The Ties That Bind

We cruised along at a steady clip. The late 70’s model F150 was equipped with the finest camper shell of it’s time. Outfitted with 2 roll out windows on each side, like those you might find in a mobile home of the same decade. If you were lucky enough, you got a seat by a window. There was no breeze to really speak of by the window. It all seemed to be down draft as the window itself; but in the hot July sun, the mirage of a breeze upon your face was enough to manipulate the minds of the passengers, that this seat was cooler. The air was sticky sweet with sweat and the smell of pine.

Laid upon sleeping bags, tents, and boxes of groceries, 5 strangers in the enclosed haven of the camper shell, were labored with the task of endless hours of travel. All day long our bodies twitched and ached to expel the energy of our youth. Motionless games of the mind were lost and won. Stories and jokes were shared. Towards the end of a day’s journey, patience was depleted, and tempers would flare soon if the glorious reprieve of a bathroom break and stop for the night were not to be had within the hour.

Growing up, our family would move on to take a vacation to the Frio River every year. It all began with this 2-week journey to Colorado in the camper shell. Although the phrase had not yet been coined, we were a newly “blended” family. Our destination was, Colorado.

That summer we truly got to know each other on a very real and personal level. We rode in close quarters together, forced to interact with each other for 8 to 10 hours a day. When we stopped for the night, we did not rent a hotel room, we camped. We camped primitively. Every night we pitched tents. Not those tents from today that have 2 fiberglass rods that cross each other, and you’re done. No, these tents were made in hell. The hell of fifty thousand poles and knots to be tied that must be precise. If your knots and stakes were not tied properly, you could be in for a rough night. These tents took several people to set up correctly. We were forced to work together as a team. Firewood had to be gathered, dinner cooked, and dishes done, all without light more than a Coleman lantern could provide and usually without running water. The first 4 days were torture. We struggled to communicate and fought about who knew how to do it and who should be in charge.

The love of nature grasp me here, at this point. It was real, honest, could not lie or deceive. It was absolute with clear rules and majesty not to be questioned, only challenged.

On we traveled, detouring to sights and wonders never seen or even imagined. Glorious things we saw that impacted me personally to later drive me to live beyond the coast of my hometown.

Once we hit Colorado, we were a well-oiled machine of survivors. Ranks had been earned, talents had been noticed, and eventually the fragmented children we were, fell into a rhythm. Our learned knowledge of tying knots proved true in the mountains of Breckenridge where winds whipped in the night and snow still lay upon the ground in mid-July. We quickly realized knowing how to properly secure our tents with the correct knot-to-stake ratio, was key!

That summer brought 5 strangers together that learned how to lean on each other and work together to accomplish any goal and overcome every challenge, together.

The ties that bind.

The ties that bind us, are proven. They have been tried and tested. They have proven themselves to hold secure. They do not disappoint or fail. When we earn the knowledge and practiced the experience, we are sure in our knots and ties.

This recollection of my childhood came to me recently when I was confronted with a simple question regarding my faith and God’s calling upon my life, “How can you be so sure?”

I am sure because I have a tried-and-true relationship with Him. I have been tested and I have thrown out my fleece. Although I have failed at times, HE has held secure. Always. He has never failed or disappointed me, if only I could say I have reciprocated the same in our relationship. There have been times when it was truly rough and terrible; like traveling and being tested for days on end with people you don’t know. People who don’t understand you.

When I look back and remember that summer, although I have focused on them now to make a point, I don’t reminisce about the hardships. I don’t dwell on the heat of the camper shell or the difficulty of the transition. I remember washing laundry upstream in a river on rocks, and how fun it was to watch them “rinse” as they flowed downstream to my new siblings to catch and wring dry. I remember waterfalls discovered at Big Bend and tin cups of hot coffee over a campfire in 10-degree weather on a cold, Colorado morning. Nothing levels the playing field like mutual need. It created a bond. A tie.

No matter what challenge we face today, there are those times we have had with our Heavenly Father, where we can look back and see how He has grown us and brought us closer to Him. Periods of the valley low as well as victory upon the mountain top.

