Friday, April 27, 2012

Sharing Testimony...

 "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

Can I share a testimony with you? 

All of us need to look back periodically and see how God is moving in our lives. 

My encouragement today is...

“Don’t leave it there! Make sure you share the testimony (your testimony is more than your salvation story) God is giving you with others.”

Got praise? Share your testimony.
Struggling? Share your testimony.
Blessings? Share your testimony.

"Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever." Joshua 4:7  

Let’s pause here for a quick moment. Do you know the definition of blessing?

A blessing is anything that brings you closer to God.

Go back and read that definition, “anything that brings you closer to God”. 
This means, whether we think of it as a bad thing or a good thing, if it is bringing you closer to God than it qualifies as a blessing.

Okay! Now, that we have that clarified back to the testimony.

 Many of you readers and friends of this blog know that my Sweetie and I made a move last October (You can read more about that in past postings click here). After this move, God gave me a seasonal part-time job at a local Christian bookstore. This position continued on after the season and I became eligible to opt-in to their insurance program.

My Sweetie!!!

Do you realize how much of a praise it is for a part-time employee to have insurance available to them?

Well, the price was right and I opted in. Duh? It was a no-brainer… considering I have been uninsured for years. It is hard for a small business owner, which I am, to get affordable insurance. Little did I know what was on the horizon, but my loving Father did.

Long story short, the insurance became effective. Not long after, I started experiencing some health issues. Doctor visits and tests determined surgery would be needed. After all those years with no insurance…isn’t God's timing amazing. 
Don’t start the Hallelujahs just yet, I haven’t told you the truly amazing part.

My part-time job ended unexpectedly. Where did this leave my upcoming surgery? The doctor went forward with scheduling the surgery. We had no idea what was happening with the insurance from the part-time job. The company said my insurance would end on my last day of work in March. We knew that COBRA would be made available, but had no idea if we could even afford the payments.

Enter Jehovah-Jireh, my provider. 
We just got the COBRA enrollment information and the payment is about $10.00 more than I was paying while working.

Yes, you read that correctly it is only $10.00 more for me to keep the insurance for my surgery.

Are you shouting Hallelujah? We sure were.

A sculpture by Ken Smith

 We understand the insurance is limited and we will most likely pay for part of my surgery. 
However, even having the insurance means the surgery should cost less. Why? 
Because when you have insurance, the doctor’s, hospitals, etc give discounted rates for their services.

Plus, I have a Savior who will take care of me no matter what.

Are you sharing your testimony with others? 
Share with others today, you an even do it in the comment section if you want.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bother or Blessing: That is the question

I recently spent a day with my Mom and Aunt. Our agenda for the day: hang out, enjoy each other’s company and take pictures. 
This trip to Auntie’s house would have picture taking of birds and flowers as
our FOCUS (yes, that is my one word for 2012).
 My aunt has a haven for birds at her house and beautiful flowers in her yard. She has various bird feeders on her back deck and around the backyard. The rain and chilly weather dampened the flower aspect of the trip. Yet, in spite of the weather, the bird aspect would be attainable.

We perched ourselves in her dining room. The back porch in perfect view, all while we stayed warm and dry. It was an awesome way to spend a couple hours.

"Oh Bother!"

The above squirrel eating his snack was taken during that time.

Here is Mr. Nut’s (yeah, I named this little guy) story. My Aunt had stepped away for a few minutes. While she was away three or four squirrels showed up. Mom was pointing them out to me and I was snapping pictures of the "cute" little squirrels. 

Upon my Aunt's returning, she saw the squirrels and stated, "Dawn, why are you letting the squirrels on the porch!" She promptly opened and closed the deck door and scared the squirrels off. 

"I didn't realize they were not suppose to be on the porch," I replied simply. 
(Confession: this statement was not 100% true…I knew the bird lover code…squirrels are a bother).

"She has been taking pictures of them," came my sweet mother's reply. 

See, my Aunt is not the first bird lover in my life, who dislikes squirrels. 
If you spend a few minutes talking to any bird lover, you will be given a list of why squirrels are the "bad" guy, a 'bother', to bird lovers. 

Squirrels are a bother because they:
 1) They eat all the bird food (plus they are gluttons)
2) They tear up the feeders
3) They scare the birds away

Do you see me as adorable or annoying? 

Want in on a little secret? I like squirrels. Yes, I truly enjoyed taking pictures of all the beautiful birds (you can view some on my photo page here) but I also like taking pictures of squirrels. Ok, you got me…I basically love taking pictures, but I do draw the line at creepy crawlers. NO photos of spiders, snakes, etc. Not this girl!  Oh my, I digress. Shall we get back to the point of this blog? Yes, there is a point.  :-) 

Do I have things in my life, which I consider a 'bother' that God means to be a blessing? Or even the vice-versa things that seems to be a blessing to me that are in reality a 'bother' to God? 

What about you is that thing, person, or issue being viewed as a ‘bother’ meant to be a blessing or is that seemingly apparent ‘blessing’ actually a ‘bother’ to the Father?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Whatever it takes...

