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Is He Savior or Victor?

At certain points throughout generations, some people will be drawn in close enough to realize Jesus as the Savior and agree with Him by grace through faith for their salvation from death to life. These people supernaturally understood sin’s grip that kept them bound to death and lifeless. A knowing of who they were without Him and a longing to be more because of Him crept in deep to their soul, leading them to the end of themselves and the beginning of Him. Faith ignited hope and hope delivered true Peace. Eh 2:14 “He Himself is our Peace.” They then came to know and believe the love He had for them by encountering the blood flow of His forgiveness that afforded them a right standing position with the Father like in the beginning garden walks. This is the beginning of “new life” for the believer because of His sacrifice.

This is beautiful but it is only just the beginning.

Jesus’s death slayed sin rendering it powerless, silenced the centurions making them speechless, split the skies darkening the clouds, and sent shockwaves gripping His followers throughout history for thousands of years. His death did all that so what did His life do?

The resurrection followed the crucifixion, may we never forget it! Life always has the last word.

His awakened life triumphed over death shutting the doors of the grave once and for all. His powerful life brought freedom for where He is there is indeed Liberty, my friends! His contagious life beckoned many to look upon Him as all-powerful, all-commanding, uncontrollable, and unstoppable. His victorious life was a statement as much as, if not more than, His death! His resurrected life screamed throughout the timeline of all people groups from then till now that Victory is not only possible but it is Promised!

Jesus is not just Savior, He is Victor! He may be your Savior in life and thank God He is, but have you appropriated Him as your Victor for life? Because of His death and His life, you can triumph over inner battles, lies of the taunting one, grumbles of mankind,  pressures of this strange world, storms of doubt, and “Goliaths” that attempt to demolish you entirely. You, yes you, can triumphantly face these fights, because He is your Victor!

The way of victory is to remember that you are not fighting FOR victory but FROM it! In Exodus 14, Almighty God invites us to stand still while we stop fighting so that we may see Him war on our behalf with complete victory. We are not victorious because we have the will power to fight the battles but because we have the wisdom to stand on the sidelines and enter Jesus on the field of our battles. He alone is Victor and longs to fight for you! II Chron 20:15 “This battle is not yours to fight but God’s.” Praise His Name! Oh He is more than Savior, He is Victor!

Jesus, would you not only take up residence in our inner man but reign victoriously Lord God over us! Take every temptation to abandon you or doubt you and remind us we are no longer slaves in captivity but sons of liberty! Center our affection on you as our Victory not just as our Savior. Grant us the wisdom to step off the battle field and let You be You, Warrior God. You are worthy of our complete surrender. Excited and expectant we live today knowing Your victory in and over all is the promised plan! Thank you for the reality of Victory not just salvation! images

“Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” II Cor. 2:14

Esther’s Table Registration is Open!

If you live in Atlanta, you don’t want to miss this!! Ladies- all are welcome! Mark it down. Learning to celebrate in the midst of… Come hear and share stories of beauty through pain. Wanna seat at the table?! www.estherstable.org

REFLECTION

Something about rainy days in life seems to invite reflection over life. Reflection of all things divine inside everything mundane. The table reminds me to not only sup with Christ but feast on Him as the very meal. The devotionals cracked open with multiple pieces of paper stuffed in them marking years of revelations and remarkable acts of God recorded. The conversations of many around me last night and throughout today over the truth of living in two worlds at the same time. Living with our mind set, fixed without wavering a moment, on the High Places while we operate down here in the low plains. So many thoughts race through my mind today and truths soar into my heart. I love days like today as I sense Him raining and reigning down on me!

