Jul
4

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One year ago TODAY! Only GOD!

Meet Sarah!

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As the evening ended, this girl Sarah started to pray. I thought to myself, who is this girl?  Who is it that she LOVES so intimately, I mean I love Jesus, but I don’t know that I know Him like she does.

Honestly, hearing this girl pray made me want to go home stay up all night and read the Bible. I so desperately wanted to know who it was that she knew. She spoke of Jesus with such familiarity and admiration!!

I wanted to know Who and what she knew. So I started to come to every gathering she held, to every retreat she planned, I couldn’t get enough of her passion for God and Jesus. I wanted to know the Creator of the Universe like she knew Him! She would tell candid stories and speak such truth and teach straight from the Bible and I was shocked by this girl. Then I met her family and thought “Oh my word they all know Jesus like she does” I just hung around them every chance I got!

a little history…

About 10 years ago Sarah was engaged  and thought it was JUST WHAT GOD HAD PLANNED- including a ministry, money,  and “fame” all in the very name of Jesus!

But life takes turns and sometimes turns we least expect! Her dreams were suddenly shattered by a realization she came to while spending time in prayer with Jesus.  Trying to fight it with everything in her, she knew, it wasn’t right! Shattered and heartbroken, her faith was tested to the core. As Sarah has said, “God saved her from what she thought she wanted and gave her what she really needed instead, Himself in a deeper way”!

God used this very life shaking event in her life, for her good and His glory! 1 Peter 5:10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.….became her verse, and then became her ministry. He began to strip her from the identity craving she had defined by marrying a certain person and replace it with who she was IN CHRIST.

Her brokenness, she knew God was asking her to leverage this story for His glory and continue to wait well in the midst of “lack” and in the wake of losing everything. She was asked to speak on several platforms and guess what story the Lord wanted her to share! Not the one she “thought!”

Sarah threw herself into the arms of God and let Him direct her steps from there on out, although she wasn’t expecting a decade of singleness it was in that decade that her now ministry called Establish Her was born! Officially in 2008!

Pause on Sarah, Meet Josh.

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Josh on the other hand led a different life than Sarah, truly a wandering soul (which I can so relate) Josh, after many failed relationships, striving after worldly success and money, a deep family crisis that divided all he ever knew as love, found himself sitting on a tree stump one evening staring at the moon and cried out to God without anywhere else to turn. In 2008, Josh surrendered his life to and in the power of Jesus Christ.

Anyone notice how these two lives began a new chapter in 2008! #ONLYGOD!

From that very moment Josh sought Christ with everything he had. He began to fervently pray for older men as mentors. He continued to find his source, his conviction, and his healing in the person of Jesus. His successful marketing career in the corporate world was transformed by God into one in the non profit sector where he is the director of marketing at Atlanta Mission.

You see, timing and preparation are everything! Josh would not have been ready to meet such a gal like Sarah any earlier than he did. Sarah would tell you that she would not have been free to receive or trust his love any sooner than when God released her heart to do so. Ironically, they actually lived only 4 miles apart in the major populated city of Atlanta and shared multiple groups of friends.

Late spring last year Josh and Sarah both “ended up” speaking at this gathering, although in different months. Later they were connected but more out of a ministry heart than a “you should date heart”.

God knew!

So Josh and Sarah had coffee (one year ago TODAY!) to talk “ministry stuff”…

The very next week, a huge group of friends gathered for Sarah’s 30th birthday, Josh was on the invite list, but that wasn’t abnormal, it was a big party!! Sarah was truly not sure what she thought of Josh at this point but will tell you she was drawn to his presence!

God had a plan, because it was at this party that God allowed Josh to meet Gary!

Now Gary is the man you want to meet if you want to know more about Jesus. Remember, Josh had been praying for a Godly mentor.

Apart from Sarah even knowing, Gary and Josh simply connected over Christ and agreed to meet for biblical discipleship, the very next day. Hours every week they opened scripture together. Sarah never was the topic. Josh would take avid notes weekly as Gary would share his wisdom throughout the last 50 years of journeying with Christ.

 Technically, Josh began dating Gary before he ever dated Sarah! (which as Sarah thought back is exactly what she had prayed for)

God remembers ALL our prayers!!!

OH and did I mention Gary is Sarah’s dad? (I know CUTE)….

