posted by on Blog Entries

No comments

Today my post is an article on Destiny in Bloom called, Can You Just Love Me? This one is super near and dear to my heart because there is nothing like being loved when your unlovable … when we do this, we become to the world Jesus with skin on!

Great Love,

~Ris

posted by on Blog Entries

6 comments

My friends invited me to a Gal’s day out in the sun at their family’s lake house to celebrate the beginning of summer, there would be tanning, and eating, and water sports like skiing and jet skis. As I agreed to this fun-day several thoughts ran through my mind. Although I welcomed a day with my friends sans children near the water (yippee – translated peaceful day without the fear of small peoples drowning and this Mama jumping in with all her clothes on and yes this has happened … more than once;) I also had other thoughts like …

How I don’t like getting dirty

Fish pee and poop in lakes

A lake is a large (pretty much stagnant) body of water

That water could possibly touch me

I might get dirty

Then surface thoughts delved a little deeper into memory thoughts like …

Remember when you last tried to ski?

How old was I again?

What were the names of those people?

Ohh, wait! This memory doesn’t feel so good.

Ug. That was horribly awkward.

I was totally embarrassed!

I don’t want to think about that anymore.

Stuff it!

Are you completely lost? Let me bring you into that memory but with purpose in mind. You see I’m going to take you into a completely insecure moment from my life only to show you we all have the ability to overcome fears and failures that attach themselves to memories from our past that want to define how we react to trying new things in the future.

I was nineteen years old and in Teen Challenge (TC is a one year Christian resident program for those overcoming many addictions, primarily alcohol and drug addiction) in southern California. On one of my weekend passes home towards the end of my Teen Challenge program I met a wonderful Christian woman on an Amtrak train. We talked about God, about my testimony of all he had done in my heart, she shared about her two sons and her daughter a couple years younger than myself. I enjoyed her company and her spirit to love me and revel in God’s plan to restore and renew me. We became pen pals.

When I graduated Teen Challenge she invited me out to visit her at her home. I thought I’d be spending time talking with her like we had in letters and on the train. Trying to “think of me” and what I would “like” to do, she  set up for her two sons slightly older than myself and their friends (guys and gals), all of which I didn’t know, to take me skiing out on the lake with their boat. Ok! I have to add that they all knew how their Mom met me, where I recently came from and why I was there. They knew my whole story. I didn’t know one thing about them. Can we say … charity case? Because that’s exactly how I felt. Not to mention I haven’t been around any males my age in a year (Teen Challenge has separate facilities per gender), let alone in a bathing suit. As she shared her arrangements with me and I met these young people I became completely insecure and traumatized. The whole plan to come visit with this sweet God-loving lady had gone terribly wrong. I came to be encouraged and left mortified.

I understand, there are people (you may be one of them :) ) that grew up on lakes … doing water sports. You don’t care about the fish pee. You love the adrenaline of going fast and being athletic. I admire that. I however grew up in San Diego, California riding boogie boards in fresh salt water.  I was not prepared to try and learn how to ski with a group of young adults that had been skiing their whole lives.

The car and boat ride were awkward to say the least. Bless their hearts! They did their best to ask questions about me and talk about themselves, which only led to clearly defining the vastly different lives we had led. I thought … please just slap a scarlet letter on me already. I felt judged and see through but it wasn’t them … it was my own insecurities and fear. And then it was my turn to ski. I mustered what dignity I could find to put those dumb skis on. I jumped in that fish pee water (totally grossed out) and endeavored to (if you’ve participated in this sport before you know just what these next words mean and what it takes for them to happen) … “Stand Up.” The others patiently waited their turn as I would go on to fall on my face several times. I wanted to get out but they would say (trying to be nice),  “Try again! This time you’ll get it!”

It was torture. I never got up. I felt embarrassed. I felt alone. I felt naked. I NEVER wanted to do that again. I wanted to go home. Fast.

