<![CDATA[c2f - blog]]>Wed, 02 Dec 2015 07:23:40 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[There is a "Way"]]>Mon, 30 Nov 2015 19:58:09 GMThttp://www.c2fast.com/blog/there-is-a-wayAs Christians, focusing on answered prayer should be a daily practice. We serve a Living God whose ears are attentive to the cries of our hearts. Nate and I know all to well the desperate plea to the Creator to make straight something that has become crooked. As many of you are probably very acquainted with our 'cancer story' there was something that happened to us in the midst of that dark valley. 
We were delivered.
Hand in hand we walked away from fear, disease, sadness...longsuffering. The 'deliverance'' has always been such a clear picture in our minds. But as we walked away, deep inside our hearts there was a stirring. We couldn't help but turn around and remember the hospitals full of patients of all ages...children...and think to ourselves, what about them?
As the daughter of this Mighty King, I have often pictured myself holding onto His leg, like my little girls do with their daddy. They know if they stay on their daddy's leg long enough, even while he's trying to walk around...he'll look down at them. And the look is priceless. That's what Nate and I are hoping this fast and these prayers will be to the Great God of this universe. We know that if we hang onto His leg long enough, He'll look down at us and just like my husband says to our little girls, the Lord will say to us, 'What do you want?"
Now, this may be the part where many and even some Christians look at Nate and I, or others that have joined the "CureCancerFast' and think "there's just no way' but I have learned one thing about 'answered prayer'...that is why we pray. Often times prayer comes because 'there is just no way'. Yet, is it not very fitting that the Savior, calls Himself 'the Way'?
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
Cancer makes you feel lost. It has that continual thought process of 'what now', but not anymore. I had a very vivid moment the day we found out Nate had been diagnosed with cancer. I remember going outside and standing in front of my house, alone, with a sigh, realizing the Lord had placed me and my husband in this valley. A simple truth fell upon my nervous heart.
Wait. I have God.
Why does this valley have to be dark without hope? We have 'the Way'. He that is 'the Way' will navigate you through your darkest valleys. He is so wise that He has given Himself names that great 'human' authors of this day could never have thought of, like 'I AM'. There is no battle to great for this Mighty King.

​So why not 'cure' cancer?

​One thing I know, I will not stand before Him one day and say, 'Father, why didn't You take away that awful disease that plagued earth for years and years and years?" Just to hear Him answer, 'Because my child, no one ever asked Me if I would."
So ask...we will...
'2015 CureCancerFast' 'There is a "Way"
~to give the world hope,
​Nate and Charity
<![CDATA['God's Silence---Then What?']]>Mon, 30 Nov 2015 00:14:48 GMThttp://www.c2fast.com/blog/gods-silence-then-whatWhen He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. —John 11:6
Has God trusted you with His silence— a silence that has great meaning?

​God’s silences are actually His answers. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything comparable to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer? God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible— with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, then praise Him— He is bringing you into the mainstream of His purposes. The actual evidence of the answer in time is simply a matter of God’s sovereignty. Time is nothing to God. For a while you may have said, “I asked God to give me bread, but He gave me a stone instead” (see 
Matthew 7:9). He did not give you a stone, and today you find that He gave you the “bread of life” (John 6:35).
A wonderful thing about God’s silence is that His stillness is contagious— it gets into you, causing you to become perfectly confident so that you can honestly say, “I know that God has heard me.” His silence is the very proof that He has. As long as you have the idea that God will always bless you in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of His silence. If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, then He will give you the first sign of His intimacy— silence.

​--Oswald Chambers
<![CDATA['To You, I Will Pray']]>Sat, 28 Nov 2015 20:19:42 GMThttp://www.c2fast.com/blog/to-you-i-will-prayI should pray more. 
In contemplating our writing assignment for the Cure Cancer Fast, I was struggling a bit to get this last one written.  Certainly not because the Lord has not answered countless prayers for me, but more because I wanted to choose some instance that was “big,” something that was “life altering”…something I would call “inspirational” to put into words.
But I was lead to this conclusion….I have a King who desires to hear from me and I do not communicate with Him enough.  Luke 11:9 says, “…ask and it will be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened to you…”  All three verbs (ask, seek and knock) are continuous in the Greek, meaning, ask and keep asking, seek and keep seeking, knock and keep knocking.  In Luke 18:1 the verse reads, “…Men always ought to pray and not lose heart.”   Not surprisingly, the word “always” in this verse means “at all times, ever.”  
​Our lives are a series of moments that are built on opportunities to communicate with the God of the universe and we live in a time where communication has never been quicker or more convenient.  
Yet this appears to have had the opposite effect on prayer for me.  You see, communication is my “thing.”  I love verbal and nonverbal communication.  I love text and written communication.  I love serious and sarcastic communication…(well, you get the point).  But there is way too much to distract me from actually talking to the Lord and then listening for His response, which is sometimes neither quick nor convenient.  