As I sit at my fall table this morning surrounded by moving boxes and masking tape, I cannot help to take a mental jaunt down memory lane. You see this season holds much change and celebration in it for my family and I. This change beckons celebration for what is ahead and what has been but also simply for what is. My childhood home sold a couple weeks ago which is bittersweet. My parents will be moving in with us, which is also bittersweet, but more sweet! I am richly blessed with a husband that cherishes my family and a family that treasures my new family name. This is also the commencing season of our first year of marriage! I can hardly believe that we have journeyed this year already together approaching the ever so longed for “anniversary”. Speechless at the pace of God and Life! Tonight is the first logistics meeting for a vision called          Est. Her’s Table ( an experience coming to the women in Atlanta the month of March). When visions break into realities, I can’t help but remember the journey that led me to this point with this team. Once again, I echo with David in the book of Samuel, “Who am I and what is my house that You would have brought me this far?”.

So in the vein of reflection, I feel compelled and convinced to record a few insights, some random and some transformative, that have marked this year of life, change, crisis, counseling, ministry, marriage, and adventure.

Here we go:

There is power that comes from celebration IN THE MIDST OF not just ON THE OTHER SIDE OF trial. Learn to cherish being in the midst of something more than being delivered from everything!

Our Home is a revolving door of ministry to others but first and foremost a refuge for us and a representation of Him. Create a home of peace and ministry for any that cross its threshold, including you!

Food tastes better eaten under candlelight… with my husband. Dine at a table with loved ones as often as possible!

Wedding Thank You cards are an overwhelming task but a needed one, prior to a year. Start Now!

To delegate in leadership is not the giving away of responsibility but the trusting of God in others to respond and execute.  Trust God in others greater than you trust Him through just you!

Anniversaries to me are more about the years ahead than the years behind. Oh I pray I have exceeding abundantly more ahead with my precious partner and greatest fan! Celebrate and Commemorate whats ahead more than what was!

Sheltering the ones that have sheltered me is a great honor and privilege regardless of selfless changes and schedule accommodations that come along with that territory. It is a gift. Shelter others more!

Dogs demonstrate and model uncontainable energy and unconditional love constantly despite my day’s mood or meetings. They never change. Live with boundless energy supplied by His unconditional and motivating Love knowing He never changes!

Sometimes turning the mind off by playing, laughing and simply being a little girl again is medicine unlike any bottle. Become like children, reckless in hope and unstoppable in joy!

Jesus promises and delivers. Believe that!

Every time the voices of “I never will, be, do…” speak, the voice of “He always will, be, do” screams louder. Silence all voices but His!

Community is gift, a byproduct, an overflow but it should never be a trend, a god, a solicited product to gain. Commune with God first then let Him source and author community!

The heart of God beats through the vehicle of His Church. Be the and Go to the church!

The Bride should gaze more at her groom than herself. Focus on your husband’s attributes not your own insecurities!

Traveling is an addiction. Travel, even if it is in your own city! Get out and See! Taste and see He is alive everywhere!

 

Off to Europe we go to reflect on Jesus throughout this year and all the ones in front of us! No more rain, no more boxes, no more meetings, no more plans, just my husband and I in the Swiss Alps, remembering and enjoying.

Loving My Roots

Have you ever just had a glimpse into your family roots, parents particularly, that leaves you breathless? Breathless maybe from pain, distance or unanswered questions or maybe inexpressible joy, closeness, and gratitude? I’ve had many moments like that spanning the gamut throughout my life as my parents go from humans to heros and vice versa. Recently, before I left for a West Coast trip, I had a “daddy ott” email sitting in my inbox. This is precious for a variety of reasons.

One: emails are few and far between due to the duration it takes daddy to type a word much less a collection of sentences.

Two: technology is still a bit of a novelty to him, its kinda cute.

Three: thought, intentionality, prayer, and A LOT of computer screen face time went into whatever is in my inbox.

Fourth: it is all worth reading whatever it is, minus the political forwards that I open to delete.

 

This one was entitled “ Visions of Grace”. It was days later after I was already settled into my little LA cottage when I opened this email, actually an attachment. I sat on my couch in utter awe of him and worship of Him!