So fast forward, I am a 34-year-old Mom of four boys not a 19-year-old young woman. My friends have invited me to the lake. There will be skiing there. I’m revisited by an inner-vow, “I will NEVER do that again.” And come on, this stuff is subtle  … I didn’t make a big deal about not wanting too. I just simply made the decision before I went that I was just going to tan and enjoy watching my friends, preferably from a place where I touched the least amount of water 😉 .

I watched my friend Beth who has three small children get out there and fearlessly (and I say fearlessly!) rock her water-sport self on her skis. I thought good for her. I love that. I watched some of my other sweet mama friends get out there and give it a whirl. It didn’t matter if they “stood up,” it was that they tried. I loved that!

And then I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart two words, “Go try.” My precious friends were unaware of this internal dialogue as I looked and assessed the skis and assessed my ego 😉 . I had a choice to try something new and change the memory that associated itself with skiing every time I heard it mentioned. I had the opportunity to fail or succeed (not in front of complete strangers), but in front of my closest friends who didn’t offer obligated words of encouragement but deep rich words that came from relationship.

I started preaching to myself on the inside, “Don’t you let this rule you! Ris, you can do this! Conquer your fears!” I put those skis on, in the fish pee water, well, after practicing how I was supposed to hold the rope and pull up a few times on the deck. I wish I could tell you I magically “stood up” the first time. But I didn’t. It was probably the fifth time that I felt what they were talking about and snapped up to standing. It was kind of a huge moment, that didn’t last long, because I fell again (and since I synced my new phone and lost all my phone pictures from June, I can’t show you one of the truly glamorous times I flew forward on my face). I went on the get up a few more times. It felt good. It felt good to break the inner-vow and good to conquer fear and failure. It felt like … freedom! Here are a couple pictures of what the process of freedom looked like for me.

The next day as I was pondering these events in my heart and bragging on myself to my boys and husband. I heard the sweet whisper of my precious friend (the Holy Spirit) as He affirmed my heart with these words of wisdom, in which I cannot take credit,

“When trying new things, Falling isn’t failure … it’s practice.”

So I pray that when you have opportunities to redeem the past with the heart decisions of today, you would choose to risk failure all the while  you are conquering fear!

So with one hand on my tiara and band-aids on my knees (from trying more new things, of course!),

Your friend,

~Ris

posted by on Blog Entries

11 comments

Have you ever had this thought … who the heck am I anyways? That question alone was the catalyst to the following conversation with God.

Please note this is not a manicured article, this is pretty much like you sitting on the couch across from me in my living room, hopefully with a latte’ :)

It was right before a Woman’s conference at my church (Gateway Church) called Pink Impact that I began this conversation with the Holy Spirit about my identity in Ministry. I started in one of my regular prayer times with the Lord, nothing religious or impressive I promise, powerful prayer doesn’t usually look like what the enemy likes to hit you over the head with while he judges your ability to know God. I like to talk to God while pacing around my kitchen in circles and what may look like to others like I’m talking to myself and really enjoying it. This time consists of pouring out my heart in words and then praying in the spirit and then praying my heart until I get His heart. It’s like He just downloads His heart on the issue at hand. I’ve learned to enjoy and savor those quiet moments when it’s His turn to talk.

So of course He was aware of all the insecurity wrapped up in that question; He knew I needed to hear Him to speak to it. He knew that one question was really a whole bunch of questions, who am I, how the heck do people see me and how do you make sense of all you’ve called me to be? One moment I’m in the deep waters sharing revelations on the power of prayer and the prophetic the next minute the Lord is asking me to do kung-fu meets tae-bo moves in a skit called to make His woman laugh and receive truth through entertainment ministry (Can we call it that?).  “Correlation please?” was basically my question before the Lord.  But I quickly realized I was asking the wrong question. It shouldn’t be, “How do they see me?” it should be, “How do you see me?” Paradigm shift. I began asking the Holy Spirit, “Who do you say that I am as far as my identity in the way it pertains to ministry stuff? I kinda feel like a Christian bipolar … funny one moment, deep the next. What do you say about that … I really wanna know?”

