Free songs

Category: Authenticity & Struggle

Please Listen to those Nudges from God

Posted on 02/06/17 by Dale Wilsher 5 Comments
Unknown

Saturday night at church was rough.

I’ve been riding the edge of some challenging thoughts and circumstances for some time now, wondering where God was in the midst of my struggles, but on Saturday night I fell in.  I was overwhelmed by fear, anger, and hurt (all the fun emotions) and could not stop crying.  I’ve never been so thankful for the dim lighting in there.  I made it through the closing song and on my way out a dear woman, whom I’ve never met before, hands me her program.  She had been sitting behind me and must have seen me losing it.  She said, “God wanted me to give you this.”  I forced a smile, thanked her, and kept walking to the car.  I didn’t want to start crying again and you know how it is, if someone is nice to you, you can lose it even more.  I put the note in my purse and tried to pretend like I was fine.  At least until I got out of the building.

The rest of the evening was hard too.  I cried.  I journaled.  I yelled at God in my head.  I asked for understanding, for clarity, and for help. I got nothing, so finally I fell asleep.

The next day I realized that I had been a teensy bit hormonal, explaining the magnitude of my emotions, but I still wanted answers, none of which came in my sleep.  It was then that I remembered the note.  I ran downstairs, rifled through my purse and pulled out that mysterious piece of paper, hoping for something, anything to encourage me.

image1

 

Here is what it said:

“I felt the Lord prompting me to tell you, for encouragement, that you can trust Him.  He’s heard your prayers and seen your tears.  The prayers will be answered.  Keep persevering and praying.  Love, Jess”

Guess what.  I started to cry all over again.  But these were good tears.  These were I-feel-loved, I-feel-seen, I-feel-heard tears.  I had received a love note from God, written specifically for me, all because this precious woman felt a nudge from God and acted on it.

Unknown

How many times do we get nudges from God to say something, do something or write something?  If you are like me, it probably doesn’t happen all the time, but sometimes it does.  On a good day, I risk the potential embarrassment of looking like a nut, and I obey.  Other times, I ignore it and the urge goes away.

Do you know how incredibly thankful I am that Jess acted instead of ignored God’s prompting?

Do you know what a difference her obedience has made it my heart?

Do you know how much my faith has been strengthened so I can continue to persevere in prayer?

A lot.

Thank you Jess.  Thank you so very much.

 

When was the last time you were nudged by God?  Did you obey or ignore it?  Honest answers are welcome.

 

dale_wilsher_3up

Is it Possible to be Real without TMI?

Posted on 06/29/16 by DaleWilsher 1 Comment
channel_mom_thumbnail

Hi everyone. I hope y’all are having a restful and rejuvenating summer.  For all you moms of young kiddos: take naps, pace yourself, and remember that fall is coming.

This weekend I will be a guest on the ChannelMom broadcast on KRKS, 94.7FM, discussing the dangers of “I’m Fine” and what to say that is honest and real but not TMI.

Check out this link:  http://channelmom.com/next-on-channelmom-show/ to learn more or listen live.

Tune in on Friday July 1 @ 1PM  and Saturday July 2 @ 7AM and @ 2:30PM.

ChannelMom_HERE_FOR_YOU-e1348508999574

 

Expose Yourself

Posted on 03/14/16 by DaleWilsher 1 Comment
expose-11

expose-11

 

Expose Yourself.  But not like this.  That might get you a few months in county jail and who has time for that?

When I say to expose yourself, I’m not talking about indecent exposure but relational exposure, revealing your authentic self to God and others.  It’s something we don’t often do because its dangerous out there.  People judge you, reject you, pity you or try to fix you.  Ugh!  Authentic living is hard so why risk it? Because…

Your Exposure Will Determine Your Experience.