 

As my eyes started skimming, my heart started skipping. Such joy and gratitude enveloped me immediately! Tears rolled as I read years of wisdom, personal insights through fervent prayers, and biblical truth nuggets in the voice of my dad. Many I have heard over the years being in his household but they still take deep root in me, affecting, inspiring, and stirring up Life. He had compiled this conversation between him and our Father over many years and literally has just added to the document from written pen to typed letters as he learned the skill to do so. It was a wide open window into a man whom I call so much more than just daddy. He is teacher, best friend, partner, supporter, warrior, comforter, provider, and the list goes on. Oh let me count the ways I love and know this man!

 

It was like I was sitting at the feet of two best friends in the throne room while I read and read and read…. smiles and tears throughout. Oh I was and still am beyond words to express gratitude for my roots! The leadership, honesty, passion, wisdom, brokenness, and fathering of this dad has shaped this little girl into the woman she is. I could not have asked or prayed for deeper richer roots than what Abba gave me in my dad and mom. This apple did not fall far from those trees, in fact, I dont even think I fell off seeing as how I am living back at home with them. Ha! It is a sweet, rich, full and fruitful life I live but it would be nothing without the roots of my family. Not only are they blood to me but they are home to many. Home in safety, laughter, peace, joy, and wisdom from Jesus to everyone…. If only tweets and FB status lines could house more than 150 characters and hold the wealth of ‘Visions of Grace” for all the world to read. It would change, convict, and compel them! It did me and I know the man who wrote it… and I know the Man that wrote him. I am still ingesting this “email” because it is so much more than hours of typed words on a screen, it is the crucible of years forged into a life worth immolating.

 

I love you daddy, both of You, Abba Father!

( yes I am 30 and still call him daddy, never plan on ceasing)

 

In the capturing words of my newest favorite musician, Johnnyswim, “I love me some home…”

M.A.R.T.A.

M.A.R.T.A. is quite the cross section of humanity. Educational, Physiological, but Spiritual even more. Riding the rails to the airport as another morning awoke was enlightening and exposing this week. As like a child, I was over stimulated spiritually as I looked into these people's hallow holes. My eye scanned faces while my heart seemed to ignite with "story hunger". What were their stories? Where we they all going? Why would no one look at me? Do they "look to the Hills from whence comes Help"? Do they know God knows them? Most eyes never met mine on the train, but shifted from seats, to windows, to iphones and back again. It is amazing how much an averted glance can tell you. There was so little significant visible Joy. I was alarmed at what welled up within me as I sat in so much stimulus. Multiple sounds, smells, and sights from the silver edged buildings racing by, heads hung low with earphones tightly fixed, awkward verbal outbursts from a man who probably had not seen indoors or food for days, babies crying, all races side by side though with an invisible partition so as not to encroach, and conversations on cells that still echo in my ears. Stimulus at first, but then, quickly stories. Each of them had a story, a place they came from and one they were going to. With dark colored glasses on, the tears rolled as Love from the Author of stories saturated me. He is in their story too. He is God whether they believe Him, know Him, or see Him. Did they see Him in my face? I so wanted to be a Samaritan not a Levite to them. So prayers of a Samaritan heart began internally. Being still in the stimulus of them I knew again that He was God. My God. Their God. They just didnt know Him yet. I was still in the midst of these strangers shuffling through life, unaware of available Love. Unaware of a God that I'm aware of constantly. I prayed for them with intent and mercy. Praying stillness would enter their visibly fast breaking worlds and introduce them to God. He longs for them to know Him and briefly allowed me the painful privilege of feeling the need in their stead. I prayed for continual heart engagement to what His heart sees, first step towards being a Samaritan in the stimulus of their stories, I guess. Ride M.A.R.T.A. and permit your heart to become a Samaritan.

