2012 ~ Into the Deep

Luke 5:4 ~ "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."

Moving Forward

Well, I appreciate the readership of y’all and so I ought to tell you, I’ve moved blogs.  Yes, I knew would come across a “situation” when 2012 ended and I named the blog after the year.  So, I smartened up and made the name of the new blog year neutral! Here she be: As One Approved. I hope you will follow and read the thoughts to come!

I also wanted to announce my new ministry and mission.  It is called “Disciple Us” and the goal is to bridge the gap from “believer” to “disciple” through one-on-one relationships.  The website is up and running and it’s in a sort of testing phase to see how it will work. There may be some quirks to iron out, but the hope is that the resource can help believers mature and grow so that they can, in turn, help others grow and mature, etc.  I wrote a little more about that here and here.

And so, goodbye to the 2012 Into the Deep… I’m so grateful for a year of getting deeper into the awareness of God’s love and goodness for me and others.  Hello new year, new blog, new ministry!

xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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Exciting Things for 2013!

I’m somewhat delayed in addressing that it is a new year due to a lovely flu that visited my family.  Now that it is filtering its way out of our home, I am looking forward to “officially” beginning with all of the intentions I have for 2013!

I knew last year when I titled my blog specific to the year that when a new year came I would have a dilemma on my hands…

Actually, there are some exciting things working in my heart and there will be a new blog attached to a website, among other things.  But until all of that comes into fruition, I figured I’ll continue on this one.

I usually have a theme for myself, but I have yet to come up with one.  Even so, I’m working on my vision board (as I have done every year for the last several years) and will be happy to share that when it is completed.  Until then, I have completed an awesome exercise on mysubplot.com which helps structure intentions in a story-like setting, since my brain loves a great adventure more than a list of goals!  I have many subplots on this site, but only a few of them are public.  I highly recommend this site!

I’m so thankful for the love, support, and encouragement  of my family and friends in 2012!  I’m looking forward to the months ahead in 2013 and the further depth and awareness it will bring!

2013

 

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A “Peace” of Christmas Consideration

I’m not going to lie – the “reason for the season” wasn’t prevalent on my mind a week before Christmas.  My three year old son was having surgery and though I felt the outcome would be positive, it was still incredibly stressful.  Family functions, to-do lists, and overall general busy work continued from there.  I wasn’t overly concentrated on the purpose for Christmas.

For the past several days I have been thinking about the word “peace” and what it might entail for me in my life.  As God would have it, I actually had a Christmas decoration that brought the object lesson into reality for me.

I hung this Christmas decoration on the outside of my front door to encourage Christmas cheer upon entering or exiting my house.

Peace Sign

But, of course, with the wind of the December weather, this sign kept falling down.  I would more often find it like this: (upside down on the ground)

Peace Down

 

I joked with my friend as she was leaving one day, “My peace keeps falling down!”

But in hind sight, that wasn’t far from the truth.

Maybe my first mistake was leaving it outside – the winds wouldn’t have continued to knock it down if it was inside the house. (Parallel: Maybe if I quit looking for peace externally, when the storms of life happen, I can still hold my peace inside.)  Maybe another mistake was thinking that peace was merely a prop to display outwardly, even if inwardly it wasn’t there at all. (Parallel: Peace isn’t something that can be fabricated or faked.)  Maybe I needed a good dose of what peace really looked like.

Enter synchronicity!  Last Sunday, in wrapping up a series on Isaiah 9:6, the message was on the Prince of Peace – the source of peace which transcends all understanding.  Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, means all encompassing, complete, whole and content. Peace isn’t an object or a state of mind –  Jesus is Peace!

On Christmas night, after the hustle and bustle of family gatherings and gifts, I came home and happened upon a dramatization of the birth of Jesus and the events leading up to it.  It brought greater clarity to the reality of how difficult that time must have been.  Particularly for Mary, the mother of Jesus; knowing she was pregnant supernaturally, getting persecuted and shunned, having to convince family, friends and worse – her betrothed – that she was indeed chosen from God to carry the Messiah.  Through all of this, even if she was apprehensive about how it would all play out, there was a peace and faith about her that she was going to proceed with playing her part in this great plan despite what was going on around her.  She literally carried Peace inside of her and delivered him into this world – the best gift for mankind that could ever be given.