The degree to which we come out of hiding and expose our true selves will determine our level of intimacy with God and others.  If we want a deeply authentic life with God and deep authentic relationships with people (to hear more on this download the MP3 of Real Grace for Real Friends at http://daleskram.com/product/real-grace-real-friends/), we will need to deepen our level of exposure.  Scary, I know, but it’s the only way.  In another blog, I will discuss more about authenticity before others, but for today, lets focus on authenticity before God and this truth:

The depth of our relationship with God is only limited by the extent of our transparency with Him.

If you want a richer, deeper, more fulfilling relationship with God, start sharing your authentic thoughts, emotions, desires and actions with Jesus in prayer.  Talk to Him like you would to the safest person on the planet.  He won’t reject you, judge you or pity you.  Instead He will love you, hear you, accept you, and change you.  Your exposure before Him will determine your experience with Him.  Do not miss out on the blessings that come with that exposure:

It is only when we expose our loneliness, we can experience God’s presence

It is only when we expose our unworthiness, we can experience God’s acceptance

It is only when we expose our weakness, we can experience God’s strength and power

It is only when we expose our brokenness, we can experience God’s healing

It is only when we expose our poverty, we can experience God’s riches

It is only when we expose our confinement, we can experience God’s freedom

It is only when we expose our blind spots, we can experience God’s view of us

It is only when we expose our limitations, we can experience God’s possibilities

It is only when we expose our sin, we can experience God’s forgiveness and mercy

It is only when we expose our exhaustion, we can experience God’s rest

It is only when we expose our vulnerabilities, we can experience God’s protection

It is only when we expose our need, we can experience God’s provision

It is only when we expose our invisibility, we can experience God’s loving eyes upon us

It is only when we expose our pain, we can experience God’s comfort

 

Expose yourself to God and experience the blessings of an authentic life.

real faith speaking

Taken from the Come As You Are retreat.

Authentic Gratitude Requires Humility

Posted on 11/23/15 by DaleWilsher 4 Comments
images-1

Not too long ago I was at the Louisville post office sending off a package. On my way out I walked past the P.O. boxes and saw a paper sitting on one of the tables. For some reason I decided to turn it over. It was a check for $10,000. images

Bells and whistles started going off in my head and I engaged for a moment in the I’ve-won-the-lottery train of thought—paying off my car, getting new windows and living large for Christmas this year. But then I remembered that I’m a Christian, we don’t steal, and I came to my senses. It was good while it lasted.

 

I started googling the company that wrote the check and contacted them to let them know I had found it. Then I googled the company who the check was made out to and called them to let them know I had it. A man answered the phone and seemed genuinely grateful that I had found the check and taken the time to track him down. He gave me his address and a few minutes later I delivered the check. When I stepped into his two person office, I could see that he was on the phone. His secretary glanced at me and said “I’ll take that” looking at the check in my hand. “I was at the post office just a little while ago. I don’t know how it got left behind.” She grabbed the check and that was it. No finders fee, no hug, and not an ounce of gratitude.

 

As I’ve thought about that moment, I think this crabby secretary was embarrassed that she had screwed up and left the check behind, so when I returned it, she wasn’t feeling grateful. Instead she was feeling a sense of shame because she had failed.

 

Robert Emmons, a professor at UC Davis, one of the experts on this topic of gratitude says

 

Gratitude requires that we affirm our dependency on others and recognize that we need to receive that which we cannot provide for ourselves. Until this dependence is acknowledged, gratitude remains a potentiality at best.”

images-1

Real gratitude is for those who accept their dependency on others. Which is why gratitude is so hard for teenagers. The main goal of the adolescent journey is individuation or becoming independent and gratitude for their parents reminds them that they are still dependent on their families. It feels horrible to them and let’s face it, doesn’t prompt great behavior.

Us self-sufficient women we struggle with dependency too. We have the hardest time with gratitude because we believe we should be able to do ourselves and we are embarrassed that we cannot. Robert Emmons says to be grateful means to allow ourself to be placed in the position of a recipient (self sufficient gals are givers and not receivers)—to feel indebted and aware of one’s dependence on others. Gratitude implies humility—a recognition that we could not be who we are or where we are in life without the contributions of others.