​So, what do I do now?  That’s the question, isn’t it?  I can read books about prayer, blogs about prayer, and even list verses on prayer and those things maybe can appear to make me more “prayerful.”  But in the end, this is a heart issue…a faith issue really.  The importance of prayer can get lost in the midst of the routine of life….the rush of my week….the rhythm of the mundane.   
I need to pray.  I just need to pray.
You may be like me in this (although I won’t assume that you are), but here’s what I believe I can surmise:  You may never personally face foreclosure or a life-threatening illness or the loss of a child, but I’m almost certain that you will wonder at some point in your life if your car will start in very cold temperatures while your husband is out of town or if there is enough money in the account to cover the orthodontist auto payment or if you will ever get over this feeling of failure.
It’s in these moments and every moment in between that our God longs to hear our voice.  “Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and My God, for to You I will pray.” Ps 5:2

<![CDATA['From the Inside-Out']]>Fri, 27 Nov 2015 09:31:01 GMThttp://www.c2fast.com/blog/from-the-inside-outI was raised going to church and tried to see/hear/know God, but I didn't really understand or want religion for myself.  Honestly, I played the Christian role to please my Mom - I loved her more than anything else.
My faith was not my own, it was hers. 
Then, I moved away from home and began life as a nominal "Christian" college student.  Truthfully, I am ashamed at how much of my life has been lived in hypocrisy - saying one thing but doing another... wearing a mask to hide the messed up me - but,  that stage of life is probably one I feel the most shame for.
I drank and swore and was very immodest... I thought I was having a great time doing it, too, but inside I was withering.  
I began having panic attacks and severe anxiety - I was afraid of everything.  I lost weight, I couldn't sleep, I didn't have an appetite.  Finally, I looked at myself in the dorm room mirror - really looked - and was terrified by what I saw.  I was a sallow-eyed skeleton...a shell of a person.  I didn't know what else to do but pray.
"God....God... Please help me.  I'm done with this life of regret and selfishness.  Look what it's done to me!
I want to live for You... And this time it's not my Mom's decision, it's mine.  I believe everything I've learned about You.  I believe you are the Creator of all - my Savior because of your death on the cross - Jesus, please help me."
A month later, my health was worse - for real!  I thought God wasn't listening!  I got so physically ill, I dropped out of college and moved home.  I spent two months housebound, helping my mom take care of my Grandma.  That is when God answered my prayers and started to heal me from the inside...out.
He removed me from a situation I never would have had the guts to leave - education was everything!  I was in constant fellowship with my wonderful, godly Mom and Grandma.  I began the journey of physical healing...one day at a time.  I had a ton of free time, so I read the whole Bible in those couple of months - I began seeking after and learning about my Father, who made me, who loves me, and who calls me out of the pit into His glorious light.  Hey!!!  I was saved because of that prayer!!
"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" - Romans 10:9
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" - John 3:16

I am still a mess at times, you know?!  I struggle with worry and fear and distrust in God.  I am not perfect!!!  But I am constantly leaning on God and He is constantly helping me.

Are you like me?

Let Him help you!  Talk to Him - He hears you!


<![CDATA[7 Years of "No."]]>Thu, 26 Nov 2015 10:00:03 GMThttp://www.c2fast.com/blog/7-years-of-noMy family and I have been living in our new house for 3 months now. We still have to pinch ourselves at times when we pull up the driveway.  Just this week my 10-year old said to me, “I can’t believe this is our house now.  It still doesn’t seem real!”
If you ever doubt that God works in the details of our lives, come sit down with me and hear my story.  
My husband and I were married 13 years ago, this December.  After our first 6 months of marriage, we decided to buy a small, 2 bedroom, 820 sq. ft. starter home, as an investment, rather than renting.  We had no doubt that when we were ready and had a family, we would be able to turn around and sell our home to someone new also just starting out.  Our new little home was affordable, cozy and close to family.  Perfect!

