The Overflow! where souls are filled and faith is spilled

Tag Archives: Stormie O’Martian

Why Every Marriage Needs a Good Fighter

Welcome! I’m glad you’re here.

Whether you’re an old friend or a new one, I pray that you’ll be blessed as you linger in this place where faith is spilled and souls are filled.

If you like what you find, I hope you’ll stop by often or find me on Facebook or Twitter.  Better yet, I’d love to connect with you in person. I’m scheduling speaking commitments for 2016 and I would be delighted to join you at a special ministry event this year.

Over at Encouragement for Today , I’m sharing about how God used a wise widow to turn this floundering wife into a warrior!

I hope you’ll hop over to P31’s website and be encouraged. But before you go, keep reading and don’t forget to sign up for my give-away at the end of this post.

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  They spent the lazy days of summer building a secret kingdom in the woods.

They chopped and hauled, created and imagined, and together they designed a refuge where their stories came to life beneath a canopy of emerald green.

They were were pioneers and explorers, artisans and travelers, and their extraordinary tales stretched across the canvas of an ordinary July.
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Sometimes when the melody of their laughter seeped through the open windows as I washed the dinner dishes, I found myself wishing I could  lasso time with those old frayed ropes that hung like dingy curtains from the gnarled branches beyond the trees. And, now and then, when the sky birthed the orange of sunset and the dish water morphed from blue to brown, I’d grab my shoes and follow that path into the woods where whimsy reigned queen and imagination ran free…

“Let’s pretend that these stones are really diamonds…”

“And these big boards are super strong walls for our house…”

“And let’s say that that big branch is our watch tower.”

“Yeah! We’ll take turns sitting up there and looking for bad guys…”

“‘Cause we have to work together to protect our treasure…”IMG_5596

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And so it went–creating and playing, dreaming and defending– until one fitful August day when those siblings who had worked together to build a dominion of delight decided to stage an epic battle between the trees.

They whittled slender swords from lifeless sticks and carved bulging bows from fallen branches.

They sculpted arrows and shaped shields, gathered pine cone grenades and collected acorn bullets.

They divided alliances and formed teams; devised combat plans and scripted strategies.

All except for one.

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When We Long to Hear His Voice

 

They were squatted in the tall grass, still as lions waiting to pounce. 

 
Hannah lifted her index finger to her pursed pink lips as I drew near. “Shh….” she said, “We’re listening for God.”
 
Her little brother, green eyes wide with expectation, stared at the soil beneath his feet as if he might spy an approaching footprint in the moist earth.  


Hannah cupped a hand to her ear and lifted her head above the brown reeds and thick prairie grass. Listening. Hoping. 
 
The very sight of them tangled my heart. How many times have I been there- waiting for a word from the One who spoke my life into being? Hunching low in hope, crouching upon His promises. Listening for a whisper in the wind or a rumble in the reeds. Many days, I’m still crouching; cupping my ears, watching for signs of His footprints. Longing to hear His voice.

 In his classic book The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer paints a word picture of how the average person learns to recognize God’s voice.  He writes, “First, a sound as a presence walking in the garden.  Then a voice, more intelligible but still far from clear.  Then the happy moment when the Spirit begins to illuminate the Scriptures and that which had only been a sound or at best a voice now becomes an intelligible word, warm and intimate and as clear as the word of a dear friend.”   
 
From sensing God’s quiet presence to comprehending divine words with clarity, I have experienced each piece of the progression that Tozer describes. 
 
A decade ago, after moving to a new community, I answered the phone and heard a vaguely familiar voice say, “We were thinking about going to the park if you’d like to meet us there….”  


While I was thrilled with the invitation, I couldn’t immediately identify who was on the other end of the receiver.  Not wanting to embarrass myself or the speaker in question, I merely asked for directions to the park and hoped I would recognize a face once I got 
there.  


       Sure enough as my children tumbled out of the van towards the playground, I spotted a woman I had met earlier at church. 

“Ah-ha!” I thought as I returned the friendly wave, “So it was her!” 
 
My first encounters with hearing God’s voice were much like fielding phone calls from a vaguely familiar friend.  A “gentle nudge” in my heart made me aware of His presence, but I was unable to decipher specifics. I often proceeded in faith and hoped to recognize God more clearly in the process.  


While seeking our first jobs out of college, my husband and I stumbled upon an inviting opportunity to teach at an international school in Austria. We prayed for wisdom and waited for God to speak.  When our hearts were nudged by a sermon titled, “Finding God’s Will for Your Life,” we assumed the Lord had given us the go- ahead. We accepted the job, moved overseas, and anticipated the beginning of a romantic European adventure. 


