Photo credit Mark Strozier

I made sure the registration form was filled out thoroughly. Partly because, I’m still believing God to deliver me from perfectionism. pray for me

The other reason? Let’s just say I was more than a little concerned about our pre-schooler going to a Summer Camp. Well it wasn't really a camp. It was Vacation Bible School at a local church. But, you can’t be too careful, right?


I prayed for Bayley all morning and even though her class ended at noon, I was early. I hopped in the long pick up line and when I got to the counter, the lady, let's call her Sophie, couldn't find my paperwork.


Sophie: “Did you receive a confirmation email?”


Me: “No, I didn’t but,I registered online and signed Bayley in this morning.”


Sophie: I’m sorry Mrs. Franklin but, I can‘t find your information. I will need to see your driver‘s license. Lord Jesus what is going on?????


Me: I left my purse in the car so, I don’t have it with me.


Sophie: Well .... we can bring Bayley down to ask her if you're her Mom. ok great...no worries


I stood there confidently as Bayley came out holding one of the counselor's hand.


Sophie: "Is this your Mom?"


To my surprise, my sweet little girl just stood there... aaannnd stood there.... with a blank look on her face. She didn’t say a word. After more than an uncomfortable period of time, she gave a slight uncertain head nod. Right away the counselor and Bayley did an about-face and disappeared around the corner.


Sophie: Mrs. Franklin you’re going to have to get your driver’s license so we can verify that you are Bayley’s Mom.

The walk up the two flights of stairs and across the parking lot was a long one. I vacillated

from shock to anger and then....my heart slid down to my stomach and sadness came along for the ride.


Why would my child act as if she didn’t know me?



 

By the time we were heading to the car, I was mad all over again. I asked Bayley why she didn’t say that I was her Mommy. Her answer wasn’t anything my mind told me it would be.

“I wanted to play longer and you came too early.” what in the world!?


I was gaining momentum in my how "you shouldn’t deny knowing the people you love" rant . And then, God reminded me of the multiple times I’ve denied him. well... let me shut my mouth.


 


I suspect Peter has gotten more than a couple of side eyes for denying Jesus.

- Matthew 26: 69-75

True, it wasn’t one of his finest moments. But, his denial didn't surface because of a lack of love. A volcanic eruption of fear pushed the denial out of his mouth, not once but, three times.


Maybe you’ve never said it out loud. But, have you ever down played your relationship with the Lord so you wouldn’t be the odd ball in the group? Have you gone along with something that your spirit was clearly rejecting in order to gain approval or prestige? Either way, you and I have something in common with Peter.




Perhaps tangling with fear isn’t a part of your testimony. But, could it be that you’ve grown accustomed to mapping out your own path? Do you place your desires before the Lord or just do things your way? Oh trust me, I get it. Our plans always seem easier and definitely don’t take nearly as long. But when we do it our way, we reject God’s Sovereignty. We remove him from the throne of our lives and we occupy the seat.

If you’ve found yourself in either one of these scenarios don’t loose heart. Your human frailties haven’t disqualified you from the love of God. Just as Jesus met Peter on the seashore - John 21: 1 -19

and my heart was wide open to receive Bayley, God is ready to forgive you. Just ask. Ask for boldness to declare the truth of the gospel. Ask for God’s will to take precedent over yours.


God is ready to forgive you


For the remainder of camp, I arrived at noon. And unlike the first day, Bayley and I walked hand in hand up the stairs and across the parking lot with the sweet assurance that I am yours and you’re mine.


Your Sister Friend,

Sandra













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Updated: Feb 4, 2020


Photo by Ethan McArthur on Unsplash


“I’ve read through the entire Bible twelve times.” is what our friend said after returning home from incarceration. His words stung a lot.... and forced me to do a self check.


I was privileged to come and go leisurely and not once had I used that liberty to delve into God's Word from cover to cover. Oh, I studied. I knew and quoted scriptures, but hadn’t made the decision to read the Bible from beginning to end. So, I decided to take the plunge and purchased the One Year Bible NLT .


The entire process took about a year in a half. I decided not to be bound by the dates which helped make the journey more enjoyable. Somewhere along the way, Numbers 27 took center stage. The passage challenged me to strive for goals that fear normally prohibited.


 

According to unclaimed.com , "Government custodians are holding over $58 billion of unclaimed money owed to 80 million missing owners and heirs." Sadly, we as believers are experiencing the same fate. We aren't aware of the promises neatly tucked away in the scriptures largely because, we haven't read them. But, Zelophehad's daughters refused to let what was rightfully theirs slip away.