I’ve experienced this quite a bit in the last 2-3 years since I became a single mom and the primary guardian of my children. I sometimes feel that it’s all up to me to help and heal my children, And even though I will always put every bit of effort that I can muster into that challenge, I know deep down that this job is simply too big for me and I’ve had to become more of a recipient than a giver. It’s been incredibly humbling.

 

The first time this happened, I was driving with Caroline as she started to tell me about her friends, one in particular that had come to mean so much to her in recent months. She said that she loved this whole family because they were so kind and loving toward each other and they treated her like one of the family. And then she said some of the hardest truth I have ever heard, “They are like the family I never had.”

To my credit I bit my tongue and said nothing, but internally my heart broke. “The family you never had?” You have a family! You have three other sisters! See look how much fun we are having!!!dale_girls_coaching

You have a mom and a dad although we don’t all live together anymore! You have a dog, for crying out loud! I have dedicated almost 20 years of my life to that family you never had: creating an identity, going on family outings, teaching Christian values and unity, being available, modeling truth and grace, getting to know their hearts, and doing those crazy highs and lows at the dinner table. But, since the separation and divorce my children now come from a broken family.

 

And at first it shamed me. And so what I felt for this loving family who cared for my daughter was indebtedness not gratitude. Indebtedness is an ugly feeling when you have received a gift that you did not want or don’t feel like you deserve. It makes you want to even the score and give them something back OR just avoid them (like the woman with the post office check.)

 

Caroline spent many nights at this family’s house but when I tried to pay them back by inviting their daughter over, they rarely accepted. And so all I could do was write them a thank you note, receive their gift of love, and be grateful.

 

And this has happened in various ways to each of my daughters as teachers have brought flowers that I used to bring, youth leaders have taken my girls on dates that I used to take them on, and coaches have provided the rides that I used to provide. But since I am well acquainted with humility, I am overwhelmingly grateful.

 

As Caroline and I pulled into the driveway that day she looked over at me from the passenger seat and said “Do you know the one thing that my friends are jealous that I have?” “What’s that?” I asked. “They are jealous of my relationship with you.” And that pretty much made up for her earlier comment.

 

Gratitude is an admission of need. This week, during this season of Thanksgiving, express your gratitude to someone who has helped you along the way or to someone you neglected to thank because you were a bit embarrassed that you needed their help. Lean into humility, and let your heart be grateful.

Unknown-1

Who do you need to thank this week?

 

 

Does honesty make you uncomfortable?

Posted on 11/02/15 by DaleWilsher 3 Comments
Unknown

After one of my last posts, Feeling Shabby and it Ain’t Chic, I received some very kind and sweet inquiries, mostly in the form of “I read your blog Dale. How are you? Are you ok? Really?” to which I replied, “Thank you, yes, I am ok.”  And while I appreciate their concern, I think my honesty made them uncomfortable.

Unknown

You see one of my highest values is authenticity. I believe in being honest about my real feelings and thoughts especially ones that are a little bit embarrassing because as shame researcher, Brene Brown points out, shame only needs three ingredients to survive: silence, secrecy and judgment. So instead of hiding my shameful shabby mindset, I shared it out loud for a few reasons.

 

  1. One of my purposes in life is to PROTECT HUMILITY and human weakness so that each of us might, as the apostle Paul says boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Talking about our weaknesses and even boasting of our shortcomings is a Biblical way to live. It’s one of the upside down principles of Kingdom living that Jesus teaches us in His first sermon: Blessed are those who know they are spiritually poor. (Matthew 5:4)

 

Some women are so wrapped up in their image, looking good for God and others, that they don’t share their struggles and weaknesses. In many circles that is normal. Everyone is fine. Everyone has got their life together. When we get used to this type of shallow and dishonest conversation, we start to think that those who do speak honestly about problems must be in a huge pit of despair (because that is the only time image-managed women would actually mention a hint of what’s going on in our lives) and moments away from catastrophic events.  But that is not true.

