Write 31 Days – Day 23: How’s Your Performance?

Write 31 Days – Day 23: How’s Your Performance?

“Man often tries to do through performance what God already did through creation.” 

~Kris Vallotton~

I think sometimes, we as believers, forget. Forget the power of God’s design in creation, forget the power of the Cross.

We forget that He loves us more than we could ever love ourselves. He wants connection with us more than we desire connection with Him.

He has already made a way through creation and through the Cross. There’s nothing left for us to do except choose Him – choose “us”.

We need to quit trying to perform for or earn what He has already made provision for!

new dani whimsy

This is Day 23 of my “31 Days of not-so-famous Quotes” – part of the #write31days challenge. To read all about this 31 day venture, please visit the overview page HERE.

 

 

Write 31 Days – Day 10: Don’t Worry About It

Write 31 Days – Day 10: Don’t Worry About It

“If it can be fixed with money, it’s not worth worrying about.”

~Banning Liebscher~

Finances. Even those who are making a decent income can get into worry about the future. So, for sure, those who live long seasons in lean times can be overcome with worry and fear.

A few years ago, in one of those lean times, when fear was trying to grip me, the Lord reminded me of His Psalm 50:10. I began to let His word become a mantra to combat fear of financial instability.

“…I own the cattle on a thousand hills.”  (NLT)

That verse held me through many months – until we saw a huge victory in our finances for a season.

Then, as life does, another lean season ensued. I needed God’s promise to hold onto. That’s when I read the above quote. And also when I was reminded, again, of Psalm 50:10.

Our God truly holds all means of provision in His hands. He is my Daddy God. And He is a good Provider.

It’s no use worrying about money, when I know the One who holds it all in His hands!

new dani whimsy

This is Day 10 of my “31 Days of not-so-famous Quotes” – part of the #write31days challenge. To read all about this 31 day venture, please visit the overview page HERE.

 

Write 31 Days – Day 9: Redefined

Write 31 Days – Day 9: Redefined

“If He redefines our circumstances, they’re redefined. He is the only One who should define our reality.” ~Mitch Stroda~

{It’s not the first quote I’ve shared from my wise husband, and it won’t be the last either!}

Obviously, in context, this quote is speaking of God. We look to the Lord to change and define our lives.

Our journey in life will throw us many curve balls and adventures, but, through it all, we must cling to our Creator and let Him define our response to circumstances and how we live.

When circumstances look contrary to what the Kingdom of Heaven would look like, we have the privilege of asking the Lord to manifest His kingdom on earth – thus redefining our reality.

Example: I know a man in our church who had been wearing hearing aids for many years. He began to realize that in heaven, he would not be wearing hearing aids because heaven is perfect and his body will be perfect. He believed God could change his circumstances. This man took hold of a different reality – a redefined reality…. and was completely healed! He’s not pretending he can hear without hearing aids – he really can. His circumstances  were changed and his reality was redefined because He invited God into them!

new dani whimsy

This is Day 9 of my “31 Days of not-so-famous Quotes” – part of the #write31days challenge. To read all about this 31 day venture, please visit the overview page HERE.

Write 31 Days – Day 6: Wine for the Drunk

Write 31 Days – Day 6: Wine for the Drunk

“Jesus made wine for people who were already drunk.”

~Kris Vallotton~

If you really think about this, it may wreck your idea of how Jesus interacts with people – primarily ones that many of today’s American believers would label as “sinners”.

It’s in John 2 that we find the familiar story of Jesus turning water into wine. He does this late in the party because they had already run out of wine… which means they’d been partying quite a while.

Jesus’ response to the wine being gone can be a baffler to those opposed to hanging out with drunks, because if He was truly against them and their behavior, He wouldn’t be enabling it.

There’s a huge cans of worms that could be opened but I’m actually just going to leave this all right there for you to ponder, muse and come to your own conclusions!  🙂

new dani whimsy

This is Day 6 of my “31 Days of not-so-famous Quotes” – part of the #write31days challenge. To read this series in order, go to the overview page, HERE.

