Monday, March 28, 2011

“Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come!” Amos 6:1

“Wreck me, Jesus.” Have you ever prayed that prayer? I can tell you, I haven’t. But, have you ever noticed how when the train wreck happens, God seems to be right there in the middle of it, working it to an outcome that you could or would never have predicted?

Really, none of us truly wants to be uncomfortable. It’s easy to get caught up in the complacency of everyday life. You have a good job, a happy marriage, the kids are doing well in school and play a sport or two. You have friends, perhaps volunteer a little. It’s comfortable. You can almost see yourself going through life on cruise control, not really veering off the track or getting your hands too terribly dirty.

When I get my head around this picture a little bit more, it really becomes apparent to me that this is one of the enemy’s big lies in life. He fools us into thinking that this is our preferred lifestyle, and that we actually have control over it. What a foolish way to live.

In the past several years, every time the rug is yanked out from my comfortable little life, God is doing something. Something big. Something only He can do. For us, the false sense of security tends to come in our employment. Both my husband and I have found ourselves suddenly unemployed in the past few years. What He’s teaching me in this time is that I believed the enemy. That I took a job and made it into more than it was ever supposed to be.

For my husband, that time became the time of soul searching and finding his purpose. More than two years after his job loss, he is passionately pursuing the dream that God put in his heart and moved mountains to piece together. He is living the life God intended for him.

For me, it was a false sense of purpose. I was too busy being someone I am not, giving Him my leftovers and not my best. What I am learning is that “wreck me, Jesus” should be my prayer often.

Because by wrecking me of the things and situations where He is not my sole focus, He is refining me to His greater purpose. I am sitting in the middle of perhaps some of the biggest turmoil in my life and I have complete peace. Because He’s been faithful every time I’ve trusted and I know He will be in this situation, too.

The most trying of circumstances are when God can do His greatest work in and through us. If we just let go and let God, incredible things happen. I’m in. Are you?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

“Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.” 1 Timothy 4:14

As Christians, we are called to live like Christ. To let His light shine through us. Setting the example for others to see His grace in our lives. That is a big task and I know that I fail every day. But, sometimes…

You just never know the impact you may have on others. A kind word, simple act of service or even a word of encouragement might be just the thing that someone desperately needs to make their day, and maybe even their life, turn around.

This week alone, I received several emails regarding posts on this blog. That was coupled with a few face to face comments from people who were blessed by it. I was honored and surprised. Honestly, sometimes I have to wonder if the lessons He’s teaching me are just lessons for me as I grow in my faith. And then, He blows me away with a week like this one. I’m continuously humbled and amazed how God uses little everyday moments to shine into our lives. That He allows me to play a small role in His story amazes me more.

Do you ever stop and think about what your life is saying to others about Jesus? It is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. We are called to be different. Called to be at peace with others in a life that is full of strife. Called to seek out opportunities to serve others. Called to point others to Jesus and share His message of salvation for them.

Never think that what you are doing is too mundane or small to be used for His glory. Those small, seemingly random little moments in our every day can make all the difference to someone who may desperately need to feel the love of Christ. When He allows us to be part of His story, true blessings result, for all involved.

So, what is it that you are gifted with? Is it serving, encouragement, teaching, leading, mercy, or one of the other spiritual gifts? Then, friend, use it! There is nothing like knowing that God has gifted you with something that He can and will use to bring Him glory. It is an honor and privilege to be taken wholeheartedly.

I’d love to hear your stories.

Friday, March 18, 2011

“Turn to me and have mercy on me; grant strength to your servant…” Psalm 86:16a

Yesterday was one of “those” days. You know what I mean? The kind of day that you just struggle to get through, like there’s a cloud hanging over your head waiting to open up and pour rain on you at any minute. I’ve been fighting a really nasty cold for nearly two weeks and the past few nights, I’ve had coughing fits keep me up most of the night. The night before had been particularly restless. I think I slept about two hours, interrupted.

Needless to say, I felt foggy, and not great with the cold. I kept trying to be productive with the time during the day but every time I started something, I just felt worn down. I kept thinking that it would all be okay once I got to Bible study. Our evening group is wrapping up “Breaking Free” with Beth Moore and it has been an incredible study. Sure enough, just as I was getting ready to leave, my husband called from baseball practice, nearly an hour away, to say our son had accidentally locked the keys in the truck. No Bible study – I needed to run spare keys to him so the boys could get into the vehicle.