I remember sitting across from these two that “were not dating yet” thinking, this dude, he knows his stuff about non-profits, about social media, about marketing, about fundraising, hmmmm, this guy, he could really help Establish Her…. but I knew not to tell Sarah this yet, I didn’t want to freak her out!

 God was still waiting and weaving until the moment in August that would change everything.

God knew, God knew when Sarah was heartbroken years earlier that ‘this guy’ would come along. He knew because God puts us on this planet to accomplish what He wants accomplished, He knew Sarah was an anointed, gifted teacher of His Word, and He knew that her husband would have to be a humble but confident man who would help her steward this gift of God.

He also knew Sarah had to be broken, poured out, and single for longer than she had hoped but even she will tell you it was the best path! God, He knew, He knew He was raising up just the man. He knew what needed to happen in both of these individual lives in order for His purpose and their good. It is all about His kingdom advancing first. They had prayed separately, “Your will, Your way Lord”. Which is how we have to be… as hard as it is!

There is much more to this story and these two amazing people, a story only God could write and it is just begun as they are getting married this November! To read more about Josh and Sarah see http://ottdeyton.ourwedding.com/view/9639975701316041/34297430

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OH AND RE: Josh and Gary:  Josh and Sarah’s younger brother, Seth, have encouraged Gary to start a men’s Bible Study much like Establish Her but for men! Guess who is doing all the social media and website design on this one!!!! I love how God works! (I wish I could go, I love to hear Gary teach on the Word, but guys only) 🙁

Men Check Out www.hungryheartsbiblestudy.com

I asked Sarah and Josh what book they would recommend while in a season of waiting (waiting for a mate, a baby, a house etc…) and they said “Falling in LOVE with JESUS” so watch on my Putting the Pencil Down Page on Facebook as I am going to do a couple book give-aways of this book!

Jun
29

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An {Only God} Story of Mine

As I am currently writing some {Only God} stories!

I wanted to share an {Only God} story of mine with you!

A story of surrendering a fear that held me back for many years.

A story of surrendering my heart and my trust (regarding marriage) to my PERFECT Heavenly Father and the sweet way in which He walked with me through it! Encouraging me that “He was right there” the entire time!

“So, Lindsay, do you like him?” my therapist asked me!

“I think so; I think I could like him.” I carefully replied.

She said, “No, Lindsay, do you like him?”

I repeated in a very thoughtful way but with a slight stutter, “Yes, I do…I do…think…I like him”

She finally said, “Lindsay, I am not asking you if you think you like him; I am asking you how you feel.”

And I said, as genuinely as I could, “Yes, I think I feel like I like him.”

She shook her head, “Lindsay, take ‘think’ out of it. How do you FEEL about him?”

I thought to myself, “Feel…what exactly does she mean by ‘feel?’”

I didn’t know I was really that different than most other girls, I just thought they wanted to get married more than I did! I didn’t know until I sat in that same office as she looked at me a little strange when I described what I thought in my head being married looked like, being handcuffed to a stove.

I could tell it was weird by the look on her face! I thought, hmmmm, that must not be normal!

The idea of handcuffs represented way more than just having to ‘cook’ for someone, to me it represented this idea of being held down, being a slave!

I had heard from a previous counselor (yes I have had more than one, it’s OK) that I would tend to date emotionally unavailable men!

“WHAT” I proclaimed!

Then I started to see what she was talking about!

When one wanted to get close to me, I would start acting really crazy, they would break up with me or back away and then I would cry and feel sorry for myself.

Really I was just too confused to know my own antics. I don’t think I realized my own destructive behavior.

Fast forward a bit, as I started to understand God’s Word and His design for marriage, I started to wonder if maybe I was a bit off in my thought process concerning marriage. I heard for the first time that God created marriage and it was a good thing. I was shocked. I had no idea.

It wasn’t until I ended up at this “Restoration Conference” a few years ago that I went up to pray with these two women, where for the first time I admitted having a fear of marriage. A fear of my husband leaving me for another woman, the husband I didn’t even have yet! The sweet women prayed “Lord, please go into the garden of her heart and dig out this lie and replace it with something beautiful.” At that very moment, I saw this flower come to my mind (I thought this is weird, but oh well) I was crying so hard snot was running out of my nose, but then suddenly I saw a picture of me, walking down the aisle as a BRIDE.

I was SO shocked by this picture.

