My dream last night… was it about you?

My dream…

Travis (hubby of 13 years) and I were sitting in the back of a flying airplane. All of a sudden the full plane took a nose dive and was now aimed at the ocean below. Everyone on the plane knew we were headed to our death.

I panicked.

I screamed.

Then I realized that IF God was real… He was THE ONLY one that could help us get out of this terrible situation.

So I raised my hands and shouted “JESUS… HELP!!! JESUS… We need you!!! Holy Spirit.. PLEASE COME… CHANGE THE ATMOSPHERE AND RESCUE US!!” WE DECLARE YOUR GOODNESS!! WE TRUST YOU!!!”

Then something unexpected happened.

Next thing I knew… the plane was weaving in between buildings in a big city and we eventually landed (rough landing) and everyone exited the plane safely.

I remember standing in the jetway as people were leaving the plane and there were  various responses to what had just happened:

  • with hearts still racing — some were ECSTATIC and kept THANKING me saying that was the best flight of their life and they were SO THANKFUL to be safe … they couldn’t wait to tell others about the journey
  • some were upset that “we had to go down just to go back up”
  • and others said “why didn’t you just let us die”

 

Then I woke up.

So my question for the readers today is…

How about you? When life seems to be spiraling down… do you have HOPE?? Are you expectant of a miracle and are you willing to “STAND UP/ SPEAK UP”?

— or will your voice join the screams of terror?

Fear is loud. Fear is a liar.

What area of your life can you declare LIFE and HOPE and TRUTH into today?!

How can I pray for you?

What is “FAITH” anyways?? a personal confession

Every year I pray for a theme verse.

2013… God highlighted: “Be still and know that I am God.”

So, I begrudgingly obliged and gave God about 30 minutes MAX scattered throughout the day. I was disobeying, and I knew it. But didn’t God know I had “things to do”. I justified my sin by calling it “service”. Service to “HIM” nonetheless.

2014- God spoke again “Be still and know that I am God.”

Okay, okay. If someone (let alone the Creator of the Universe) is going to repeat something… #1: they are afraid I’m going to forget it, and… #2: it’s probably important. But I didn’t get the hint and with both children in school full time, I was taking full advantage of all my free time, by filling it with every “good” thing I could think of. The problem is… the “good” was keeping me from godly.

 

July 2013- I got really sick for a few months. As I lay on the couch day in and day out… God gently reminded me of the words “Be still”.

Me: “OHHHH!!!! God…. You mean to tell me that when You speak, you actually want me to listen and obey?”

God: “Yes”

Me: “But I am so accustomed to just memorizing your commands and I’ve really enjoyed teaching them. This obedience thing seems counterproductive.”

God: **silence**

 

3 months later… no one else in my family got this “flu” that I had. But I did get a positive pregnancy test. AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! Zoey Esther was born on April Fool’s Day 2014! Thank You Lord! We’re still laughing! Joke is on us for thinking we had our life all planned out. God, I guess You really are in control.

 

2015- God highlighted “Walk by Faith, not by sight”. Again… this is one of my favorite verses to teach on, to conclude a prayer with, to write in a card and tweet it out to the masses… but to live by… “COME ON LORD… THROW A GIRL A BONE”.

2015 started off rough. Really rough. Like 6 months of “drought” for our family. Long story short… I left my little girl and went back to teaching full time. We traded in our 2 beloved cars. We learned the difference between “want” and “need”. We questioned, we cried, we prayed. Our anthem became 2 Cor. 4:8b “we are perplexed but not despairing.”

We chose to WORSHIP instead of worry…. PRAISE instead of panic. It wasn’t easy. It was only out of Faith.

We were desperate to hear God’s voice. “Where we in sin?” “Where did we go wrong?” I began to question everything I’ve ever believed. I discovered that some of my theology was tied to roots in somewhat of a prosperity gospel, which had no Biblical backing whatsoever.

Looking back… it was a season of “more questions, than answers.” It felt lonely.

May 4 2015… I hear God so clearly tell me to write a letter to a certain group of people. The exact moment I sent it… was the exact moment my husband received really good news.