In the hardships we face every day, in every trial and area of growth we are challenged with, let us not forget what truly holds us to hope. What holds us to Him.

God has proven to be my knot that is sure.

He is the tie that binds my heart.

— Sandra K. Andrews

Out Of Bounds 

  
I stood before home plate, the heat from the August south Texas sun beaded upon my brow. My gut was wrenched, drawn up tight, hiding behind my rib cage. Two strikes against my oldest brother’s fast ball …… and 3 out of bounds fouls. This was the last chance for my 6 year old brother and I to have a fighting chance against my two oldest brothers. In the final inning, and potentially, the final play of the game, the ball rolled towards me, bouncing as it pulsed across the uneven surface of our front yard. I watched with great anxiety and intensity as it raced towards the dip in the ground, the one that made it bouncy and unpredictable as it barreled towards me. Four bounces once it hit the dip …. Counting, 1, 2 …… 3 … 4. A split second and it’s reached its destination.

 

I reared back my right leg, with all the severity and force my 38 lbs. could muster. It’s do or die time. This time I’m going to DO!

 

Competitive sports have never been mine to enjoy. I’ve always been scrawny, weak, the last to be picked for the team. I never really minded. I have never had a competitive, “gotta beat the other guy,” mentality. I’ve never even wanted to be best in my field. In fact, I’m so much more content to be behind the scenes, making things happen in a way that you don’t see me. I’m totally content to be the jack of all trades, but the master of none.

 

UNLESS, it involves my walk with God or my family.

 

If you’re curious, I bombed the last play of that kick ball game. Fourth foul got me out. My little brother and I lost the game because I was out of bounds.

 

Now I know I ended that game on a very undramatic note. I have always remembered that game as such …. Undramatic and lost as usual, due to my lack of strength, control, and ambition …. Nothing new to me at that age.

 

As God has been dealing with me about personal boundaries these past few weeks, this particular image from the scrapbook of my childhood has replayed over and over again in my head. At first I thought it was about the unfair odds of the two oldest boys against the two youngest, most feeble of the family. I didn’t seem to get anything from that line of thinking, although an entire novel could be written on the meanness of big brothers!

 

I started thinking about a competitive spirit. Maybe God was telling me I’ve become too competitive and wanting to win something or beat someone out of pride. Or maybe, He was wanting me to obtain that spirit of needing to win. Hahaha, yeah right. That’s not it. For 2 weeks I was stumped. All the noticeable, important factors one could see about that story were not hitting home on what He wanted to show me.

 

A few days after rejecting the idea I might need a more competitive spirit, we had storms moving through our area. I was remembering how years ago, I had warned my parents, who were vacationing in the Uvalde area one summer, to evacuate when we had lots of rain. I told them, “The little creeks are dry, low areas will flood and expand their boundaries. The river will rise quicker than you can blink. Get out now, before you’re stuck and in danger. “

 

That one thought had nothing to do with kick ball. It was irrelative to being competitive, winning or losing. It had to do with boundaries.

 

God said, “Even the mountains and seas have boundaries. How much more so, do you?”

 

For two months I have been struggling with the unpredicted situation of compromise on personal boundaries as a single parent. I’ve been fighting a stress I didn’t realize was there, until I realized how much I was compromising. The sad part is, I was compromising my own boundaries to accommodate the desires of my child. This makes it ten times worse!

 

Example: Sam loves games. All games. Card games, video games, computer games, board games. They entertain him because he is an only child. On Holly Mountain, this was curbed to a degree, because I had time and (sometimes) energy, to accommodate and play with him. Since I’ve been working and he’s been in school, there is naturally, less time (and energy) to fill the void that every child has to be entertained. And, like any kid, Sam has always pushed the limits on everything. If I say, “You can’t eat that, it’s not good for you.” He will ask, “Why isn’t it good for me? How much can I eat and get away with before it becomes NOT good for me?” Lately, he has taken this approach on video games. For months he has hounded me about relaxing my standards and personal convictions on violence and language.