How to Actually Cherish Your Relationships

How to Actually Cherish Your Relationships

“Whenever you cross my mind, I thank my God for you and for the gift of knowing you. My spirit is lightened with joy whenever I pray for you (and I do constantly) because you have partnered with me to spread the gospel since the first day I preached to you.”  Philippians 1:3-4 (The Voice)

Here in these verses, the writer is giving us a clue how much we should value relationship and reminding us to be grateful for those the Lord has placed in our lives.

We are in contact with other people almost every day. Even if you are a single person, living alone, you probably have some sort of contact with people at least once a day, or at least every few days. If you are married and have a family, you can’t seem to escape people!

The Lord has designed us to live in context of relationship. (I wrote about that HERE). It was never His design for us to do life alone. And most of us don’t. But as life and the years tick by, it’s easy to start taking, even the best relationships, for granted.

We forget how our lives are enhanced by the ones we love. We forget how we are served and how we are loved. So, sometimes it’s good to be reminded that relationships are such a gift, and that gift needs to be cherished.

Here in chapter 3 of Philippians, Paul is honoring and remembering who he knows – who God has placed in his life. Not just with his brain thoughts but with his spirit – he is making an emotional connection. And verse four shows us that that connection brings him joy!

As he thinks of who God has placed in his life, he begins to pray and thank God for those special peeps and then… Joy!

If you continue reading in Philippians 3, you find out that their connection happened when Paul came to them in ministry.

“because you have partnered with me to spread the gospel since the first day I preached to you.”  ~Philippians 3:5 (The Voice)

All of our connections don’t necessarily come about because “we preached to you” but remembering our first connection with those in our lives can remind us why they are part of our lives today.

This is true for our spouse, who we maybe met several decades ago but it also works for cherishing those in more of a ‘working’ situation.

Example: I have a great relationship with our local coffee shop barista. I appreciate her and I cherish the fact that many months after meeting, she knows which couple drinks I’ll probably be choosing from. She knows my name. She knows my family. I appreciate how she serves me. Honestly, I thank God for her and she makes me happy!

So, how do we actually cherish our relationships?

  1. Remember. Don’t get so wrapped up in life that you forget who you are doing it with. If this is something you want to cultivate in your life, take some time to make a list of your relationships. Remember how you met, how that person impacted you, loved you and served you – and how they continue to do so.
  2. Pray for them. Put a reminder in your phone if you need to – especially for close family and friends. Pray throughout the week for those God has gifted to you.
  3. Experience joy and then let them in on it! Don’t keep your love and appreciation for people a secret. Send a text to a friend to let them know you are thinking of her and praying for her today. Tell your local banker how much you appreciate his friendly face when you go in.

As we make it a practice to be grateful and cherish the people in our lives, those relationships will strengthen and blossom even further, bringing even greater joy to our lives!

new dani whimsy

 

Pain and Escapism

Pain and Escapism

Though my journey of encountering the Lord and seeing into the heavenly realms began before my miscarriage last May, my encounters with the Lord are one of the main things that gave me grace through such a traumatic time. And out of that season I decided to write and publish my first book, Journey Through the Door, which is all about encountering the Lord.

In this journey of sadness, any time I have been grieved to the point of despair, I have told the Lord, “I need to see my son.” He has so graciously opened up my heavenly eyes to see in His realm and I have seen my son – usually playing with his big brother, or Jesus or even interacting with angels. A few times my Malachi has even spoken to me. Without these moments, my heart would still be a broken mess. Instead, though my heart was broken by losing my son last year, there has been tremendous healing that has taken place.

Just a couple months ago, the Lord spoke the word “escapism” to me. I didn’t even really know what it meant so I looked it up,

“the avoidance of reality by absorption of the mind in entertainment or in an imaginative situation, activity, etc.”

The Lord began to speak to me about how even encounters and seeing His realm could become escapism if one didn’t bring the grace and revelation of the encounters back into the life they were living right here and right now.

Experiencing heavenly realms has been a healing experience for me but He gave warning that experiencing heaven was not to remove any one from the reality of living on earth. He has created us human and placed us on this planet. It is our realm for this moment in history.

This realm – our realm – of life will bring trauma, loss, heartache and misfortune, and humanity is forever looking to numb the pain of these things. Pain hurts. We don’t like to hurt. When we begin to hurt, our immediate response is to get rid of the pain.

But Jesus was different than us. He endured the most painful and traumatic death of the Cross yet when He was offered a pain-killer, He refused.