I’m grateful for that gift and for the reminder that the Prince of Peace is my source of rest and comfort.  Nothing else will do.

 

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12-12-12

12-12-12

How could I not post on 12-12-12?

There is spiritual significance in the number 12, actually.

There were 12 tribes of Israel.  Jesus chose 12 apostles to help establish the church.  He was 12 when he first spoke in public at the temple.

But in the book of Revelation, the number 12 is written about 22 times!

The New Jerusalem has 12 gates of pearls, 12 angels at the gates and the names of the 12 tribes of Israel over the gates. The wall of the city has 12 foundations of precious stones; in them are the names of the 12 apostles. The wall is 144 cubits high (12 x 12). The city is 12,000 furlongs (1,500 miles) square. (http://www.biblestudy.org)

12 seems to be one of God’s perfect numbers. Certainly, it is symbolic of things he made important in both the old and new testament.

I know there is a lot of hype about the end of the world and end times, but really what I wanted to say was this: I’m really excited for Jesus to come again.  I await it with hopeful expectancy.  I’m thankful that he came and that he will come again.  I’m looking forward to the government being upon His shoulders.  Today was just a reminder to me that God is good and He reigns supreme.  And He likes the number 12.

 

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I really loved reading this post today and wanted to share! I can relate to feeling like a scared little mouse, but I also love the peace that comes from rest and trust in God!

breathemebacktolife

I began today with a most sour disposition.  I was grumpy and apparently my children were following suit.  When I finally dropped them off at school, I walked back towards my van with a hot cup of tea and a warm blanket on my mind.

At the van, however, there was something else waiting for me…….a mouse. 

Now that we live “in the country” I have seen a variety of animals out and about. I have enjoyed watching a mama deer and her babies feed, watching rabbits run through the field, and many other lovely animals from a safe distance.

But this was a mouse right by my van.

And so ensued our dance. As I walked towards the back of the van, he ran towards the front. As I walked around the back towards my door, he ran at me.  Of course, some crazy girly noises escaped me as…

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We Are the Champions, My Friend

A couple of weeks ago, I asked a few friends and study mates to fast and pray with me.  We had individual requests for things we have need of, but overall, the prayers were for spiritual protection as it seemed we were all struggling.

As I was praying that day, I felt a very strong impression of the truth about Victory and I’ve been “preaching” it since that time.  Here is what I was hearing:

At the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30) and the veil in the temple was torn in two (Matthew 27:51).  Where there was once needed a High Priest in order to enter the Holy of Holies in the temple (the Presence of God), Jesus became the new access.  We only need Him and we can come boldly before the throne of God! (Hebrews 4:16)

So even though the Enemy is here to kill, steal and destroy, Jesus came to give abundant life! (John 10:10).  In his death and resurrection, there IS abundant life.

 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Whether it is spiritual, physical, emotional, mental, financial or any other possible category I haven’t listed, Jesus paid for the “sickness” at the cross.

In this prayer,  I was being reminded that the enemy was already defeated and that I had direct access to my Father! And I already know how it ends…. He wins! And I am blessed to be on that winning team.

If that’s true, and I believe it is, then even if I face struggles, trials and pain, I will still come out victorious.  I just need to claim that victory!

It’s not a matter of me praying for healing… Jesus already paid and suffered for that.  It’s already done.  I just need to claim it – for myself, for my family, for my friends.

This takes “the power of positive thinking” into a whole new level.  It’s not just about faking a positive thought until it becomes real – Jesus really already made possible the miracles that have, are and will continue to happen.  It’s already done!

So, we are the champions, my friends.  And we’ll keep on fighting till the end.  And then we’ll have an eternity of joy, peace, wholeness and delight!  Hoorah!

keep-calm-because-we-are-the-champions

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Before the Miracle…

I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t rejoice in a good miracle.  There have been many messages, sermons and writings I have seen in the last couple of months about miracles – to expect them, to look for them, to believe in them.  I have seen many miracles take place in people around me and I  have been amazed!

At the same time, I know of many who think, “Miracles are for everyone else – but not for me.  Nothing truly miraculous could ever happen to me.”  As I thought about that, I realized I have been guilty of this frame of mind too.  Maybe its because in the middle of a “storm” it’s harder to see just how close the miracle is to coming.  And if the storm is on-going or heavy in nature, patience for the miracle is also tested.

