Wrappings

Last March, I began communicating with a man I had met on-line. He was a handsome business owner and a dedicated father who was involved in his church and community.  After a month of text messages and phone calls we agreed to meet in person. To say that I was excited would have been an understatement. Since he was coming from another city and I hadn’t agreed to date anyone for the past three years, I had already begun to lightly sketch him into my life’s painting as my possible Boaz.

As I was getting ready for my date, my hopes were high. Putting on my makeup I felt like a schoolgirl preparing for the prom. Even though it was just a lunch date, I wore a nice dress and high heels. “This might be it,” I said to myself, “After 17 years of singleness, I might be meeting the One God has been preparing for me.”

Ten minutes into our date my high hopes turned into hope deferred. Not only was there a lack of chemistry, I found him to be incredibly boring and materialistic.

I don’t cry often, but after I got home I bawled like a baby. That night I asked for prayer and my pastors prayed for me.

When I awoke the following morning, past scenarios in my life were running through my head like movie clips. Anytime I had trusted God and obeyed Him, even in the midst of difficult seasons, I was thankful because I could now see the blessings. It was the times when I had disobeyed God or made decisions based upon what looked good to me that had caused me grief and filled me with regret.

I had recited the phrase “God is good!” many times, but that morning I understood God’s goodness at a whole new level. God is not only is good, He always knows what is good for me. Even when the packaging of my circumstances didn’t look or feel good, He was always good.

I wrote the following poem during a discouraging season. At that time it was difficult for me to see God’s goodness; but I can clearly see it now. I pray it will bless you.

Wrappings

Two packages lay before me,

One elegant; one plain.

The one in finest wrapping.

The other brown with string.

With delight I grabbed the first one;

Gently removed the bows

And folded down the paper

While anticipation rose.

But disappointment surfaced

Almost immediately

As I opened up the box

And it contents I did see.

For instead of finest treasures

Of diamonds or of gold,

It was filled with thorns and thistles

And miseries untold.

So reluctantly I reached out

And placed the second on the floor.

With its drab and plain appearance

What horrors were in store?

Then cautiously I cut

The fraying well-worn string,

Removed the plain brown paper

And opened up the awful thing.

All disappointment left

As delight filled up my soul

For in that plain and simple package

Were treasures to behold.

Sometimes God’s greatest gifts

Are hidden for a season.

It’s often later down the road

We understand the reason.

Jeannie Boatright

I have learned that sometimes the most incredible gifts come in the most unusual packages.

 May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

photo from Pixabay

Stuck

There have been seasons in my life when I have felt stuck. A few years ago, while I was praying, (begging would be a more accurate description) for God to end my then current season and let me “get on with my life,” I saw a vision of a clock. Its hands were rapidly spinning, signifying the passing of not only days, but years.

Even though the hands of the clock seemed to be spinning out of control, I felt a sense of God being in control—not just in control of the clock, but of time itself, particularly the seasons of my life. God spoke to my spirit that things were getting ready to accelerate, due in part, to the people with which He had surrounded me. At that moment, I realized that I hadn’t been stuck; I had been placed.

God had placed me exactly where He wanted me. He had placed me where I would prosper the most. My stuck season hadn’t been stagnant. It had been a season of equipping, growth, and connections that would cause much to come about quickly in the upcoming season.

The vision of the clock reminded me of Joseph. In the 37th chapter of Genesis, Joseph dreams about his destiny, but in Chapter 39, he ends up on jail duty. His purpose leads him to prison-for a very long season.

I am sure there were times when Joseph felt stuck. The Bible tells us that Joseph was faithful in all that was put before him. He also had favor. While he was stuck in prison, God was setting up his acceleration. As Joseph managed the books, God was writing Joseph’s book—a story that would instantly take him from the prison to the palace to the position of second ruler in the land. His prison time, his “stuck season” prepared him for the destiny for which he had been created—a destiny that would save many lives!

It’s easy to get discouraged when we feel stuck between our vision and our destiny. But feeling stuck is not a bad thing. It is an indicator of change. Feeling stuck encourages us to rise up and to take hold of our promises. Complacency kills destiny, but feeling stuck in invites it, as we are continuously reminded that there is something greater ahead.