Fast forward to 2008, daughter #2 had just been born and it felt like we were bursting at the seams.  We consistently sold everything or gave away anything we didn’t need, constantly schemed up space saving solutions for our growing girls and tried to figure how on earth to make two closets IN THE ENTIRE HOUSE work for a somewhat messy, disorganized family of four.  Needless to say, tiny living had completely lost its romance.

We decided to put our house on the market in 2008, when Annie was born.  We held open houses, we staged the house for showings; my husband relentlessly searched real estate websites for a new home for us.  Any time we had activity on the house, we prayed, we begged, that this would be time our house would sell.  
​Fast forward again to 2014.  Six years, three realtors, COUNTLESS open houses, very few showings, one cranky and cramped family with ZERO offers and ZERO hope that we would ever live anywhere else.
​Daily we reminded ourselves that we were thankful we had been able to provide for our daughters, that we lived close to home, we had all of our needs met and we were warm with food on the table and clothes on our backs.  We truly were thankful to God for providing for our needs, but life in a tiny house was wearing on us.  Trying to sell the house was stressful, having it staged all the time was taking its toll and it was becoming increasingly obvious that this house was where we were supposed to live.  We needed to figure out how to be happy and content even without a garage and a bathtub.
And then the pieces of our answered prayer began to come together.  
Although we didn’t know it, our answer actually began in four years earlier.  As we had the house on the market, my husband started to look at different properties for sale and started to form a plan of what we were looking for, IF our house should sell.  (I won’t get into all the backstory of how I absolutely hated talking about anything real estate related at this point!)

One afternoon he took us for a drive to a house out in the country – “I just want you to see it,” he said.  I looked at it and said, “Eh.  I’m not really interested in that house, but this house next to it looks nice!”

We drove up past that property and took a few minutes to admire.  It had everything we ever talked about wanting!  It was in the country (a dream of Clint’s), a pool (a dream of mine), some acreage, an outbuilding and two garages (more of Clint’s dreams and we’d never had a garage!), had a back porch and a front porch with gorgeous trees in the yard.  The house was not huge, and the layout was a lot like the house I grew up in.  We admired how pretty everything was, how well the owners had taken care of it and drove on.

Over the next couple of years we continued to go down back roads and look at different properties and occasionally we drove past that same house and continued to admire it.  More and more we were drawn to this property, even to the point where we jokingly began to call it our DREAM HOUSE.
Over the next couple of years we continued to go down back roads and look at different properties and occasionally we drove past that same house and continued to admire it.  More and more we were drawn to this property, even to the point where we jokingly began to call it our DREAM HOUSE.

Towards the end of 2013, after 5 years, we took the house off the market.  It was becoming too stressful and I didn’t want to deal with it over the Christmas holidays.

A few months later, my husband chaperoned a field trip and struck up a conversation with the grandmother of one of the students in the class.  He told her about our struggles to sell a house.  She, in turn, told her daughter and husband, a newly relocated real estate team about our story and in the Spring of 2014, we were approached by Heather to see if we were interested in listing the house with her team (Go Team Martell! J).  Heather was like a ray of hope to us.  She was so friendly, excited, passionate and clearly invested in our story that before we knew it, we were listing the house on the market for the fourth time.  
​Seems like this is the part of the story where I say that our house sold in two seconds flat, right?  Nope.   We were on the market for another 7 months before we had our very.first.offer.  
We cried, we rejoiced, we prayed, we rallied friends to do the same, and we accepted the offer.  I distinctly remember saying to my mother, “If this offer doesn’t go through, it will feel…cruel.”  Surely this was the “Yes” answer we had been waiting for!

And then we never heard from the buyer again.

We were CRUSHED.  It was at this point that I said to my husband, “No matter how we feel, we have to trust that God’s NO answer is just as good as His YES answer.”  And we said that over and over to ourselves and to those who prayed with us.  “We trust that God’s “NO” answer is JUST AS GOOD as His “YES” answer.” 