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen." Luke 8:17 & 18a

God will use anything it takes to get our attention. He will even use a fear if necessary. This is a lesson that I learned last year. God had been trying to get my attention for a period of time. Yet, once again in true fashion I was His stubborn child. 

While reading through this blog it is imperative for the reader, to know that I believe firmly that God is good and always right. He is sovereign. It is also important to know speaking and/or typing these words can be easier than actually walking in their Truth. 

God will let us go so far and then He will have His Way! Beth Moore once said, "We can bend our knee willingly or God will break our leg." Wonder, how many countless times a leg must be broke before one gains the knowledge of this lesson. 

I used to say, “Been to the wood shed too many times in my life therefore, obedient I will be…” For the younger generation, this was an adage to describe being whipped, paddled, spanked…insert your idea of discipline.

Have you ever said something and truly meant it when you first said it? However, without even realizing it the meaning of the saying lost its translation. This is exactly what happened to me. Over time, the “Been to the wood shed” statement’s significance lost its emphasis. Scary part is this happens so slowly it is usually not noticed. Think of the song, “Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns:

“People never crumble in a day”

God had been speaking to me about various issues and things in my life that required attention. Instead of being obedient, I argued my reasoning of why the issues and things were essential and crucial. After all, had He not called me to serve!

The slow fade had begun. It is easy to see this in hindsight.

Yes, I know it is not a shovel but it is a great representation of the concept.....

My loving Father permitted this for a time. On the other hand, the slow fade continued. A pit was being dug. Chilling part, I was the one doing the digging. 

In spite of the fact of who is doing the digging; Abba Daddy loves us so greatly, He will do whatever is necessary to get our attention. Even reveal a tremendous fear, which is exactly what He did in my life.

To put it bluntly, the fear definitely got my attention. Once God got my attention obedience followed.

Be aware…this is the wrong approach to obedience.

Life is so much sweeter when we give God IMMEDIATE obedience. No arguments, excuses or delays.  Once again, easier said than done particularly when in the middle of a slow fade.

The ultimate lesson:

We have to to comprehend; there is a great price for being an obstinate child who needs their leg broken before being obedient. The price? The other people hurt.

It is simple:

Disobedience doesn’t only hurt the disobedient one…it hurts anyone in their field of influence, friends, family, etc...

Have you been disobedient? Have you noticed you are holding the shovel and the pit is deeper? Drop the shovel …Cry out to Abba Daddy…He will hear you.

Title: Whatever It Takes
By: Dawn Whitmore

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Elusive Great Inspiration...

Where is the great inspiration?

Here I sit…waiting for some great inspiration to hit me for my blog this week. Yet, it  (the great inspiration) is being elusive. Those of you who blog know exactly what I am talking about, the great inspiration: the one thing that will make everyone reading go, “Wow! That was awesome.” 

Why do we put such pressure on ourselves? Is it deep down we truly are trying to be people-pleasers? We all know…we only need to please Jesus. On the other hand, I personally find myself at times wondering why so-and-so hasn’t returned my text, replied to my e-mail or left a comment on my blog. Then as a good little Jesus-follower, I beat myself up for caring what people think instead of focusing on only what Jesus thinks of me (Side note: focus is my one word for 2012).

Currently, in obedience, I have registered to go to She Speaks 2012. This is a wonderful conference for speakers and writers. Part of the process is raising funds for the conference fees. Almost immediately, the doubts start flying.

 What if I don’t raise the necessary funds?
Did I hear God right in registering for this conference?
 Does it mean my God-sensor is broken or malfunctioning if the funds are not raised?

All of those and others run rampant in my mind. Renee Swope calls them AM (Against Me) thoughts in “A Confident Heart"). Renee is one of the people God has brought into my journey through the Confident Heart online bible study in the past 6 months.

This journey has included me reading Scriptures and tons of other materials (including a fast of Scriptures only, which you can read about here). God during this time in my life has taken me through Job, Philemon, the Gospel accounts of Jesus from his betrayal to resurrection, James, and presently Acts. Some of you are still amazed Job is in this list.

Last August-October was a tough time for my family. God used Job to reveal there would be a proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” with what we were walking through. The travel to the “light” would include moving to another state, apologies, part-time job beginning, part-time job ending, finding a love for photography (seeing God’s view of the world through a camera lens), rediscovering God’s calling for me to write, and in May surgery.  My darling Sweetie has stuck by me through this all…God gave me a good man.

It is through the reading mentioned above, I am finding my Savior talking to me.  He uses such wonderful and loving people such as Rachel Olsen, Renee Swope, Mary DeMuth, Clayton King and Tullian Tchividjian to name a few.  Wonderful people, who have been obedient to His calling of writing and speaking to reach me (plus so many others…for we know it is not all about me J).

These people are honest and transparent about their struggles and doubts. This has me wanting to be transparent about my struggles…alas; I am not there quite yet.

Part of my problem is the major stumble in my walk last year. This stumble affected my family, my church and my ministry to college students. Hence, the apologies part of this journey in my travels through this tunnel to the light referenced.