Are you are feeling stuck? Has God has given you visions you haven’t seen come to pass? Are you trying to hold onto your sanity while holding on to your dreams? If so, be encouraged. God is going before you and setting things in order. Continue to be faithful with all that is before you. The hands on the clock are turning and will soon begin spinning. Get ready! God is going to accelerate time as He moves you into a new season-a season of changed positions and answered promises!

Lord, you are so faithful! Thank you for all of the seasons in my life, including when I feel stuck. Thank you for your equipping and favor, even when I don’t recognize it. I am confident that where you have placed me now will accelerate where you are taking me. Help me to be faithful and learn all you have for me to learn. Help me to trust you as you lead me toward my destiny. In Jesus’ Name…Amen!

Be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

Photo by khfalk- pixabay

Our Movies

 

My computer/tablet has been having major issues. The other day it wouldn’t let me open any of my word programs and today it appears to be speaking in tongues. THisbm is whadt it lyoyoks like when I tp]e yon the kebmyoadrad.

Even though my keyboard is speaking its own language, I attempted to use it anyway. After each sentence I had to go back and delete the extra letters that had been inserted into each word. The process was frustrating. It didn’t take long for me to realize that using my keyboard was stealing both my peace and my time. It was time to disconnect the keyboard. Thankfully, I can still type on the touch screen.

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about a vision God had given me about the restoration of heart’s desires. Shortly afterwards, the Lord told me that I was to work on a couple of books I had started writing quite a few years ago. One of them is about the lies that kept me in abuse and the truths that set me free.

Writing about my past can be similar to this morning’s experience with my malfunctioning keyboard. In just a few sentences a slew of memories can quickly surface, causing me frustration and stealing my peace. There were times when I was writing a few of the stories in my first two books that I was crying so hard from painful memories that I could barely see what I was typing.

Whenever painful memories used to surface I would either ignore them, agonize over them, or try to analyze them. Now, when hurtful memories kick up, instead of looking in, I look up. It’s not about introspection as much as it is about gaining a new perspective.

When I take the pain of my past to the Lord, He reveals His presence and gives me purpose. He exposes the lies I believed, helps me to forgive, and writes His truth on the tablet of my heart. As the Holy Spirit reveals the plans of the enemy and the bondages and wounds of those who hurt me, the movie script in my mind of is rewritten, and I see Jesus in every scene. Sometimes He is shielding me. Sometimes He is holding me. Sometimes He is crying. Sometimes He is fiercely protecting me. Sometimes He is speaking truth to me—even when I am not listening. At all times, Jesus is loving me and revealing His heart to me.

Rewriting my life movie writes my purpose. When I See Jesus in every scene of my past, I can clearly see Him in every scene in my future. My story becomes His story as He takes the good, the bad, and the ugly and uses it all for His glory and to bring freedom to others. I might need to process some things and even shed some tears when Jesus shows up in my past memories, but the new outlook He gives me always turn my tears of sorrow into incredible joy.

When you and I give God our pasts, He inserts His presence, His truth, and His promises to bless our futures. Have you given God your movie?

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever. Psalm 30:11-12(NIV)

 

Masterpiece

Last night I went to bed praying for the hopeless and hurting. When I woke up this morning I remembered a beautiful work of art I had seen many years ago. Since it was a mosaic, I had to stand at a distance to see the picture come together. I was amazed at the masterpiece the artist had created from tiny shards of glass and broken pieces of tile.

As I pictured the mosaic, I thought about how God restores broken lives. The story of Ruth came to mind. Ruth was a woman in the Bible who suffered great loss. After the death of her husband, Ruth looked at the broken pieces of her life and made a difficult decision. Instead of returning to her own people and her old ways, she committed herself to her mother-in-law Naomi and vowed to trust in the One True God:

“But Ruth said: Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me” Ruth 1: 16-17 (NKJV).

When Ruth handed God the broken pieces of her life in the midst of her sorrow, she could not have even begun to fathom the incredible work of art the master artist would create from them. Trusting God with the pieces, created an astounding picture of restoration. The poor, childless widow became a wealthy wife and a mother. The one who had little, received much more than she could have thought or imagined.