“Arriving at Golgotha, the place they call ‘Skull Hill’, they offered him a mild painkiller  (a mixture of wine and myrrh), but when he tasted it he wouldn’t drink it.” Matthew 27:34 (The Message)

Jesus wanted to feel everything. And the ‘everything’ was brutal and hellish. But for YOU, He embraced the pain.

As we walk through painful experiences in life, it’s easy to walk in denial or compartmentalize or just stuff things away in the back closet of our hearts. Honestly, I think Believers are some of the highest offenders. We know the ‘right’ way to feel, to respond, to pray… so instead of embracing what is in front of us, we babble off a Scripture and move on. And, in doing so, we embrace a lifestyle of escapism.

We don’t want to feel the pain. So we find something to numb it and pretend it’s not there. Some of us have done this so long, we honestly don’t remember it’s there, until someday, there’s so much pain stuffed, that we pop. And some sort of sinful behavior displays itself. It could be fits of anger, drinking too much, busyness is popular in Christian circles, even immersing ourselves into constant ministry… any thing to silence and numb the pain.

But escaping pain is never what Jesus intended. He told us we would face pain. But He always intended on us truly overcoming and finding healing for the wounds that are causing the pain.

“I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order.” ~John 16:33 (The Voice)

And so He wants us to bring our pain to Him. To walk through it with Him. He wants us to face it, never alone, but with Him and to let Him minister to our hearts. He wants to heal the wound that is causing us pain.

But He will never have access to healing that wound, if we continue to “avoid reality” in escapism.

If you are ready to quit trying to escape and numb your pain and ready to face it head on with Jesus, I highly recommend the book, “Heart Made Whole”,  by Christa Black-Gifford. This book releases in just 3 short weeks, and as I have had the honor of having an early release copy, I cannot say enough good things about this book. It will help you take the journey to having your heart truly healed. It will help you quit trying to escape the pain and give you the tools to find the path to freedom. There truly is freedom – from pain, from trauma, from hurts and wounds. Holy Spirit wants to take us there – if only we will give up all our methods of escapism and let Him minister to our hearts.

“The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.” ~John 10:10 (The Voice)

new dani whimsy

 

Wisdom to Succeed in Life

Wisdom to Succeed in Life

Not one person leaves life on earth without needing wisdom. We need wisdom in making decisions, wisdom on how to make or create or bake things. We need wisdom when parenting, wisdom in how to do marriage well, wisdom on how to manage our finances and our households. If we can make decisions and live out of wisdom, we will succeed in life.

Google is the most used website of our time. When we need to know something, in this century, all we need to do is know how to type the question into a search engine. Easy peasy. We can find knowledge at every turn. Facebook, Google, Pinterest… also, all full of knowledge. Many equate this knowledge to wisdom.

And though wisdom can include this type of knowledge, wisdom is far greater than the answer that Google spits out on “how to break up with my boyfriend”.

Yes, having wisdom actually is more than just knowing what to do. It’s a judgement call, it’s discernment.

I love the Greek definition of “wisdom” – it includes insight and skill. Those two words infer experience.

So what do you do when you need wisdom in a situation but have no experience?  James 1:5 has the answer to that question…

“If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it; and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking.”

~The Voice Translation

The Lord has wisdom, insight, and skill in Every. Single. Area. of life. And He is just waiting to share it with us. All we have to do is ASK! This verse promises that He will give us what we need – not being stingy or conservative with His wisdom – He gives lavishly. (lavish is one of my favorite words!)

When we’re trying to figure out what to do, many thoughts and ideas can pop into our heads. We know the internet is full of “how to’s”. We can also get bombarded with others’ advice and opinions. Swimming in all that knowledge, we can find ourselves still grasping for what true wisdom would look like in our situation. So, how do we know? James 3:17 tells us exactly what God’s wisdom looks like.

But the wisdom from above is first…

pure.

then peaceable.

gentle.

open to reason.

full of mercy and good fruits.

impartial.

sincere.