 

I have problems and struggles just like everyone else. Mine might be harder than yours on some days and easier on others. When I share that I feel shabby, I believe I am sharing a common feeling that most women will feel at one time or another. It doesn’t mean our faith has taken a nose dive or our lives are completely falling apart. It means that we are human and not afraid to admit that we have weaknesses and those weaknesses keep us humble and in need of our great God.

 

  1. The second reason that I share honestly is because I know that

 

What is revealed can be healed.

 

Shame, one of the tragic effects of the Fall, keeps us in hiding and captive to our wounds and problems. It keeps us stuck. It creates a distance from God and others. It steals, kills and destroys our hearts and our faith.

 

I lived in shame for years but I won’t live like that anymore, and so I speak and write as authentically as I can because I know that transformation is just a disclosure away. Everything I have had the courage to reveal, God has healed. Its rarely instantaneous but God always finishes His redeeming work even though He is never in as much of a hurry as I am.  And I don’t know about you, but I want all the healing that I can get. I want to be driven by love and not image management, by faith and not hidden insecurities, by pleasing God instead of those around me.  God offers healing to all of us.  Our job is to start revealing.  When we break the silence of our embarrassing moments and bring them from darkness into light, things will be different. God will make us different.

 

Here’s the latest for me:  Since revealing the shabbiness of my current life in blog form, God has showed me that I have been thinking and acting more like a victim rather than a victor in His kingdom. Ouch. I didn’t say revealing and healing were pain-free or easy, but they are always worth it.

 

He has showed me that I have been looking at home maintenance as too much for me to handle, when in truth, it’s not. I have reached out for help and my awesome neighbors, the Birosaks, have helped me with yard projects. I have committed to monthly repair projects that keep me actively moving toward my goals without being overwhelmed. This month I am regrouting and recaulking the girls’ shower.

Unknown-1

Youtube and Home Depot have become good friends of mine. And I have started living in the strength that is available to me through the Holy Spirit instead of thinking small and giving my power away.  And all that from 500 words in a revealing blog.

 

 

  1. In case you are still worried, my blog posts are not cloaked cries for help (although sometimes I do need help but I’ve learned to ask for what I need, at least most of the time) or warnings that I’m out on the ledge of my life in desperate need of someone to talk me back in.

 

My blog posts are admissions from a middle aged divorced Christian woman who has four children, a high needs dog, a budget and a normal life that comes with some bumps along the way. My goal is to GO FIRST, to admit my struggles, and in some small way to give you permission to admit yours, if you need it. My goal is to NORMALIZE STRUGGLE because in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33) especially if we are Christians because He disciplines those He loves (Proverbs 3:12).

 

My vision is to see a world of Christian women, free to be real, so that God can radically transform them into the most beautiful authentic version of themselves, doing His work according to their unique mission. So get out there and boast of your weaknesses, creating an infectious authenticity, so that every woman (and man) can become all that God intends for them to be.

 

real-logo250

 

 

Feeling Shabby, and it ain’t Chic

Posted on 09/29/15 by DaleWilsher 2 Comments
IMG_0324

Today I am feeling shabby. Not shabby chic.  Just Shabby.  It just seems like everything in my house and my car is either filthy (like my carpets which I was told by our local carpet cleaner was the worst he’s ever seen. Really? Really! That is not a contest I ever wanted to win.), messy (like the garage floor, cubby room, and every light switch plate in my house), broken and in need of repair (like two of my sprinkler heads which are making my yard dry out and look extra shabby especially with all those weeds that are now coming up), worn (like my ottoman that I have to cover with a throw blanket IMG_0324or the wrinkles that are forming on my legs of all places. Is there no mercy?), and of course outdated (which I am reminded of every time I step foot in my guest bathroom during a commercial break for Fixer Upper on HGTV. Gosh I love that couple. Why can’t I live in Waco and buy a house for $25,000 that Chip and Joanna Gaines would transform into a million dollar home all in 60 minutes?)

