Open Your Umbrella

Last week I had a vision. I was standing outside as I looked to my right, in the distance, afar off I saw a roaring dark gray thunderstorm. It was rolling towards me. It was alarming.

A couple days later, I listened to a podcast by Art Wilson. (I posted a link below) He talked about how we, as a church, are being pushed into the arena. God is getting ready to show off His church.

Like Jesus being ushered into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil.

More darkness is coming, but do not fear.

I remembered my vision of the raging storm in the horizon.

I asked the Lord. “What should I do when the storm is here? What do You want me to do?”

He replied, “Open your umbrella.”

“Ok, Lord, thanks for the umbrella, yes I will.”

I had another question. “What is my umbrella?”

I thought His answer would be something like Love, or Truth, or His Word, or faith.

He answered, “Me, it’s Me.”

Cling to Jesus. He is our hope in the storm.

Fix your eyes on Him for He is our Anchor.

He is our Protector. He is our strong tower. He is our refuge in times of trouble.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalms 18:2

God is preparing us to shine when the world is darkest.

Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5

Has the Lord given you encouragement when you were standing in the rain. How was He your umbrella? I’d love to hear from you.

I have a link of the podcast and a song that encourages my heart.

Enabling and Equipping

We visited Milwaukee County Zoo last week. We entered the cat area where the gorgeous cheetah dwelled. She paced back and forth…Over and over. She had walked the same path so much that her paws had killed the grass and what was once soft green grass was now a smooth dusty thin pathway.

We read the facts sign about cheetahs. Did you know? Cheetahs can run up to 60 miles per hour!

My daughter asked me, “Is that fast? I want to see the cheetah run.”

Sadly, I realized the cheetah didn’t have enough room to even skip let alone run at 60 miles per hour.

This cheetah couldn’t run at all. She could only pace back and forth in front of the tall glass window where we stood waiting for her to do something interesting.

She was limited…

Only man can remove the limitations of the cheetah. Only God can remove our limitations.

God is an equipping God. He ALWAYS has more for us. He ALWAYS has better for us.

We just need the desire to be more.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Ephesians 3:20

The cheetah was at the mercy of man. She wasn’t equipped with what she needed TO BE ALL that she was meant to be.

We fall short. God enables and equips us to be what He has called us to be.

We are simply NOT enough.

We need the help of God, it’s called GRACE. We need Him to change us from the inside out. We need him to open our eyes to see ourselves the way HE sees us.

Once we are all in for Him, He’ll take you further than you ever thought possible.

He will equip you for what He has in store.

Don’t give up yet. He’s got You! Reach for Him!

Pray with me: God, I give you permission to work on me. Help me see the way You see me. Nobody’s idea of me matters except for how You view me. Enable me to be the person (mom, wife, friend, leader, employee) You want me to be. Equip me with the right character, integrity, honesty, and love I need to impact my world. I make you KING of my life. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Thanks for reading -Tonya

Learning to Reflect

While I was praying I had a vision of an olive tree. It was beautiful. It had a thick healthy trunk, but it was different. There was a branch on the left and a branch on the right, but the middle was missing. What did this mean? I especially wanted to know because I was praying for unity.

While Rob took the kids on a bike ride a couple of days later (thanks honey!) I had some alone time to really pray and ask God to guide my study.

Without looking up any scripture references I began reading my bible. I came across this scripture:

Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, though a wild olive branch, were grafted in among them and have come to share in the rich root of the cultivated olive tree, do not brag that you are better than those branches.
Romans 11:17-18 HCSB

I am NOTHING without Christ. HE puts breath in my body. I can’t even brush my teeth without HIS help.

I am not better than anyone else. If I think I am, I have a problem. As my Mom would say a “heart problem.”

In studying the Olive trees I found the best time to prune them is after winter and just when the tree is starting to produce the first fruits of the season.

We have gone through the “wilderness.” It was a long “winter”.

During this “winter” you have been seeking God and spending more time with Him. You are able to hear God’s voice clearer. You are walking in the spirit as you are putting your flesh down daily (it’s hard some days) God is bringing you through. You entered a new season. You’re experiencing new and exciting things in God.

Now comes the pruning.

One prayer I’ve tried to pray everyday this year in 2020 is, “God help me see me the way you see me. All the good. All the bad. All the beautiful. And yes… All the ugly.”

Growing closer to God requires the removal of toxic things.

God has done it. He has revealed to me some things He needs to cut out of me (and I’m sure I have a long way to go) Embarrassing things… Like self-doubt, discontentment, jealousy, and comparing myself to others. How toxic!

He has brought things to the surface I didn’t know existed. I could then pray specifically and ask the Lord for His help.

For every ugly thing he revealed in me, He has shown me so much more beautiful things about me!

He showed me I was worth dying for on the cross. I have great faith. I am a peacemaker. I am anointed for such a time as this. I am effective. I am hopeful. I am a “good” mom. I am striving to become a Proverbs 31 woman. I do hear the voice of God. I am led of the spirit. I am joyful. I do trust in Him. Thank you Jesus!

Back to the olive tree, I found there is a special technique to pruning olive trees. It consists of pruning the center of the tree. So the tree gets more light for more healthy growth.

When God prunes us he removes old branches. Old traditions. Old mindsets Old habits. Only then we are able to grow in new areas and new ways. (Not changing the message, of course, Acts 2:38.)

You are producing fruit, but God is not finished yet. He is pruning you so you have the opportunity to grow even more, which means more expansion. More fruits of the spirit. More love. More anointing.

You can’t produce oil without being pressed.

Our attitudes can get us in trouble. His word says to “humble yourself”.

It would be ever so nice to skip the pruning process, but we wouldn’t be all what we are called to be and we wouldn’t be ready for what God has in store and that’s not part of God’s plan either.

We can’t go from point A to point D. We are in a process. We are on God’s time. Not our own.

When we try to figure out the details, we move from the dimension of faith to the dimension of hope. We walk in FAITH.

We have to wait on God when he says to wait. While we wait we put our COMPLETE TRUST in Him. And give him FULL CONTROL in our lives.

Stay busy in His presence. Give God 100%. Stay faithful. Stay consistent in prayer and fasting.

You will make it through! God has a specific call for everyone. When you find it, it’s exciting and it’s the only thing that satisfies.

Stay content in the process. Stay humble. Stay kind. And you will go far!

He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
Psalms 1:3 HCSB

Prayer to pray: Lord help me see myself the way you see me, all the good and all the bad. Help me learn to reflect.

I believe the vision God gave me was the picture of a healthy Olive Tree after it had gone through the pruning process.

What are some beautiful things God is revealing about you? What are some things He has helped you realize He is not finished working with you yet?

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear from you in the comments.