Thursday, October 31, 2019

You Are Seated with Royalty (or did you know?) - #takeyourseat (and a recap of some things I learned in Estonia PLUS PICTURES)

One week ago this morning, I was sharing my last message on being anchored in hope with the women the Lord brought to Estonia on retreat.

I'd nearly lost my voice, ached all over, and ran a low grade fever for two days prior. I'm not one prone to picking up colds, somehow this one pounced on me like ugly on an ape (and here's a picture to show how awful it was - well, if you could zoom in you'd see the big bags under my eyes).


He is a sustainer, allowing me to finish strong and well, rest in between speaking and counseling (at a distance), attend debrief meetings, and enjoy a few little touristy highlights (we visited a Viking Village, hiked through a fairy/elvin enchanted forest to magical waters, and toured a KGB museum).

(in the KBG museum - a direct line to Mother-Russia)

(in the enchanted forest at the magical elves or fairies showed their faces)

In the midst of it all, I missed writing a post for this blog....and recognized right off it was perfectly OK (first time in about four years, though)!

As I wander toward the finish line of my study on what it looks like to be "seated in Christ," it dawned on me that this past ten days of ministry, I found myself seated with royalty.

Not everyone gets to sit at a table with that much greatness!

I was honored.

Nearly 100 different royals...

Different faces...

Different names...

Different background stories of how they came to be at my table...

Different cultures, languages, areas of service all tucked into their belts...

But only one passion!

The same passion!


We were all at the same table, because we all wanted to bring honor and glory to Jesus.

We all want to serve Him and make His name GREAT AMONG THE NATIONS!

We came to the table on equal footing.


Some came weary.

Some came ready to work.

(praying over a volunteer at our personal sanctuary time one evening)

Some needed refreshment.

Some brought the refreshing.

We shared stories.

We shared struggles.

(My dear friend, Melody, who serves in Estonia sharing her "donut moment" and how God met her right there at that retreat in a personal way)

We shared lifestyles and common-denominators of what it is like living in a different community thousands of miles removed from the American Dream.

And, once more, my mind time-traveled across years, states, countries, languages, traditions, jobs, financial stability to a land far-away, but near-and-dear to my heart.

I was reminded of how special it is to be called to God's work, God's way, where ever God leads.

These "go-ers" love what they get to do.

(Old town Tallinn in the square at night)

Like us, their go-ing is met with extreme joys and equally disheartening lows.

Like we did, they experience the thrill of being in the Lord's service, and the fears that come with living in some dangerous corners.

They enjoy the diversity of culture, but the isolation and homesickness away from family overwhelms at the most random of moments.

Sometimes they feel guilty for having such a dichotomy of feelings.

Sometimes, it's shame that sticks to them, because they don't feel they measure up to "trusting God and acknowledging Him in all their ways?"


It's nice to sit at a table with a group of women who get your life; who aren't quick to judge; who can speak LIFE back into you, along with renewing, refreshing, and restoring your soul.

When I flew out of Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport last Sunday, a seed lodged it's way into the soil of my heart.

I want to water it, tend it, and watch it grow.

That will take intention.

I'm no longer on the frontlines of M-work, serving the Lord globally.

(Each volunteer brought individuals gifts of things that attendees were in need of -- all of which were a huge blessing to these gals. One commented: "My mom died this year, and my dad forgot my birthday. This felt like a gift she would have sent me, and I took it as from her."  Another said, "I've needed mascara for a long time. You know on the field it is the little things that really matter. I couldn't find affordable mascara. BUT RIGHT HERE IN THIS BAG, first thing I picked up.....MASCARA!" To these ROYALS, these gifts helped them know that they were seen, heard, and validated.)

When I'm back on US soil, it's easy to forget what it's like to be thousands of miles separated from all that is culturally normal, away from family, friends and the goings on back home. 

Here in my busy-ness, it's so easy to give financially to our workers serving far away, and call it good.

In fact, it's so easy to text, or direct deposit, or Easy-Tithe straight into accounts that we don't even have to think about where the money is going that is sent out on a regular schedule. 

Sure, our churches try to highlight each go-er on a random basis.

We get the newsletters in our email in boxes, or they come snail-mail to us.

(Truth is that between 32-40% of our donor list reads our email newsletters...and the reports from the field are that this is COMMON!)

We glance at the pictures, read the headlines, and toss them in the trash.

We forget we are seated at the same table, and we are all ROYALTY. 

These global "go-ers" are seated with us, but they have become invisible.

This was the word that struck me most as I debriefed, counseled, chatted with, and talked over meals with our royals. 