My studies, a couple of weeks ago, brought me to Acts 16 to find the origins of the church at Philippi.  What I found there came alive to my heart and mind!

Paul and his missionary companion, Silas, traveled to Philippi in their journey to teach of Christ.  After an experience that called major attention to who they were and what they were doing, they were both severely beaten and put into prison, bound in chains.

Now, if this were me, I would likely be crying, wondering “why?”, feeling hopelessness and despair – you might even say I would be “bound” by these things.  But this is not what Paul and Silas did.

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” (v. 15)

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? These men had just been majorly persecuted and beaten and they were singing?

What happened next was definitely miraculous!

“Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.” (v. 26)

Not only did Paul and Silas walk out of that prison, but they converted a guard and his whole family.  I’m sure this event contributed to the growth of the church in this region, as well.

But more than that, for us reading that today, it was a physical representation of a spiritual truth!  No matter what the trial – physical, mental, emotional, financial, or spiritual, doors can fly open and chains can come loose!

So many miracles – and what took place before it all happened? Prayer, praise and trust in God’s divine plan!

Of course, the biggest example of this on every level is Jesus Christ.  He knew what was necessary to fulfill God’s plan -not just for him, but all of mankind.  Even he said, “Daddy, if you can remove this trial from me, please do it, but whatever your plan is, I’ll go with it.” And then he proceeded to suffer in the Garden of Gethsemane, get wrongly taken into custody, was given a joke of a legal trial, beaten, whipped, spit on, mocked, and after all of this, had to march his own cross up a hill (which he couldn’t manage to do without help), get nailed to the cross, speared in the side, and hang in suffering.  BUT on the third day, his tomb door opened!

I recently went through a heart-breaking trial where I believed the outcome would potentially change my entire life in drastic ways.  I started out with hopelessness and doubt.  Even so, as I implemented prayer, and asked others to pray, God moved!  Where I was closed and bound, doors flew open and chains came loose!  And the same took place for those in my life who were involved and were also closed and bound.  Miracles happened and continue to unfold!

I can’t say that I’m always great at having a positive prayerful and praising attitude in my trials, nor am I always patient to see what God has in store, but as I reflect on the serious miracles I have seen and experienced, I was reminded of the hope that is found in trusting that God will move in mighty ways and I can praise and draw near to him as I wait, even in my heartache!

I also realize that down the road, when the next storm hits, I may need to be reminded of this. It’s very easy for me to discount miracles when I’m faced with another trial or difficult situation, especially if it is related to the same need for a miracle in the first place! Perhaps, if anything, that is why I needed to write this out and share it – to keep myself accountable for the way I chose to respond in future trials.

There are many songs written to the end of explaining that storms are temporary, that miracles happen, that out of ashes comes beauty.  However, to add to my lesson, God’s synchronicity struck again in the form of this song I found and can’t get enough of that speaks of what I’m trying to express.  Please enjoy this ear sweetness by going here: Break Every Chain

All sufficient sacrifice

So freely given such a price

Bought our redemption

Heaven’s gates swing wide

There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain!

 

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A Celebration of Life!

Yesterday I celebrated my 32nd birthday with a renewed perspective of how abundant my life is…

On Saturday, as I was heading home up the windy hill into Edgewood, the truck started fish-tailing after hitting a slick patch and I proceeded to spin, slam into the side bank, and roll the vehicle.  I remember screaming, “Please, God, please, God, please God!” And God heard my pleas.  Though I was looking at the pavement through the driver’s side window, I knew I was going to be okay.  I managed to check out “good” from the hospital with an egg bump on my head, a bruised left hip and side, seat belt rash, and some aches and pains I didn’t know were possible to have in my back.   Sweet yellow truck didn’t make it – they had to break through the windows and cut the roof off of it in order to get me out.  (Rest in Peace, yellow truck!)

But onto what this is really about – a celebration of life!!!  There is nothing like being smashed and shaken to awaken the appreciation for being alive! Prior to that incident, I had asked two special people in my life to write some words about my life and my coming into this world.

From my amazing mother, Sherry Berteaux, who brought me into this world:

Once upon a time there was a very busy mommy with two young children, expecting her third, who was very much planned and anticipated.  This mommy worked part time nights and evenings at a hospital in Payson, Utah.  She was also taking nursing prerequisites, thinking she could help supplement the income of this little family.