As Ruth’s life was coming to a close, she probably marveled at the part of the mosaic she had been able to see. But she could have never imagined the final touches the artist had yet to make. After she breathed her last, the One True God would continue to glue pieces on her mosaic. The final picture would show her descendants, one of them being her great-grandson David. Ruth’s broken pieces would become a piece in the lineage of Jesus, the Savior of the World.

Today, if your life and heart have been shattered, I would encourage you to give the Lord your broken pieces as you pray this prayer with me. But first, you might want to reach down as if you are gathering the pieces. Then holding them in your hands, lift up your hands and open them, releasing your pieces to the Lord.

Precious Lord, thank you for always being there for me. I don’t understand why my life has been shattered, but I choose to trust you. You can see what I cannot see, and you can do what I could never do. I raise my hands in both surrender and victory, knowing that the pieces I am giving you will become part of a beautiful mosaic. You are the master artist. Come and make a masterpiece out of the broken pieces of my life. I love you Lord! In  Jesus name…Amen.

Always know God loves you and adores you!

Jeannie

Praying for My Daughter

Please pray for my daughter!

In March, when the Lord told me I would be in Virginia in June, I had no idea that my son-in-law would be deployed in June and that my daughter’s medical conditions would worsen.

For over a decade my daughter has been battling a few auto immune illnesses. In April she started vomiting so much she lost ten pounds. I appreciate the military, but their medical often leaves a lot to be desired. Each time she went to the emergency room she was given IVs and nausea medication and was sent home. It took months for her to get blood work done. Now she is waiting for her appointments with more specialists. Her appointment with the endocrinologist that was scheduled in June is coming up next month.

In July she started feeling a little better, but getting out of the house for a doctor’s appointment or going to the store is always exhausting for her. Needless to say, she is pretty much home bound.

About a week ago, my daughter began having severe stomach and back pain. She also started throwing up again. We thought it might be appendicitis. Ends up she has internal shingles. This is the third time she has had shingles since December.

I have had many health issues, but I have also experienced many miraculous healings. I mention a few of them in my books. If God could heal me of seizures, mini strokes, emphysema, a lower back injury, a congenital heart murmur, debilitating migraines and a host of other ailments, I know that He can heal my daughter.

Sometimes it’s not a matter of faith as much as it is a matter of trust. When we don’t know the answers, we have to remember that the Lord is our answer. He is our peace. He is our hope. He is our healer. He is our strength. He is our everything!

Isaiah 43:2 doesn’t say if you walk through the fire. It says when. God never promises the absence of flames, He promises us His presence in the midst of the flames. As He shields us with His all-encompassing love, we are ignited with passion for Him and for what matters to Him. The blaze that should have destroyed us sets our hearts ablaze for Him.

I have to admit, it’s hard to watch my daughter suffer, but I have comfort in knowing that the All Knowing One is watching over her. When the Lord woke me up in March and told me, “Virginia June,” He was letting me know ahead of time that He’s got it all under control. He is the God of the wind, the waves, and the flames. In the midst of the fire we might feel heat, but we shall not be burned!

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” Isaiah 43:2 (NIV).

 

He’s Got You Covered

For many years, I attended a church that supported a number of missionaries. When the missionaries would come to the states on furlough, they would often share testimonies on Sunday mornings. Many of their testimonies mentioned God’s supernatural provision and protection. I always felt privileged and honored to hear the hearts of the missionaries; however, the testimony of one particular woman has stayed with me until this day.

She was a single woman who pastored a church in a very hostile area in Asia. She shared about an altercation where some men were threatening to kill one of her adopted Asian sons. When a knife was pressed against the young man’s chest, the mother bear in her took over and she jumped in harm’s way. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see a man getting ready to smash a brick into her head.

I don’t remember whether she looked up or closed her eyes, but as she prepared to die, she felt feathers brush across her shoulder and face, and she heard loud thuds. When she looked down, the men were all lying flat on the ground. When they came to, they ran away.