 

To be true to myself and my audience, I have to tell you, I caved. Not just once, but twice. TWO games I knew I didn’t want him to play, I didn’t just let him play, I bought them ……… Thinking I would appease the need, and that would be the end of it. Honestly, I got them just to shut him up. If that’s not good parenting, I don’t know what is, haha ………..

 

Yeah right.

 

After a few weeks of hearing words that made my ears bleed, repeatedly telling him to skip that, mute this and “just put on your head phones,” because I didn’t want to see or hear ANY of it, he started asking for more. More games that offended every part of MY spirit man.

 

I became impatient. Stressed. I nagged him about the content (that I allowed him to play, mind you), and complained how he was never content when I gave in just a little. I told him his expectations were WAY out of bounds.

 

I was wrong.

 

God told ME, “YOU are way out of MY boundaries.”

 

My stress was fighting this conviction that I had violated as a parent. I did wrong. I compromised. I had to fix it. But how? I had already given consent. How do you undo bad parenting?!

 

You ask forgiveness. And you PRAY!

 

I stopped nagging Sam. It was my fault. It was, pure and simple. So, I quit blaming the kid. I allowed God to re-educate me in the boundaries of yesteryear …… how and why they were/are important. The big question was, HOW to get back to them.

 

For months I had avoided the subject, got upset at Sam for pushing the limit (literally several times every day) or simply tried to ignore it all together …… Then once I got my heart right, God came through (OF COURSE!) and I got my answer.

 

Par for the course of our evening, Sam brought up a game he wanted, but knew I wouldn’t approve. Rather than lecture or argue with him, God dropped this simple reply in my heart, which I repeated to Sam.

 

Why are you asking me? You already know how I feel. How do YOU feel about the content of this game? Do you think it’s something God would approve of?” He said, “No.” I replied, “Then why are you asking ME? Are you trying to justify doing something you know is wrong just because I said it was ok?” He said, “No.” I said, “If you are old enough to accept Christ as your savior, and old enough to know that what you are asking for isn’t something God would approve of, then I’d say you’re old enough to know it’s God’s will you should be seeking, instead of the faulty judgement of your mother. Pray about it. Instead of asking ME why I hate this stuff so much, maybe you need to ask yourself why you desire it so much. I am not your savior, Jesus is. If I have to make the final call, I will. But I’d like to see you pray through this and see where it leads you first.”

 

For the first time in months, I had silence from my son on the subject of video games.

 

As insignificant as a 3 inch sideline might seem, it can make or break the game. I’ve taken back my boundaries. In doing so, I have enabled my son to create his own.

 

Do justly, love mercy, walk HUMBLY with your God.

 

 ~ Sandra K. Yates 

Finding The Courage 

  
I am more than half way through my fasting experience. What would seem like a really scary and difficult task has not really been all that bad. Much easier than I thought. 

 I think a lot is due to having the right perspective and mindset going in. I wanted this to be about God revealing some transforming truths in His word for me. I wanted to crucify my flesh and live in the Spirit. I wanted to not mourn what I gave up and instead be excited with the wisdom and knowledge I would gain.

 I never imagined how wonderful this could be.  

Of all the things I gave up, I gained so much more. Some revelations have been life changing, some have been AHA (a holy answer) moments, and some have been encouragement for me to keep pressing on.  

As I am no longer turning to food to fill or stuff an emotional void it is not intended to and instead using food for just nutrition, I am finding many things about myself that have seemed hidden, start to emerge.  

Today’s Life Recovery notes on my verse talk about finding the courage. 

I started to think about the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz that was in search of courage and traveled the yellow brick road to Oz, but only to realize he really had it all along. The lion had let fear crowd his courage out.  

Courage, for me too, was like the Lion, I thought I didn’t have very much, but realized, I had it all along but fear had been crowding out my courage.