images-2

I know. I’m in a shabby mood. I don’t live like this all the time, but when it hits, it really takes me down. And I know that the mess mostly exists because I have children that fill my house and according to those cute chain emails I’m really going to miss it one day, and of course I wouldn’t trade in my children for new carpet or TV remotes with backs, BUT I’d like to feel a bit less shabby or at least have it not diminish me like it sometimes does.

 

I realized this morning that I have a shabby mindset. I see the mess, not because that’s all that’s there, but because it is my focus. A mindset is a habit of the mind that predetermines a response to a situation. So my shabby mindset has me inclined to see what is broken, filthy, and worn, judge myself for it, and miss all the rest.

 

But what I have learned as a life coach is that mindsets can be changed. Thank God for that! The human brain with its amazing neuroplasticity can change and transform at any point along the way. So I asked God this morning to change my shabby mindset.

 

He led me to look up antonyms for shabby and I found words like bright, clean, fresh, and new. I like those words. I’d like to live in an environment just like that. In fact I’d like to live in a body that feels just like that. And according to scripture, I do. And you do too.

 

  • we too may live a new life. Romans 6:4
  • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • to be made new in the attitude of your minds; Ephesians 4:23

 

When we decide to follow Jesus AND everyday after that, we are bright, clean, fresh, and new. We have a new life. We are a new creation. And we have a brand new attitude. Every single day. No matter what our age, stage, or condition of our family room.

 

And then this verse just jumped off the page at me:

images-3

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

 

There was my answer: instead of a shabby mindset, I want a renewal mindset.

 

Renewal is defined as the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken and according to the apostle Paul in that verse to the Corinthians that is just what is happening to me and you. While my outside might be rotting like a compost pile, you and I are being replaced, repaired and renewed on the inside.

This is how one commentator put it:

“that while the one perishes, the other is renewed; 

while the one is enfeebled, the other is strengthened; 

while the one grows old and decays, the other renews its youth and is invigorated.”

Barnes Notes on the Bible

 

So today I choose to have a renewal mindset.

 

I will consciously focus my attention on that inward parts of me that are gaining fresh energies at the rate at which the outward parts of me and my stuff are breaking down. In fact the more break down that occurs on the outside, the more I can be assured that I am being renewed on the inside.

 

So if you drive by my house or step onto my carpet and think, that’s a little shabby, you might be right, in fact you probably are BUT the inside of me–my heart, soul, mind and spirit are brand spanking new and getting newer everyday.  I think Chip and Joanna would be impressed by the makeover God has completed in me.

Do you need a RENEWAL MINDSET today?

If you are stuck in a negative mindset and would like help transforming into a positive outlook on life, contact me at DWSkram@comcast.net.  I’d love to work with you.

real-logo250

Does Anyone See Me?

Posted on 09/21/15 by DaleWilsher 1 Comment
f49095179dbd2cf43ee6a7c89b4f6796

Whenever I get the opportunity to speak to a group I ask each woman to fill out a survey card which ask six questions about their personal sense of invisibility, such as how appreciated, seen, acknowledged, known, valued, recognized (you get the picture) she feels. I’ve received back almost 2000 surveys to use for my book, called Invisible, which is moving along at a snail’s pace aka God’s timing.

 

While I haven’t tallied all the scores, I usually see a variety of responses. Young moms might score a 6-7 on visibility by their children, while moms of older kids usually report much lower numbers. As a mom to teenagers I’m right there. Some women feel sort of seen by their spouses while others feel really appreciated and loved. And single women, especially if widowed or divorced, tend to experience greater invisibility than others. Sad, but true. I’m in that space as well.