If you are in a situation where you’re not sure what to do, if you’re getting pulled in every which direction with advice and opinions from well-meaning people, if you’ve resorted to asking Google what to do… Stop. Take a moment and ask the One who holds all the answers in His hands. Ask Him for wisdom. He will never turn you away. He will lavishly pour His wisdom out on you. And you will know it’s from Him when it’s pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. He is so faithful and so good. And He is really for your success in life!!

new dani whimsy

Lighten the Load

Lighten the Load

“Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the Law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2…

Back in my day of Missionettes (Christian girls program), I memorized a lot of Scriptures to achieve the honor of being ‘crowned’ and graduating the program. This Scripture is one that has stuck with me through the decades.

I don’t think I knew much about bearing others’ burdens in my teen years. I was pretty overwhelmed with my own ‘burdens’ of trying to get along with my parents and hiding secular music from them.

Fast forward, 20+ years and I’m starting to understand this verse a bit.

I’ve carried my own share of burdens, especially in the last decade. And I’ve been exposed more and more to believers bearing burdens over the years. The more I understand relationship and community, the more I find myself living out this verse.

I have friends all around me carrying burdens – some much greater than I have ever known. It’s tough stuff, y’all. I think the past me would have whispered and judged, maybe prayed a prayer but then sunk back into my safety bubble away from the mess. But the now me realizes that messy is life and a life that God isn’t scared of, so I shouldn’t be either.

I am finding that God is bigger – oh, so much bigger – than any burden or mess anyone finds themself in the middle of. I have come to believe that God’s plan is for victory, redemption and restoration for everyone. And victory and overcoming… actually. can. happen. Because Jesus can really win. Really. Even in the ugliest and messiest situations. Did I say He’s not afraid of messy? Because He’s not.

He’s not afraid of the sin, the affair, the bad report from the doctor, the abusive husband, the marriage heading towards divorce, the infertility, the miscarriages, the substance abuse, the cutting, the lying, the premature death of a family member, even the suicidal thoughts… He’s not afraid of jumping right into those messes and neither should I be. These are burdens that people bear, and, as a believer, it’s my job to come alongside and help them shoulder the burden, as The Voice translation says…

“Shoulder each other’s burdens, and then you will live as the Law of the Anointed teaches us.”

The Enemy wants you to believe several lies about burdens.

Lie #1: You shouldn’t have them. You’re a believer and – *gasp* – you aren’t perfect?!?!?! You must not be a good Christian like _______. Lies from the pit. of. hell. Some burdens hit us without any warning, like death and accidents. Other burdens we may have set ourselves up for. It doesn’t matter – trials and sin are a part of this world and they will affect us all. Don’t believe the lie that anyone is exempt.

Lie #2: Yes, you have a burden but you don’t want to BE a burden, so don’t share with anyone. You can shoulder this on your own. Again, lies from hell. When we cut ourself off from other believers, we lose the most powerful weapons there are – prayer power, faith power and encouragement power. When you surround yourself with praying and hope-filled friends, things really can change, because heaven is drawn into your situation.

Lie #3: There is no hope for this burden to ever to be lifted. God’s plan is for us to move through sin, pain, crisis, and the mess. There is breakthrough and victory to be had if we will hold onto Him and those He’s set around us and let Him guide us through, with the support of our community around us.

If you have a few burdens you’re shouldering today, be brave and let someone with faith in Jesus know, so they can stand with you, cry with you and most importantly, pray with you.

If your life is pretty burden-free right now, open your eyes. There are those around you who could really use a shoulder right now. Don’t be afraid of the mess. Be hopeful and faith-filled and help lighten the load for a friend.

 

new dani whimsy

“Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.”

~Galatians 6:1-3 (The Message)  

Where Are You? : Revisited

Where Are You? : Revisited

You. Guys. This week is an unprecedented week around our home. It’s “week before graduation party”. My firstborn baby is GRADUATING! Say what?!?!?!?

If you’re a mama who has already walked through this process a time or two, you know the kind of week I’m in. If you’re still a mama to littles and haven’t reached this stage yet, think, first birthday party stress times a million. (ok, sometimes I have a problem with exaggerating….) Anyways. It’s a crazy busy week around here and so, instead of writing new content for my whimsical space, I’m blessing you 🙂 with a couple articles from my very first two months of blogging. From clear back in 2013.

The following article was originally posted on September 4, 2013. Enjoy!


I read something this morning that rocked. my. world.