What God has been showing me is that when I tune into the Spirit over my flesh, then I will find not only the Courage, but a whole lot more things, I only thought I lacked.  
Like:  
The courage to speak up when I need to

The courage to deny my flesh

The courage in asking God for bolder and bigger prayers

The courage to let go of control 

The courage to surrender my will and my emotions fully to God 

The courage to rest in His perfect peace

The courage to try new things

The courage to love others more 

The courage to take even the slightest resentment or hurt to Him first

The courage to forgive fully 

The courage to accept instead of expect 

The courage to listen more 

The courage to speak less 

The courage to realize my worth is in God and not in my own abilities

Lord, thank You for chiseling away at all the junk to reveal the facets of the diamond You are mining instead of just revealing and leaving the flaws. Your love, mercy, and grace make it all possible. Thank You for restoration and recovery and most of all salvation. Thank You for avenging me and others who are hurting and bound by secrets, sins, or struggles. Thank You for Your many promises in Your Word and the Power of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that You came to set the captives free and to give us a hope and a future.  
                       ~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

But as for Judah, it will always be full of people.Eternal One: Jerusalem, too, will endure for generations to come. I will avenge those who were hurt, enslaved, exiled, and killed;I will not let the guilty go free.For the Eternal One lives in Zion. ~ Joel 3:20-21 The VOICE 

God has a good future planned for all who trust in Him. Restoration and recovery will be complete; salvation will be forever. With this hope for the future, we can find the courage we need to persevere through our problems today. Since the final goal of our recovery process is assured, we need not fear the dark days still ahead. ~Life Recovery Bible 

Story

  
 

Define

Story can be defined as an account of past events in someone’s life or in the evolution of something.

 

Affirm

Psalms 107:2 “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe.

 

Recall

Yesterday’s post encouraged me to write today’s post. Stephanie asked us the following question “Have you released the power and freedom that comes with telling people what God has done in your life”

 

God has been so amazing in my life he has helped me in so many ways and maybe he has helped you too. I decided to quantify my experiences by using the words below.

 

My life has changed from:

 

Adversity to Adequacy

Broken to Blessed

Calamity to Calmness

Defiant to Destiny

Empty to Evolved

Fearful to Fearless

Guilty to Guilt-free

Hardened to Humility

Inadequacy to Inspired

Judgement to Joy

Knocked-out to Knowledgeable

Lonely to Loved

Miserable to Motivated

Neglected to Nourished

Offended to Obedient

Pain to Promise

Quarrels to Quenched

Rejected to Renewed

Sorrow to Saved

Tormented to Talented

Undeserving to Unified

Victimized to Victorious

Worried to Whole

Yucky to Youthful

Zapped to Zealous

 

My life has evolved so much within this past year; because I made a choice to give it over to GOD. I became free a year ago and I am redeemed. God encourages the redeemed to share their story as well. How has God changed your life?

 

 

 

Exercise:

Dear God,

Thank you for being so amazing in my life. Thank you so much for showing up so amazingly and abundantly more than I could ask or ever think. I love you!

 

Commit to the challenge. I DARE you.

                      Lereca Monik

#mydearestsister #Idareyou #restoredministries #itstimeforachange #anewyou #liverestored #RestorationStories 

Shout It! 




The saying, “use your inside voice” does not apply here.   No need to “put a muffler on it” 
Nope, this is definitely something that needs to be shouted! 
 

Most people don’t look up until they are laid out flat on their backs, at the end of their rope, or at the bottom of a pit.   There are people everywhere hurting and searching but don’t know the answer to what they need, is found in only One- Jesus Christ. 

Many have chosen to disregard the Lord and  Savior, Jesus Christ, the Only One that can truly save and restore us. 

  Some may disregard Him because they don’t recognize their need- either because of pride or by being wounded by the church or religion or they have blamed God for the mess they are in. 

And sadly, yet still today there are so many 
that have not heard about a True Living and Loving Jesus as their personal Savior.  

