shiela Walsh, God has brought many of these things to the forefront of my mind. Multitasking, jealousy, envy, anger, frustrations, covetousness, just to name a few. Doing and not being. Ungratefulness, stubbornness, narcissistic. Full of heartache, disappointment, fear, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, regret, abandonment, shame, insecurity.

Will 12 weeks be long enough to deal with the brokenness and find healing? Some of these things that have infiltrated my life will take a while to get released. It may take several massages to release all of these toxins, but I know that God has a plan. Break up the toxins, remove, rest and heal. Only God knows how long it will take. I am so thankful that He knows already how long the process will be and what the final outcome will be.

Yes, I see and know that God is my husband. He’s been my husband since my husband died 15 years ago. I also know that He has my best interest at heart. But sometimes I just don’t understand what is going on in my life.

I sure did not see the jealousy, or covetousness coming at me. I’ve been content for many years. Just God and me spending time together. Jealous and covetous of those who have a partner for life, a spouse to talk with, to spend time with each day. There is just something different about having a human being to talk with, to hold hands together, to spend time with and know that they are there when you need that hug to get through a tough day. There to pray with you and encourage you along the way.


Lord, today I come to you with my broken heart. My life full of toxins that are pulling me down and away from what you have for me. Help me to remember that You are my husband and You love me more than any human ever can or will. When the things that come my way to steal, kill, and destroy my joy, may I run to You and allow Your loving, gentle hands to work out the knots and toxins in my life so the joy of my heart may be restored and our relationship strengthen. Thank You for loving me enough to show me the things that are keeping me from moving forward with You and doing what You’ve called me to do. In Jesus’ Name Amen

Storms Will Come During the Journey

On May 18, 2014, I took my son, Jedidiah to Pine Lake Camps,  where he is working as part of the maintenance crew for the summer. I came home excited for my time with God but also with great trepidation for He had revealed to me that this would not be an easy time, but a stormy time in my heart and life.

So, let’s back up a moment and see what God revealed to me the week before my summer Sabbatical begins.

I’ve been studying the book of Acts this year. Last week, I was reading through Acts 27:1-44, the Apostle Paul is on his way to Rome. During this time they encounter some storms on the sea as they are trying to make it to Rome safely. There are some interesting things that stuck out to me and hit me right between the eyes. Was I ready for what was to come?

First, in verses 9-12, Paul warns them of disaster to come, but they did not listen to him. They were more concerned about the harbor not being suitable for wintering then for the impending danger to come. They wanted to move on and possibly make it to their destination before winter. They are taking off around August or September. It is late in the season, not a good time to be traveling.

Many times God gives us warnings and asks us to wait patiently on Him, but we think that we know better. We can’t wait. We need to move now. If we wait any longer we will miss the window of opportunity to serve Him, or to do something that we think is a good thing to do. But the time may not be right for this move. God gives us warnings for our good, if we will just wait on Him to direct our steps.

I’m reminded of a saying I once heard, “Doing the right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing”. How many times have I done the right thing but it was at the wrong time and later there were some consequences. Not always the best thing to do.

Second, in verses 13 – 20, they started out because the wind was a nice, gentle breeze, but it soon turned into a hurricane force “northeaster”. It came up suddenly and threw them off course. They started to throw the cargo over board to lighten the ship. After many days of not seeing the sun or stars the people on board began to lose hope.

There are times in our lives when it looks like we should make that next move and get started on the thing that God has asked us to do, but then there is a storm, a struggle, a challenge that comes up and throws us back and forth on the waves of life. After many days of struggling and feeling like there is no way out we start to lose hope and want to give up. We become so discouraged thinking that there is no place to go.

Third, in verses 21-38, Paul tells the men they need to eat, for they had not eaten in fourteen (14) days. The food will give them strength for what laid ahead. He gives them words of encouragement, no one will be lost only the ship will be destroyed. Some did not believe what Paul said and tried to escape. But all had to stay together or be lost. After they ate, they threw the rest of the food overboard, as well.

Many times we have situations in our lives that may cause us to be afraid, not sure of the next step, or what is happening around us. God may ask us to throw off the extra cargo that holds us down. Or maybe to throw over the extra tack. Maybe even the extra food.

We only need to hold on to Jesus for today’s needs. He will get us through the situation. We need to stay focused on Him and what He asks of us in our lives for today. For our strength to be renewed we need to eat the daily food of God’s Word. Through off the extra things and focus solely on His Word, not the words of others.

The things we throw off are the things that entangle us, slow us down, the extra baggage from a former relationship, or situation that we just haven’t let go of yet. We need to lighten the load. Sometimes that may even mean getting rid of the good things in our life to focus on the best things. Sometimes those good things pull us down.

Fourth, in verses 39-41, we see that they saw land (hope) and went for it. They got stuck on the sandbar and the boat was destroyed, but all 276 people on board the ship made it safely to shore. They lost everything but their lives.

Sometimes that is where we are at in our lives. We need to lose everything, throw it off, but cling to God, the only One who can set us free and keep us safe. He is our hope and strength.

God may ask us to stick together to make it through a tough time. Or He may ask us to throw off the things that hold us down and entangle us. Things that keep us from serving Him fully. Even at times, we may need to cut the lifeboats in order to cling to what is most important.

So, before Jedidiah left, and my summer Sabbatical began, God had shown me that I am in the middle of a storm and needing to throw off the cargo, the ship tack, as well as cut loose the lifeboats. That was what He and I were going to be doing this summer.

I know that God is going to do some amazing things in my heart and I prayed that I would be able to weather the storm and turn out better, stronger, still holding onto the truth that God is God. And that He is my only love.

God even asked me to let go of Jedidiah, one of my lifeboats, and learn to trust Him once again. Jedidiah is gone this summer for me to realize that I cannot depend on him always being here. It is time to let go. Let him grow up and be the man that God has called him to be. I have done my job. The rest is now up to God. Yes, there are still a few things that I am needed for in his life, but not as much. I am needing to let him go. One of my lifeboats is being cut loose.

So, as I entered this Sabbatical with God alone, I entered it with great anticipation and great fear of what is to come. I am already finding out that He has a bigger plan than I could ever imagine. He has already begun the chiseling of the rough spots, so there must be much for us to accomplish for me to be ready to be used for Him in the future.


Lord, As I begin this journey with You may I look to You to be my strength, my courage, my stronghold. I let go and trust You as we go through this storm together. The storm of letting go and letting You direct my next steps. Thank You for always being there and guiding me to what is next in my life. Thank You for taking the chisel to my life and making the rough into something beautiful. In Jesus’ Name Amen.


Finding rest in the Journey

Have you ever started out on a journey and not quite known where you were going or what you would find? You aren’t quite sure what you will need for the journey?

That is how my sabbatical began. All I knew was that I was to go on a Sabbatical with God during the 12 weeks that my son is gone to work at camp. This journey was to include a time of rest and refreshment from serving at our church and a time of searching for direction with my business and writing. It was to include some serious time alone with God in studying His Word. This is my summer journey with God.

Come join me as I share this adventure with God. May you walk with me and be encouraged. May you be challenged in your own walk with the Lord as you see His hand in my life. May He encourage you to find rest in Him.

Be Still, and Know that I AM GOD. Psalm 46:10

Each blog entry will find me reflecting on the things that God is revealing to me while I rest in Him. My reflection I pray will give Him the honor and glory for what He is doing in my life and how He is my everything. May He put a new bounce in my step as He heals me from the inside out. A new song in my heart as I find my strength and peace in Him.

So, come and join me on my Sabbatical Journey with God. Summer 2014