Our stories matter

EVERYBODY has a story to tell !!!! No matter what your story looks like, it is worth telling !!!! Never, EVER underestimate the value of your past and what it could do for someone else who just needs to hear that there is redemption and restoration. Someone who needs to see that our messes become our message and our tests, our TESTIMONY !!!!!!!

We all have a part of our past that is harder to tell than the rest. For some it seems so dark and is buried deep, deep within our hearts. We are so scared of the judgement and ridicule that might come with the truth. BUT, PRAISE JESUS there is also healing and freedom and promise with that truth !!!! 

ROMANS 8:28~ “ And we know that God causes EVERYTHING to work together for the good of those who love God, and are called according to his purpose for them”. 

Rest assured that If God allows you the opportunity, He has placed someone there who needs to hear it !!!!!!

#everylifematters #everylifehaspurpose
#weallhaveastorytotell

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I am enough

Jesus. He is so good to us even when we can’t see it. He loves us and we are enough. 

My newsfeed last week was flooded with a specific story about a miraculous restoration. It was so encouraging, a beautiful story of forgiveness and redemption. 

While it was a wonderful testimony of the redeeming power of God, my heart immediately went out to the person whose story did not turn out that way. My heart ached for the person reading it who had prayed about a certain situation and laid it all before the Lord, but it didn’t end in restoration. 

If I know Satan, he will use that frequently shared post to cause us to think that if our story did not turn out the way we prayed it would, we didn’t have enough faith- we didn’t pray enough- we didn’t believe His word- we didn’t wait long enough. We just weren’t enough. 

If you are that person, if the enemy has whispered these lies in your ear, please hear this: YOU ARE ENOUGH. 

While the story was certainly something to celebrate, we don’t always know how the Lord will work in our lives. We can read in the Bible about many ways God answered prayers that didn’t seem like the fairytale, but if we believe Gods word we must believe that He works for everything for our good. 

Here is what I know. Whatever your situation, whatever you have been praying for, God sees you, God hears you, God loves you and you are enough. Believe it. Share your journey with others, testify to Gods goodness no matter the circumstance or outcome. 

You are chosen. You are worthy. You are loved. 

#heartofwhimsy #chosenworthyloved #everylifematters #youareenough


Finding Jesus

Bellevue Baptist Church was the place. The chapel to be exact. The year was 1998. 

I had two babies literally back to back. Our oldest, Clay, was SIX MONTHS OLD when I found out I was pregnant again. Lord Jesus in all of heaven, help me. 

And he did. It will sound all pretty and neat but it wasn't. I was asked to go to a women’s bible study at Bellevue Baptist Church, led by the infamous teacher Jean Stockdale, by my husband’s cousin, Michelle. Can I tell you a secret? I absolutely could not stand this darling, full of energy, smiles and lover of Jesus named Michelle who was also family! You know why? She had Jesus and I did not. I was annoyed by her. I didn’t understand all the joy. She drove me up every wall known to mankind! I would act like I cared about her church, her small group, all the churchy things when in reality I was rolling my eyes and thought for sure she was NUTS!

But in a moment of nearly losing my ever lovin' mind with these two small babies, I picked up the phone and called Michelle. Yep, the girl that I couldn’t stand. That Michelle. Only God does that. Why was I even calling her? I honestly don’t remember what I said to her. The only thing I remember was Michelle inviting me to a bible study for moms with FREE CHILD CARE!! Of course she did. *grin*

Listen church going people, don’t you ever underestimate the power of free childcare for momma’s. I had zero relationship with the Lord and because of this, there I found Him. 

As I sat in a pew inside this chapel with so many young mom’s and Jean began to teach, I clearly knew I did not have what they had. I was missing something. It took me a time or two to figure out what it was. 

Jean spoke with such enthusiasm and love for her boys that I couldn’t stop staring at her or stop thinking of when mine would be as old as hers. I was captivated by the stories she told about her family. And then she turned the corner. She asked us to open our bibles. It’s a miracle I had one with me. I apparently had the sense to grab the barely opened black, leather bound, King James Bible and take it with me. Sidenote: I was the crown-wearing queen of playing parts of any kind so apparently church lady was in my cast of characters to play. 

I’m not sure what book she sent us to and I’m quite sure I cheated off my neighbor to find out where we were going. I didn’t even know there was a table of contents much less a gospel, a prophet or a letter. I didn’t know squat. 