I recently have been playing this song on repeat- 
I get to the part in the lyrics-
Shout it
Go on and scream it from the mountains
Go on and tell it to the masses
That He is God !
That is my prayer- this is my cry- I want all people, the poor and powerless, and the rich and powerful to come to know My Savior; Jesus Christ.  The One & Only True Living God.  The Only One that restores and transforms lives. 
Will you shout it with me? Will you share Jesus with others?  Come on, Go on and let’s Shout It! 
#LiveRestored
XXOO Michelle Bollom


All The Poor And Powerless

All Sons & Daughters


Lyrics:

All the poor and powerless
And all the lost and lonely
All the thieves will come confess
And know that You are holy
Will know that You are holy

And all will sing out
Hallelujah
And we will cry out
Hallelujah


And all the hearts that are content
And all who feel unworthy
And all who hurt with nothing left
Will know that You are holy


And all will sing out
Hallelujah
And we will cry out
Hallelujah

[x2]


Shout it
Go on and scream it from the mountains
Go on and tell it to the masses
That He is God

[x5]


We will sing out
Hallelujah
And we will cry out
Hallelujah
We will sing out
Hallelujah


Shout it
Go on and scream it from the mountains
Go on and tell it to the masses
That He is God

Pasteurized Pastures

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Journey With The Shepherd Part 2

Baaa!! I can’t seem to escape the pasture. I have been trying to break loose and climb out and over to the other side of the green hillside.
Just to take a peek!!

Psalm 23:1-2

The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.
He MAKETH me to lie down in green pastures.

Last week I told you I was camping out there for a spell. I am setting up my tent and a folding chair. Well, here I sit!! Honestly, I kinda am ready to move on to other passages or pastures with some new adventures in the Bible.
But God is making me stay here for awhile.

The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.

It took me a couple days to get the first point in the first verse.

I shall not want!!

If I truly believe The Lord is my shepherd then I really don’t have need of anything.

What does that look like?

When I don’t know what to do next, I ask Him.

When I desire more, He is enough for me.

When I’m not feeling strong, He is my strength.

When I’m being tossed to and fro, He is my anchor.

No matter what kind of day I have in or out of the pasture I CHOOSE if He is all I really need.

That is a revelation all by itself.

Do I believe He is who He says He is to me?

He is my Shepherd.
He takes care of all my needs just as a shepherd would for his flock.

So onto the next verse.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.

Now why would He have to make or force us to lay down in a comfy plush pasture with soft grass. I’m envisioning the sun is out and it’s perfect weather with a slight breeze.

Rest Rest Rest

How many of us don’t stop and sniff the flowers? Or at least look and see if they need watered.

God tells us to rest on the 7th day which is the Sabbath.

Exodus 34:21

Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.”

He is our Creator so He knows that we need rest to be healthy, alert and productive.

You will see in the next passage He doesn’t keep us there forever.
Some of us could hang there indefinitely if we had our way.
Hang Ten ✊

So I asked Him the question. What am I doing in this green pasture and how long am I here?
If you ask a question, you should expect an answer.

So I got the answer today when I thought I better update you guys on

The Journey with the Shepherd.

Has anyone else out there been reading Psalm 23 and taking a journey with the Shepherd?

I thought to myself, “What should I title the blog that I’m going to write?”.
Pasteurized Pastures
came immediately to my head.

So I looked up the definition of pasteurize.

Pasteurize:
verb (used with object), pasteurized, pasteurizing.
1.
to expose (a food, as milk, cheese, yogurt, beer, or wine) to an elevated temperature for a period of time sufficient to destroy certain microorganisms, as those that can produce disease or cause spoilage or undesirable fermentation of food, without radically altering taste or quality.

Follow me closely here….

I feel like the Lord is whispering to me, “I want to turn the fire up and expose the things in your soul that are causing you to be spoiled and diseased. Allow me to turn on the heat to burn off the microorganisms that don’t belong in you. I don’t want you to be fermented but cemented in Me.”

Set a fire in me Lord to radically alter my tastes and desires.

Hebrews 12:29

For our God is a consuming fire.”

Fire me up!! I’m ready to get rid of any dross dragging me down.

Proverbs 25:4

Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel;”

Baaa!! I’m Burning!!!!

