Wednesday, March 24, 2010

“They do not fear bad news: they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.” Psalm 112:7

The landscape changed. And I mean changed dramatically. I make several trips to and from Denver International Airport every month for my job. Normally, it’s a pretty mundane, 35-40 minute commute, depending on traffic. The landscape is highway, some rolling hills and a few subdivisions, nothing too difficult. I can usually get there without even thinking about it – it’s like having autopilot in my car.

Well, last night, I flew in from California and landed pretty much in a blizzard. It had snowed about 4-6 inches already, the wind was blowing like crazy and it was cold! It was dark before I got to my car after trudging through the windy, snowy parking lot. It took me 10 minutes just to clean enough of the heavy, wet slop off my car to begin to drive. As I made my way out, even the radio was having trouble connecting. So I turned it off and decided silent concentration might be best. And, as I made my way onto the roadway that I am so familiar with – everything looked different. Even the lane markers were gone. There was nothing to guide me along. Several minutes into the drive, I had a realization and spoke it out loud. “The landscape has changed!” All my familiar landmarks were invisible – you couldn’t even tell where the hills ended and the sky began the cloud ceiling was so low, and the snow was blowing so much. Friends, it was downright scary.

As I realized that I couldn’t rely on myself and my knowledge of the route, I began to relax a little. Really. Because amid that thought revelation, I also felt the reassurance that I was not alone in that car. I had help and I should never think I have to rely on just myself to know the route. I had the maker of it all as my GPS! God was giving me just enough visibility to keep going. Just enough vision to know where on the road to be, even though the normal lanes were gone. I had to slow down to a near crawl to make headway, so I was able to spend time talking to God during the trip. I was remarking that His power is truly awesome – and that power comes in so many ways. The incredible power of a blizzard or other storm is nothing compared to what our God is able to do. In that moment, I was thinking that nothing I have faced or will face in this life is too big for Him.

As He safely and gently led me home, I thought about the parallel to our lives. The landscape will change – whether the landscape is health, finances, relationships, our country, and any number of other things – He is in control of it and we need not fear. This is not the end of it by any means. The storms are going to come. The storms will threaten us beyond our comfort. We need to lean on Him who holds it all together to safely and gently lead us home.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

I used to think my path was so crooked that it wasn’t worth much. Today as I was reading through some of the daily devotionals I get in my in-box, a couple things took hold. The first was that the path I’ve taken is exactly the path that God laid out for me long before I ever came into being. The second was that I need not wonder about the how’s and why’s of my path or where it is leading because it is in God’s hands. Those are some pretty freeing and peace-giving thoughts.

The verse above from Ephesians was the Scripture reference for today’s Encouragement For Life devotional from the Proverbs 31 ministry. After I read through it, I was able to stop and read more thoroughly through the entire 2nd chapter of Ephesians. I’m glad I did. It reaffirmed that I never want to forget where I came from before the grace and mercy of Jesus saved me. It also reminded me that because of that grace, I am to honor God by using the gifts He’s given me and follow the path He laid out to bring Him glory.

My next stop was Lysa TerKeurst’s blog. I’ve written about Lysa and Proverbs 31 before. Lysa is the founder and director. Lysa has us spending time in Colossians – which I am also working through with her readers.

However, at the end of today’s blog was what really grabbed my attention. If you’ve read my blog, you know that I believe I have a call on my heart to do more for His kingdom with my writing. What that is, I’m still waiting to find out. But what I do know, without a doubt, is that I am supposed to attend the P31 conference, She Speaks, being held this summer. My previous entry on this topic (originally posted February 16 and re-posted March 10) recounted when God made it ever so clear that I am to pursue this opportunity. I also have asked family, friends, Facebook friends & Twitter followers and anyone who happens to stumble upon my blog to come along side me and help sponsor my entry fees. While I work full-time, my husband is working very hard to get his baseball academy off the ground and it's taking time and patience before we see paychecks. And in the last couple days on her blog, sweet Lysa said that she's having a contest for scholarships to the event!

