I Prayed For A Harvest, How God Answered In A Personal Way

7 Comments

I Prayed For A Harvest, How God Answered In A Personal Way

(Here we are with two of our amazing writers, Brian Bird and John Wierick)

The first trip I ever took alone was from my home in Los Angeles, California on a road trip with friends to their home in a far corner of Idaho. I was ten. Most of the community spent their days farming spuds and their work patterns and surroundings were as different as what I experienced as a city-girl could possibly be.

We spent nights spread out in sleeping bags on their massive trampoline for slumber parties and took long trips into “town” to buy supplies or go bowling. But the thing that remained constant there were reminders that this was potato country-a place where farmers drove dangerous machinery that scattered the golden landscape, where men labored early in the morning, and that in time, there would be a harvest.

For the last several years, I have felt much like I imagine those farmers felt. My husband and I are producers for TV and Film and our goal is to reach an underserved market of faith and family-friendly audiences with shows and films that honor God and inspire others.

But the soil here in Hollywood is tough to plow through. The seeds we scatter don’t spring up at regular and steady intervals. And though we labor day and night, the crops we seek takes years to produce.

This week, we have two shows in particular that we have been working on for years in one way or another. We have created the ideas, written the documents, gathered the team, and offered our goods to those who sit in places of power, and now we wait for the rain to come and we watch to see if this will be our long-awaited for season of harvest.

As much as this week sits pregnant with possibility, it also symbolizes for us a deep faith and trust that God knows what is best and we do not-that His timing is divine and also good and that a physical harvest may not be the only harvest we will see.

The potato is predictable and once planted and nurtured will grow and materialize into something of sustenance. But for the faith-friendly Hollywood producer, nothing comes with a guarantee and the timelines are almost always longer than you want them to be. It builds faith, character, and perseverance-which we know produces hope.

So here we are, settling into hope knowing that when our trust is placed in the Creator of the harvest instead of the fruit itself, that we already have an abundance of plenty.

God is a personal God and He speaks to our hearts in specific ways if we are willing to listen.

Yesterday, I posted an update on my Facebook accounts and asked my friends to pray for us-to pray for these two TV shows that will be decided on this week. I asked them to pray that this would be “a season of Harvest” for us.

This morning, I woke and turned to my daily portion of Bible reading. This is what it said:

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26-29

God, in His providential way, spoke to my heart.

I don’t know if this week will result in one or both of our shows being picked up and moving forward. I can’t predict what conditions will be put in place or if the deals that may be offered-if any are offered at all-will be good for our company. But I do know that sewing the seeds has meaning and value regardless of the results because my husband and I continue to listen for that still small voice of God whispering to us, “this is the way, walk in it.”

Write shows that bring life and edify those who watch.

Be sincere and kind to everyone you encounter, unconditionally.

Keep your word, even when it costs you something.

Take time to rest and pour your lives into your precious sons.

Be like a tree planted in the desert that neither wilts nor breaks when the winds blow hard.

And continue to leave the risks of pursuing God in a Godless place up to Him.

From my vantage point on the eve of seeing a harvest, the crops look full of beauty and ready to be gathered. It’s a spiritual seed that has been planted in our own hearts and watered with the Word. It’s a harvest that will never disappoint.

As I think back to those long summer days, walking down dusty roads among fields of potatoes, carefully being cultivated into food for the body, I know that life for the believer is about planting seeds for the soul. Whether our earthly work comes to some measure of success or not doesn’t really matter in the end. The harvest will come, indeed. And we are relishing in its bounty, even now.

 

YOUR TURN: May I ask you to pray about these TV shows for us? I would be SO deeply grateful!! How about you? Are you waiting in a season of planting and looking for a “harvest” too?

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well!

One Mom’s Confession: I Give Curses For Curses, Do You?

12 Comments

One Mom's Confession I Give Curses For Curses, Do You

I stood at the bottom of the slide watching. The older girl didn’t want to give a “ticket” to my son who was pretending to be the gatekeeper, so she just shoved him hard and climbed over the top of him. My eyes grew wide as I watched the unceremonious scene.

“Mommy, she called me an idiot” he whimpered.

“Okay, son. I’m sorry. You are not an idiot. Next time she comes by just speak to her and use your words. Tell her that you would like her to speak kind words to you and not call you names.” He nodded, sadly.