These women pulled out pens and highlighters, underlined sentences, circled words, took notes, agreed vocally with Jean’s words and I had nothing. I was lost as a goon. Not a notebook or journal of any kind. I probably didn't even have a pen. Why in the world were they underlining sentences within this book? Why the notes? What are we doing?

I don’t remember being scared or intimidated or feeling out of place. That’s a good teacher, y’all. I’m super sensitive to all of these things 20 years later. 

We should all feel comfortable and safe when the Word is opened and taught.

You know what? I realized a few weeks later, I needed to know Jesus and walk with Him. It wasn't about Jean. Jean was teaching me about Jesus. She embodied love, grace, truth, and joy. I’ve been seeking after Him, finding Him, loving Him, and serving Him all these years later.

I am not the train wreck of a girl I once was praise God and hallelujah!

This past October I was at Bellevue for something work-related and we were set up right outside that chapel and I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest. All alone, I opened the doors, stepping inside I found the lights, turned around and stared at the space where I found the Savior of my soul.

I have tears in my eyes now as I think about the sacredness of it all.

I walked down the aisle to the section of rows where I believe I sat 20 years ago. I just wanted to sit down and bawl my eyes out. There we were. Me and Jesus all over again. I told Jesus how much I loved Him and then I had to leave and go to work. I won't ever forget that moment.

Sisters, tell your stories of past and present because every single detail is an encouragement to someone else. Nobody else has it all figured it out and they need to see YOU being the precious, full of life and energy, loving your church and Jesus. YOU be the light! You annoy the fire outta someone, ok? Just like Michelle annoyed me, you annoy someone in Jesus Name! You may be the very one that brings someone to Jesus.

God bless you, Michelle. You had no idea how the Lord was using you. I found Jesus because of you, sister. I love you so very much! 

P.S. I've told Michelle how I felt about her. We laughed. And of course she was full of love and grace. 🙂 
Xo Fran

#heartofwhimsy #testify #everylifematters #everylifehaspurpose#everylifehasvalue #Heisworthitall

They Need Us

Teenagers, young adults in your world? 

I am 47 years old pushing 48. I have 3 kids ages 21, 20 and almost 17. I have lived a lot of life in my 47 years and not one thing, NOTHING, catches me off guard nowadays. 

Nada. Nothing. We are all capable of anything. 

I am not scared of conversations with teenagers who hide all the things from everyone. They are hiding the alcohol, the drugs, the buying and selling of alcohol and drugs, the sex, all the sex with many people.

What about all the crap happening on their phones? Lordamercy its a mess, but I’m not afraid of it. 

THOSE BLASTED PHONES! Wanna talk about how IG is killing our girls self esteem and worth? Another topic for a different day. I'll write about it soon. It's so heavy on my heart.

I’m not afraid of the conversations with a student who looks one way on the outside, but deep down inside is living a lie and trying to hide everything from everyone. You know the one. If you don’t, your child does. 

I am not afraid to get to the root of the fear in these kiddos. Why don’t they trust the adult, the educator, the coach, the parent when it comes to “coming clean” with the thing? 

Do they not trust us? What is it? Why are they afraid to be honest? Heck, we live in the most transparent world ever! 

I am not afraid to listen, without judgement, about their sin. 

We gotta handle it. We must choose on the front end to handle anything they may throw our way. Choose NOW not to flip out. 

I’m very aware of the stress and the intense pressure, from every angle, these kiddos are under. 

I have talked to so many kids. THE STRESS IS UNREAL. 

Stress in the classroom.

Stress to know all the answers to all the things. Heck, they can’t remember to eat breakfast. 

Stress to look a certain way.

Stress to know where to go to college but they are failing 10th grade math. 

Stress to do all the things. 

Stress to understand and navigate an adult world. 

Stress to go all the places.

Stress to be seen with all the people. 

Stress to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. 

Stress to just fit in somewhere, to be liked, to be accepted by someone. 

Stress to perform on all the fields, courts, stages and whatever else. 

BIG FAT STRESS. 

What if we just stopped for a single minute and looked at the heart of that child, yep a child, and helped them? 

Maybe we can’t because we are in a hurry and we are too busy judging and don’t have time because “you should know better.”

Maybe we can’t help because we can’t relate. 