It was on a Wednesday night, the night of her three hour anatomy class, that this momma went into labor.  Daddy Paul took her to the hospital where they discovered she had preclampsia and wanted to keep her overnight for observation.  Ari-Amber, already a precocious baby, had other plans.  While the nurses went to their change of shift, Ari-Amber determined it was time.  When the nurses came back, after only 7 hours total of labor, Ari was approaching the world.  They quickly called the doctor and tried to stall Ari’s arrival.  Anyone that knows Ari-Amber, knows that she is not to be stalled when she has a plan.  At 11:45 p.m., on Oct. 15, 1980 a beautiful little dark haired 8 lb 9 oz baby was born!  The doctor put this alert little ball of fluff right on the momma’s stomach and she started to nurse like she knew exactly what to do.

The next week in the momma’s anatomy class, students said they heard the momma was in the hospital and asked her what was wrong.  They were surprised to find out their fellow student had a baby.  Unlike the 30 or 40 pounds she usually gained, this time the momma only gained 11!  Shortest labor, fewest pounds gained, Ari-Amber was a baby of many ‘firsts’, even though she was the third child in her family.

On, Nov 8, 1980, mommy wrote in her journal: “We’re a family of five now.  On Oct. 15th we had another beautiful little girl.  Labor and delivery were hell.  The doctor barely made it to deliver her so I got nothing for pain.  When I was in labor, I thought I can never live through this again, but now it seems like we’ve had this sweet little baby forever and I know she’s not that last one…..Hillery and Tyson love their new sister.  They like to hold her, talk to her and sing to her.  They haven’t shown any jealousy yet.  They think having a baby sister is really neat.”

On Nov. 29th the momma wrote: “  “Ari-Amber is growing so fast.  She is such a beautiful little spirit.  Nothing is as appealing to me as holding, feeding and rocking her.  Maybe I appreciate every minute with her more because I have so much to do.  I just feel like the Lord really has a lot of faith in us because of the kind of beautiful spirits he has sent us to raise.  They all have so much potential.  Being a parent is really an awesome responsibility.  There are so many things I want to do, learn and accomplish in life, but most of all I want to be a good wife and mother.”

Feb. 15, 1981….”I’ve finally decided I don’t want the pressure of nursing school right now even though it would be a real financial help to our family…I really feel like I want to be with my little children, un-pressured and enjoy this time that I have with them before they start school….Ari-Amber is growing so fast.  She is so cute and responsive.  She’s been smiling since day one and now she laughs out loud and has cute little screams.  She has rolled over a few times.  She loves to kick with her diapers off.  We enjoy her so much.  I can’t squeeze, hug, love or kiss her enough.  I’m so thankful for her.”

Sept.27, 1981: “Ari-Amber has been taking a couple of steps alone.  She’s growing so fast and has such a funny personality.  She keeps us all happy.  She says, “momma, dadda,” and tries to say a lot of other things like ‘good girl’, but only we understand what she is saying.  She rolls her eyes up into her head and pulls funny faces.  Two weeks ago she blinked at the lady in back of me all through relief society.”

Dec.31, 1981: “We spent Christmas in Battle Mtn with Trudy and Bob…..Nicole and Monique couldn’t get enough of Ari-Amber,  They wanted to hold her all the time.”

July 11, 1982: “Ari-Amber is spunky as ever.  She’s into everything and saying just about everything, sometimes in a real sassy way!  I’ve been taking her on short rides on my bike.  She really loves it.  She has really accepted her baby brother.  I haven’t seen any jealousy.  She kisses him and pats him and then is off to see what mischief she can find.  She took my iron pills and fortunately they didn’t taste good so she spit them out.  She had green all over her face and on the floor etc.  I caught her trying to put my keys in the plug in.  That was really scary.

Back to precocious Ari;  When she was three the momma asked the older kids dance teacher if Ari could take lessons because she loved to sing and dance.  The teacher said that most three year old’s just weren’t ready, but she would give it a try…Ari-Amber was more than ready.  Months later at the dance recital, while all the other kids stood and looked cute in their costumes, Ari did every step of the dance….all eyes went to her….and thus her dance career that went through high school began.  At that time, the family bought momma’s dream come true, a piano, and Ari could listen to a song on the radio and plink it out on the piano.  Ari-Amber had music in her soul from the beginning of her life.  Her talent expanded and grew over the years and everyone that knows her has been blessed by her beautiful voice and music that she writes and performs.  Some of Momma’s best moments have been watching and listening as Ari-Amber sings and plays the piano, and when she performed in musicals and plays.