Again we took the house off the market for the holidays and yet again, we decided that even though we were stressed and kind of miserable, we would buck up and make the best of living in our tiny house. Clearly we were where God wanted us.  
Spring 2015 rolled around and despite our winter decision, we found ourselves listing the house again.  

Early March we had a personal showing of our home and around 11pm we got a text from Heather saying that the buyer was interested and wanted to make an offer.  We prayed.  And we were very afraid to get our hopes up.   And we repeated the same thing we had learned with the first offer.  “We trust that God’s “NO” answer is JUST AS GOOD as His “YES” answer.”  NO MATTER WHAT.

The same night that we finalized our offer with the buyer of our home, Clint was scrolling through Facebook and saw a post by gal from high school, saying that her mother had decided to sell her house.  The house we drove past all those years.  Our DREAM HOUSE.  I can still remember Clint sitting straight up in his recliner, and looking at me with wide, hopeful eyes.  
​To say my faith was small in every step of this process would be an understatement.  I was too afraid to get my hopes up.
But then, after 7 years of a “NO” answer, the “YES” answers came fast and furious:
  • Ric & Bennita, Jeff & Becky Gilson, family members gifting time and resources to help us get out from our old house and into the new.
  • Ann Martell, who got the ball rolling in the first place.
  • Rob & Heather Martell, our realtors, who went above and beyond the call of duty.  They blessed us beyond measure.
  • Anita, my mother-in-law, who allowed us to live in her basement for four months during the summer.
  • Shanna, a fantastically talented mortgage loan officer who we trusted completely.
  • The perfect timeline for all things to fall into place.
  • Friends helping us to pack and move.
  • And so many little things about the house itself, it would take 5 more pages to describe!  Everywhere we turn, we are surprised by the thoughtfulness and care of the previous owners.
All in all, we’ve been settled in since August 2015.  And I hope I never have to move.

After sharing our story a good friend of mine said, “His (God’s) fingerprints are all over this.”  Others have commented about how this house was “worth the wait.” And they are correct.  If we had sold our house at any other point in that 7 year span, we would not have our dream house.

I don’t write this to say that because we finally got our “Yes” answer, God is good.  He is good no matter what happens or how He chooses to answer our prayers.  I write this because I am grateful that He chose to give us this gift and it is my prayer that we will glorify Him with our house.  I write this because I am grateful for those 7 years of “No” even when I didn’t understand and couldn’t see what He was doing.  I write this because I am grateful to serve a God that I can trust no matter the answer.
Proverbs 3:5
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
<![CDATA['Desperate in Prayer']]>Wed, 25 Nov 2015 10:00:02 GMThttp://www.c2fast.com/blog/desperate-in-prayer"And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us." (1 John 5:14) 
​...One of my best friends, Darlene gave birth to her first baby four months pre-mature. Baby Owen was born at 1 pound ; 11 inches. For the past 10 months this little fighter has been in and out of PICU, near death situations, breathing tubes, feeding tubes, surgeries, a long list of medication, and so much more.  Darlene waited 6 long months to finally take baby Owen home, and after a couple weeks she had to take him back to the hospital because of more complications. 
When I think of that phase being "desperate in prayer," I think of my friend Darlene and baby Owen.
 Oh, how this young Mommy's heart breaks to see her baby boy go through this. ...How she longs for her baby to be healed, to take him home, and have the privilege of raising him here on earth.

I am crying out to God on their behalf! God, please answer her prayers!

 Every night as I lay my own baby down at night and put him in his crib, I ask God that he would grant Darlene a chance to do the same with her baby....something that most of us moms take for granted because it's our norm. ...To be able to have her baby at home with her, to rock him to sleep, no tubes or wires connected to a machine, healthy and big enough to sleep in his own crib in his own room. 
The bible says that "we can have confidence that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."

Will you join with me and ask for this prayer to be answered? For if you have faith, even the size of a mustard seed, the bible says you can move mountains! And for those of you who have yet to put your faith in God, this story relates to you too!

Just as this young Mom desires and longs to bring her precious baby home and keep him....so too there is A Great & Perfect Love, a Heavenly King whose heart breaks to be apart from you, who longs to be close, who desperately wants to take you in as part of His family and share His Kingdom with you! 