For many years I had tremendous fear issues. I even had night terrors. The Lord had to give me some powerful revelations to set me free from torment. One revelation was when I woke up and saw an angel at the foot of my bed. I heard in my spirit, “He will cover you with His feathers.” The next morning, I wrote down Psalms 91 in its entirety and taped it on my wall.

I have personally seen God intervene many times. During some of my darkest seasons, people who had no clue what was happening in my life would come up to me or call me to tell me that they had been led to pray for me at a particular time or on a particular day. The timing was always when I had either been in danger or when I had cried out to God in the midst of desperate situations.

I don’t know what you’re going through today. But God does. The Lord loves you. He is always there for you. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. Draw close to Him and give Him your cares and worries. For He is already moving in your behalf, stirring hearts to pray for you, and dispatching His angels to cover you with His feathers.

You can place your trust Him-He’s got you covered!

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

 

These Things I Know

This past week South Texas was ravaged by Hurricane Harvey. Many small cities and towns were demolished, and Houston is still underwater.

In the last few days two of my friends have lost family members and friends to drugs and car accidents.

This past month one of my former neighbor’s husband died of cancer.

It’s so easy during times of crisis to question why?

Why did some Texas towns get destroyed while others suffered mild wind damage?

Why did some houses get gutted while others in the same area remained untouched?

Why did Houston flood, forcing tens of thousands out of their homes?

Why did some people lose their lives in the raging waters?

Why did my friend’s gorgeous, accomplished daughter die of a drug overdose when other addicts are resuscitated, just in the nick of time?

Why did two young people lose their lives in a car crash?

Why did my former neighbor lose her husband to cancer?

To each of these questions I can honestly say, “I don’t know.”

Sometimes life hits us hard, leaving us swirling in a whirlwind of unanswered questions. If you are going through a storm or a season of loss, my heart goes out to you.

I can not give you answers to your questions.

But these things I do know…

I know that you are precious to God, and the same eye that is on the sparrow never takes its focus off of you.

I know that the One who parted the Red Sea is able and willing to part the impossibilities in your current situation.

I know that when you put your hope and trust in the One who promised restoration to the children of Israel, He will move Heaven and earth to restore your life.

I know that the One who declared, “it is good!” after each day of creation, will show you His goodness in the most amazing ways.

I know that no matter how violent the storm, or how intense the heartache, the One who opened His arms wide for you on Calvary is now opening His arms to hold you close to His heart.

I know that The Lord is loving and faithful, and that He will bring beauty from the ashes in your life.

Yes! These things I know!

Let’s continue to unite in prayer for all those who have been affected by the hurricane, and for those who have suffered other losses. For I know that the prayers of the righteous avail much!

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie Boatright

I Ate the Whole Thing

When I first came to Virginia I had a lot of ideas as to what God’s immediate plans for me might be. As usual, things are not looking the way I thought they would—at least not yet. Instead of spending most of my time connecting with people, I have spent most of my days reading my Bible in my room.

A couple of years ago, when the Lord first told me to read the Bible cover to cover, I thought I would faint. Through the years I had read all of it; just not all in the same block of time. Many times, I had sat down to the table and feasted on hearty meals of entire sections, but mostly I had just eaten bite-sized portions. So in 2015, when I finished feasting on the whole book in less than a month, I felt as if I had accomplished quite a feat. I had eaten the whole thing and was full of fresh revelation.

Shortly after my arrival in June of this year, the Lord told me to read the entire Bible again, but this time I was to read it out loud and write notes. Whenever I ask God, “What do you want me to do?” He just keeps telling me to finish reading the Bible. So, once again, I am feasting on the Word.

Last night, I finished the Old Testament. I love to read about how God showed up in extraordinary ways in the ordinary lives of people long ago! Often, their stories become part of my own as I am encouraged to trust the Lord in all things and lean not on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). I figure if God parted seas and placed orphans in royal positions, for such a time as this, He can remove any obstacles in my way and position me wherever He needs me to be at this time.

As the history of the Bible unfolds, so does the heart of God toward His people. His invitations for fellowship are often ignored, and nations became so corrupt that parents were even sacrificing their children. They had to either repent or face destruction. Over and over again, God speaks warnings through the prophets, telling the people to repent, but He also makes it clear that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He just wants them to turn from their wicked ways So they can live (Ezekiel 33:11).

