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Waffle Fries and God's Provision

 

I left work on Monday in a bit of a rush. I was on my way to an event 45 minutes away and didn't want to be late. I planned to grab a quick bite to eat while on the road and Chick-fil-A's waffle fries were on my mind. I pulled in to the drive-thru relieved to find the line had yet to meet the after-work rush. I was so close to my #5 combo meal that I could already taste it.

I had placed my order and was only 3 cars away from the service window. I went digging for my wallet but it wasn’t in its usual spot. So I dug a little deeper. I found nothing. I went a little deeper. Still found nothing. My digging became frantic. Ladies, I am guilty of having what I like to call a “Mary Poppins” bag. You can find anything you want in there if you just keep digging. Nail filer? Got it! Post it notes. Yup! Toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss? I’m your girl. Ticket to a movie from three months ago with an attached receipt for popcorn? Sure, why not!

But no wallet.

What am I suppose to tell them when I get to the window? Do I just keep driving? Do I stop to explain? Should I tell them that I changed my mind and would prefer Ruth’s Chris? I didn’t have time to come up with an eloquent story. I was next. I drove up to the window and stared at the cashier with a speechless look on my face. I tried to form words to explain but before I could even spit anything out, he smiled and handed me my food with its receipt. "Today must be your lucky day because the lady in front of you just paid for you meal," he said.

I had to pick my jaw up from off the floor. I’ve never had someone "pay it forward" and I reap the benefits. I had heard stories but a story was as close as I had gotten. My meal was completely covered by a stranger who had no idea what was going on in the vehicle behind her. 

Pay It Forward

Lucky? Not one bit! I let that sweet man know that I have a God that just proved He cares for my every need. I had misplaced my wallet and didn’t know what I was going to do. This was nothing but the handy work of God. I drove off, pulled over and shed a few tears over my fries, ya’ll. I couldn’t believe what was going on. I had to stop and acknowledge His flat-out goodness.

Not long after collecting myself and indulging in a portion of my meal, I found my wallet wedged underneath the passenger seat of my car. It was there all along. Nonetheless, the Lord proved His promise to me. He proved that He provides for our needs even before we know we have them.

 Provision

God’s provision had shown up in the form of a #5 Chick-fil-A combo meal that evening. A meal that definitely tasted better than all others I'd eaten in the past!

I pray you are encouraged today.  If you have a story of God's provision in your life, I'd love to hear.

Nicole :)

Listening Party, Anyone?

 

We love music here in the office. Like, loooove. Most days, it’s just Michone’ and I so we take turns playing DJ and have listening parties while we work. One day I’ll play my Pandora station or my Spotify mix and other days, Michone’ will take her seat at the turntables . . . er . . . computer. They are both the same thing in our eyes, folks. It's serious business.

There are songs that’ll come on that make us stop, grab our mics (the closest pen) and sing at the top of our lungs. Some songs even call for duets and we make sure to take our rightful places. If “When You Believe” by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey comes on, we immediately clear our throats and get in to position. Serious business, remember? Now, there may have been a small scuffle or two for Whitney’s part but I'd take the high road and let Michone’ have it. “I’ll get it next time,” I tell myself.

When it all comes down to it though, we are huge worship music fans. I'm sure you already know what happens when “Oceans” or “You Make Me Brave” comes on. They really get us singing passionately . . . while swaying . . . with our eyes tightly shut. We aren't the only ones, right?

Well, I wanted to leave you with a small piece of today's playlist so you can join in with us. Just click a song you'd like to listen to. You're free to worship with us and type up that report your boss is asking for all at the same time. :)

Jesus Culture    Passion  Kari Jobe

 Liz Vice    City Harmonic  Will Reagan

Hey, do you have any suggestions that you'd like to share? What worship songs are in heavy rotation on your playlist? We’d love to add them to ours!

In the meantime, we'll be working on our DJ names . . . 

Nicole 

Pinterest Love

 

Fall is officially here and one of my new favorite things is finding fall favorites on Pinterest!! I mean, I could literally sit and scroll different categories for hours and hours for inspiration on things such as fall fashion, fall home decor, fall baking recipes and so much more.

The area that I find myself scrolling through the most nowadays is the fashion category. Brand new outfits, just like any girl, has always made me feel like a new woman! I, however, have also grown to love the idea that I can type in any piece of clothing from my closet into Pinterest’s search engine, like 'military jacket’ or ‘red pants’, and receive pages worth of pins. Instantly I receive an entire list of fashion ideas that I could use to completely revamp my look without even leaving home or spending a dime. Addicted!

