Category Archives: Friendship

June 13, 2019 Rush Levi Lewis

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Hello, DearHeart.

Today’s Facebook memory flashed up like they do – and apparently, a year ago, my writing was on prayer. Divine intervention brought it full circle to be placed back in my lap today.

God works like that. Supernaturally. In full circles.

Here’s the story this year.

Rush Levi Lewis was born yesterday.

Seven pounds, one ounce.

Twenty inches long.

4:15 pm

His ‘Gigi’, Stephanie, Holly’s mom, is a Nurse Practitioner. She’s pretty handy to have around … she is our resident-“Holly, call your mom”-medical-issue-advisor. She was with Levi and Holly all night and all day through the labor and delivery. She’s smart and she’s tough.

Stephanie, the medical professional, came to the waiting room Wednesday and told us “he’s here and they have taken him to the NICU, his breathing is very labored, he’s having to work so hard, he is really working hard …”

Then, the medical professional turned into the Gigi, and she cried.

If I cry, mehhhh, it may or may not be a thing. I cry lots. But, for her to cry … this was serious. And, we knew it.

I panic-called my mom, then

I composed a SOS text to the village: prayer warriors, family praying peeps, praying sisterhood peeps, close peeps to Levi and Holly:

“Baby is here. Trouble breathing. Took him to NICU immediately. Please pray”.

I hit SEND.

A few seconds later, deep inside, like an extra thud of a heavy heartbeat, I felt them.

Prayer Warriors.

They caught my attention … hushed me … the position of their hearts – as if their collective, praying knees rumbled in folding to the ground.

Minutes later, soul sister, T, called. She was driving. Maybe biking … speaker phone … I heard her sure voice as she skipped any pleasantries and went straight to the throne … “Ang, the God that created his inmost parts has not left him. He is with him in that incubator and within him this very moment. He is threading his tiny cells together so the membranes will mature and hold air so his lungs will operate at full capacity. He is finishing his blood cells to deliver oxygen. It will happen because Jesus’ hand is on Him. He is holding him right now to bring healing into him. He will not leave him, the same God holding you and Dale is holding him. He holds Levi and Holly. He will give him full breaths, that baby is not alone right now …”

Levi walked into the waiting room and exhaled, “they’ve just told us that he is making a really quick turn-around and if he keeps it up at this pace, he will be in the room with us within an hour.”

Within an hour.

Within an hour.

And, he was.

They brought that tiny baby into the room and put him in his mommas’ arms within an hour. Breathing fully.

Y’all, my criers-tears are dripping off my chin as I write this.

You can say that the medical staff defaulted to the side of caution, that it wasn’t really that big of a deal anyway, that he would’ve been fine if they’d just let him be.

But, any excuse made would trivialize the power of my God’s immediate response to the prayers of His children. Papaw and Gram in travail-level prayer … you and me and T and every knee that bows and declares Christ as King of Kings – that brings HIS POWER to every situation. And, one thing I know for certain, my God is not trivial in the immediate grace He delivers.

He delivers miracles every single second. Some take longer for our eyes to see than others, but He is responding immediately to every request.

Today, I’ve asked myself a thousand times, “what did I ever do to be so blessed?”

Grace. All grace.

Ask and know your miracles are being delivered even as you form the words.

Angie

June 11, 2019 reframe

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Most mornings around here, the Oklahoma sunrise is soft and inviting. Mmmmm.

Soft and inviting.

Like healing words.

Unlike the sting of hurting words.

Are there any that are haunting you?

You know, you can’t solve problems with the same mindset that created them. You have to be willing to know there is another way to think about the issue.

Imagine stepping outside of your view for a moment.

Consider your thoughts.

Consider your feelings.

Now go way off in the future and look back at the scars – having overcome the hurt.

What are your thoughts there?

What could you learn?

What can you preserve from this future view and bring back to the present to help you through today’s heartbreak?

What new behaviors can you bring back to the table today?

Behaviors that help you overcome.

What if you look at this ‘issue’ … your hurt … through the eyes of God Almighty? Go inside His eyes … see the crystal clear clarity of His thoughts, fully and completely go inside His view and let Him truly untangle it and understand its help to your growth.