This love is extended to you for free if you choose to believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins.
 If you confess that you are a sinner and ask for forgiveness, and invite Jesus into your heart and life, and accept Him as Lord and Savior, you will experience abundant life on this earth and eternal life forever.

Don't wait another day! You are part of a prayer waiting to be answered.

<![CDATA['Untangling Fear']]>Tue, 24 Nov 2015 15:33:26 GMThttp://www.c2fast.com/blog/untangling-fearFear of public speaking. Fear of losing a child. Fear of rejection. Fear of leaving the house. Fear of war. Fear of illness. Fear of not providing for your family. Fear of failure. Fear of never becoming or doing anything important. Fear of change. 

Fear holds such power over our lives--our decisions, the hours we spend thinking about the things we fear, the emotions that paralyze us or overwhelm us. I don’t care if you are a Navy SEAL, the CEO of a giant corporation, a brilliant scientist, or super model. Everyone has something they fear. 

I was afraid of being murdered. I grew up a mile away from the projects in the East Bay of San Francisco. Whirling blue and red lights, sirens and gun shots were fairly common. Twice our neighborhood was on lockdown thanks to a murderer cops were trying to capture. I was six years old, hiding on a shelf in the walk-in closet in my room. 
As I grew older the stories adults shared with each other, thinking children are too busy playing to be listening, haunted me. Stories of assaults with baseball bats in the park or a dad who took a knife to all of his children. When we visited my grandma I watched murder mystery shows with her late into the night. I can still see gunshot wounds in the head and if lights ever go out, flashback images of those t.v. shows where the bad guys cuts all the lights is the first thing that pops into my brain.

By the time I reached junior high I couldn’t sleep until 2 or 3 a.m. I had to be so exhausted I couldn’t keep my eyes open any more. I slept with my covers up around my neck and piles of blankets so no one could stab me. The door was open and hall light on so I could hear any noises and would sense any shadows. I was like this until I went to college and lived in a dorm and you had to have security cards, get past the check in desk and our double-bolted, very heavy doors. For a year I felt safe. Then, my junior year, a triple homicide took place one town over. A very grisly triple homicide. A man-hunt took place. No arrests were made. My phobia took over. I slept during the day and stayed awake at night. I slept on the couch so I could be aware of both doors and all the accessible windows. (I shared a townhouse with two roommates that year.) Multiple times per night cars would pull in late, lights sweeping across our house, and I would peek through the blinds. I kept an arsenal of weapons--screw drivers and hammers and lysol (for the eyes) and who knows what else--all around me just in case. 
But I had a mom. A mom who lived only an hour away but would mail me cards with verses. Verses like Psalm 121:
I lift up my eyes to the mountains--
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, 
The Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip--
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you--
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
I read those verses, the ones of the LORD not sleeping and of Him keeping a continual watch over me, over and over and over again. I also began to devour books of persecuted Christians, first “Tortured for Christ”, then others by Voice of the Martyrs. In the midst of prison and torture those believers experience the light and peace and joy of Christ in a very real way. I began to realize the power of the God who is here to comfort and strengthen and even give joy and peace in the midst of suffering. 

I deliberately started to sleep upstairs in my room. Well, I at least laid down and got up to check outside over and over again. I tried to sleep at night. That summer I moved home and began to give up my weapons, one at a time, over a period of months. Then one day I found I no longer thought about it. I went to sleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow. I no longer checked every room and every closet and nook and cranny in the house. I liked my door closed. I liked all the lights out. I could take the garbage out at night, even go for a walk. Night became a joy to me, the dark a place of rest. 

I began to hate fear.
I started to speak in public, sing on the worship team, ride roller coasters and pretty much do ANYTHING I was afraid of. 

Fear is still something that brings out the rebellious spirit in me. If I fear it I want to do it. I want to “take the bull by the horns” and wrestle it to the ground and dominate it. Maybe I will be murdered one day. Who cares? The LORD is with me. He never leaves me or forsakes me. He is my shepherd and lo, though I go through the valley of death, dark and danger, I will not fear for His rod and staff comfort me and HE AND I FEAST IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES. Boo yeah! Take that!