This past week as I read all the accounts of the prophets, I often felt as if I were eating Brussels sprouts. I hate Brussels sprouts! Even though some of the other stuff on the prophetic plate is inviting, mainly the promises and fulfillment of restoration, I have a hard time stomaching the wrath of God that was poured out on the nations. Sin was rampant and had to be punished. God was Holy and had to cleanse sin. The message I kept hearing through the pages was clear: I created you. I know what is best. I want a relationship with you. I gave you laws to live by, and the evil things you are doing to yourselves and others are breaking my heart. I have to deal with your sin to get to your heart.

Over and over again, when God warns the nations, He says someone has to pay for the sins. The warnings and fulfillment of destruction that was prophesied to the nations was ugly. But sin is ugly. That is why Jesus had to come.

Thankfully, in the midst of the plateful of undesirable things to eat, there are sprinkles of sugary treats—promises of One (the Messiah) who would pay for the cost of sin once and for all.

Tomorrow I will be starting on my dessert plate. I am more than ready to quit chewing on Brussel sprouts. Just give me Jesus!!! I love to read about the life and the heart of my wonderful Lord and Savior, whom bled and died for us all. Instead of reading about captivity and destruction for the punishment of sins, I get to relish each bite of the freedom for captives and the ransom that was paid for our sins.

Yes! Matthew, here I come! No more Old Covenant. The New Covenant is revealed. Just give me Jesus! And when I am through feasting on His love, His heart, His Words, His sacrifice, His redemption, and His promises, I can once again sit back and say, “What a wonderful meal! I am so thankful that I ate the whole thing!”

May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

 

John 3:16-17 “ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (NKJV).

 

 

 

God is Faithful

 

God never leaves us nor forsakes us. I pray you will be blessed today with this encouraging word from Lisa Brooks Gerdes. She is a woman who’s life is a testimony to the faithfulness of God.

Tomorrow marks the 19th anniversary of my husband’s passing. WOW, 19 years! It was a suddenly that you don’t expect. Just two months prior to his passing we had adopted our 2 foster sons. God’s timing is perfect. If we had not finalized the adoption, it would have been a fight to keep them. My sons were 14, 11, 7, and 3 years old. We have walked closely with the Lord in those years, some brutal times, some really good times. People remark about my strength, I really am not strong on my own, but I know where my strength comes from.

My sons may have grown up without their earthly father, but The Father was here. It’s powerful when I go to the Lord in prayer and remind Him He is a Father to the Fatherless, and ask Him to deal with His sons. I continue in prayer that each one of them will walk in the fullness of all He has for them.

While our income dropped, through the grace of God (and tithing) our standard of living has increased. God’s new higher math. While my married friends quit inviting me to gatherings, I made friends with the single moms. We gathered together for meals, encouragement and helped each other paint and make repairs to our homes.

I truly believe everything we go through we have a choice, waller in self pity or use it for God’s glory. Have I always done it well? NO. but I strive to do better each day, and I really am not the wallering kind of girl.

The Lord showed me earlier this year that I have been hiding and it’s time to step into all that He has for me. Thank you to those who have encouraged me through this process and will continue to. It’s a process. It has some missteps, and some backsteps, but I am pressing forward.

I am grateful the Lord has surrounded me with people who love fiercely and unconditionally. (David Bendett, Amber Bendett, Tanya Simpson Land, Lauri Tumbleston Lamenca, Myra Oliver, Daniel Skip Long, Connie Bugg Simpson, Rosalinda Cavazos, Patti McBride, Marilyn Gloetzner, Susanne Mayeux, Kim Shepard Gutierrez, Michelle Galvan, Anne Garl, etc. I didn’t realize how many there are) I have a team that work together, cover each other and me. I could not do this work without each of you and together we have much to do.

Someone recently remarked I was like a modern-day Ruth taking care of my Mother-in-law. There is a difference, I pray MY God will become her God.

I write this today to say whatever you are facing today God is with you, call upon His name and you will be amazed at the things He does.