The Lot is Good

The plane has been a “sanctuary in the sky” to me for years as I jet set coast to coast. On this jaunt to LA I was moved to praise God for the “lot” He has granted me. Numbers 33 is a chronicled journey from Egypt to Cannan. As I thumbed the pages, it quickly mimicked that of my own from bondage to freedom and prison doldrums to promise dwelling. Just as the people of God stopped along the way so have I. There have been and are still camps of celebration, frustration, emptiness, and fullness but all the while the Cloud and Fire leads onward to the envisioned lot of His choosing. He has a promised land ahead indeed! The first 49 verses documented 43 places of campground before they entered the land of promise. Whew, that is a lot of stop and go! However after they would cross the Jordan and before they could enjoy the Land given them, God gave clear inheritance instructions. Paraphrased, DRIVE OUT all the previous inhabitants, DESTROY every riva to Mel, and DEMOLISH any elevation besides My Name. Then TAKE POSSESION of all I have for you and live in it animated! Receive your chosen lot with contentment not comparison. Look not to other’s plots of land with wishful eye because I am the One who drew the lines. Green pastures are where you are period. But if you do not do the 3 D’s then anything or anyone left behind will become an irritant, distraction, and competitor in your eye, keeping you from noticing and embracing the Promise I have in store for you. Num 33:54 Psalm 37:3 is encouragement to dwell in the land divinely granted, fully satisfied and faithful. Ps 16:5-6 says that our inheritance is lovely for He in fact is the portion. The lines of our lot have fallen in pleasant places. Do I, you, really believe that? On the plane with tears of gratitude and the glare of sunshine, I thanked Him for my entire lot; The broad blessings, ended relationships, deep pain, lavish experiences, lone moments, and unfinished prayers. With all that in view, I thanked Him for driving out what preceded and asked Him for enablement to relish the present and promised lot. Obey. Enter. Enjoy. Celebrate. Anticipate. “you will bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.” Deut 8:10

Lavishment

II Tim 6:17 is an incredible reality to tap into! It says that God has freely given us all things to Enjoy! ALL THINGS. Here in the beautiful climate of LA that rings so true in my heart. I prayed on my flight here that I would see, notice, and acknowledge God in ALL THINGS. He has literally touched every aspect of this trip thus far! His specific dealings with me in "Sarah style", His truth popping off the pages of Scripture, His creativity and flavors in the food we enjoy here, His presence in each laugh or conversation had, His kindness in little unexpected gifts... I mean the list can go on. He is in ALL THINGS and has freely given them to ENJOY. What an extravagant Father we have! The One who gives every good and perfect gift from above with whom there is no variation of turning or dark shadows. He is altogether lavishing....

I see You Lord in ALL THINGS... continue to keep the eyes of my heart wide open with 20/20 vision.

Home Away from Home

From far east coast beaches to now the west coast, my schedule continues to remain full! I enjoy living life abundantly and am so blessed to do life with incredible people all over. It is a home away from home here. I love the lavish simplicities of our lifestyle here in LA. We have so much conversation, coffee, and community gatherings. This week we are doing a deep body detox, trying to enter the holidays on the leaner side! I loved eating my lentils, persian cucumbers and edamame mash for lunch today alongside of green white tea. I had a morning that enabled me to get an hour massage that was fantastic. So many toxins and build ups released!

I meet amazing people every time I come, hence my community out here is gaining in size! God orchestrates my steps and schedules in a way that blows my mind. Through these Godly new friends I found myself at a Beverly Hills salon/spa having health food and sharing Jesus stories on the white couch while facials were being had then at Models for Christ last night where there was an immediate knitting of hearts with many. There are fundraisers, banquets, coffee appointments, and play dates all still ahead as we enjoy John 10:10.

This little yellow cottage in which I stay truly is my home away from home. Hugs and Kisses still for Atlanta though! Grateful to the Lord for life and life abundantly.