 

When I ask women How visible do you feel to God? I see a lot of high scores, but since I speak to Christian groups, that’s not much of surprise. And I’m happy to see that.

 

What I have never seen before was a survey in which someone gave themselves all 10s-feeling fully visible, valued, and venerated by their children, their husband, and God. Most women, even if they score themselves high on visibility with God, still find themselves caught in human blind spots.

IMG_0234

 

That is until this week. A woman in the audience of one of my talks this past week scored herself as feeling perfectly seen as a mom, a wife, and a child of God. And all at the same time. Amazing! Her children are rising up and calling her blessed for all her care and effort on their behalf. Wow! Her husband is appreciating her and filling her love tank in deeply satisfying ways. Where do I get some of that? And to top it all off, she is so secure in her faith that she knows that God sees her always.

 

Really? REALLY? I think not. (Well, that last part about God is true.)

 

We live in a world where people, our families even, are busy with their own lives and may not take notice of us. We live in homes where people need to focus on important tasks like changing diapers, making dinner, and paying bills and cannot always stop to glance our way. We work with people who don’t share our values and therefore don’t see our strengths or talents.  And then some people just ignore us. We cannot be on everyone’s radar.

images

 

We cannot always be seen. Sometimes it’s no big deal and sometimes it really hurts.  Like a recent survey card: Q:  Who do you wish to be seen by?

A:  My father. And that response was from a sweet adult woman. Invisibility happens to a lot of us.

 

If we can admit that we feel invisible then we have taken our first step on the road toward visibility, because there is a God who sees us all the time.

One of the names given to God back in the days of Sarah and Abraham is El Roi. It means “the God Who Sees Me.

f49095179dbd2cf43ee6a7c89b4f6796

It was given to him by an invisible woman, Hagar, who was disrespected, undervalued, and even despised. God met her in the desert and showed her that she was on His radar. He knew her, loved her and valued her greatly even though she had no idea. Being seen by God created an immunity for Hagar to the blindness of others. She willingly went back to her invisible life a changed woman because she knew that she was seen by God.

 

How about you?

 

When your husband asks, What do you do all day? do you know that God knows the answer to that question because He sees you every single minute of the day?

 

When your children are oblivious to the meals, laundry, and activities you provide, do you know that God sees your service to your family?

 

When your boss fails to recognize a job well done, do you know that God sees your work and says Well done, good and faithful servant?

 

No matter where we are in this journey called life, we will all be hit with waves of invisibility because we were made to be seen. The trick to handling that unnoticeable feeling is found in realization that God always notices us. So the next time one of those waves comes crashing down on you, remember the name, El Roi, the God Who Sees You, because His loving eyes are always upon you.

 

If you would like Dale to share the message of El Roi at your next women’s event/retreat, contact her at dwskram@comcast.net.

real faith speaking

 

 

Favor or Freedom?

Posted on 07/08/15 by DaleWilsher 4 Comments
images-6

images-6How many times lately have you tried to make someone like you? or not be mad at you? or think highly of you? Come on now, be honest. More than you’d like? Me too.

 

People-pleasing or image management is a problem for most women because we were made for relationship. We need connection with those around us. Connection is the food that nourishes our spirit and soul. It’s the fuel that powers our mood, our energy, and our health. It’s the source of our spiritual, emotional, and physical life. Connection is the reason that Jesus came to Earth and died on the cross. It’s even the answer to that compelling question, Why am I here? Life is all about connection.

 

But we get tripped up when we think that connection only happens when people are happy with us, when we comply with their wishes, or when we don’t disappoint them. This faulty thinking leads us to seek the favor of others but in doing so we lose the freedom to be our authentic selves.

 

In seeking favor we lose our freedom.

 

We edit.

We cover.

We hide.