Now my greatest fear is the loss of those I love. But every time the fear arises, so does my rebellious spirit. I will not be mastered by fear. I will not be ruled by fear. My God is good. My God is ever-present. My God sees me. My God is sufficient for every moment ordained for my life. He will not let me fall. He does not slumber nor sleep. His eye is always on me, His Spirit always in me, and He alone is my portion, my rest, and my hope.

Be a rebel and cast down the father of lies and crush his neck under your feet by taking every thought captive and submitting it to Christ so that you are ruled by faith, hope and love, not fear.

“For we are not given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

<![CDATA['Trust is the Answer']]>Mon, 23 Nov 2015 10:00:01 GMThttp://www.c2fast.com/blog/trust-is-the-answer“Trust receives what prayer acquires. So, what prayer needs, at all times, is abiding and abundant trust. Our Lord puts trust as the very foundation of praying. The background of prayer is trust. The whole issuance of Christ's ministry and work was dependent on implicit trust in his Father. The center of trust is God. Mountains of difficulties, and all other hindrances to prayer are moved out of the way by trust and his virile henchman, faith. When trust is perfect and without doubt, prayer is simply the outstretched hand, ready to receive.”

​~E.M. Bounds
​The trust that is established in the classroom of prayer is far more rewarding than the answer itself. Psalm 113:6 provides us with complete assurance that we pray to a God who “stoops down to look on the heavens and earth.” Although God is lofty and high, He is involved and concerned for His people. Psalm 34:15 reminds us that, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.” 
​When I begin to pray, I find immediate comfort and confidence in the fact that the God of the universe is “stooping down” ready to listen, and personally concerned for me. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him (1 John 5:14-15).”
​Continuing in prayer, I release my burdens to the One who has the absolute power to remedy my situation. I am able to make the great exchange, His yoke for mine. In that divine trade, I find rest and a burden that is no longer heavy, but light (Matthew 11:28-30). Because my requests have been made known to God, my anxiety is relieved. The incredible peace of God which surpasses all human understanding takes over, protecting my heart and mind from any further fear or stress (Philippians 4:4-6).”
​As I wait on God’s answer, I am gaining strength; “strength that mounts up with wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31).” 
The strength of the eagle’s wings lift it high above the earth, and that’s where I am to live in the wait – in the heavenlies, rising above my circumstances, where God’s Spirit is causing me to soar with great expectation and hope in Him. My outstretched hand is now ready to receive my answer. However, the answer to my prayer is no longer my concern, because my prayers have caused me to trust in His good and perfect plan (Jeremiah 29:11). 

Trust is the answer.

<![CDATA['A Sound Mind']]>Sun, 22 Nov 2015 10:00:01 GMThttp://www.c2fast.com/blog/a-sound-mindI was lying in bed the other night and everything was still. I could hear my little baby boy breathing next to me in his bassinet, safe and sound. My other little ones were finally sleeping, eyes closed...all was well. Now I could inhale for a second and enjoy some much needed quiet. But then there was my mind and it wasn't the mind I wanted. It wasn't the mind my Father wanted for me either. You know, this mind...
"For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
​2 Timothy 1:7
The 'sound mind' is often missing in my life. It's meaning is 'self-controlled'. If I restate the verse in Greek, the Lord is telling me He has given me a 'self-controlled' mind. That means I am partly responsible for having this 'type' of mind, "SELF" controlled.  The Christian life is one of faith and works. In this case, I have to have the faith to believe the Lord has given me a sound mind and my works, or my obedience, will grant me this beautiful gift. This 'sound mind'.
But someone may well say, “You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:18
For me, that 'sound mind' or that 'self-controlled mind', comes from doing exactly what it means. I have to create an environment for my mind to be 'self-controlled'. I have to really lean into the Holy Spirit and change my 'mindset'. The Lord will help me, that's what the Holy Spirit is. He is 'the Helper'. Yet, just like with any parent, He gives me room to do my part as well. Which means for me, I have to get off the 'what-if' cliff. You know the 'what-if my child dies' or 'what-if my husband's cancer returns', 'what-if terrorists attack me in a store with my 5 little ones', 'what-if my mom dies or my sister or my....on and on and on. It's not a sound mind. So, if I read the verse AGAIN (which is the story of the Christian's life), I can see that this is not the mind God gave to me.
So....how do I get a sound mind?!
Where do I go to get away from all these crazy fearful and at times, paralyzing thoughts? I get stuck in my head. Stuck. Then I hear that ever so comforting voice....'Charity, 'I AM' the answer. 'I AM' the answer to all your fearful thoughts. 'I AM' all the power you need in this fallen world. 'I AM' the Love that makes the ending of this story on earth...beautiful. 'I AM' your sound mind because 'I AM' within you.
So I asked Him recently to teach me how to practice understanding that HE IS my "sound mind". And He ever so lovingly said, 'My child...just pray. Don't let you mind wander, tell me your thoughts and fears and then leave them all with Me. 'I' can handle them...you cannot.'
"Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." Psalm 55:22
So the other night, when my mind started to wander, I did just that. I was overwhelmed when I went to bed later that night. My mind once again, was not sound. Then I decided to practice, just like I did in many sports for many years. I practiced and practiced and practiced. That night I prayed...and this time I decided to pray like a child, specifically like my four year old son, Carver. And this is how my prayer went...
"Father, I'm scared. Please get the bad guys."
The next morning I woke up to find out that the 'mastermind' of the Paris attacks had been taken down, along with two others. Now, I am sure there were many praying and I am also very aware that we live in a fallen world with a lot of evil, but He answered my prayer. I have known Him since I was young and He is still teaching me the simple truth of just talking to Him, because you know what? He's got it...and this time He showed me right away.