Up she came to the top of the slide. The man with the heavy Australian accent lumbered over. My son calmly began to say what I had encouraged him to say but then the air was split by a loud boom.

“Hey, you get out of her way!” he screamed. I was stunned.

“Sir, my son is just doing what I asked. He’s simply talking to your daughter to ask her to use kind….”

“I don’t care! She wants to go down the slide!” He interrupted.

My son stood there, as surprised as I was. I motioned for him to move aside.

“Your son just called my daughter an f-ing %&*#@!” he bellowed.

“Listen, Mister. My kids don’t even know those words.” I tried to remain calm as my blood began to boil.

Miraculously, he closed his mouth immediately. I think he knew when his bluff was up. I simply wondered where my husband and protector had disappeared to on the other side of the park. Thankfully, the tourist gathered his unruly tribe and decided it was time to move along the beach away from the park. He was a grown up bully and I wanted nothing to do with him.

“No wonder his daughter is like that” I angrily thought to myself.

Another mom nearby looked at me and shook her head in disbelief. We both tried to shake it off and my kids went on to enjoy the rest of our time at the beachside park, but I was disheartened.

This “encounter” came on the heels of a week where God had been pounding Romans 12 into my head. But apparently, I have not quite gotten the message:

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good. Romans 12:9-21 (MSG)

I admit, I didn’t feel one bit of a desire to bless this man as he cursed us. There was no time to think-he wouldn’t even let me finish my sentence, for crying out loud. And the very urgency of it is what revealed my heart.

I still have a long way to go. I still have dirty nooks and crannies in my heart and logs in my eyes. I didn’t even come close to offering to buy him lunch.

It just seems crazy, doesn’t it? Like being taken advantage of? This idea that if we bless those who curse us that we are being a doormat?

And then I see Him. Trudging along the dusty road with His cross on His back, stumbling under the weight of it. Blood dripping down from the crown of thorns and pooling along the pathway as the angry mob followed. Doormat indeed. Jesus was the ultimate.

Here’s the thing, sisters and brothers. When we willingly lay down our need for revenge, to fight back, or to justify ourselves, we are never being a doormat. We are exuding an unparalleled strength and other-worldly control. We are being Jesus to the lost, the weak, and the needy. Counter-culture. Christ-like.

The man left before the scene could escalate, but I tell you what. I would not have backed down. I would not have stood there and taken it. I know that about me. I understood why Peter reached out to slice off the ear of the soldier.

It comes out in other situations too-when drivers in Los Angeles blast their horns and flip me off for going the speed limit.

When that person in my family tells me that the work I am doing as a writer is stupid and a waste of time.

When that friend decides to have nothing to do with me because I hold a different belief than she does.

When that kid at school continues to badger my son.

I long for the day that my immediate reaction is one of unconditional love and grace towards others. My desire is that when my kids are having a banner day of disobedience and I start to feel like it will never change, that what comes out of my mouth is forgiveness and what floods my heart is hope.

I’m not advocating that we place ourselves in harms way and I know there is a time and place for healthy boundaries with others. But the every day scenarios of living life with broken people in a fallen world are opportunities for me to love and let go of my need for vindication.

Maybe you need that too.

Perhaps your spouse left a jagged hole in your heart and though you are committed to staying with them, you keep punishing them. Maybe you have hardened your heart towards a friend and you won’t even pray for them. Perhaps you wake up each day expecting the worst, instead of living out your best through the Holy Spirit.

I wish I could rewind to yesterday and breathe deeply, exhaling a gentler word to that man at the park. I regret that I didn’t follow up with him and offer a different approach-one without justification. I’m thankful for the reminder that God’s not done with me yet. I’ll have new opportunities this week to bless and not curse, and I’ll be grateful for your prayers for me.

And I’ll ask you the same question I’m asking myself “Are you willing to get the best of evil by doing good?”

It starts with honest prayer to God and leads to freedom. I’m itching for that kind of freedom where I don’t internalize the evil around me but quench it with the Fruit of the Spirit. Sometimes we need to “hold on for dear life to good” don’t we?

Here’s to living out our true identity this week and loving “from the center of who you are” as a passionate Christ-follower. Joy always follows obedience and victory is ours for the taking as it flows out of our hearts, one blessing in exchange for a curse at a time.

YOUR TURN! Is this a struggle for you like it is for me?