 Remember the old DC Talk song, “What if I stumble”:

If struggle has a purpose on the narrow road you've carved
Why do I dread my trespasses will leave a deadly scar?
Do they see the fear in my eyes? Are they so revealing?
This time I cannot disguise all the doubt I'm feeling

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall

This is where I am…I have stumbled and fallen. Dreading that my trespass has left a deadly scar. More AM thoughts running rampant through my mind. However, I know that God’s love is still here and will never fail. Yes, FM thought!

What I am not sure of is how He will continue to use me? I don’t want to go back to where I was. What I truly want at the end of the day is for God to be glorified!

Have you ever stumbled in a way that has caused you to doubt how God will use you?
How do you deal with it?

Monday, April 9, 2012

My next step with God....

Hallelujah statue by Ken Smith currently displayed at the defunct
Spirit of Freedom Garden in Fredericksburg, VA

I am taking my step next with God today. You will learn about it with the following letter, my only request is that each of you pray and follow God's leading.

Hello Family & Friends,

God has provided an opportunity for me this July to attend the She Speaks 2012 conference. This is a conference that focuses on writing & speaking.

The last 6 months have been an unusual time in our lives and I am taking a big step in sending this letter. Without boring you with all the details, just know that during this time God has reinforced in us that He is in control in all circumstances. Furthermore, I am trying my best to be obedient to my Loving Savior; because I have personally seen what disobedience can do.

The conference being at the end of July will have given me plenty of time to recover from my upcoming surgery. I have committed $100.00 to the conference fees. This $100.00 will not cover the complete $650.00 fee (the fee covers conference materials and lodging). The other $550.00 needs to be secured before May 15th to hold my spot in the conference. I know that nothing is impossible with God.

The remainder of the fees is where God is giving you an opportunity to be a part of this endeavor. You can read my sponsorship letter by following this link.

No money is sent to me. As stated in the sponsorship letter, all monies are sent to Proverbs 31 ministries with the donor designating the funds to Dawn Whitmore.

My one word for 2012, given to me by God, is focus. I am trying to learn what God wants me to focus on. Yes, He wants me to focus on Him. Yet, through this focusing on Him, He is revealing to me many things. I share these in my blog on a regular basis…Dawn’s Dialogue.

My prayer is that each of you will pray and ask God if He wants you to be a part of this ministry opportunity.

In Christ,
Dawn Whitmore

P.S. All donations are tax-deductible. 

You can learn more about the She Speaks conference at their website: 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Drop Dead or Proudly Possessing...

Are you Drop Dead or Proudly Possessing? Say What?  As always, this blogger has questions? Now, let’s have a story…Who doesn’t love a good story?

There once was a man named Ananias. He and his wife, Sapphira hatched a plan.

“Sapphira dear, let’s sell this piece of our property? But, we will keep a portion of the proceeds hidden for ourselves. I shall take the rest and lay it at the apostle’s feet.”

Sapphira sweetly replies, “Ok Ananias. Whatever you want, my adoring husband?”

Boy, I wouldn’t see it playing out that way in my home. But, that is another story for another day. Here is a little background for you. In Acts 4, people started selling their possessions and laying proceeds at the apostle’s feet. Therefore, this couple decided to do as the others in their community and sell a piece of their property. Yet, they also decided (yes ladies, they decided together) to hold back a portion of the proceeds and to lay the rest at the apostle’s feet.  (Go check the full story out in Acts 5)

Here is where things get interesting:

Upon laying this decided amount at the apostle’s feet,

Peter says, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds from the land…you have not lied to men but to God?”

After hearing these words, Ananias fell down & died!

His wife, Sapphira comes looking for him (my ESV version says after about 3 hours). 
Here is how it goes down for her:

“And Peter said to her, Tell me whether you sold the land for so much money.”

Sapphira responds, “Yes, for so much.”

But Peter says to her, “How is that you have agreed together (see ladies, TOGETHER) to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”

Sapphira stays true to her and Ananias’ plan, the result she’s dead too!

There are so many questions that swirl around in my head upon reading this but I will not bore you with them today. Instead, let’s look at what God gave me during my reading of this portion of scripture:

There are two types of people:

1.    Drop Dead
2.    Proudly Possessing

It never says, how much Ananias & Sapphira conspired to hold back. We need to come to the realization that if we hold anything back, even the tiniest portion it is a bad thing. It didn’t matter if Ananias had held back 1% or 90% the result would have been the same. Why? Because the action of holding back wasn’t their sin, their sin was in thinking they could hide it. Hence, DROP DEAD!

Does this mean we can hold back and it is okay as long as we don’t try to hide it? Uh…. No! 

When we walk around saying, “God knows that I struggle with letting go of my children, husband, insert whatever you fight God over” does not mean that we are okay because we are not being Ananias or Sapphira and attempting to hide it.

This is PROUDLY POSSESSING.  It is like false humility. Neither of them is good for us.

Proudly Possessing keeps God from having full reign in our lives. People who are proudly possessing are some of the same ones who cry that they don’t see God working through them like their friends.

So, we have come back to our original question:

Are you Drop Dead or Proudly Possessing?

***All pictures on this blog unless otherwise stated belong to Dew Photography***