As I was driving back home, I was really struggling. I couldn’t even sing along with the radio to the worship music that was playing – something I absolutely love to do when I am alone (because no one can hear me!). When I got home, I peeked at my phone and saw the Twitter feed of an acquaintance I met through Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Her text said she was taking a break. She closed with “Sometimes living free is knowing when you need to pull away and just hang w/God.” That just grabbed me. That was exactly what had been missing in my day. I needed to just “hang with God.” So, I sat at the counter with my Bible open to the Psalms and my journal next to it. It was peaceful. It was calming. I felt the love of my Father settling my restless and rest-less spirit.

In my Bible was a card. Something I picked up at a conference months ago. This verse in Psalm 86 is written on it. It was just the message I needed last night. What do you need to hear today? Ask Him. He’ll answer.

Monday, March 14, 2011

“To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue.” Proverbs 16:1

A few weeks ago, I sat with friends talking about the next phase of my life. I’ve known for a while that God is calling me to do more – more with writing and adding speaking to the mix – all for His glory and telling His story. In that conversation, I said I was feeling drawn to attend She Speaks, a women’s conference for those called to various areas of ministry, again. Last year, generous friends and family helped me fund my first trip to this equipping, encouraging conference. That night, I told my friends that although I felt like I was supposed to go again this year, I didn’t have the funds to pay for it. I added that I didn’t think I could ask for help to attend again.

My very wise friend responded with. “I think you’re underestimating God. Do you think that’s too much for Him?” Of course not, but asking for sponsorship two years in a row still seemed like a stretch to me.

Well, I couldn’t deny the call to attend. I registered without any idea of how I would pay the fees. I then posted a blog, once again asking for help, and I prayed. Friends, if it is God’s will, God will provide a way.

In 24 hours, I got an email from the conference, telling me my first donation had already come in! Forty-eight hours later, it was finished. Complete. Fully funded! In THREE days donations completely covered my conference expenses. For three straight days, I got emails from the conference. Every one made me burst into tears of joy. I haven’t cried like that in ages.

I am humbled, honored and grateful for those who helped sponsor me for this year. And, I am on my knees praising the God who made it happen. If I had any doubts about what it is I am supposed to do in this life, they are gone. His powerful statement came with a mighty big exclamation point.

This verse is a representation of the partnership between God and man. Ultimately, the outcome is up to Him, but we have a role in it as well. By submitting to His will, our plans are His plans. The actions we take are faith steps that draw us closer to Him.

What is the lesson? I’ve been wrestling for too long over my calling. Recently, I committed to submitting to His will for my life on a daily basis. When I started doing that, I found myself right in the center lane of the highway He has paved for me. I needed to trust, and need to continue to trust daily, that His plans are true and good. When faced with the inevitable challenges of life, I have to lean on what I know is true. His plan is perfect.

With my sincerest gratitude, I thank you – for supporting this blog, for encouraging me and for applying His word in your life.

Friday, March 11, 2011

“My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not stumbled.” Psalm 17:5

I’ve always been a pretty active person. In college, I worked as an aerobics instructor/personal trainer at a gym and fell in love with physical fitness. It has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember.

As much as I love a variety of physical activity – I do aerobics, weight train, the elliptical, step classes, kickbox, just about everything and love it – one thing has eluded me over the years. I cannot run. Running has always been that activity that fitter, more active people do. Not me.

Last year, a friend mentioned that her goal was to run a 5K before the end of the year. It intrigued me, as this was something I had been contemplating myself. I decided to take the plunge and give it a shot.

In December, I purchased an app for my phone called Couch to 5K – a program designed to train you in 6-8 weeks to have the endurance to run a 5K. Perfect. The downside is that I live in Colorado and in December, it’s pretty cold and sometimes snowy. I’m a pretty fair weathered gal; I don’t go outside much if it’s below 40. So, for the first few weeks, nearly all my running was inside my house – it was quite a scene.

I signed up to run in a 5K on February 26 – this gave me a deadline and a goal. Not only did I have to train enough to complete the distance, I knew I would have to force myself outside, even when I didn’t want to.

So, on a fairly nice, 50-degree day, I stepped out during week 4 of the program. Oh. My. Word. Nothing I had done had really prepared me for it. I was starting from near scratch. My chest pounded, my breathing was terrible and I felt like I might be dying. But, something kept telling me to press on. I tried. And, at about the 1 mile mark, I started to pray. I prayed for each step. Because I knew that if it were up to me, I’d quit and walk way more than the program allowed. This would be sure failure. So with my mind concentrating on Jesus, somehow my feet kept going and eventually, I made it through the session.

From then on, the one thing that has helped through every run was praying and keeping my heart and mind focused on Jesus. I can vividly remember finding markers along the path and asking Him to just help me get to that mailbox, that light pole, that fire hydrant. Every time, He got me there and every time, I thanked him.