It was a recurring word.

Many feel INVISIBLE.

Distanced (this was another word).



(Gift giving to the ladies was a highlight for all!)

"Invisible" ranks high in worst feeling......EVER!

Back to the seed that was planted.

Instead of being invisible, I want my global workers to feel included, seen, heard, valued.

I want to be more deliberate with those we support financially.

It takes no time at all to shoot back an email response of two or three lines to let them know I do read, and will pray right now over what is happening in their neck of the world.

I can write snail mail notes.  Maybe even put a small little something inside...

I remember the day I went to the mail box and picked up a letter with three sticks of gum in it (at the time we couldn't get gum). One stick was missing (stolen in customs), but those that remained were a treasure!

Another time, a friend read a note I'd sent saying how hard it was to get plastic storage bags - and the next month, she sent me two sandwich baggies that lasted my lifetime on the field.

Prayers. Handwritten, emailed, sent in a text, or on social media...

Quotes. I still have a quote someone wrote out in calligraphy and sent in the mail to me. It meant the world!

How easy to send some encouraging Bible Verse that has meant something to me of recent, and why.

A bi-weekly, or monthly, "here's what's happened at home while you've been away" - with all the little random, crazy, stuff I overlook, but will mean SO MUCH to someone who has missed it.

I have recently learned to "WhatsApp" messages with pictures; and even connect with those on social media.

(A note at the bottom of my cappuccino cup. How sweet. How NOT time consuming.)

I can easily remember to ask questions about my workers area of service, a request for an update about a prayer request...I know these things are HUGE! to men and women on the field - it says, I am LISTENING.

How easy for me to stick gift cards to Amazon or I-Tunes or Netflix in the mail or better yet, send an e-certificate to them.

(Rum-roasted almond vender on street in Old City)

I can even send small care packages - maybe enlist our small group to help over the holidays.

I want to do more...

...and, help the invisible become more visible.

Wondering today....are you seated at a table with royalty? What do you know about them? How can you move them from the invisible seat?

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Long Flights, Sabbath & "Seated with Christ"....#takeyourseat

My father-in-love's favorite book, written by Watchman Nee, summarized the Apostle Paul's letter to the Ephesians. Nee, a Chinese Bible Teacher, was arrested in 1952 on false charges, and imprisoned until his death in 1972. Penned while he languished inside a Chinese prison, "Sit, Walk, Stand" was, obviously, Nelson's go-to book. His copy was thoroughly underlined and so well-loved, with notes in the margins, that I had to purchase a fresh book off of Amazon.

(Two great books I've read as I've studied what it looks like to be "seated with Christ")

I certainly don't know why I hadn't invested the time to read it sooner.

The book is a jewel.

A rare treasure.

Simple, but profound.

Deep, but easy enough a new believer could pick up the concepts.

I've read and re-read it now several times.

It hit the mark in my soul, over and over again.

Spot on!

This is not a book report.


Today, I begin my long series of flights to Tallinn, Estonia.

In a matter of days, I'll stand before a group of global workers (can't say the "m"-word, anymore), and share my stories of what it looks like to live hope to others around us who hopelessly can't envision a better tomorrow. In fact, some of these gals may find themselves in that very place.

We don't hear it often, but those who serve, often wear the biggest targets on their backs, and an unrelenting enemy never stops shooting his fiery darts their direction.

I know.

I've experienced those attacks.


I've not been looking forward to the trip.

There's nothing glamorous about the travel-part.

However, this week, once again, I re-read "Sit, Walk, Stand," causing my perspective to change, and my appreciation for the journey to shift.

So, what does Nee offer up to make such a seismic alteration?

Simply this.

To my heart, these words resonated:

"Many Christians make the mistake of trying to walk (to go about living out the Christian life) in order to earn the right to sit. That is a reversal of the true order. Our natural reason says, "If we do not walk, how can we ever reach the goal? What can I possibly attain without effort? How can I ever get anywhere if I do not move?  

But Christianity is a paradoxical business.  If at the outset we try to do anything, we get nothing; if we seek to attain something, we miss everything.

begins not with a big
but with a big

I can not be on the run to Estonia (or on the fly), I must sit first.

Sit at the feet of my Jesus.

Sit in a position of rest.

Sit in the finished work of Jesus that allows Him to make all things ready for the ministry in Estonia.

To sit, in this case, is to Sabbath.

I think of Adam (not as in my son, Adam, but the first Adam).

This precious image-bearer was created on the sixth day.

That means Adam's first day was a Sabbath-day.

Adam didn't start by doing what he was purposed to do.