Months later, isolated by language barriers and weary from challenging job conditions, we questioned if we had heard God correctly.  Only in retrospect were we able to recognize the ways God had used that experience to solidify our young marriage and prepare us for the difficult years to come as Rob’s commitment to medical school (which coincided with our initiation into parenthood) required long hours of work under demanding conditions.  


With hindsight, we were able to recognize God’s precise purpose in our calling overseas and say with confidence, “A-ha! So it was Him!” 

A decade later when Rob and I grappled again with the question of relocation, I cupped the ears of my heart once more and hoped to hear God’s voice.   Though this time the job opportunities did not entail a trek over the ocean, they did require uprooting our family of five. With my husband’s medical training drawing to a close, we prayerfully considered which practice to join upon Rob’s graduation. 


Remembering how God had guided us before, I picked apart every sermon I heard and sought the Lord’s answer through the voice of His messengers. But this time, God chose to switch on the light of His Word and make His wisdom glow like a neon sign.


According to Stormie O’Martian, “One of the most priceless gems you will find in God’s word is His voice.  That’s because He speaks to us through His Word as we read it or hear it.  In fact, we can’t really learn to recognize God’s voice to our soul if we are not hearing Him speak to us first in His Word” (The Power of a Praying Woman)


 One morning in the thick of our decision making,  I was walking and praying and pouring out my heart to the Lord.  


“God,” I cried.  “I have no idea where we should go next. I want our family to land exactly where you have planned for us to be.  But I just can’t figure out where that is!” 


When I finished ranting, I reached into my pocket for the memory verses I had grabbed before heading out the door. As soon as my eyes fell on the words,  I began to cry. 


“If you make the Most High your dwelling…then no harm will befall you…For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Psalm 9:9-11). 


Immediately, an unexplainable peace washed over me.  God was talking directly to my heart that morning.  


“It doesn’t matter where you move,” He assured me with words as clear as those of a good friend. “Just make me your home, and I will take care of you.” 


And so we moved with confidence and found Him waiting for us in our new community, just as He’d promised.

We haven’t relocated for a while, but lately, it feels like life is always shifting. New situations. New challenges. New schedules. But the one thing that never changes is His promise to speak into each season of our life and lead us through it.


I glance once more at my little ones waiting patiently in the damp grass. And I pray that they will have ears to hear their Father’s voice. In the weeds.  In the Word. And in every place in between. 


The Overflow: Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say.-Isaiah 28:3





Happily linking with Tracy at Winsome Wednesdays  And Jennifer at Getting Down With Jesus
 
 
 

 

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Seek First: Created for His Glory

Day Four: Created for His Glory
 
Today’s Treasure:   Read Isaiah 43:1, 4, 7; 10

Savor Stormie O’ Martian’s list titled Ten Things God Never Says…

1. “Oops!”
2. “What have I done?”
3. “How did I let that happen?”
4. “I made a mistake.”
5. “It was an accident.”
6. “I don’t know what to do.”
7. “I’m afraid of what will happen now.”
8. “I can do better than this.”
9. “What do you think I should do?”
10. Why didn’t I think of that?”
 

In Stormie’s matter-of-fact words, “The reason it is important to know these
things that God never says is because it means He never says them about you either. Everything God created is good. He says so Himself. That includes you and me” (The Prayer that Changes Everything 36).


Today’s scripture reminds us that not only does God view us as His “good” creation, but He also sees each of us as a masterpiece with a distinct purpose. According to Isaiah 43:7; we have been made for HIS GLORY. That truth is an awesome piece of our uniqueness. Scripture does not mention any other animal, plant, or planet that was created specifically for God’s glory. Humans alone fill that role. Isaiah 61:3 predicts that God’s people “… will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.”


Note Scripture doesn’t say, “You bring me glory when you DO good things for me…” Nor does it say, “You bring me glory when you are all cleaned up and looking good” No, we bring God glory simply because we are created in His image (Genesis 1:27). The more we “rub up” against the King of Glory, the more He “rubs off” on us. Ponder these fictionalized words of Jesus penned by William Young in his stirring literary masterpiece, The Shack:


“I am not about performance and fitting into man-made structures; I am about being. As you grow in relationship with me, what you do will simply reflect who you really are“(italics mine, page148).


Perhaps it’s time to for us to linger with our Glorious Savior long enough for Him to show us who are really are.

Parent’s Pondering: Do I view my children as a showcase of God’s glory or as a tribute to my own credit? Today, let your children know you love them just for BEING, not for DOING.

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