Fast forward to June 7…. I had a big decision to make about if I would return to teach full time the next school year. I heard a clear “No” from the Lord and this definitely DID NOT make one bit of sense. But I acted in faith (obeying the Lord no matter the cost) and not by sight (what I could see/ the knowledge I had based on things that ‘made sense’). Perfect peace covered me as I shared my confident “Thanks, but NO thanks” with the school district and a door opened up for me to share the gospel with the HR lady on the phone! Crazy awesome story! The next day my husband received MORE REALLY good news.

It seemed like things were beginning to turn around.

We saw clearer than ever that the Lord was after our hearts…. And not stressing one bit about our circumstances. HE IS ALWAYS AT REST! I have a lot to learn to be like Him.

I was (and am) completely hung up on the verse that says “It is impossible to please God without faith.” Faith is essentially :: hearing God and obeying whatever He said. Seriously… it’s not fancy. It doesn’t take a Master’s of Divinity to understand and yet ALL of us are called to walk in this way!

I’m guilty of living with the mindset that says “I’ll do good things for God and ask Him to bless it”. I didn’t even bother to ask God if He wanted me to do all these “good things”!

What I was learning now… was that through all the INCONVENIENT and UNEXPECTED circumstances of my life… God has a purpose. HE is THE Creator and Perfectly Sovereign. This means that He “works all things together for good for those who are called according to His purpose”. THAT’S ME! THAT’S YOU! And my comfort is not His highest priority. (GASP! … jaw drop! …. But…. But…. But….insert temper tantrum here)

Walking by faith means that when my tire pops and I find myself unexpectedly (and inconveniently I might add) at the tire center at Costco… God is not surprised and He has brought me there “for such a time as this!” Could it be that He wants me to love others unconditionally so “they will know Him”?! No rushing required. Getting your tire changed is “Kingdom business” when you are walking IN FAITH!

When your child suddenly becomes ill and you find yourself in a series of inconvenient and unexpected appointments/ tests/ meetings/ calls… The Hope that is within you. The Hope of Glory is at those appointments as well and is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY in this dark and dying world. No despair necessary. Medical events are “Kingdom business” when you are walking IN FAITH!

My challenge to all of us today… is how can we “walk by Faith, not by sight” in the INCONVENIENT and UNEXPECTED situations of our day. And ask ourselves… “Am I more concerned with how this will make me look/ feel?” or “How can ‘they’ see Jesus in me?”

 

FAITH brings God glory even in the inconvenient and unexpected messes of life!

Huggggsss,

Rebecca

Symptoms of FEAR

Sometimes we spend too much time treating the symptoms of a problem instead of the cause of the problem. This is especially true when it comes to the products of FEAR in our lives.

:: When we fear that who we are is not enough… we deal with jealousy::

:: When we fear not having enough… we live out of scarcity::

:: When we fear not being good enough… we live with insecurity::

:: When we fear not being strong enough… we cover it up with pride::

:: When we fear not measuring up to others… we wrestle with comparison::

:: When we fear chaos… we grapple for control::

adapted from “Clout” by Jenni Catron

Do any of these resonate with what you’re dealing with right now? Because….

FEAR IS A LIAR!!!

When fear knocks… let FAITH answer!

I encourage you to confess your fears to our GOOD GOOD FATHER. You won’t scare Him! He’s not threatened by our questions. He’s  made a way for us to be WHOLE IN HIM!!

The products of fear are just another link in the chain that enslaves us. JESUS died on the cross and broke the power of sin in our lives so that we don’t have to live another moment to the bondage sin offers.

Fear robs us of the ABUNDANT LIFE that Jesus promises in John chapter 10.

What lie are you believing?

What truth can you cling to?

Huggggsss,

Rebecca

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My Experience at Zombie Fest

Are you sitting down? It might surprise you… but on a typical Saturday night… I don’t usually hang out with someone that has a chainsaw sticking out of their stomach. Or how about the woman dressed as a bride with blood all over her and a dagger coming out of her chest…This past weekend was different.

My handsome hubby and I were in Denver, CO visiting my brother’s family and my favorite photographer was shooting a BEAUTIFUL wedding near Red Rocks!! Here’s a sample pic! (Have camera, will travel!)

Since we were sans children… we took full advantage of the opportunity for a date night and headed to downtown Denver. We noticed there were A LOT of people filling the streets, but it wasn’t until we turned the corner on to 16th street that we realized we were honorary members (and smack dab in the middle) of the “World Famous Zombie Crawl”. We were surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people who were boldly celebrating death. The outfits were creative to say the least. Lots of blood, weapons, and dark, death-honoring costumes.