Pinterest Image 1   Pinterest Image 2

This caused me to stop and think of my spiritual life and how it relates to my newfound love. You see, I am so often quick to want a new Word, a new sermon, and more resources to fill my life. But often, God is calling me to look at what He’s already working on in my life. He’s calling me to look at what is already in my spiritual closet and how He is revamping my life with what He has already deposited inside of me.

Do you ever find yourself looking for a fresh Word from God only to find that you may not have completely committed to the work He has already started in your closet of spiritual growth?

A little something to think about today . . .

Happy fall fashion, ladies! Oversized sweaters, scarves, and boots, oh my!

Michone'

A Special Note from Priscilla

Breathe Header

Whenever I have the honor of teaching women on a biblical topic, I embrace the opportunity with a measure of enthusiasm that is always coupled with a slight trepidation. I so desire to honor God in the explanation of His Word and yet, I’m not always clear or accurate enough.

I hope you are familiar with me enough to know that my intention is always to honor the Lord and to lead you through the Scriptures in a way that is true to the Bible. But, sadly, I’m not perfect at it. In fact, trusted mentors have needed to remind me on occasion that the only perfect book is the Bible, and that I need to give myself a bit of grace whenever my own writing falls somewhere short in any way.

I’m trying. But, honestly, I have a hard time accepting this reality sometimes, since I take the ministry platform that God has given me so seriously.

Here’s why I mention it.

The Breathe Bible study was recently released this fall. I so enjoyed my own personal study of the Sabbath and how incorporating margin in our lives can bring a measure of health and wholeness that many of us lack. I have been thrilled to share the study with you in hopes that it will open your eyes to this age-old principle in a brand new way. I still hope that it will.

But I was recently made aware of a concern regarding a reference that I make on pages 14-15. Here, near the beginning of the workbook, I reference a Jewish scholar and his take on Genesis 2:2. His view is not necessarily mine. It is his. I purposefully presented it in the study because it gives us a focused view on the significance that is placed on the Sabbath in the Jewish culture. My goal in sharing it was not to affirm my agreement with every implication of his statement (nor with his entire theological stance on other biblical topics), but only to get our mental wheels turning as we broached the topic of our Bible study together. In any case, I was not clear enough about this distinction and for that, I apologize.

I always value the emails that I receive and am so grateful for the accountability that they provide me and this ministry as we seek to stay true to the Scriptures. And so, as always, I looked into the concern. After much prayer and discussion with my editing team at LifeWay, I’ve decided to make changes to this portion of the study – changes that I am praying will help to smooth over any doubt I may have caused regarding the creation account described in Genesis and the very first Sabbath day.

Unfortunately, the changes will not appear in the workbooks until the next run of the Breathe Bible study is reprinted, so I wanted to make sure those of you who currently have the books are able to access this change. Please download the attachment below. If you are a Bible study group leader, feel free to print the document and disseminate it to those you are serving in the study of God’s Word. Shucks, tell your attendees to staple the pages right into their workbooks if you’d like. Hopefully this will help you to deal with any raised eyebrows.

I am eternally grateful to a wonderful woman named Krystal from Texas who emailed me initially with this concern. The grace she extended regarding this matter was more of an encouragement to me than she may ever really know. I am unbelievably appreciative of her, and my soul was bolstered by her willingness to see my intention. Tears formed in my eyes as I read her email to me explaining how she addressed the issue with her Bible study group:

. . . even though I don’t know [Priscilla] personally, I know her heart, I trust her . . . she would not intentionally try and mislead anyone with Scripture. Even if something is flawed, for whatever reason, we can still gain wisdom from it, and I fully believe we are together for a reason . . . and in spite of a mistake Priscilla may or may not make, or how bad I may mess things up . . . God will fill in that gap and accomplish what He wants in each of us.

Her words were like a soothing balm to this daughter of God who . . . well . . . needed grace to calm the knots in her stomach about the whole thing. Gosh, I’m so grateful that God fills in the gaps. For me. For you. For all of us.

Thank you, Krystal. I can’t wait to hug your neck one day.

I’ve been so grateful for the kindness you’ve extended to me as I’ve grown and matured during nearly twenty years of ministry. I hope you’ll be able to offer it again. I am humbled that the Lord would allow me to serve Him and you, and I ask that you would pray for me as I seek to do it well . . . for the glory of the Lord.

I’m certainly praying for you. Always.

Bless you richly,

Priscilla

The Facts of Life

 

If you were watching television anytime during the 80's, you will probably remember the popular television show The Facts of Life. You may have even started humming the theme song like I just did! In today's video blog, Priscilla chats behind-the-scenes with one of the stars from the show, Lisa Whelchel, about living in the spotlight and life after Survivor.