 

We might reveal some of us, but we definitely don’t reveal all of us when we try to gain the favor of another. We don’t talk about how we disagree or where our goals might be in conflict. We read minds and then act in ways that are more slanted to what we think will gain us the approval of others rather than our what our authentic feelings or thoughts actually are. By seeking the favor of others, we sacrifice the freedom to be our unique selves.

 

ee Cummings said it best:

to-be-yourself-in-a__quotes-by-e-e-cummings-61

 

But God made each of us with unique thoughts, limits, choices, feelings, desires, dreams, strengths and goals. He designed us specifically for the work He has for us to do and for the relationships He wants us to enjoy. If we let others tell us who we are then we have given up the fight for an authentic life.

 

The desire to connect with others coupled with a temptation to morph ourselves into shapes that please others creates a predicament in the formation of authentic relationships.

 

Unknown-2

So what’s a girl to do?

 

Put God in charge of your image. Let God give you favor with those around you so you don’t have to sacrifice your freedom to get it.

You can have both favor and freedom.

Just look at Joseph. He was given favor with the Egyptian Pharaoh not because he made nice with the leader but because God gave it to him. Ruth was given favor with a wealthy bachelor named Boaz who eventually became her husband not because she tried to impress him, but because God gave it to her. Ester won the favor of the king over all the other virgins not because she tried the hardest but because God gave it to her. Not one of these people had to sacrifice their unique design, original thoughts or even their obedience to God to gain the favor of others. It was simply given to them. They enjoyed both freedom and favor.

 

But its not guaranteed. There are some that God will not grant you favor with. Before Joseph gained the favor of Pharaoh, he lost it with Potiphar when he was falsely accused by his wife and then thrown in prison. Some people won’t like you or think highly of you and others will get upset and angry with you. But when you put God in charge of your favor it’s up to Him, not you, to make a connection happen.  As I love to say “You can be the best peach in the box, but some people just don’t like peaches.”  Let God be in charge of the taste buds of those around you.

 

But the most important thing that us people-pleasers need to do is make God the only audience that matters. We need to seek God’s favor alone for this is where true freedom is found. Isaiah 66:2 tells us how to do that:

 

“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.”

 

God favors those who don’t seek to impress or hide their brokenness. With Him we are free to be a mess. God favors those whose authentic hearts are open to Him more than others, surrendered to Him more than others, and in love with Him more than others. With Him we are free to be real, weak and needy.   On a bad day, that is some great news!

 

When we seek the favor of others we have chosen the favor of people over the favor of God but when we seek the favor of the Lord we can have both. Favor and freedom can only be found when we seek God’s favor.

 

 

“May your favor be on us, Lord our God; make our endeavors successful; yes, make our endeavors secure!” Psalm 90:17

 

 

How can you put God in charge of the favor that you usually seek?

 


When You Draw the Short Straw in Life

Posted on 04/09/15 by DaleWilsher 19 Comments
Unknown

UnknownI have had some hard things happen in my life: I’ve lived with people who struggled with addiction. If you’ve been there, you know how comprehensive that problem can be. I’ve suffered a miscarriage at 20 weeks, halfway through a pregnancy, losing the only son I’ve ever known. I’ve lived through very lean years and significant financial loss. I’ve experienced the daily struggles of a hard marriage that eventually ended in divorce. I’ve made it through court hearings and custody battles. I’m dealing with teenage angst times four. And, praise God, we’ve all survived more than one attempted suicide in our family.

 

And while your life probably looks different than mine, I’m guessing that you’ve had some hard stuff happen too.

 

During many of my life struggles I’ve compared myself to the happy people I knew who grew up in Christian homes, had good marriages, obedient kids and successful jobs, who didn’t really seem to really suffer much or struggle financially or relationally.

 

And compared to them, I used to think I drew the short straw in life. You know what I mean?

 

I thought for some reason God gave me a harder road to walk with more struggles and heartache than the average bear.

 

Maybe it was because I deserved it.

Maybe it was because I lacked faith.

Maybe it was because I was so strong that I could handle it.