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well!

12 Strangers And A Redwood Tree

5 Comments

12 Strangers And A Redwood Tree

Photo Credit

I’m about to embark on a 10 week journey with 11 complete strangers. The twelve of us will meet for the first time this week, babies on our hips and Bibles in our hands. And hopefully, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, we will resemble Redwood trees.

Several months ago I started hearing a whisper to my heart. Our church, like many of yours, provides support for small groups, or what we call “Life Groups” so that our fairly large church body can better fellowship and build relationships with one another as it describes in the book of Hebrews:

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:23-25

The goal is to “do life” together in community-just as God desires us to do! But as moms with young children, it’s not easy to get away for a couple of hours every week to meet and talk about Spiritual things.

That’s when I began to consider offering to host a group where moms could come and study God’s Word with toddlers in tow and where babies were welcome on laps while we talk about how God desires us to live.

It will be noisy. Peppered with interruptions from 2 year olds. Someone will fall and scrape their knee and need to sit on Mommy’s lap for prayer time.

My new Labrador puppy may bark her head off while we try to talk about our need for just a little bit of peace and quiet once in a while.

Moms will rise early that morning and make several trips to the car loaded down with diaper bags, and blueberry muffins to share. Keys will dangle from their mouths while they hold a baby bottle in one hand and much-needed coffee in the other. It will take 20 minutes to load everyone into the car and shift it into gear. Someone may cry because they left their binky behind. Everyone will wonder what they got themselves into.

And it will be worth it.

As one of our pastors shared this weekend, the reason we make such efforts for community is because it matters so much to God that we gather together and encourage one another on towards love and good deeds. The goal is to resemble the startlingly majestic Redwood Trees whose heights reach 350 feet tall.

You would think that such an enormous tree would require deep roots, but that’s not the case. Shallow roots of only five or six feet deep sustain these giants-because they grow in groves, enabling roots to spread nearly 100 feet from the trunk, entwining and fusing with the roots of their neighbors. As a community, growing together and linking arms, they can withstand the forces of nature-whether toppling winds or raging floods assault them.

I can’t imagine what will befall any of us as we gather for this next Life Group session. We can’t guess what winds of change or deep waters we may face nor can we determine what victories and triumphs we will get to rejoice over together. But we do know that when we make ourselves available despite our obstacles, that God will not waste that time.

He will show up with all the Holiness of Heaven at our disposal and He won’t mind when we have to duck out of our discussion to change a diaper or settle a squabble. And one by one the 12 of us will stand a little taller as we go out from our fellowship together. We will feel a little more sure-footed, and our chins will lift a bit higher to the sky. The trees that canopy above us as we meet in my backyard will take on new meaning as our hearts fuse together, much like the roots of the grand Redwoods.

YOUR TURN! Do you meet together in a Bible study or Life Group? What challenges do you face? Has it been worth it?

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well!

What To Say When Your Husband Forgets To Pay The Bill…Again.

6 Comments

What To Say When Your Husband Forgets To Pay The Bill...Again!

What if every word you said today stemmed from a heart that was disciplined enough to only say words that would lift up those who listened?

What if every word you said today was said in a loving tone?

What if every word you said today was uttered with gentleness?

What if every word you said today was meant to bless and not curse?

What if every word you said today revealed how well you thought of the people around you?

What if every word you said today brought healing?

What if every word you said today showed respect?

What if every word you said today dripped with mercy and grace?

Even is someone failed you miserably. Even if someone was disobeying you. Even if someone was speaking harshly to you. Even if someone did something foolish. Even if someone hurt you. Even if someone is strong-willed. Or unkind. Or tired and grumpy.

What if you spoke lovingly even when your husband missed that payment? Or still didn’t finish painting the bathroom? Or if that friend said she would come today but then she made another excuse? What if she disappoints you again? Or betrays you.

What if the people who are supposed to know you better than that believe the lies?

Ephesians 4:29-32, (MSG)
Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.
Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.
Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

Personally, if I focused on just this passage for the next five years, I would have a lot of work to do to apply this Truth in my life.

Make these tips a first practical step towards speaking words that bring life and honor God:

1.) Get in the habit of pausing before you speak, especially if your emotions and temper begin to rise.

2.) If need be, walk away for a moment so that you can control your tongue. Then return as soon as possible and speak with loving-kindness.