Enjoy and be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

Priscilla and Lisa Whelchel Chat

Click here if unable to view video.

The Chat Logo

Want more? You can catch more of Priscilla and Lisa all this month during our web show, The Chat with Priscilla, every Tuesday and Thursday at 12pm, 6pm, and 10pm CT right here.  

Lisa and Priscilla Shirer 1

While Waiting

 

A couple of weeks ago you may remember me writing about my car woes. I was experiencing car trouble and had taken it to a professional for a check up. Well, after a few (long) days of waiting, I received the highly anticipated phone call with my verdict.

Ms. Staples?

Yes?

We’ve run multiple tests on your vehicle and . . .

. . . and??

Well, there doesn’t seem to be a problem with your vehicle. What you’re hearing is normal due to the weather changes that we've been having lately.

Are you sure we are talking about the same car here?

Yes, ma’am, we are. So, you are free to pick up your vehicle whenever you’re ready!

Uhhh . . . oh . . . okay!?

Well, I hung up the phone to call and text my family and friends with the news. As I shared the report, my feelings weren't matching their excitement. I was relieved by the news, most certainly, but I was also disappointed in myself. May I be honest? All I could think about was the varying levels of trust I had experienced during it all and how it wasn’t as strong and steady as it could have been.

Let’s rewind to the days leading up to this great news.

Between the time I began experiencing car issues and the good news I had received, it wasn't easy for me to believe that it would all turn out well. I had a difficult time with waiting in the hallway between my need and His provision. My emotions were in a battle with God’s Word, fighting for space within my thoughts. It wasn't until I was on the other side, when my need was met and all was resolved, that I realized I could have done better.

hallway

So what do you do while you’re in the hallway between your need and His provision?

You wait. You actively wait.

You . . .

     Pray.

          Trust.

               Serve.

                    Praise.

And . . .

I prayed, yes, but I found myself in a fit of doubt at times.

I trusted, yes, but my trust wasn't consistent.

I served, yes, but my mind was always elsewhere.

I praised, yes, but I did a bit of grumbling in between.

Sigh.

But the Lord was gracious with me, as He always is with His children. I’m so thankful for that. I would start off strong, oh I would, but my sense of peace and meter of hope would begin to run low. When it did, He was gentle with reminding me that He was enough. He placed people in my path to walk alongside me and to encourage with their stories of provision; He brought to mind all that He'd done in the past to remind me of His perfect record; He flashed a few neon signs, such as a drawing sitting on the seat of my car, to remind me of His promise to take care of me.

He was persistent with reminding me that He is enough. And frankly, there is no arguing with that fact.

Well, I didn’t do as well as I had imagined this time around but I know that as different trials come, and they will come, my faith and trust will grow stronger each time. And I’ll be sure to share the good news with you as they do!

Is He your “enough” while you are waiting in your hallway?

As we walk this road together, I pray our faith and trust will grow stronger with each challenge that we face.

. . . because He is always enough.

Nicole :)

Just 40 Feet

 

Jerry and I sat down at our gate for a few moments to wait until the attendants started boarding our plane to Dallas.

Denver’s airport is pleasant. Clean, which is always especially nice, and lined with windows that let in loads of sunlight. It’s airy and roomy despite the lines and luggage and occasional, frantic passenger brushing passed your elbow to catch their flight.

Next to us, a man dressed in comfy travel clothes and surrounded by several pieces of baggage, looked up from his cell phone and nodded a greeting - the kind that strangers offer just to be polite. We smiled back and got settled.

“Judy”.

The man called out to his wife who stood a healthy stone’s throw away. She was clearly looking for him. Maybe she’d gone to the restroom or the nearest magazine stand to grab some good reading for the journey, but now she’d returned from her errand and was looking for her husband.

She didn’t see him.

So many moving parts whirling around her - people and luggage and PA announcements clouding her attention.

“Juuuu - deeee”.

He hoisted himself upward a bit and called louder while waving with a tall, outstretched arm. She still seemed hazy and turned her back, gawking in the opposite direction, squinting. She heard nothing. Saw nothing.

The poor guy turned to us with a loving smirk on his face and muttered something about how curious it is that forty feet of separation can sometimes feel like miles.

It’s true.

Bench Couple

Sometimes, in marriage, just a little space, even just a narrow sliver of emotional distance can be enough to blossom into a chasm of separation that seems irreparable, especially with all the distractions and noise luring your attention away from each other. He’s sleeping right next to you at night, sharing the same electric blanket or drinking coffee across the same table or sitting inches away on the sofa watching the show the both of you agreed to Tivo and yet, the distance is, well . . . distant. And it balloons and swells over time. Feels like you are worlds away, even though you’re in the same room. The air is stagnant, sterile and cold; the atmosphere devoid of heart and passion and all the things that make you feel loved and human.