If you flip back to Numbers 26, you'll discover a census was taken of all of the males aged 20 years and older. They were allotted land based on their tribal size. Did you notice that? It didn't mention anything about women. In essence, no man...no land. But Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah decided it was no longer business as usual.


 

It seemed that the odds were against them. They were unmarried, with no brothers and their father was deceased. And if that wasn't enough, the culture didn't value "Girl Power". But instead of being paralyzed by their circumstances, they took a completely different approach. They came into agreement and decided to go to Moses and challenge the law. It was a pretty bold move but, they stepped outside of the box. My friend, human restraints are no match for our holy God. Just because it hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it can’t be done.




Moses and the other authorities assembled in the center of the camp at the Tent of Meeting. In order to express their concerns, Zelophehad’s daughters had to leave what was familiar and walk pass naysayers that didn’t have their need or vision.


Is there something that God is calling you to walk pass? Do you sense that he's asking you to give up an unhealthy habit or leave a relationship behind?


 

Now, James 4:2-3 doesn’t leave any room for misunderstanding. “You have not because you ask not.” is about as blunt as you can get. I’m sure you've heard this scripture more times than you can shake a stick at it. Yet, in spite of knowing this truth, we tend to drift over into worrying about things that God clearly promised to supply. Lord help us do better


But, not Zelophehad’s daughters. They asked for what was rightfully theirs. And after Moses brought the case to the Lord, God made it clear that the land belonged to them. - Numbers 27: 6-8


 

So what are you believing God for? I’d like to encourage you to make the decision to agree with God’s word. Leave everything behind that hinders you. And, boldly ask the Lord for your heart’s desire. Girl it’s already yours!

Remember Zelophehad’s daughters and go get it.


Your Sister Friend,

Sandra









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It was one of many conversations. Over the last year and a half there was so much information, a mountain of questions and countless decisions to be made. They all forced me to lean on wisdom that was beyond me.

But this time things were different. A mask of anguish settled over the nurse’s face as she asked, “Can I be honest with you?” Despite her efforts to carefully choose her words, the four word sentence tumbled out of her mouth like a boulder.

“Your Dad is transitioning.”


I knew.


The thought fleeted across my mind days before. He was sleeping more, refusing to eat and straining to see “the people over there” who were hidden from our eyes.


I knew.


I just didn’t want to know.


I secretly hoped that God would change his mind, you know, perform the miraculous.


I prayed. I asked. I brought God in remembrance of His word. Instead of things getting better, they moved in the opposite direction. The more I sought God, the more the words. “Let me be God.” softly reverberated in my ear.

God was saying no.


 

Do you have a need or desire that you’ve placed before the Lord? I’m not referring to that casual thing that side steps your heart. I mean the thing that keeps you up while others are sleeping.


I’m sure you’ve already done your due diligence of confessing, decreeing and declaring the word of faith. But what do you do when your efforts fail to deliver the results you want? How do you respond when God requires that you exchange your will for His?



 


Surrender. It’s a word that most of us would rather not use. Our natural inclinations urge us to run away from it. Because surrender requires that we lay down what we long to embrace.




But when we are courageous enough to yield our lives to the sovereign God, we experience blessings that we would otherwise never know.



Five days was the length of time Daddy lingered between heaven and earth. Those days were like a blinding fog. Everything was moving, shifting and changing but for me, time stood still. I had just enough strength to do the next necessary thing.


But on day three, God extended his grace. He allowed moments of alertness, a brief exchange of words and turned Daddy’s distance gaze in my direction as I told him I loved him. That day, I heard his voice and had his audience for the last time. Surrender surprised me with the gift of a cherished moment.


 

“Don’t be afraid, the Lord will not leave you and he won’t forsake you.” were the words the small framed woman whispered to me a month prior. I didn’t know her. But, God gave her the word I needed for the days ahead. God was inviting me to trust him.



 

My Daddy slipped into eternity moments before I walked into his room. It was just the two of us surrounded by a sacred stillness.


As I wept over my earthly father, my Heavenly Father met me with his presence. God was in the room. He kept His promise.


 

There are times when difficult seasons pour in like rain. And it seems that way too often, God denies what we think we can’t live without. But just remember, his ways are perfect and his plans will always work together for your good.


So how will you respond when God says, “No”?

I pray that you will surrender to His will, trust Him and let God be God.


Your Sister Friend,

Sandra


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