Monday, March 21, 2011

an ordinary woman... God's extraordinary call

Hi ladies. Today, I just can't seem to focus on what I had originally planned to share. You see, in the last few weeks, God has introduced many personal changes and spiritual challenges within my own life, and I feel it is time to start sharing some of them with you. The biggest change is that the Holy Spirit has made it abundantly clear to both my husband and myself that God is calling me to press on with this small women's ministry. Overall, I don't really know what DW will look like, but I do know that I am supposed to write and speak through this medium. So, in about a month, I have decided to step down from my position as officer and business operations manager at my day job, and devote more of myself to ministry. As you can imagine, this is both exciting and daunting for both me and Chuck for many, many reasons. However, we have prayerfully decided to trust the Lord in every step as we know He oversees our future.

Since the conception of The Devoted Woman, I have been praying for God to put in front of me exactly what He wants me to be focused on in this capacity and exactly who I should meet in order to best share His message of love in action. Without going into so many details it will make your head spin, God has definitely done just that. However, the closer I have sought after the will of my King, the more Satan has tried his best to hijack my sanity. But amidst these storms, God has always proven faithful and has continually offered me His peace.

OK, so fast forwarding to today...

One of the projects God has recently put on my radar is something that will lead this ordinary woman to help a place in which I never thought God would lead... Haiti! Yes, Haiti!!! I am, at present, helping to generate silent auction items for some dear friends at the ApParent Project for a fundraiser intended to help buy land, build homes and aid the poor, the orphaned, and the widowed who lost everything in Haiti's last massive earthquake.

Resulting from this project, I've been invited to visit Haiti to meet it's people and see the devastation first hand while investigating fair trade opportunities and networking with other ministries/charities on location. This, in and of itself, has spiritually challenged my own sense of security and trust in God's promise never to leave me, and never to forsake me, and I am in heavy prayer over the decision.

To prepare for the trip, I would have to undergo several preventative measures in advance so that I may avoid contracting diseases such as hepatitis, malaria, cholera, or whatever. You see, life in Haiti is not like life in the United States. They don't have the things we do to feel safe. No, they are soooo very poor... without clean water, without shelter, without many of the necessities we foolishly take for granted each day. So, the prospect of heading directly to a place that most of us generally overlook in our comfortable commonplace of Christian life has led me to feel spiritually stripped down in pure nakedness before God's throne. But I am still prayerfully deciding to trust the Lord in every step as I am certain He oversees my future.

DW's goal has always been to educate, empower, and engage our worldwide audience of Christian women to take a more active role within our communities by personally reflecting the love of God to all the world, and by continually seeking and loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. As I now advance forward in spearheading DW's ministry full-time, to remain true to our objective, I am certain that I will be further challenging you to boldly follow Christ out of every earthly comfort zone. He calls His followers to leave everything for His sake and to step up and love in places we may never have thought He'd lead.

I hope you will answer His call and join me in obedience to the Master as we enter into His new season of change. Let's spiritually strip ourselves naked before the King of kings and trust that He will clothe us, feed us, protect us, and empower us to do the extraordinary will of Almighty God each and every day! He will never leave... He will never forsake. So, this is the day to rejoice and be glad in Him!!! Amen, precious Lord. Amen.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

Use us, Lord. We have everything because of Jesus... let us give everything because of Jesus!

Blessings, Ladies!

XOXOX

~Victoria

Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

Sunday, March 13, 2011

have patience

I have an old childhood song running through my head.  Momba used to sing this one to me when I was little...

"Have patience.  
Have patience.  
Don't be in such a hurry.

Whey you get impatient, you only start to worry.

Remember.  
Remember.
That God is patient too.

And think of all the times when others had to wait for you.

So true!"

Thanks, Momba!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

uncomfortably comfortable in corruption

Have you ever stopped, looked around, and realized that your life seems to be in disarray? That while you have been dealing with the day-to-day brush fires of the moment, your immediate surroundings, your schedule, and even your relationships have begun to appear more and more like dried kindling that could easily ignite at any given hour?

Have you ever wondered, "How did my life get so complicated... so messy... so out of control? How could I let this or that happen? Why does everything seem so loud and stressful? And why can't I seem to gain a foothold ahead of all these interruptions and distractions?"

This is how I began my day. Mind you, at no fault of my own, I have been very sick with the flu as well as dealing with severe pain from an ongoing back injury. As such, for some time I have chosen to step away from the norm in order to attend to myself. However, while I have been spending what seems like the last few months recovering and healing, Satan has been at work scheming his next attack on camp Victoria.

The enemy's intent: to trip me up and watch me fall while rendering my life ineffective in bringing glory to God Almighty.

His ammunition of the hour is to skillfully utilize loud noise, busyness, clutter, and distraction as a means of gaining momentum. His motive is to make me feel defeated and hopeless. To encourage my weary emotions to get the better of me. To monopolize my time and thoughts in order to stop me from moving forward in my life's purpose and total commitment to honor and worship the holy King of kings.

As such, today I woke up under attack - feeling extremely panicked and overwhelmed. Today, I looked around and realized that in the last month every part of my home has accumulated some form of clutter requiring my personal attention of which I have been unable to physically accommodate. That my schedule has become incredibly overbooked and unrealistic. That some of my dearest relationships have fallen into shortened neglect. And, as a result, my heart is now unsettled and worried. Yes, today I looked around and briefly reacted negatively while temporarily discarding the clear focus of my God's perspective of peace. Instead of praising His Name, all I could see was disarray, disorder, and chaos accumulating. All I could focus on was my never-ending supply of difficult tasks and problems. It's always something, right?

Have you ever been here?
Have you ever felt completely out of control and overburdened?
Have you become lost in all that is wrong rather than hopeful in all that is righteous and available to you?