On February 26, I lined up with 11,000 of my new closest friends and we began to run. I prayed as we started because it was warm – nearly 75 degrees in Florida that morning. I prayed because I was nervous about trying too hard and getting hurt or passing out. And, when I prayed, I felt calm. I knew I wasn’t running alone. Those steps weren’t just mine.

I finished 206th out of more than 500 in my age division. Really, that part doesn’t matter. I finished without getting hurt or passing out.

Afterward, I thought about how that race, and beginning to run at all, has reflected my faith journey. I needed to learn to completely trust and lean on God for every step, during every run. There were times when my mind wandered and I was distracted and guess what? I stumbled. As long as I stay focused on the One who is guiding my every step, I am fine. That is precisely how I want my life journey to be run.

Monday, March 7, 2011

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

Nearly two years ago, I sat on a bench on a beach in Florida having the conversation of my life with God. I was wrestling. Wrestling with my purpose, my self-confidence, even questioning if I had anything of value to offer Him. He lovingly responded. He spoke into my very soul, verbalizing the words of Jeremiah 29:11. I heard it spoken to me, not by me.

On that trip, I was working through Max Lucado’s “The Cure for the Common Life.” It became very apparent that my love of writing and storytelling was a gift from God. A gift that He intended me to use for His glory. It was also apparent that I was not fully using that gift, especially not for the purpose for which it was given. I was working in public relations and marketing, definitely using my skills as a communicator, but not for Kingdom work.

While I sat on that bench, I asked God what to do? I’ve thought for years that I have the makings of at least one book in me, but have never had the courage to begin the process. Do you know how He answered? He said, “help me write my story.” What?! Now, believe me, I know that the maker of the universe does not need my help to write His story. That was a loving, generous, precious gift to me, His daughter. His way of giving me a purpose that was so much greater than anything I could ever muster up in my own doing.

I left that bench full of fire and ideas. I began a blog. It gave me a place to begin to get down on “paper” the lessons He’s teaching me and to start cultivating the ideas that may eventually be a book worth writing and that people might actually read. What I never expected or imagined was the response the blog would receive. Beyond my wildest dreams, people from all over were actually reading what I wrote and many were even blessed by it.

Last year, God affirmed over and over that attending She Speaks was a next step in the process of molding me and equipping me for the journey. However, finances were an issue. My husband was knee deep in the process of starting up a baseball academy and all our resources were funneled into that venture, a venture that God clearly wove for us. I was nervous and timid about asking friends and family to help with a sponsorship for the Conference. But, I obeyed what I knew God was calling me to do, and I asked. And they gave. And I cried! Sure enough, in a matter of weeks, I was fully funded to attend. She Speaks was one of the best experiences of my life. I felt equipped to take next steps and made connections that have taught, encouraged and furthered my journey.

Surely, I thought, God was through with this molding process and I am on my way. I’ll write devotions on my blog and perhaps the book will be next and that will be it. Oh no. He has pushed me out of my comfort zone, putting me in a leadership position with our church’s women’s ministry – I am the speaker. I am the one who makes the announcements and writes devotionals that are periodically shared with the ladies in our church. We even organized our first-ever women’s weekend retreat. He’s also brought friends into my life who have dared to say I should begin speaking. More publicly. Delivering messages that matter. Scary.

This year, when talk of the conference started again in the Proverbs 31 circles, I was a bit sad, thinking I wish I could go again. I was giving it serious prayerful consideration. I had a feeling that I might get a bonus this year at work, so I could possibly pay for it myself. And then I was told that my position was being eliminated. I was laid off. Okay, I thought, God has this and I trust that this is where I am supposed to be, but there will be no She Speaks this year.

But God. He kept nudging, pressing me to take the speaker tract and bring a book proposal to this year’s conference. After all, I have time to write now that I’m unemployed. After much prayer and conversations with friends I made through last year’s conference, I took a step in faith. A big step. I registered for the conference having no idea how I am paying for it. I am asking for sponsorship funds from friends, family and blog readers again. And I am entering every contest option. I know this is part of God’s plan, the affirmations cannot be denied. So, I trust and I pray.

God has blessed every faithful step of the journey and I know He will continue to do so. I don’t know what it looks like in the end, but He does. And that, is enough for me.


If you feel led to join me in this exciting call, there are two ways to participate. Call Proverbs 31 Ministries at 877-731-4663 to contribute by credit card; or send a check payable to Proverbs 31 Ministries to:

Proverbs 31 Ministries
She 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. You will be receipted for your tax-deductible donation. For more information:

Thank you for your prayers and support.