To your healing.

To your story.

A story that will being healing to another in your future.

Know that every hurt place is a process with a purpose that delivers you to an enhanced wisdom. Trust Him. Trust His ways.

‘There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise brings healing.’ (Proverbs 12:18 HCSB)

Wake up.

Your wisdom is growing.

Reframe it as a purpose.

Go.

June 5, 2019

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Good morning, DearHeart.

There are times I feel like I just don’t measure up. We weren’t meant to. We need each other. I’ve learned that my feeling of failing someone or failing a task … well, it always comes with a hard-stop lesson to be learned. I can’t speak for men on this, but I can speak for females … we girls can get so tangled up in the comparison game that we shut down. Can’t move. Over-analyze. Over react. And, can find we have fallen headlong into analysis paralysis. This delights Satan to no end. Because if the enemy can isolate us, then he can SO influence us. Right?

Please, someone, tell me I’m not the only one. 😳

In the late 90’s I was introduced to personality type testing, and I have been intrigued since. Any time I get to train a group for a set time, I’ve always begun with personality assessments. Personality type studies help me stay sane when life with people gets hard to handle. There are cycles of behavior with each unique personality … strengths and weaknesses … and for every weakness, when we look closely, we can find another soul close by with a strength … close enough to share life and to compensate. God thought of everything when He put us together. We are like a puzzle – we need each other to make a whole picture. In every weakness, God raises up a strength. Beautiful. What a blessing! But, when we covet the strength of another we forget His goodness. We very quickly forget our God, forget that His ways are right. As we acknowledge Him, we remember. God honors and blesses His people when we continue to recognize Him for all that He does in our lives and recognize His work in lives surrounding us. They have not been placed with us by accident. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

When you feel like you don’t measure up, remember that God makes straight the crooked places within us. Where our hearts are wounded, He makes us whole. As you and I open our hearts in the simplicity of rising into our unique personalities, admitting to Him that we are totally powerless in the areas of our weaknesses, His illumination redeems us. Very often, it comes through another soul close by.

May we realize the impact our influence as women has on our partners and children and those around us. You and I were not created to be perfect. We were created to share our strengths and weaknesses … to play a vital role in God’s story.

Wake up.

Share yourself.

Receive the gifts of another’s strength.

Go.

June 3, 2019 sands

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Good morning, DearHeart.

We went back to the ocean last week where I heard waves crash onto the shore, delivering new sea sands then pulling away the old. Almost reluctantly at times. Always changing. Always trading the old for the new. I was speaking to a friend a few days ago and her story reminded me that any “no” from God only comes because there is a pull toward the greater “YES” at stake. Yet, in the process of getting to that “yes” fear has a way of creeping in. You know, I cannot help but wonder, if at times in life, we aren’t all a little like Joseph’s brothers … tangled up in fear over past mistakes. Do we, too, find our thoughts stuck in the sands of the “what if’s” … glancing back at life events …

-relationships we once had

-former jobs

-houses we have lived in

-cars we once owned

-opportunities we lost

-bank accounts

-positions once held

You get the point. God brings about change in our lives. He moves us forward & yet we continue to “look back”. He tells us to keep moving forward & we keep our gaze, longingly, on the world we once loved, yet for whatever journey … now we are here.

“You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good, in order to preserve the lives of many people who are alive today because of what happened. You have nothing to fear. I will take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them with kind words that touched their hearts.” Genesis 50:20-21 GNB

Joseph comforted his people even though they wronged him, and, to banish all their fears, he spake kindly to them. Broken spirits must be bound up and encouraged. Will you see a broken spirit, today?

Can you choose to encourage those who are facing fear?

Or, an accuser?

Maybe a lost soul?

Those we love and forgive, we must not only do well for, but speak kindly to. Kind words. That’s what love does. Love creates change. It is what pulls us to the new.

Wake up.

Let love flow from you to them.

Embrace the newness of that change.

Go.

May 30, 2019 waves

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Good morning, DearHeart.

This is my view this morning. There are no words to describe the feeling of not seeing a thing, not a single thing, but water for as far as the eye can see.