Yes, today I woke up feeling buried and hopeless! But blessed be the Holy Spirit because thankfully, for many months He has had the foresight to prepare me for this day of attack - driving home one single truth in my mind each and every time I would listen. That truth is this: The Word of the Lord is always my answer. The Word of the Lord is always my defense. The Word of the Lord is always my source of strength, and hope... and peace! The Word of the Lord is my firm foundation in Jesus' new, better life.

How vital is it to stay close to God?
How important is it to regularly study and meditate over His truths and allow His wisdom to fill our hearts?
It is most important, Ladies!
His Word is MOST important to our survival and growth in Jesus Christ!!!

Satan thrives to coax us away from being close to God. He loves to lead our souls into chaos. He wishes to trip us up when we are burdened down by making even simple things seem complicated... making our world seem unfixable and unkempt. Yes, Satan fiercely wants us to stumble... and to keep stumbling. He wants us so battered and abused that we are only able to focus on our sorrows and sores rather than receive God's proven Way to lasting health and wellness... rather than moving forward in service and love. Yes, evil Satan wants us to accept an unwarranted defeat outside of God's will. That ole' snake wants us to submit to his unstructured rule rather than abide in the care of our perfect Creator who always brings order and purpose. In short, Satan wants us to live uncomfortably comfortable with corruption. Furthermore, he is the grand master of shifting the blame of his inadequacy onto us. Blame, that sadly when we are not prepared to stand firmly in God's truth, we buy into - accepting of lies and reacting in panic.

This was Satan's attack on me this morning. And, had he succeeded, his attack could have been the beginning of some real trouble and damage... not only for me, but also for my family as I frequently am key in setting the spiritual tone in our household each morning. When I think of the domino effect that Satan's attack could have caused on this beautiful morning, I am angered at his vicious attempt to hurt and destroy my new life. But mostly, I am sooooo grateful for my prepared Shepherd. For my Jesus has proven that He is not the god of panic. No, my God is not the god of unstructured surroundings or disorderly conduct. Rather to the contrary, my God loves me. He is the God who commands the wild seas to be still and at peace. My God is the God who silences the lips of those who foolishly challenge His law. (Ya hear that, Satan!!!) My God is the God who dictates the comings and goings of every sunrise and sunset. My God is the God who saves and protects His beloved family from all harm. Most importantly, My God decrees the exact amount of what I am able to handle. Thankfully, experience with His truth has taught me to trust Him on that. For I know He has a valuable purpose and plan for every single moment of my life. And, I know that every day He calls me to rest calmly in His care as I proceed forward. So, today I am resting on God's many promises and choose to stand firm in the security of His Word. Today, I confidently reject Satan's bed of negativity and lies about my current condition and/or status. For I have real hope in the Lord. So I will face ALL things with the renewed purpose of abiding in that hope while giving my Redeemer all glory for every accomplishment and step forward.

Ladies, if you are faced with any trial, any horror, any sorrow, any chaos... stop and be still in Spirit. Pause in God's promises before proceeding foolishly in a reactionary panic. For our God never invites panic. Rather, He wishes for us to be filled with His grace, always trusting His authority and control of all things placed before us. With this in mind, I encourage you to be alert to the schemes of Satan and choose to stand firm in the Lord with this important truth: The Word of the Lord is always the answer. The Word of the Lord is always your defense. The Word of the Lord is always your source of strength, and hope... and peace!!! The Word of the Lord is your firm foundation in Jesus' new, better life. Any viewpoint or emotion that blurs this certain hope contravenes us against the law of obedience to solely follow Christ... to solely trust the Lord to see us through.

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:24-25)

Blessings!

~Victoria

Thursday, March 3, 2011

just thinking about these things: my oak tree

As I look outside my window today, I notice my favorite oak tree. At present, it is quiet, reserved, skeletal, still. It has no leaves left on it, for winter's harshness has come and gone. Around it's majestic trunk, the snow is beginning to melt away, giving me a glimpse of the grasses on which my beagle has been known to play. It is now that I realize another season of life has passed, and my oak tree's roots have once again held strong... held true.

Soon the warmth of spring will arrive and every branch of my favorite tree will blossom. The birds will return and take residence while the caterpillars feast upon it's big, beautiful, green leaves. I will once again enjoy the visiting breezes that dance outside my window, and my oak tree, of course, will sway in tandem - keeping in step to the music of nature, all the while lifting it's arms up in praise.

In fact, now that I think about it, my tree has never stopped worshipping God. As long as I've known it, through rain, snow, sleet, hail... through sunshine, moonlight, dusk and dawn... my quiet oak always rejoices with it's limbs outreached toward heaven! Let heaven and nature sing!

This is something to really stop and think about as I pause from the busyness of my work day. Yes, this is is something to consider as I think about how each day I too am to glorify my King. Similar to this tree, I can stand rooted - secure in the foundation and truth of my God's Word. I too, can overcome any trial/any season and be used to nourish, encourage, and support others I encounter. I too can raise my hands to heaven and rejoice and be glad because I know Who made me... I know Who I belong to... I know Who has redeemed my life forevermore! I can sing in spite of thunderstorms and hail. I can echo God's joy in spite of winds that blow apart my leafy coverings of earthly comfort.

Yes, let every season come, precious Savior! For I am assured of your everlasting security and peace. You have renewed my spirit so that I can stand obedient and strong in any storm. I love you, Lord, and am blessed to say I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! Glory to God for His strength! Glory to God for His joy! Glory to God for He is indeed worthy!!!

THIS IS THE DAY!

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)

Shout for joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!" (Psalms 66:1-4, 20)XOXOX!

~Victoria

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