I had been a bridesmaid about 16 times at this point and NEVER EVER could imagine me as the bride. I was so shocked that I didn’t even tell them, I ran into the bathroom and exclaimed “Lord, that was You, that had to be You, I could never conjure up that image even if I wanted too.”

It was SO real and I knew it wasn’t me!

Three months later, while in Goodwill, I walked over near the dresses to see if I could get a good deal on a cute summer dress. I instead found myself looking at these wedding dresses, they were hideous, but beside one of them was this veil, I couldn’t walk away from it. I was arguing with myself, “Lindsay, what ARE you doing, walk away” but I just couldn’t. I picked it up, told myself I could get it if it was under $5.00. Maybe I could use it as decoration or something, but honestly I HAD NO IDEA why I was buying it. I felt stupid, but compelled. It came up to $4.97 (of course).

So off I went, telling the Lord that we couldn’t tell anyone of this strange thing I just did. I arrived home 45 minutes later, kind of forgetting about the whole fiasco. As I walked in my house, suddenly that same image (from 3 months ago) popped back in my head and I kid you not, I had just purchased the same EXACT veil I had on in the vision. I stood still in utter amazement, I said, “Lord, WHAT? I almost dropped to my knees, this IS crazy.” I just shook my head in amazement of how real God is, how this could even be!

Six months later an intern who had just started with our company came into my office and asked if she could talk to me, (Note: I had maybe said “Hi” to her once in passing); she then shut the door and sat down. She proceeded to tell me that the Lord put me on her heart as she was driving home the night before, so she started praying for me and she saw this image of me on my knees asking God if I were meant to be single and then she boldly told me the answer was NO! I just stared at her and calmly told her thank you as I was thinking about JUST that morning me kneeling by my bed asking God if I were met to be single?

I didn’t know what to say to her, I frankly didn’t even know her! How did she know?

These three events were unexplainable; they were so out of “the blue” as they say! Or were they?

A coincidence? I don’t believe so! I don’t believe in such a thing! I believe it was the God of the Universe, who knows every hair on my head, who knit me together in my mother’s womb who loves me (and YOU) so much that He told us to call Him Father! It was Him helping me along to surrender my fear, my fear that kept me comfortable and out of the “danger of rejection” for 30+ years.

I am 36 and still single. I recently surrendered that fear completely to the Lord. I don’t know what’s next, but I know God is good. I know He is able; I know my time is in His hands. I know marriage is beautiful, and I know it can be hard. More than that, I know that being free of fear is better than anything I could hope or imagine! I don’t know if your fear is marriage like mine was or if you fear never getting married. Either way, give that fear to the Lord, and watch the beautiful love of Jesus envelope your heart and take you on an adventure of a lifetime!

Jun
23

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How about some ONLY GOD stories!

A little something fun and different has been on my heart lately.

How about some ONLY GOD stories!

Where a God who can DO ANYTHING, does just that, crazy things that will encourage us all!

His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, His ways are higher than our ways, so why do we put Him in a box, God that is, why do we think He can’t do it?!

“It” being whatever it is you think God can’t do! He is God, He created the Universe!

We are children of the most high God! The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!

“Be STILL and KNOW that I am GOD!” He says!

He reminds me of this verse a lot!

“Lindsay do you trust me”, I hear Him often say!

It is a constant surrender, a constant YES LORD I TRUST YOU! It can be moment by moment!

This idea of ONLY GOD stories popped in my head after I heard a few girls around my age talking about “how there are no good men left”… I got so discouraged, not because I believed what they were saying, I got discouraged because they were talking like God wasn’t able, like God didn’t know the end from the beginning, like God was surprised we were 30 something and single. God is NEVER surprised! He knows our thoughts, He knows our desires before we do, He knows it ALL!

God has given me the opportunity to see Him at work in the lives of girls (and guys) that are ONLY GOD stories and they encourage me to know GOD IS GOD and I can be still and TRUST in that! These stories have encouraged me so and I do hope they encourage you!

Therefore, over the next few weeks, I will be writing my ONLY GOD stories of couples that will remind you about the the goodness, the faithfulness, the kindness, the grace and the love of God, your Maker, your Creator, the One who loves you MOST!

I am writing these stories for 2 very important reasons:

1. to encourage YOU!

2. to glorify the God of the Universe and His amazing ways!

Be excited, God is writing your story! He is the author and perfecter of our faith, it is Him {in} us that will walk out this life! Take a seat, open the book and be excited to read the next chapter.

Grasshoppers

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