Just water.

Waves.

My mind is trying to find words for the wonderment of realizing that water as far reaching as the horizon also means water equally as deep. It is truly immeasurable. It holds deep places where man has yet to explore. That is mind blowing.

It speaks of a Creator, my God that is majestic and in control beyond my understanding or ability to grasp.

It boasts of a God, Who Alone, holds the oceans in their place.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?” Job 38:4-11 ESV

And, watching the waves roll … who am I to have the audacity to worry about any concern or detail going on in my life.

It is safe to trust Him with this day … with this season. My God can hold an ocean back with one little shore. He can hold my loves and my hours with the same intensity as He holds these waves.

Wake up.

Keep it all in perspective.

Go.

May 24, 2019 haters

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Good morning, DearHeart.

There are souls in this world who carry deep insecurities and the way those troubled wounds get handled may be projecting their hurt onto you. This can be especially true if you happen to have some measure of respect and relationship with people. It can also happen if you have any measure of groundedness that they seek. Think of anyone you know that has experienced success … they have their fans – and they also have haters. And, both fans and haters may know nothing about who these souls truly are as human beings. They are just a name that rises in today’s media who happen to be a canvas onto whom people can project their hopes and dreams or … their fears.

You could be that to someone too. Doing your thing for the greater good. Loving well.

Then come the haters.

Christ set the standard for dealing with haters. He gave His life. He doesn’t even expect you to do the same, but from His example we know how to respond when criticism comes.

Consider the deliverer.

Consider what you can do with their message.

There may be a kernel of truth in what they say; find an opportunity from which you can grow from their slander. Simply separate the cruelty of the delivery (harder than it sounds sometimes), from a hidden opportunity in their words or behavior.

Focus on the people who believe in you and love you. For Christ, toward the end of His flesh days, that must’ve just seemed like His mom and a few from His inner circle. Maybe that’s all you’ve got – that’s enough. Every person who rises knows the importance of those who believe in you. The importance of their inner circle. They know where they can get the

push they need,

the bump they need,

the encouragement they need.

Even if it is only from one person.

Focus on those who care about you no matter what and ask for their perspective on how you continue to show up in this life. Cherish those people deeply, and let them know it. Feeling unloved has got to be the loneliest feeling in the world. Reach out to those you trust.

Know you are worthy.

Connect with your heart.

Moment by moment, all respect within for the wonder that Your Creator breathed life into, share that respect with every encounter.

“The Lord protects and preserves them— they are counted among the blessed in the land— he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.” Psalm 41:2 NIV

Wake up.

You’re protected and preserved.

Go.

May 22, 2019 grace again

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Good morning, DearHeart.

What struggle keeps rising to the top? What demon has a hatchet over your head … waiting, waiting, like the whack-a-mole game. Set tense and ready to set you back. On your heels.

I know mine.

And, some days I would go under if not for grace.

God’s grace,

the depth of his love,

and the magnificence of his kindness …

allow this level of grace more and more in your life … for it truly is epic.

Call in the full experience of God’s favor and blessing in a way that continually surprises and delights you as you walk in your God-given purpose. Even when that purpose meets resistance.

Be reminded … a whisper from The Holy … that …

despite what may be your obvious failings …

despite what failings may be made up in your head …

despite what failings have been conjured up by others …

God is drawn to you (you’re a grace magnet) and He will never fail or forsake you.

This is where you grow … you shine as a trophy of his grace in declaration to a watching world that God is good … all the time.

Even in the even here places.

“The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ,

the extravagant love of God,

the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.” (2 Corinthians 13:14, MSG)

God’s gentle grace comforts us when we are deeply wounded.

His larger-than-life grace covers us when we are wrestling with hardship.

His empowering grace helps us to stay the course when the going gets tough.

And … God’s epic grace shows us how to rise above our pain and circumstances with enduring hope and faith in him.

God’s grace can transform

every life,

every situation,

every mistake,

every imperfect life and make it something that is good … useful to God and precious.

To survive and even thrive in the midst of our suffering takes grace. Call it in.

Wake up.

Call in Christ.

Go.

May 14, 2019 tremble

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Good morning, DearHeart.