Light On,
Kelley Allison
John1:4-5

I DARE You

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When I was asked to share my life experiences or offer an encouraging word with the readers and followers of Restored Ministries, I experienced many mixed emotions. I was honored- thinking wow this could be an amazing opportunity; confused-thinking um why would someone ask me to join their ministry; excited- thinking GOD I have been writing for years and now I have a platform to share and; scared-thinking I wonder if I will say the right things for those that are reading. Then the answer was very simple- GOD told me this will be an opportunity for you to continue your faith walk and listen to my voice. As you grow, your words will give other people the permission to grow. He also said I DARE you.

I DARE you? What did this mean? A dare is a challenge. What is GOD challenging me to do? I pondered on what GOD wanted me to gain from DARE then he shared his vision in a dream.

D:Define.
A:Affirm.
R:Recall.
E :Exercise.

So it’s quite simple, exactly seven years ago GOD gave me the title of this series it’s called “Giving God the Glory, I Listen as he speaks.” I DARE You. God is challenging me to listen as he speaks WOW! How amazing is this DARE?

As a part of this platform, I will encourage the reader to mediate on everyday words for 40 days and Define the word using the dictionary; Affirm the word using scripture; Recall a story/emotion/ or thought that helps with the word; and offer a series of Exercises (not physical) that will help us think deeper and practice newer habits.

Considering this is my first post let’s look at Restored and Ministries.

Define:
Restored:
Bring back, return, restore, repair, renovate.

Ministries: (plural of ministry)
Attend to the needs of someone, provide something necessary or helpful.

Affirm:
Restoration:
Psalm 51:10,12. “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.”

Ministry:
Ephesians 4:12. “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”

Recall:
When I was a little girl, my grandmother Martha was an avid church goer; which meant that my family were avid church goers. Martha enjoyed praying as a family, singing songs, and listening to others sing. I remember almost every Sabbath(Friday evening) or at major church events she wanted my cousins Shonti and Mo; my Sister-Cherie, and I to sing one of her favorite songs.
I recall singing- “I open my mouth unto The Lord and I won’t turn back-I will go, I shall go to see what the ends going to be.”

Additionally, after the four of us would sing that song, Martha always wanted to hear my younger sister sing this song called “Ordinary People.” Back then my younger sister, Cherie was maybe 4yrs old. I vividly remember gathering the microphone so that she could bless the audience with those sweet words.

“Just ordinary people, God uses ordinary people. He chooses people just plain old ordinary people like me and you, who are willing to do as He commands. God uses people that will give Him all, no matter how small your all may seem to you; because little becomes much as you place it in the Masters hand.”

As a little girl I found joy in edifying GOD. He was such a priority in my life. In my family’s life.
At the time I didn’t understand that my grandmother was planting the seed of Christ, preparing me to learn how to use prayer to endure life’s struggles, and setting the stage for where I am today.

Fast forward twenty-five plus years, I decided at some point that I had the power to control my own destiny- without depending on GOD. Honestly, I turned my back, my mouth was shut! Not only did I not pray or sing. I didn’t even acknowledge. I spent many years chasing money, degrees, relationships, people, ideas, and my career. Of course, I experienced so many let downs and disappointments; I had many days that were: restless, lonely, empty, dreadful, confusing, painful….the list can go on and on.

Soon, I realized that my life would continue to feel meaningless without me acknowledging GOD in everything. Honestly, it’s been his plan all along…I need to experience DIFFICULTY so that I could learn to DEPEND on him.

I am so glad that he is restoring my life and giving me the fuel to confidently minister to others by simply sharing. I have been afforded with an opportunity to bless others. God uses ordinary people to do his work.

Exercise:
Identify one area in your life that you want to be restored. (Write it down) What will you do weekly/daily to restore that area of your life?
Make a pledge.
I am seeking restoration in ______________________________________. I want to see GOD work in this area of my life and I will commit to __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Who will you minister to (help) tomorrow? (name) _______________________________

I DARE You…

#mydearestsister #Idareyou #RestoredMinistries #itstimeforachange #anewyou #LiveRestored #MeditationMondays

~Lereca Monik
Follow Lereca on Twitter
@MyDearestSister and be sure to use the #’s above

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