He started resting.

I needed to hear this from the Lord through Mr. Nee.

I have a whole lot of hours to Sabbath ahead of me today and into tomorrow.

I intend to rest with everything that is within me.

I'll cease striving.

My heart will seek to hear and to know God as He reveals Himself on the journey.

I'll worship more and worry none.

I'll surrender to what the Lord has in store, so that I will be fully AVAILABLE to be useful to Him when I arrive.

(Watchman Nee)


I don't know about you.

Maybe you are working too hard to be the best Christian you can possibly be, spinning your spiritual wheels, burning the candle at both ends and really getting no where.

Take your seat!



Let God first work in you, before you begin to walk it out.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Introverted Problems, Comparison, and Being Seated....#takeyourseat

Being an introverted introvert, mingling is one of the most difficult requests made of me.

Before I ever attend a gathering filled with people I don't know, I rehearse questions to ask 1) for the purpose of letting someone else carry on the conversation, 2) because extroverted folks love to be asked about their story, and 3) because often I find some commonality that will help keep the conversation going and allow me a measure of contribution.

I've learned over the years how to become an extroverted-introvert in an extrovert-dominated world.

(my own little corner in my own little world)

I must be a fairly good actress, because most people are shocked to discover that solitude matters a great deal to me (probably more than it should).

Recently, I found myself "seated" at a table eating a meal with a group of women who all knew one another, and with whom I knew not a soul.

I have no one to blame, I picked the table.

There were, in fact, a total of four in a room of 150+ that I did know.

I could have easily gone and sat with those four.

I pulled up my big-girl-panties and sat down.

As I took my seat, I rehearsed my go-to-questions.

The conversation began to take off.

I learned A LOT about this group of gals.

They were extraordinary.



Purposed in places I couldn't imagine myself ever being qualified to work.

Not only serving in the workplace, but they out-did themselves on the Home-front, the Church-front, the Community-front.


As they shared their stories, I found myself "shrinking" in that seat.

If it's possible for a human to shrink, I managed.

An image crossed my mind from the movie, "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids."

Only it was a brief video version of "Jesus, I Shrunk the Speaker of this Retreat."

In a split second, I thought to myself, "Seriously, it's better that I never get to know who is in the groups of women where I go to speak. After all, most of them are more qualified than I am to do what I'm here to do."

The more humorous part of this little story is that I drove a long way to speak on what it looks like to be "seated in the heavenlies with Jesus."

I had zoned out of the conversation, albeit briefly, but had zeroed back in just in time to hear one of the women, look at me with tears glistening on her cheeks...

"I want you to know," she began, "what you are sharing this weekend is touching me deeply. I am always comparing myself to others at work, at church, in my community, and as a mom. In my mind, I always come up short. I am not enough. I needed the reminder that when I am 'seated with Christ' my identity is secure. Thank you!"

Oh dear, new friend. Thank you!

How is it possible that in the very midst of what we are purposed to do, the enemy can so spontaneously distract?

I'd have gotten there, eventually.

But, the Lord used this table full of dear, gracious women to get me back to my proper seat more rapidly.

When we are seated at the King-Table, there is no need for comparison. 

In that place, He has a unique purpose designed specifically for each one of us.

And, He has equipped us for the purpose to which He has called us.

For that time, and that place, we are His choice.

For other times, and other places, someone else may be His pick.

At the King-Table, there is no need for self-evaluation.

There is no need for self-consciousness.




There is no need for any of this...because the King, with whom we are seated, has promised an abundant life for each of us (John 10:10).

There is no need for any of this...because the King, has unified us with a Kingdom mindset.

There is simply never a reason for comparison, because we are all "in it" for the Kingdom of the Sovereign King.

I don't completely understand it; I just know this understanding of where I'm seated transforms me and gives me a renewed sense of confidence.

This is timely.

In one week, I board another plane, for another retreat, to speak to another group of women who could all be standing in my place doing exactly what I'll be doing.

For this particular time and place, the Lord looked across the King-Table, pointed His finger at me, and said, "I choose you." 

If I'm chosen, I'm equipped.

If I'm equipped, then I'll be useful to the Master, and prepared for every good work.

And, this little introvert will be transformed into the extrovert she needs to be for this coming season.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

A Little Round Pen Instruction on Horseback....#takeyourseat in reverse

This is Tali.

Her full name is Talitha.

In Mark 5, Jesus heals Jairus' daughter.

Jairus was a big deal - he was the ruler of the local synagogue.

His daughter was sick, and nothing the family tried for a cure worked. So they came after Jesus.