I often begin in the early quiet to direct the day … this day as I’d like it to be. . . where everything that comes my way, I greet with grace and confidence and the purest joy of Christ – ‘no matter what’ kind of deep-seeded joy.

Allow yourself to see deeply, too … to see with eyes of grace – through the scowls on the faces of others … into their heart where a space in them is responding to you with kindness. Awe – the Master is at work in them through you. Can you see it? Their attack may

appear to be toward you, but it is the mark their desperation for the Holy One. The enemy would like to trip you up by hurling into you an attitude of hurt and defensiveness – but you know the more damaging a person behaves, the greater their cry is for the light of the Savior. Only He can transform any situation into a healing experience, Beloved. Open up your heart,

ask,

and allow yourself to be used as a creative instrument of Divine healing and evolution.

“And now they’re at it again! Take care of their threats and give your servants fearless confidence in preaching your Message, as you stretch out your hand to us in healings and miracles and wonders done in the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

While they were praying, the place where they were meeting trembled and shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God’s Word with fearless confidence.” Acts 4:29-31 MSG

Wake up.

With fearless confidence send Christ’s healing into them.

Go.

May 13, 2019 turned

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Good morning, DearHeart.

“The stone which the builders rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all. This was done by the Lord; what a wonderful sight it is!” Psalms 118:22-23

Good morning, DearHeart.

I loved the smell of Pop Coon’s barn when I was little. Combinations of hay, fuel and cattle and lumber and all the stuff that comes together in a farmer’s day. Even now, I will often walk through the “shop” type classroom where students are learning everything from construction to landscaping to small engine repair, just to breathe the air of hard work and accomplishment … the instructor grins every time I say, “just walking through – I love the smell of this place.”

We have a personal Carpenter of Love that has set you and me on His workbench where one touch totally transforms. We call out His name, desperate for His touch – the God of the Angel Armies is captured by the cry. Every time.

Your cry.

He sets our tender heart on His lathe of pure love and He begins to spin. Again.

Where rejected, He sands away the shawty grooves. Where termites have ravished, the Master transforms the fibers, then refinishes the surface.

Rare and transformed.

No longer worn.

His work sets you in a higher place with the presence of His mark.

You are His heart. He is your shield.

“But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain.” Psalms 3:3-4 NLT

Wake up.

Be turned.

Go.

May 7, 2019 hats

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Did you see the Kentucky Derby and pick a favorite horse over the weekend? It was an insane ending that made no sense to me – where it was won by the second place finisher due to instant replay technology, not won by the horse that crossed the finish line first. Apparently, the horse in first stepped out of his unmarked lane – who knew there were lanes (?) and got into another horse’s personal space. How frustrating and messed up is that? I bet if they put big designer hats on the horses like they do the ladies, then their space would would be marked clearly. They may have a time keeping them on, but surely the ladies had the same struggle – especially with those side gigs.

We humans wear lots of hats … I’ve have been a

daughter,

sister,

wife,

in-law,

mother,

employee,

aunt,

mother-in-law,

and Nanny.

Who knows what hats will be donned today?

The truth is I haven’t and won’t wear any hat because I could fit the role perfectly … as I am quite flawed, and my mistakes have been plentiful.

Yet, over and over God has positioned me to fill a role for which I was totally unprepared, or unequipped, to do. I have asked the question many a times, “Am I good enough?”

As His called one, whatever the role, I’ve learned it has nothing to do with being

good ‘enough’ (it’s impossible),

or prepared ‘enough’ (it’s impossible),

or equipped ‘enough’ (it’s impossible),

God positions us. He calls us to prepare as best we can and to just “be”.

Be there.

Do the thing.

Be in Him.

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NLT)

It is His grace. His power. His fuel. And it works best in our weaknesses.

Our weaknesses are opportunities for the power of Christ to be seen and speak of God’s grace.

And … He is enough.

Wear the hat today that He has chosen for you. He will meet you there.

Wake up.

Be in Him.

Go.

Photo: The little chick under this hat is my great niece, Rawlings Coon, daughter of Jared and Mandi Coon. Isn’t she a cutie!