If the copious amounts of chainsaws and guns weren’t unsettling enough… seeing the children dressed up and in the midst of this “celebration” made me want to vomit. Especially the ones who were so scared, they were screaming. Lord help us!

We sat at a table on the patio of the Cheesecake Factory and the people(zombie) watching continued. The best way to describe this unexpected scene… is HORRIFIC! But I think “they” would say… Mission Accomplished! After all… the theme of the event was HORROR!?!

Then it hit me….

All these people were seeking… was a sense of belonging… COMMUNITY!

They had found a place to belong, even if it meant dressing up in bloody clothes and celebrating death. Sure, I was disgusted at the glorification of death… but would I let it stop me from loving these people like Jesus does? (In other words… what other unspoken requirements have I put on people to “clean up” before I love them/interact with them?)

My natural reaction was to “get the *&%$ out of there”!! I wanted to flee the darkness and get back to my “Christian Country Club” and sing “Friends are Friends Forever”. But maybe … just maybe God had led us to the darkness to be HIS LIGHT??!?

So with our fresh strawberry cheesecake in our tummies… we prayed in our hearts for The Lord to give us compassion for these people and to lead us to some “zombies” we could talk to!

And He did….

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These were some of the sweetest, kindest, human beings we’d ever met! They travel to all the “Zombie Cons” around the nation and feel like they’ve “found family”.

I can’t help but think … what if these people and the millions of others who are craving to be a part of a family… a community… to BELONG…found it with the people who love Jesus!?!

But then that would mean that we’d have to leave our “holy huddles”…………

I‘ll drive!

One year ago today… and the aftermath

On September 17 last year… this happened…

This morning, after I dropped the boys off at school… my husband and I decided to take our little 5 1/2 month old daughter on a bike ride to enjoy the cool morning. (is it fall yet?!). As we were getting the bike trailer hooked up we had a small conversation about the fact that she probably doesn’t need to have the car seat in the bike trailer anymore because she is doing so much better at holding her head up. But to err on the side of safety… let’s put her in it.

About 10 minutes later, we pulled up to an intersection. Pushed the crosswalk button and the green walking guy immediately appeared. I was a few feet behind Travis who was pulling Zoey’s bike trailer. There was a white SUV in the lane closest to us and the gentlemen was looking left and about to make a right hand turn. Since the guy was stopped and the light was green for us… Travis cautiously proceeded to cross the intersection. Then the driver took his foot off the brake and the car hit my husband. As Travis was trying to get off his bike, he simultaneously started banging on the front of the car to get his attention.  I jumped off my bike to pull the bike trailer away from the car.

Panic.

Fear.

Adrenaline.

Time stood still. Yet flashed before my eyes.

After a few short feet… the car stopped and Travis and I immediately opened up the bike trailer to get Zoey out as fast as we could. Our hands were shaking uncontrollably and cars were stopping all around. I remember smelling the car’s engine as we knelt down under the bumper to pick up our daughter.

Relief.

Joy.

Gratitude.

I started saying out loud. “God is real!” “This is a miracle!” “Thank You Jesus!” The bike trailer frame was crushed, our daughter was untouched! Paramedics, police, witnesses and strangers gathered. No one could believe it! THIS was a miracle!

Funny things happen in moments like this. You hug strangers, you cry but you don’t know why. Travis and Zoey got checked out at the hospital. Totally fine! Travis lost about 5 hairs on his ankle. But they are healthy and uninjured! The doctors and nurses were blown away! FOLKS… our GOD IS REAL!!! Angels are REAL!! Here are some pics to prove it! All glory and thanks go to GOD!!

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I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t scared and overwhelmed at this event. But something happened after that day that has made us actually… dare I say it…THANKFUL… for this “accident”.

First an essential “rabbit trail”.

I believe in God, I believe in Jesus. I have a relationship with Jesus because I believe that my sin separates me from a Holy God but because Jesus died on the cross and paid the penalty for all my sin… now God calls me His Daughter.

I am His Beloved.

I am not religious. I have a relationship with God.

I’ll never be good enough. Instead … I’ve received the free gift of forgiveness. There’s a difference.

I am spoken for! The Lord is My Father, I know He is with me wherever I go and with me regardless of what happens.