Maybe it was all that unconfessed sin in my life that I thought I had confessed, but was still out there wreaking havoc.

After awhile it really didn’t matter anymore. It was just hard and made me feel somehow inferior.

 

But that was before I learned the way of authenticity and this truth:

 

OUR NEED for God DETERMINES OUR KNOWLEDGE of God.

 

It’s our need for God seen most clearly through the suffering in our lives—the stuff that makes us desperate for God—that will determine how well we will know God.

 

God wants us to know Him in a very personal and intimate way just as He knows us.  That’s why Jesus came and offered us real life:  Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3

 

But we will only get to know God, when we need Him or admit that we need Him. Which is why I love authenticity and vulnerability so much because they are the gateways to our need and knowledge of God. When we get honest about the state of our lives and stop trying to hide our struggles, we can start to experience our need for Him and that need will lead into a deeper knowledge and relationship with our God.

 

Because of all the struggles in my life I have a significant need for God, and because of that need, I have a depth of relationship with Jesus that I would have never known otherwise.

 

And you know what? Instead of feeling like I drew the short straw in life, I now believe that I am actually one of the lucky ones. Maybe you are too.

 

How has your need led you to a deeper knowledge of God?

 

 

Am I the Only One?

Posted on 03/16/15 by DaleWilsher 8 Comments
Unknown

Am I the only one?Unknown

 

Ever ask yourself that question?  Ever feel like you are the only one who struggles with an issue or a particular problem?

 

This happens a lot when you live in the land of I’m-fine-ville. Lots of women live there, especially women in the church. They hide their unloving thoughts and ugly emotions. They don’t talk about the jealousy or insecurity they feel. They put on a pretty faith-filled exterior and mask the turbulence below the surface. I’m fine might be my biggest pet peeve with the Christian community.

 

And this is what I hate: when you live amongst the I’m-finers for too long, you start to believe, sadly and wrongly, that you are the only one with your issue.

 

  • The only one struggling in your marriage

 

  • The only one fearful that you are screwing up your kiddos

 

  • The only one wondering if you are living the life God intended for you

 

  • The only one wishing you weren’t so lonely all the time

 

  • The only one who is sick of making dinner

 

  • The only one who feels invisible to important people in your life

 

  • The only one who comes in last place in MarioKart every single time (that might just be me)

 

Feeling like you are the only one is a crime, committed by Satan, perpetrated on God’s children, and intended to steal our sanity, kill our relationships and destroy our hearts. It’s not just a misdemeanor; feeling like you are the only one is a felony. And it’s not the way God intended us to live.

 

In her book on authenticity, The Dance of Deception, Dr. Harriet Lerner, says that

 

“Privacy is dangerous because the failure to share what is most private or personal, isolates us, shames us, and keeps us trapped in narrow, false myths about the female experience.”

 

That is why God gave us authenticity.   In fact, real is how God likes His women.

 

When we are real with one another we quickly find out that we all struggle. We all hurt. We all hurt others. We are not fine. That is the female experience. We no longer have to wonder if something is wrong with us anymore, because authenticity teaches us that our struggles are universal.

 

Paul says it this way in 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV) “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.”

 

Another version says it this way: The only trials that have come to you are those that are common to human life.”

 

Feeling like you are the only one is a shameful experience that isolates us. But authenticity leads us back to each other and to God.

 

Authenticity creates a WE.

 

We are human. We are normal. And we need our God.

 

As a gentleman God will wait for you to bring your struggles to Him before He acts on them. He values your free will, so He waits for you to be real.

 

Don’t keep Him waiting for too long. And don’t keep the rest of us waiting. We need you and your story and your authentic heart. We need to be reminded of the commonalities that we as women share. We need to hear that our struggles are universal, can be overcome, and can be supported by a community of real Christian women who love well.

 

You are never ever the only one.

(This is an excerpt from my retreat message, Come As You Are.)

 

real faith speaking