So you know all the sermons on not jumping the gun and forcing what God has put in your heart, ya not so much me. I am the complete opposite. It’s like the Holy Spirit has consistently had to throw me from the nest and convince me I can fly. I was very comfortable hiding behind the oober-gifted people in my life like my husband and one of my crazy talented friends. I am a great personal cheerleader. Then … God asked me to do things that the thought of them made me want to pee my pants.

And well this is my blog, I don’t mind a little tell the truth shame the devil here 😉 . Yes I wanted to pee my pants but my heart couldn’t help but say, “Whatever you ask, I’ll do it, even if I have to do it scared!” And of course every time I stepped out and didn’t land on my face kissing concrete, I began to have confidence in God’s faithfulness. If He told me to do it … He’s not only going to hold my hand, He is going to rest His presence on it … it would have the ability to minister and bear fruit in other’s lives.  That alone blew my mind.

What I like most about the Lord is His voice. When we ask a question it’s not left echoing into space … my God speaks. So in all this asking about how to appropriate who I am, the ministries He has called me to and the expression of that to others … He simply spoke, “The square diamond, study it, you’ll like it.”

Seriously I went to my computer slash dear friend and put “history of square diamond,” in the search engine of yahoo. The treasure hunt of what God wanted to speak to me began. Here is what I learned:

  • The square diamond was first cut 60 years ago and called the Barion cut and was perfected in the last 30 years.
  • The square diamond is now called the Princess cut.
  • The Princess cut can only be cut from stones that have depth.
  • The princess cut has up to 76 facets cut making it the most brilliant sparkling diamond cut.
  • The more facets a diamond has, greater is it’s ability to shine once the light hits it.  Because of the depth it has the ability to shine from deep with in the diamond.
  • The Princess cut hides the most imperfections of any cut and yet it is more brilliant than any other cut.
  • This cut retains more rough diamond than other cuts.
  • It’s four corners reaching out makes it vulnerable if not incased in a proper frame.

Has the Holy Spirit already been speaking to you as you read those facts. He was just downloading like crazy to my heart about how He created me to be mutli-faceted. How He has called us to shine from every facet. That although I have depth, He has called me to shine from every facet/expression He has called me to be. When humor is needed … He says shine. When the prophetic is needed  … He says shine. When revelation is needed … He says shine.  He created me with so many facets. So that day by choice I totally embraced the different expressions of who I am and how He wants to use all of them to bring people to Him and to the freedom of accepting themselves the way He has made them. I am ok with the fact I am a total dork. Dork; in the best best definition of the word of course :) . I laugh out loud in movies, I cry if I see God in anything, I make people dress up red carpet for my birthday to watch the Oscars and on the flip side I love seeing woman set free to walk in intimacy with the Lord, I desire prayer to be de-mystified and attractive. I want all people to see my friend the Holy Spirit for who He really is. He loves to laugh and dance. He smiles while His kindness woos us to new levels of death. Yes I said it. Oh but that you would understand how sweet death to self is (that’s another blog). He doesn’t have a lightening bolt in His hand just the scars of Jesus that promises us the ability to overcome by what Jesus has done!

With great resolve I declare I am a diamond, a diamond of the Princess cut and so are you! I pray that through some glimpse of this revelation and the history of the diamond cut called the Princess cut the Holy Spirit spoke something new to your heart about your identity. You don’t have to be one way … look one way. You are brilliant in all the ways (facets) He has created in you. Nothing about you is unusable for Him. Not one part of you is a mistake … it’s how your cut! You were created to shine the reflection of His light.  He wants to shine through all the ways you are … YOU!

With Great Love and from one Princess cut diamond to another! Go Shine!

~Ris