So when something happens, like this bike incident… I trust that God is faithful to His Word and that “He will never leave me nor forsake me.” That “He is my ever present help in time of need” and “He works all things together for good, for those who love Him and are called according to His Purpose.”

I remember frantically pulling Zoey out of the bike trailer and immediately thanking God and asking Him… WHY??!!

Instantly… I began to pray that God would use this incident (right here, right now) to bring glory to Himself and to make His Name known! I know it sounds crazy weird at the scene of what could have been a horrific accident… but if I truly believe God is Sovereign… then I can rest in the comfort of knowing that He is big enough, powerful enough, and creative enough to use unexpected events/ circumstances to introduce people to HIMSELF. He pursues us.

So I prayed for God to give me ears to hear Him, and eyes to see what He saw.

I was drawn to the driver of the car who hit us.

As we talked to him, hugged him, and made sure he was ok… we learned that he was on his way home from his friend’s memorial service.

Compassion dropped into our hearts like a bomb!

I’ve learned that when God gives compassion, He also gives capacity!

There on the side of the road, in the midst of police reports, and firemen playing with Zoey… we knew we were called to love on the driver of the car.

So we invited him over to our house a few weeks later. The sweet gentleman came to our home where our children served him a cup of cold water and made sure he knew he was welcome anytime.

We wanted him to hold Zoey and tell him that her name means LIFE! God has a purpose for her life!

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We eagerly shared the gift of forgiveness that we were extending to him for hitting our bike that day. But more exciting than that… was the gift of forgiveness that God offers to all of us. The forgiveness that frees us from the eternal punishment of all our sins. The freedom that comes from receiving that forgiveness that only Jesus can offer!

I got a little over zealous and asked the kids to take the pool cover off so we could baptize him. Faith like a mustard seed. Right?!

Who can you share that gift with today?

A Few Things I’ve Learned About Shepherding Women

Two things I am passionate about… Leadership and women! When it comes to leading women in a spiritual or a relational sense, I love the term… SHEPHERDING! The Bible calls us SHEEP and that is anything but a compliment.

Sheep are DUMB!

We need someone to look after us and care for us! We need THE GOOD SHEPHERD (GOD) and it’s a privilege to shepherd others well as we follow HIS example. Shepherding represents humble and confident leadership.

A shepherd of women is someone who is willing to draw from her own relationship with Jesus Christ, life experiences, gifts, and abilities to encourage another women.

Although a shepherd of women is still growing and learning, she is willing to give out of what she has gained in life to help another woman along the way. Her ultimate aim is to see the women she shepherds reach into Jesus’ hand with a stronger “hold’ than before.

Lingering in the presence of the Good Shepherd is the best way to reflect the profile of a good shepherd.

From my personal experience, here’s a few things I’ve learned about shepherding women…

1. We can not assume that because people like talking about their problems, they actually want to move forward. “Drains” in our communities can potentially drain even the best intentioned shepherd. Shepherds need to set and hold clear boundaries. Look for women with teachable spirits. Women who want to move forward and will follow through with the suggestions or homework you’ve given them. Shepherds must respect the choice of others. It’s her choice to accept or reject it.

2.Receive the gift of limits.

What I can do:

-Be a listener

-Designate time to be available

-Get more help

-Pray for her

-Suggest professional help

What I cannot do:

-Change her

-Go without regular sleep

-Do it all alone

-Cure her hurts or fix it

-Erase past pain/ choices

3. Even though another’s pain might not be something you enjoy seeing, it might be a necessary part of that person’s growing.

A woman goes to the dentist for a toothache. Once the novacain is injected and the mouth is numbed, the pain is gone. Should the woman believe she no longer needs the dentist’s work because the pain is relieved, she will likely experience pain again within a few hours. A delay in dealing with the root problem may actually intensify the decay, which will extend the pain while further limiting repair options.

SIMPLY RELIEVING A WOMAN’S PAIN MAY NOT BE THE MOST HELPFUL CARE. It is in a painful place that God gets our best attention. To relieve the pain may be to rob the woman of God’s best work in her life.

4. When do sheep need a vet?

–Shepherds play a valuable role of walking alongside, and offering continued support and care. But counselors can dig deep and handle things professionally.