I’ve said for years that I believe a book is living within me. I’ve got a few thoughts on what the story is and I’ve even written a few thousand words of the semi-autobiographical fiction option. And, who knows, perhaps God is using this blog and my very crooked path to write a non-fiction story of His love, redemption, purpose and encouragement. Giving hope to others and hopefully leading them towards a relationship with Jesus would be the best story I could write.

So, why do I want to go to the conference? Well it's something that I have prayed about for a couple years because I need to "learn the ropes" about the publishing world. This conference would be the perfect opportunity to learn more about the process, meet some of the top folks in Christian publishing and speaking, find encouragement to forge ahead along this path that God has clearly shown me and maybe, just maybe meet Lysa and give her a hug of thanks for being the inspiration she is.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

“Be still and know that I am God;” Psalm 46:10

I heard a great message on solitude today and it really resonated with me. I used to think solitude was just for me and my own relaxation. How wrong I was. I’m coming up on the one-year anniversary of one of the most amazing periods of solitude I’ve ever experienced, and the message I heard today sparked thoughts of that time.

I was able to get a way and spend a weekend at the beach. It was during a particularly stressful period and I don’t think even I realized how much I needed it. Thankfully, God knew. He knew where and how to lead me so that I was completely focused on Him. It was the most powerful connection I have ever had and one that I long to recapture often. I sat amid gentle surf, sugar-soft white sand, swaying palm trees and chirping birds and just tuned in. The peacefulness of that time makes me smile. And as I sat there in sheer awe, He spoke into my soul and gave me the clearest direction I have ever had. I have been filled with joy and purpose ever since.

Funny, if that experience didn’t sell me on making time for solitude, I don’t know what would! Solitude. Just saying it brings me back to that place of peace. As my story portrays, I find peace when I am at the beach. The challenge, of course, is that I cannot be at the beach every time I need that connection. Finding the moments and mental ability to seek out other places of solitude are vital.

Vital but hard. Those daily demands have a tendency to creep into my thoughts, even when I am trying to be quiet. And to be completely honest, some days I just don’t know how or when I can slip away, even if it’s just mentally, to be still. Slipping way, relaxing and just “being still” are so much easier on vacation, I will admit.

The hardest thing is tuning out from the things of this world and tuning in to the quiet and peace of God. It sounds crazy when I think about it that way. That the “noise” of this world, the demands, stressors, priorities, to-do’s, concerns, etc. would be easier to stay focused on than stepping aside and finding peace and contentment through time with our Savior. That’s the trap I know I fall into, which just gives the enemy that much more to work with.

I challenge myself, and anyone who reads this, to make that commitment and effort to spend time in solitude with the Lord. I think we will be amazed at what will happen if we do it. Are you with me?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

“She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26

Friends, this is a bit of an unusual entry. There is something that has been on my heart for a while, and I’ve been wrestling with what I believe is a nudge from God. Why have I been wrestling? I really don’t have an answer! I guess it’s because it requires me to something that I am a bit uncomfortable with. I know what you’re thinking, ‘doesn’t that happen a lot when God is moving?’ It puts you in a place where you will likely have to step out in faith and possibly do things that are uncomfortable.

Last night, I was praying about this specific area. As I sat there talking to God about this tug on my heart, a peace came over me. Then, I felt moved to open my Bible. I was stunned. The title of the daily reading plan was “Written on our Hearts.” I read through that section and thought, okay, maybe God’s telling me something, but I’ll just move to the next day. Guess what the first four words of that section were? “Put it in writing!” Um, okay, God, I think I get it. Read on, dear friends!

Proverbs 31 Ministries is a Christian ministry geared toward women and provides a wealth of resources from daily devotions, a radio program, speaking events, conferences, a monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups.

One of the annual conferences put on by P31 is She Speaks. She Speaks is a life-changing event for women seeking to explore the tug on their hearts to reach out to the world for Jesus. In its ninth year, She Speaks encourages and equips women as they communicate God's Word through writing, speaking and leadership. There is a specific “track” for writers – my specialty.