3.) Make this your continual prayer throughout the day:

“Lord, give me self-control over my tongue and help me to say only words that will edify. Cleanse my heart and make my words sincere! In Jesus name, Amen!”

4.) Be purposeful to affirm and encourage the people around you in specific ways with specific words, just because you care for them and want them to be uplifted.

Close your eyes and imagine what your home or work-life would look like if you applied Ephesians 4 to your life? Imagine the growth in your spiritual walk with God if you were a man or woman whose words were always the right ones for any given moment and in every situation. I want to be that kind of woman, don’t you?

 

YOUR TURN! Do you have a runaway tongue that needs work in this area too? Do you want that to change?

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well!

 

The Day I Saw A Tourist Drown

Leave a comment

motherofknights:

This was a day I will never forget…..

Originally posted on motherofknights:

 The Day I Saw A Tourist Drown

It was a coastal wind and it was biting. We were at our usual spot on the beach in Santa Monica early-at a time when few others had yet to wake up from the night. Towels served as insufficient blankets, noses popping out for air as we sat on the sand, watching our brothers surf.

Eventually, the usual crowd of sun-seekers would come, but for now, it was just our small group and a few tourists who had come to take advantage of the beach outside their hotels. A typical morning that would soon become the day we stood trembling, our hands formed in teepees against our lips, eyes strained open in fear.

The boys had finished their morning surf session and we all sat on the wet sand, watching the tumultuous waves of a sudden riptide.

We had learned from a young age to allow the vast ocean…

View original 878 more words

God, Are You Avoiding Me?

14 Comments

God, Are You Avoiding Me

The Lord woke me in the middle of the night and my mind went straight to thinking about a hurtful situation in my life. No manner of fluffing of pillows and tossing or turning allowed me to ignore it.
So I prayed-with tears.

Some situations in our lives require lengthy grieving-and for me, this injustice towards me is so unfathomable that I have to keep my eyes on Christ and not on those who seek to hurt me.

I’m not alone in these feelings-it’s a dilemma as old as the origin of sin. I’m betting that some of you can relate to a similar experience at this very moment!

The Psalms have always been a source of comfort to me when deep emotions surface in my heart. This morning, Psalm 10 fit the bill and perhaps it’s what you need to hear too.

Psalm 10, (MSG)

1-2 GOD, are you avoiding me?
Where are you when I need you?
Full of hot air, the wicked
are hot on the trail of the poor.
Trip them up, tangle them up
in their fine-tuned plots.

3-4 The wicked are windbags,
the swindlers have foul breath.
The wicked snub GOD,
their noses stuck high in the air.
Their graffiti are scrawled on the walls:
“Catch us if you can!” “God is dead.”

5-6 They care nothing for what you think;
if you get in their way, they blow you off.
They live (they think) a charmed life:
“We can’t go wrong. This is our lucky year!”

7-8 They carry a mouthful of hexes,
their tongues spit venom like adders.
They hide behind ordinary people,
then pounce on their victims.

9 They mark the luckless,
then wait like a hunter in a blind;
When the poor wretch wanders too close,
they stab him in the back.

10-11 The hapless fool is kicked to the ground,
the unlucky victim is brutally axed.
He thinks God has dumped him,
he’s sure that God is indifferent to his plight.

12-13 Time to get up, GOD—get moving.
The luckless think they’re Godforsaken.
They wonder why the wicked scorn God
and get away with it,
Why the wicked are so cocksure
they’ll never come up for audit.

14 But you know all about it—
the contempt, the abuse.
I dare to believe that the luckless
will get lucky someday in you.
You won’t let them down:
orphans won’t be orphans forever.

15-16 Break the wicked right arms,
break all the evil left arms.
Search and destroy
every sign of crime.
GOD’s grace and order wins;
godlessness loses.

17-18 The victim’s faint pulse picks up;
the hearts of the hopeless pump red blood
as you put your ear to their lips.
Orphans get parents,
the homeless get homes.
The reign of terror is over,
the rule of the gang lords is ended.

Just like the Psalmist, I’m praying honestly to God about how I’m feeling and that includes some protesting and a lot of frank language. By the time the Psalmist finishes his lament, his “pulse picks up” and his perspective shifts to the eternal when “The reign of terror is over.” It’s a perfect example to me of how we must take the time to communicate with the Lord and that our hearts and minds change for the better when we do.