Charleston

I had a wonderful time in Charleston celebrating yet another beautiful bride. The way that God fashions fits for individual women and men leaves me to glorify Him even more! Laurie and Caleb have a God written story for all to enjoy and rejoice over this spring. The maid of honor secured a gorgeous Charleston home on the beach for all 10 of us! It was stunning and so affordable, praise Jesus for deals. We set the table and enjoyed great homemade yummies including "you wont be single for long" basil pasta and chocolate brownies. Then off to the city for She crab soup, King Street, Cupcakes, and market shopping. We laughed and almost skipped on the brick streets in the perfect weather, all in black with the bride in white of course. I was asked to share some thoughts of Scripture to the bride from the shoreline at the beach. It was truly a stunning morning filled with an occasional sand storm thanks to the wind gusts but it was perfect. I studied under the sunrise that morning praying He would convey what His heart wanted to communicate. It was so clear what He said and where He led me through my journey in the Word. With coffee in hands and coats on bodies we opened with John 21, Jesus sweetly making his loved ones breakfast on the beach at "daybreak". Oh how many times Christ has made Himself visible and provided my needs in the center of my "day-breaks", not just at the sunrise horizon but when the day breaks in half just the same. He is so visible to those who want to see Him! It was a divine lead in to Proverbs 31 where we went verse by verse. God relayed some truths I had never seen until that morning. There is a definition not only of a Godly women hidden in Christ but of a Godly man-king as well. Never had I paid much attention to the first 9 verses but you cannot have the impact of the woman in the following 10-31 if you do not have the man listed in the first section. Truly a testament to Caleb and Laurie as two God centered Christ filled people! Proverbs 31 is not a standard or a measuring gage for how Godliness should be done by a woman, but more than that it is a picture, posture of who we already are IN Christ! He is all that in and through us. What hope, joy, and freedom this affords to the reader! A proverbs 31 recording will be posted at www.establishher.org soon... We concluded our weekend with road trip goodies, well dont know if you can consider Pringles, candy and oreos as goodies, but they were good for that moment. We all laughed in agreement that this week deserves a very strict body detox diet! Ha! Thanks to sermon messages and great company our 6 hour drive was effortless and safe. God is good to give us celebrations, community, and Charleston!!

Look Up



As the sun baked me brown on blue and white speckled chairs, my eyes were drawn upward. Living it up in Tampa laying out at the yacht club, the Lord spoke to me a sweet word: look up and watch for Me!

The pool was quite empty with only a few south Tampa socialites creating ripples and conversations in the shallow end, when it happened. A huge, I mean gigantic, air force plane passed over heads so low i could almost grab a seat, it seemed. It's sound reverberated through the sky as it made it's entrance into the tree line behind me. All I could do was look up in awe with mouth dropped. Simply incredible! But even more incredible, the size 2 women in gucci glasses never raised there head or batted an eye, much less looked up! One of two reasons potentially: they were engrossed in something more inspiring than a thousand plus pound machine turning mid flight right above their heads or it just had become utterly common to them- unworthy of a glance. Either way, I was shocked due to the activity above and below. Nothing wrong with gucci, being fit, or having a good convo but Something else is worth our attention! Look upward!

Are we too engrossed into life down here that we merely don't look up? God is actively present in the gorgeous blues and exponentially greater than Air Force One. He intersects our world all the time, do u notice it? What is so gripping down below that all above has become un-stimulatingly common? Has The Uncommon One creeped into the normal category by His creation? Oh how sad if this true. 

To live looking up, fully aware of all the awe in Life is better than to live in shallow conversations with heads never lifting above their horizontal plane. Colossians says to set our minds eye on things above not on the earthly trinkets that glitter to grab our attention. He says that because He knows what will be missed by those who don't look up. 

My afternoon at the pool was commenced, not with a 15 min old grilled cheese and talks in the shallows, but with a double jet stream pair of F16s screaming through the air I was breathing... Oh what I would have missed without the "look up"! 

I will not be satisfied with missing what is higher and far better. Let's look up today for He is passing over and playing in the skies! 
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