So, tell Him all your thoughts and all your fears. Isn't that what children do after all? You're never to "big" to tell your Father, you're scared. So, be honest with Him. He wants you to. Then close your eyes and rest easy. Let Him be the last One you talk to every night, when it's dark and all is still. He will hear you and He will comfort you.

​And remember...He can DO anything. He can even get the bad guys.
"Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked,
Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
For You are my hope, O Lord GOD;
You are my trust from my youth.
By You I have been upheld from birth;
You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb.
My praise shall be continually of You."
Psalm 71:4-6
all my love,
<![CDATA['What He has Chosen']]>Sat, 21 Nov 2015 10:00:01 GMThttp://www.c2fast.com/blog/what-he-has-chosenI am married to a salesman. It’s a simple sentence with a simple meaning…money does not come into our household on a regular schedule.  For most of the last 30 years, we have lived on straight commission. The reality is that it is a wonderful way to live and the Lord has shown us much favor during our marriage in terms of provision.  There have been many blessings both in terms of financial gain and the time provided being self-employed. 
But there is a time when security becomes more precious than flexibility and when the pressure of debt outweighs the hope of a windfall.  
​Over twenty years of living solely on commission was wearing on me and it was not a good look.  My attitude was becoming increasingly discouraging and the words “how was your day” were not being uttered any more. 
I just didn’t care. This job was not providing for me in a way that I wanted it to and I was frustrated.   But the problem was much deeper than book budgets being cut drastically in school districts around the state.  
The problem was a selfishness that was building in the heart of a wife who was called to be a helpmate and friend to her husband.
Since attitude is so important in sales, I wouldn’t talk to Randy about my growing frustration and fear about cash flow.  I would only pray.  I would pray that the Lord would pour out His blessings on us once again and restore his sales figures back to what they had been.  Things kept getting worse.  I would pray that the Lord would give him a heart to look for something else for work.  Things kept getting worse.  I would pray that the Lord would keep him hopeful so he could make one more phone call, go to one more school.  But things just kept getting worse.
Weeks turned into months and months turned into years.  But time is such a funny thing.  You don’t really measure the years until you look back.  Looking ahead things seem to take so long, but looking back, it seems that everything went too fast.  
Since the Lord doesn’t measure time the way we do (“…with the Lord, one day is as a thousand years…” 2 Peter 3:8), I think He must be interested in filling our days with different things than what we think we need.  Different things than what we think to ask for. 
I kept asking for my circumstances to change, for things to get easier, for this difficulty to just stop, but one day I got a sense that the Lord was whispering to me, “Don’t ask about Randy’s job again.  This is what I have for you.  This is what I have chosen for now to shape you.”  The Lord most likely desired to communicate that truth to me long before I actually heard Him.  The reason I can be so sure is that He wants me to learn things like contentment, thankfulness and that He is enough.  No matter what….He is enough.  
“In You, O Lord, I put my trust….”  Ps. 31:1.