Has some hurt been stewing in your brain and heart lately? Maybe it’s time to pray Psalm 10.

So often we want to circumvent suffering-escape it, rush it, or avoid it altogether. But we can’t be disciples if we don’t accept suffering. Instead of viewing your cross as a burden today, carry it with purpose and gratitude knowing that you hold a sacred symbol of God’s love for you. Change the way you think about your trial and believe God when He says that you can have joy in any circumstance, and that He will make beauty from ashes.

God’s not avoiding me. In fact, the trials that I face are the very things that draw me to Him. I’m limping along today as the thorn in my side twists deeper, there is no doubt about it. But the more that I turn to my Comforter, the easier it will be to eventually stand up under it.

YOUR TURN! Do you need prayer today too? Let me know, and I will pray for you!

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

 

I’m No Longer The Only Girl In My House! Meet Rosey!!

4 Comments

Well, we finally did it. It’s been three years since we made the promise to Oliver (7), and this weekend, we followed through.

My husband says that a boy must have a dog. I was never sold on that idea, but I was pretty sure that I would be outnumbered in our house, and I was right.

You see, I’m just not a dog person. I love animals, but I prefer to have cats.

Three years ago, Oliver began asking for a dog. I knew that he needed to be old enough to handle some of the responsibilities so we agreed that if he still wanted a dog after he graduated from kindergarten, that we would get him one.

Honestly, I anticipated that he would forget about it. Or change his mind.

He didn’t.

Kindergarten came and went. Oliver’s excitement for a dog grew. Summer came and went. Oliver’s excitement grew. First grade came…and Oliver began to question whether or not we were going to keep our promise.

So, we let our “yes be yes” and we began the process of seriously looking for the right dog for us! Sure enough, after years of praying for just the right dog for our family, countless hours of researching pet care and supplies, and hunting down the best rescue facilities in our area, we brought home our new puppy this weekend!!

And, it’s a GIRL!!! I’m no longer the only female in our house. Phew.

MEET ROSEY!!

Meet Rosey

 Oliver chose Rosey and named her, himself. He also chose a pink dog tag for her, and a pink leash, since she is a little girl. I wasn’t complaining. Pink at our house! :)

DSC_0155

When we went to the rescue shelter, we got a chance to play with several other dogs but Rosey was the very first one we saw and played with there. We left the shelter empty-handed, and then went back a second time later that day to make sure she was the right dog for us and we were the right people for her. Several other people were interested in her too-and she had only arrived at the shelter the day before! When Oliver and I went back the second time, we knew that she would be coming home with us.

Rosey is a black Labrador and she is 8 months old. We hit the jackpot with Rosey because she knows how to sit and stay, go outside for potty breaks, and loves to ride in the car! She also spent her first night in the house with us and never barked or had a potty accident!

DSC_0005

It turns out that Rosey wants to sit on the boys laps while driving in the car. We are learning things as we go along! Yikes!! :)

DSC_0032

We took her for a long family walk to our local park with my dear soul-sister friend, Joanne who is an expert on dogs and a life-saver in helping us get situated with Rosey. Then, today, we took her to a local dog park to socialize with friends! She did GREAT!

 DSC_0055

DSC_0053

DSC_0049

These little guys were happy to stand on big rocks at the dog park to observe and stay out of the way!

DSC_0057

Auntie Joanne came with us to the dog park too and brought her rescue dog, Sierra.

DSC_0101

At this point, we are training her to not jump up on us, go potty in a designated area of the yard, and not to bark on the rare occasion that she does so.

DSC_0038

DSC_0018

We have a SERIOUS drought in California right now and many families are letting their grass dry since we can’t water it well. Rosey doesn’t seem to mind our dustbowl at the moment.

DSC_0148

DSC_0124

Even though I’m not a dog person by nature, I do love Rosey and she is a very good girl. God blessed us with just the right puppy! For me, this is one of those areas where I am trusting and yielding to my husband’s leading about getting a dog as well as going outside of my comfort zone for the sake of my little boys. It’s all about love!

So, I’m taking a big breath heading into this next week with this new addition to our family and I’m counting on you guys to pray for me!

YOUR TURN! Do you have any tips or recommendations for dog training, accessories, must-have items, or other insights about dogs and puppies? Do you have a Lab? We are all ears for whatever you can share with us!!!

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!