God (calling to Adam): Where are you?

(That’s Genesis 3:9 for those that have to have a reference.)

Where are you? God is ready to hang with Adam – a usual routine – but Adam doesn’t show up. God is omnipresent and all-knowing so He knows the answer to every question that He asks. Yet He still asks questions. I think it’s more about our answer sometimes than His question. But this question ‘where are you?’ shows a lot about the Creator’s fathering approach.

The thing that rocked me this morning is that the question is Where are you? not What have you done?. Seriously. With God, it’s a WHERE not a WHAT. That is sooooo not the way it works in our world most of the time. I hear myself talking to my kids when I happen upon a mess, what have you done? Not often is it: Where are you? What’s your heart in this? but What? 

Behavior becomes the primary focus – not the relationship. Actions instead of heart understanding. Ugh. So NOT the way it should be. Maybe people wouldn’t be going off the deep end every day in our world if we all asked where instead of what a little more often.  The media does an amazing job at presenting us with the what – not usually do we know the where.  Man, we can trash a person we don’t even know and get passionate when their what isn’t behavior we approve of.  What if we left all that alone and focused on knowing the where in the relationships closest to us, the God-destined heart connections.

I think the reason God can ask where instead of what is because, with Jesus, the what is really pretty obsolete. Jesus died for the what. His blood absolutely 100% covers the what. If God can get to the where, the what… well it takes care of itself. I want to ditch the what when I know someone cares about the where.

So here’s to the where. The where is so much more fun anyways. The where is you and me together. Walking in the cool of the day. And you and me, walking in the cool of the day, is very, very whimsy.

new dani whimsy

Sacred vs. Secular

Sacred vs. Secular

“One day the Eternal God scooped dirt out of the ground, sculpted it into the shape we call human, breathed the breath that gives life into the nostrils of the human, and the human became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7  (The Voice)

I think the separation of sacred and secular is a myth that needs blown out of the water. I find it amusing and lovely that our Creator took the most ‘secular’ and physical thing -dirt!- to form man and then breathed the most ‘sacred’ and heavenly thing -His own Life- into it to form the first human. Right from the very beginning God was sanctifying the ‘secular’.

It’s an unBiblical mindset to live our lives with God as a part of our life instead of the foundation of our life. It’s not God first, other things following. There’s no separation of the physical part of our lives and the spiritual. It’s about the bedrock being Him and everything else flowing out of Him.

It’s easy to partake in sin when we separate the secular and the sacred because we’ve compartmentalized God out of that aspect of our life. When we live as though God is right there in everything we do, that healthy fear of the Lord and living in His grace can keep us from the choosing the perilous path of sin.

When we invite Daddy God to be the basis of our lives, everything is sanctified and pure. We live out of His pureness.

“Listen: to those who are pure, all things are pure. But to those who are tainted, stained, and unbelieving, nothing is pure because their minds and their consciences are polluted.”

Titus 1:15 (The Voice)

One great example is ‘secular’ music. I’m not talking about pumping yourself full of ungodly lyrics without including God into this aspect of your life. If you can listen to it, with the awareness that God is right there with you, He’ll either speak to you through it, or tell you to quit listening to it.

God has spoken to me through the crying of my own baby. He has spoken to me countless times through the lyrics of music that isn’t sung by Christians. He speaks to me while I’m doing dishes. I’ve had the most profound encounters with Him while driving across town to run errands. The most mundane, human, ‘secular’ activities, when done with Him, are the ones He loves to shout His goodness through.

If the skies and the rocks can cheer of His goodness and glory, I’m sure that words in a book, written by unbelievers, can do the same. I’m sure than I can hear His whispers while sitting on the beach (I’m sure the waves and sand sing!). I’m convinced that He wants to be invited to a teenagers birthday party – and He doesn’t even need it to become a prayer meeting. I’m confident that my conversations with friends over a glass of wine are filled with His presence.

I believe that as we invite our Creator God to be the essence of our entire being, we will know Him more wholly and more deeply. We will learn more about His character. We will see different aspects of His personality and nature than we would ever know by just going to church and separating off that part of our lives as ‘sacred’.

As we merge the secular and the sacred in our lives, I just know that we are becoming more fully and wholly who He has created us to be!