Maybe we think they should be better teenagers or young adults. 

What if we gave an immeasurable amount of patience with them while they tried to figure all the things out? Remember the pressure they are under? It cannot be a “one and done” kind of way. 

These kids, young adults, may be afraid to make one wrong move, a simple move to us, because they believe they will be yelled at, judged, left with no real guidance on how to handle that “simple” move. 

Our tone is everything too. Ain’t nobody got time for a snippy tone.

Giving direction and often simple guidance means a patient, loving tone. 

What if we poured out so much grace, love, kindness, direction and time we wondered how we could do anything else we were supposed to be doing because it was taking all of our time? 

I said to one of my kiddos last year and I will say it to all your kiddos too....”You have a soft place to land with me. I can promise you that.”

This world needs to know not one thing can keep me from loving these kids, picking them up when they fall, dusting them off and showing them how to walk with their head held high. 

No matter what.

You. YOU! You my child, hold your beautiful head high. 

I will help you. All the adults will help you. 

Jesus = grace and truth 

And all the people said. Amen!

Me, Jesus and the beach

The last few days I was able to sneak away with my family and spend some time staring at God's most favorite creation: the Gulf Coast.

IT WAS GLOR-I-OUS! We need us some rest y'all. My heart was full and my brain all but sat very still. My words were few with my people. That's ok. We were all a little on the quiet side. We all needed this rest. However, my thoughts were extremely deep and reflective while I anxiously listened for God, Himself, to speak as I stared right at Him through His creation.

Glory, glory hallelujah. He is always just right there.

I wish I could tell you how powerful, beautiful and mighty the waters were on this particular morning. It only lasted a couple of hours and then it was over. I'm telling ya, He had something to tell me that morning as I sat and stared and listened.

In the picture below, can you see the light breaking through the clouds hitting the water? The movement of the clouds and this light was what I noticed first. Due to the stronger than normal wind, the clouds were moving quickly right toward me and therefore the light was moving right along with the clouds. The opening of bright light was never taken over by the clouds. There was always light shining through the clouds even in the movement. 

Ponder that for a minute. 

No matter how fast a certain group of clouds were moving, there was space for the light to come through.

And the Gulf Coast is not necessarily known for it's high waves, but this morning there was such power, force, and strength in those waves. I took notice. These were waves a wanna be surfer would want to get a hold of. The waves would build and build in strength and size as they rushed toward the shore and then crashed with equal force stirring up all the sand and any sea creatures caught up in that wave. 

Waves of any size and strength happen over and over and over all day. 

The waves may not look exactly like this image every single day, but the waves come and go EVERY SINGLE DAY SINCE HE TOLD THEM TO. Lord have mercy. They have never stopped moving since He spoke them into existence. 

Ponder that for another minute.

Then there was this wind. The force behind the wind was not your typical keep you cool beach breeze. There was power in this wind. I kept thinking, "Is this the kind of wind that will occur when Jesus returns?" I sat up in my chair a little bit more because of this wind. It was not just a casual wind. There may be no wind at all when Jesus comes back, but something tells me when He does return to earth the hair on our neck will stand straight up. I'm going out with some fabulous wind blown hair!

I also thought of this Holy Spirit wind rushing over every single person on the beach that morning...believers and unbelievers. Jesus was at work on every single person that morning. Some knew He was and some were completely oblivious to Him.

The Wind is often a safe and secure feeling or sometimes the Wind will have you sit up in your chair a bit because you can tell He is getting your attention. You are attentive. 

Are we ok with asking for more risk from the Holy Spirit. More strength and power and rushing from Him? Are we ok with sitting up, listening for Him to move? More attentive? 

I'm not sure what you or your family, especially your daughters, are needing right now, but would you consider starting this week off with the following "more's?"

Ask Jesus, even afraid, ask Him for:

 

MORE of His power

MORE of His light

MORE of a Holy Spirit rush

MORE of His strength

MORE of His beauty

MORE of His awe

 

Even before He created the foundation of this world, this ocean, He knew your name. He knows your baby girl's name. Bring every last "more" you can think of and let Him know. He is more than able to meet these needs and He wants to.

We love you, girls. We want nothing more than for you and your girl to walk FULLY in the power of the Holy Spirit, empowered and equipped to make a mighty difference in the lives of others.

This world needs you! Rise up and pray mighty woman of faith!