–One of the dangers of being a shepherd of women is assuming that the ability or responsibility to restore women to health belongs to the shepherd alone. The Good Samaritan enlisted the help of the innkeeper. The paralytic of Mark 2 had the help of four friends who brought him to Jesus for healing. None of these good helpers brought healing alone, but with the help of community they were able to find the needed resources that resulted in healing, A shepherd of woman must know how to use referral resources.

–The Shepherd’s role is to introduce the woman in pain to the Chief Shepherd. You may have one piece or be the one to lead her to the next piece of the puzzle of her life. That one piece is important, but it is one piece. You may have the phone #, or a resource, or a book. Your prayer support may be the strategic gift you give.

“There is a God and you aint’ Him”. The Savior role is already filled. Only He has all the answers and the power to implement those solutions.

Fearless… Imagine Your Life Without Fear

With summer upon us, the hot temps have come with a vengeance and that means one thing in the Hoehne household… family naps! That’s right folks… Most days we have about a 2 hour “quiet time” where the kids and I split up into separate rooms to read &/or sleep. I also refer to this time as “happy hour”.

I decided to start a new book, so as I dusted off the covers of the books on my shelf and one book in particular caught my eye…

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Do you know why it caught my eye? Because it was hot and the water looked refreshing. That’s it. I wish I was wherever this picture was taken, so I decided to read the book.

I quickly skimmed through the description of the book because  I wouldn’t classify myself as someone who struggles with fear. I like roller coasters, water slides, flying, traveling, and trying new foods. In my head… fear is for people “with issues”.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Boy did I have a lot to learn. So in this fantastic book, Max Lucado (one of my favorite authors) highlights 13 of our most common fears:

– Fear of Not Mattering

– Fear of Disappointing God

– Fear of Running Out

– Fear of Not Protecting My Kids

– Fear of Overwhelming Challenges

– Fear of Worst-Case Scenarios

– Fear of Violence

– Fear of the Coming Winter

– Fear of Life’s Final Moments

– Fear of What’s Next

– Fear that God is Not Real

– Fear of Global Calamity

– Fear of God Getting out of My Box

Holy Mother of Reality… I could relate to each one of these! How embarrassing! Because 5 minutes ago I was the self-proclaimed expert on “walking by faith, not by sight”. Now I was clinging to the book tightly and conspiring about how I could change my kids clocks so they would stay in their room longer so I could read about my plethora of “issues”.

Chapter 1 was a doozie. I’ll share with you just a few of the bombs that planted themselves right in the middle of my hypocritical garden of a heart.

Fear corrodes our confidence in God’s goodness. And it turns us into control freaks. “Do something about the storm!” is the implicit demand of the question. “Fix it or … or… or else!” Fear at its center, is a perceived loss of control. When life spins wildly, we grab for a component of life we can manage: our diet, the tidiness of our house, the armrest of a plane, or in many cases, people. The more insecure we feel, the meaner we become. We growl and bare our fangs. Why? Because we are bad? In part. But also because we feel cornered.”

(Page 9)

Ouch! This summer reading was coupling nicely with a Bible Study I’m doing about humility. The Lord has been gently and lovingly ‘yelling’ at me with a bullhorn that authentic humility practices aggressive confession.  Humility is the correct estimation of ourselves which results from a correct estimation of our God. In other words… I am coming to the deep realization of my unworthiness to receive God’s marvelous grace.

Thus began the practice of praying through Psalm 51 each morning. As I began to see a hint of the wickedness in my heart, I became more aware of my need for a Holy God. And this Holy God wants to make me like Himself! This is a big Big BIG task… but He created the Universe, so I don’t doubt His ability level.

When fear shapes our lives, safety becomes our god. When safety becomes our god, we worship the risk-free life. Can the safety lover do anything great? Can the risk-averse accomplish noble deeds? For God? For others? No. The fear-filled cannot love deeply. Love is risky. They cannot give to the poor. Benevolence has no guarantee of return. The fear-filled cannot dream wildly. What if their dreams sputter and fall from the sky? The worship of safety emasculates greatness. No wonder Jesus wages such a war against fear.” (page 10)

I wonder if the disciples ever reflected on the most-often repeated phrases of Christ. If so, they would have noted, “He was always calling us to take courage.”

BE STRONG and COURAGEOUS!

Lord- Please give us a Joshua-like COURAGE!!