On His way to Jairus' house, Jesus stops to speak with a woman who had touched the hem of his robe, and found herself cured from a twelve year "issue of blood" that had left her weak, miserable, and unclean.

In the meantime, Jairus' daughter, dies.

Those who came to inform Jairus told him to stop bothering the Teacher - after all, what can He do now?

Jesus tells Jairus, "Do not fear..."

He enters the house, takes the little girl by the hand and says to her, "Talitha cumi," which means, "Little girl arise!"

Talitha - "little girl."

Tali is just that...she's a little girl, 14 hands tall, just my size. 

I'm not the best rider (Bay calls me "intermediate," but I know better), and sometimes, Tali can get a little naughty.

When she does, my heart skips a few beats, and Jesus words echo down through the ages, "Do not fear."

This isn't a blog about fear, this is a blog about what I learned from Tali this week as I "sat with her..." not in heavenly places, but in a round pen.

This is our round pen:

The back story.

On Saturday, Bay and I took our two Tennessee Walkers up in the national forest behind our house. The last time we rode we'd seen a herd of elk, and listened as the bull bugled to his girls, then watched them skedaddle right out of view. It was breath-taking, and we hoped to repeat the scenario.

From the minute I had stepped into the stirrups, Tali seemed a bit "off."

I have those days.

She's never given me any issues (so I wasn't worried), but during the entire ride, she just wasn't her usual self.

She drug her feet.

She stumbled.

She lagged behind.

Nothing encouraged her to keep up...

I don't know what was wrong with her.

Maybe she was PMS.

Maybe she got her feelings hurt, when I climbed up on her back and got this horrible whiff and leaned over and whispered in her ear, "You stink! No, seriously, you smell really bad!"

Maybe our combined biorhythms were just a bit wonky.

Whatever it was...the ride was less than enjoyable, then got worse.

On our return home, Bay decided to see how Tali would respond if he went off in a different direction, out of sight, and I just took her on home.

Oh, brother!

(this is right where Tali prefers to be - me, as well - right behind Bay!)

She was having none of that...and I was determined I would win.

In all our rides, never has she behaved so poorly.

She threw her head.

She cried out.

She went in circles.

She backed up.

She peed.

She balked.

No way, would she move forward, and no way would I let her go the way she wanted to go (which was the way Bay and his Walker had gone). 

We were at an impasse.

Finally, Bay came back, wondering what was taking us so long to get down the mountain, at which point she was happy to follow behind him once again.

So, the next day we did a little round-pen-training.

The round pen has lots of good purposes. We put our horses in there when they need some extra TLC; when they need their shoes fitted; when they are sick and the vet needs to make a call; but it is best used for teaching, instructing, and training "in righteousness." 

The round pen is the Master's best tool for helping the horse submit. 

The bottom line - by the time the gentle instruction is over the horse comes quietly to the Master, and leans into him/her, head bowed, submissive and quiet.

After our round-pen-lesson, we went for an almost 2 hour ride, and she was super-horse. 

I couldn't have asked for a better horse. 

This is her I'm-sorry-face.

So, here's a leap...and yes, there is a point.

I got stuck this week on this verse of Scripture found in Psalm 54:4 (BSB):

Surely God is my helper, the Lord is the sustainer of my soul.

An aspect of God's character is His helpfulness. 

I understand what that looks like.

The Lord, my Master, wants to help me be the best version of what I can be. 

Yet another piece of the character-puzzle of my God is that He "sustains my soul."

The word in Hebrew is "samak," Literally it means to be at rest under the care of another...

In order for the Lord to help us, we have to allow Him to be the sustainer of our souls.

There has to be a trust, a surrender, that allows us to be at "rest" under and "lean into" His care.

He is the One and Only to whom we can fully submit, find quiet and peace for our souls.

Sometimes, just sometimes, we might get a little antsy...a little naughty...have an off day... 

Sometimes, just maybe, we need a little "seat in a round pen," doing some training with our Lord,  to remind us where we are seated, and with whom we are seated, and which of us is in control. 

But, I guarantee, I wasn't planning to take Tali anywhere that would put her in any danger. 

We were headed "home," for heaven's sake.

This day, for some reason, Tali simply had a "herd mentality" and wanted to be with her "tribe."

She wanted that above submission and obedience.  

We get that way, as well...

We forget the Lord has our best interests at heart...

We forget whom we are "seated with" and that He is leading us "safely" toward home...

...and I'm thinking the Lord knows when we need to be taken back to the round He can TRULY be our helper and the sustainer of our souls.

In this case: Take Your Seat (in reverse)!