So close. But so far away.

Lonely.

Lonelier than if you were just sitting on the sofa by yourself.

The husband in the Denver airport finally got his wife’s attention, but he had to exert a lot of effort and consistency to do it. And that’s the thing – someone has to be willing to exert the effort, to cross the chasm, to dodge the distractions and inhibitions that are keeping the two of you apart. There has to be one humble enough and in love enough to take the walk across all forty feet to grab the hand and heart of their partner and bring them back.

My spouse has recently done this for me.

Maybe you’re the one to do it for yours.

Jerry and Priscilla

I’m so eternally grateful . . . and your spouse will be, too.

Priscilla

The Gathered Round

Thanksgiving is not too far away! Can you believe it? The holidays are upon us and it is during this time that we collectively take time out of our fast-paced schedule to stop. To stop and gather with family and friends over food, fellowship, and reflection. Or do we really stop? Our lives tend to become even faster during the holiday season, filled with stuffing turkeys, checking off Christmas lists, road-trips to Grandma's . . . you name it!

Today we have the honor of having our friend, Barbara Rainey, on our blog. She writes about just that - taking the time to stop. To stop and really celebrate the people and moments in our lives amidst our fast-lane living. I have a feeling there will be many of us that can relate.

But before you read her post, I want to share a giveaway she's having for our readers! She's written a book called Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember and we are excited to give away a copy to three of our readers. You will also receive beautiful "gratitude" napkin ties that are great conversation starters and perfect for your Thanksgiving table decor. You'll receive them just in time for your Thanksgiving dinner spread but these will be great additions to any table year-round!

Time for Remembering book

 Napkin Ties

Here's how to enter:

  1. Once you've read Barbara's post, leave a brief comment telling us what your "spotlight" is.
  2. Be sure to include your email address in your comment so that we may contact you if you are selected.
  3. Tweet, Facebook, Instagram, or send an email with a link to this giveaway to spread the word!
  4. There really isn't a 4.  We just can't wait to hear what your "spotlight" is. :)

Winners will be selected Monday, October 27th.  Enjoy Barbara's post below!

Barbara Rainey

Stop. Think on this.

Sometimes it seems that my life is following the speeding pace of my iPhone, and not the other way around. I don’t know if it’s become more complicated now than when my kids were scattering Cheerios throughout the house like Hansel and Gretel, or dropping sports equipment inside the door and pounding up the stairs.

But either way - I find the need to surround myself with “stoplights” of some sort, points that make me slow down, that bring me pause in the freeway that is so often my life. Even in the Old Testament, I hear God’s prompting to “cease striving and know that I am God”: His feasts strategically spaced throughout the calendar year. An abstract art sculpture of twelve stones by the Jordan, reminding generations that God moved in this place. Or His simple, gentle word of Selah in the Psalms, like a flat palm held up: Stop. Think on this. Or His calls to singing and celebration.

Family Life

So, tangibly, one of my “stoplights” I’ve recently placed around me is a reminder I created to revel a bit in my family and these days that seem to evaporate before me. The Gathered Round draws me with its scrolling metalwork and its ease—a few photos there; a ticket or program tucked there; a memo held there; a cheerful, simple message in chalk to honor someone I love. Somehow it’s become this easily-assembled, vertical scrapbook that helps my family to Stop. Think on this. Think on this person, this moment, this snippet of God and His goodness that we’ve all witnessed. It’s become a simple way to celebrate the people I care about so much, without a great deal of fuss, but with all the fanfare.

So without totally neglecting all those people represented on my iPhone - yes, I feel like I can drink in a bit of life rather than watching it pass in a blur.

Blessings,

Barbara

French Fries, Milkshakes, Grandmothers. . .and other Simple Pleasures

 

This is my 96-year-old grandma . . .

Grandma Smiling

This is my grandma and her simple pleasures . . .

Milkshake

I marvel when I’m with her. Every single time, tears sting my eyes at the thought of what her life represents - the many years and moments, decisions and choices, faithfulness and dedication that have become my legacy.

And I love watching her enjoy simple pleasures.

Her life used to be overwhelmingly busy - years ago when her days were full of small children and schedules and details and budgets. My late grandfather was away most of the time trying to make a living to support their eight children. So, she raised the brood as a single parent for the most part. Little time for anything else. She dedicated herself to them, working from early in the morning until late into the night to keep them fed and clean and clothed and educated and in love with Jesus.