The writing track covers everything from basic writing guidelines to preparing an article or manuscript for submission, and everything in between. In addition, the opportunity to meet one-on-one with some of the top editors, publishers, and literary agents in the Christian market.

Is it just me, or does that sound great? Oh my, I get so excited just thinking about it! Last year, I started this blog in response and obedience to the blessing that God has given me in the form of written word. I’m grateful that He gives me words that touch people’s hearts and has provided this platform to do so. Well, once I started the blog, I realized there is a lot more I can be doing to share the gift. About that time, I was reading (again) about She Speaks. At that point, it was just too late to try and muster up the money to go, so I put the dream on the back burner.

Well, this year, I don’t believe I can push it off again! That tug feels more like a pull. The biggest hurdle (for me, not for God) is the cost. The fee is $575 (based on double occupancy) plus air travel. The conference is July 30-August 1 in Concord, NC. There is a pre-conference writer’s track for another $125. Here’s the part that makes me a bit uncomfortable. I’m asking for you to prayerfully consider helping me attend the conference.

The Lord has obviously laid it on my heart to attend this year. I trust He will provide a way financially for me to go, and I would like to invite you to be a part of this life-changing conference! Will you prayfully consider partnering with me through a financial contribution towards a scholarship that will allow me to attend?

If your answer is yes, there are two ways to participate. You can call Proverbs 31 Ministries at 877-731-4663 to contribute or send a check payable to Proverbs 31 Ministries to:

Proverbs 31 MinistriesShe Speaks Scholarship/Patti Hazlett
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Please be sure to designate the scholarship in my name in order to credit my scholarship fund. The sweet ladies at Proverbs 31 have set up an account to track my donations. You will be receipted for your tax-deductible donation. For more information:

The last bit of Scripture that I read last night was this: “To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue.” Proverbs 16:1. It was headed up with “God gives us words.”

I gratefully thank you and pray for you to be blessed!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." Proverbs 19:11

Well, talk about being convicted on the spot. Today I did not choose wisely. I allowed a situation at the office get to me, kind of flew off the handle a little, and did a sinful thing in firing off an email to a couple co-workers about it. I “shushed” my inner voice that was telling me to go take a walk, get some coffee, blow off steam – anything. Nope, stubborn Patti overrode the system and had to be heard. Ugh.

And then.

Within minutes, I kid you not, a text pops into my phone with these words. “When you allow what someone says or does to upset you, you’re giving away your peace and joy, which is your strength.”

Big long silence on my end. And a big vat of conviction in my belly.

I went to the link and read the entry. Then, I went to my online Bible study to play catch up – missed yesterday and hadn’t checked today’s yet. Oh yea, you know what’s coming. We’re in Philippians and today we’re talking about how we respond to life’s unfairness. What is my response when things don’t go my way? What example am I setting? Again, conviction city. My eyes closed and my head dropped because I knew better.

I stopped on this verse. Philippians 4:5. “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Oh mercy. The Lord WAS near. He was telling me to let it be, grab some coffee, take a walk and I stomped all over him. Father, please forgive me and my angry reaction.

My takeaway today is that my response is my responsibility. I have a choice in how I respond. That is what sets us as believers apart. Otherwise, how am I any different than a non-believer and why would they want to choose Jesus if I’m the example they’re seeing? My choice today wasn’t the right one. I’ve repented. I’ve definitely learned. And I pray pray pray that the next time I’m faced with a situation where I have this kind of choice again, that I pause, breathe in Jesus and listen for His voice to show me the way.

I want my thoughts to agree with my words and actions. I want with all my heart to make the choices that shine the light of Jesus to the world. My responsibility is bigger than the minor injustices of this life. I know that. I really do. My gracious Lord has forgiven this instance because my heart is full of repentance from it. I’ve asked and received. I do not, however, want to miss the lesson, learn something from it and be a better example the next time. That is my prayer now.