Now, her days are much more quiet and slow. She sits mostly in her favorite living room chair and welcomes any of her children, grandchildren or great grand children that come to visit. Her eyes glisten with excitement when there is a break in her fairly mundane days. Her mind is still sharp but her body can’t seem to keep up. She laments the aches and pains that hinder her from being as productive as she once was. She can’t believe that she’s unable to clean her house in one day like she used to, run errands from one store to the next nimbly or cook a feast for her whole family to enjoy. She misses those busy days.

So, I take her for fries and milkshakes and a drive in the sunlight to nowhere in particular.

She loves it all.

These simple pleasures.

She doesn’t bemoan the calories she’s ingesting. She just enjoys them. She doesn’t wish she was doing something else – something more important than taking a car ride with her grand daughter – she just relishes the moment of simple abundance. She’s not worried that her clothes aren’t designer or even matching for that matter. Her robe and house shoes will do just fine. It’s all pure happiness.

And she teaches me.

Her smile, quiet ease and genuine gladness remind me to enjoy the small things in life. To bask in the sun, to eat the indulgence, to listen to a friend, to cook the meal, to take the walk, to play hard, work harder and enjoy it all.

Not because I’m 96 and have to . . . but while I’m 39 and choose to.

What simple pleasures are you grateful for today?

I’ll start:

  • The sunshine and cooler temperatures in Dallas
  • The dessert and laughs I shared with my husband and sons at Chick-fil-A
  • The falling autumn leaves
  • The new recipe I cooked for dinner last week
  • Butter Pecan Coffee Creamer
  • The weekend spent outdoors with family and friends at my son’s baseball tournament
  • My son’s first over-the-fence homerun
  • My husband’s firm, strong hug

. . . and a memorable hour, driving my 96 year old grandmother, while she ate French fries and drank a vanilla milkshake.

Priscilla

Shifting Gears

 

Car trouble. Nothing can cripple a good day like car trouble. My car had been making this awful noise for the past few weeks and with other things crowding my schedule, I had yet to get it looked at. “I’ll get to it tomorrow,” I told myself . . . many times. Several tomorrows had come and gone and before I knew it, I had ignored the problem for three weeks.

Bad idea, I know.

I wasn’t looking forward to dealing with it and was dreading the stress, cost and inconvenience it can bring. At a point when the noise could no longer be ignored, I decided “tomorrow” would be the day I took it in for a check-up. For real this time. If I waited any longer, I imagined I'd be picking up car pieces behind me from off the highway. A bit dramatic? Perhaps. But it didn't sound pretty!

Tomorrow had come. I walked out of my house fighting back tears while sending out invitations to my pity-party via text message and pleading for God to show me that He was truly in control. I threw my purse and workbag in the back seat of my car only to be stopped by a piece of paper that had been sitting in that exact seat for the past several weeks.

 Back Seat

I froze. My eyes grew wide. He's got my attention.

It was in that moment I found my answer, which was literally sitting within the source of my problem. I had written that scripture a few weeks prior for a couple of friends and had every intention on giving it to them as soon as our schedules allowed. But that time had yet to come. I'd seen that same piece of paper everyday in the back seat of my car but this time, something within me changed. My demeanor, my emotions, my outlook. All of that had changed. My focus had now shifted back on to God and His promises for us.

The pity-party that I was having?  Yeah, it ended abruptly. It was louder than His voice and was made clear that it wasn't helping my trust in Him or His Word. I had to put away the streamers . . . the party hat . . . the noise-makers . . . the invitations . . . and sweep up the confetti. All that confetti.

I got in the driver’s seat, shut the door, and sat there in silence taking in all of what just happened. He answered the prayer I had mumbled as I walked out my front door. He heard me. Tears still fell but it was from the realization that He was so very near in that moment. 

He hears us.

I know that car troubles may be the least of someone's problems right now. You may be dealing with health, family, or financial issues that are extremely burdonsome. What I want to share with you today is that God cares about your big troubles, your little troubles, and all of your in between troubles. He knows the weight it bears as you carry it on your shoulders and He’d prefer that it rest on His. He wants us to trust Him in all things.

Does Not Fear

So, as I wait for that phone call, I will not fear the news that will be on the other side. I will confidently trust that He has already taken care of whatever the news may be and has a solution in place just waiting to be unveiled. The problem still exists, yes, but worry and fear are now replaced with peace knowing that He is in control.

Will you trust with me? Whatever circumstance you are currently wrestling with or news you are waiting to hear, will trust that the Lord will care for you and see you through just as He promised?

Praying for you.  

Until next time,

Nicole

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