Hillery taught Ari-Amber to read a year before she started kindergarten.  What a sight to see a four year old reading the Holy Bible!  Ari was always an excellent student who loved to read.  No one ever had to prompt her to study or do homework.  She wrote an amazing play in the 5th grade that her class performed.  It seemed like her teachers tried to stifle her instead of encourage her.  Sometimes her feelings would be very hurt by teachers.

Ari-Amber’s sensitivity to others has led her to be a great and giving friend.  She was the child who always wrote wonderful notes of love and appreciation to her family.  On March 14, 1984, momma wrote:  “Ari is becoming such a good helper.  She wants to do dishes and vacuum and she is a real help to me.  She can still be the most obstinate child when she wants something, but she has mellowed out a lot.”

This is just a little about the birth and early life of a most amazing miracle in my life, Ari-Amber Berteaux Messer.  Happy Birthday Ari!  You will always be momma’s precocious, precious baby girl!

I was touched by this tribute from my mom – and mom, thank YOU for all you did and do to contribute to my life and well-being.

There is another source of life that I have gained so much from – my Heavenly Father.  I want to share a little of what He had to say about celebrating my life.

My Dear Daughter,

Before the world was formed, I knew you. My design for you; for who you would be; where you would live; through whom you would come, and for the children you would bring into this world; every detail of that which would make you “you” – – – all of it was known to me. You brought me joy when I thought you up! And, dear one, you bring me joy today!

So many times, when you have wondered why you were here and searched for your purpose, my heart was moved with compassion because I could see (and I can see) you – whole and complete. I see the finished work of art, but you see the incomplete.  In your times of despair and pain, it was I who gave you hope.  I’m the One who helped you keep going forward even though you kept looking backward with regret and even shame…

When I made you, I started with the core – the living soul of who you and then, in secrecy, I formed your precious body around that soul.  I left a place for myself to be within you – because I was looking forward to the day when you would invite me in  – and you did!  So, Ari, I am here.  I am with you.  I am in you.  My spirit is in your spirit.  You’ve been made alive by my presence in a way that is eternal, transformative and full of power.  No more regret about the past.  It is part of your testimony and thus, it is part of your power for the mission and tasks that I’ve assigned to you.  You overcome by the word of your testimony and my blood – spilled for you – and to overcome means to have the power to gain the victory over.  So, let me help you testify.

You are my beautiful daughter and I want you to take my love personally.  I want you to know that, while I love my church, my bride, with a  love too high, too wide and too deep for you to fathom – you are part of that bride! And, I see you, individually, just as I saved you individually and I will always love you and know you that way.

I am rejoicing over you with singing.  If I am rejoicing over your life – shouldn’t you?  If you trust me and you know that I am right and righteous – that I am perfect and my ways and thoughts are higher than yours – there is only one thing for you to do.  You must agree! Can you hear me laughing and singing with joy over you right now?  I am! I am celebrating! You celebrate, too!  I have given you a special gift of joy, contagious joyfulness – but it is activated when you agree with me about you.  My joy is contagious! In my presence is fullness and joy, so see yourself in my presence, loved, celebrated and rejoiced over.  For that is the truth.

So, Happy Birthday, my dear one.  The best is yet to be. Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice – with Me!

Love & Joy
in my Presence –
Your Abba

Thank you, Jeanie, for receiving that on my behalf. (Jeanie writes many wise and beautiful things here: Hope that Heals)

And so, I face a new year of life – one where I am awakened,  not only to the love of family and friends who appreciate that I am alive and well and part of their lives – and I am very grateful for them – but also to the confidence of knowing that my Abba knows me and loves me and is unfolding many eternally exciting gifts for me!  As I shared with my family and friends yesterday, I am so, so blessed and truly celebrating life – in every way!

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Recipe for Joy

School is back in session and the consecutive days of sun are over.  Part of me is sad to say goodbye to summer, but I have a lot of great memories from this one.

I was thinking about the things Ryan and I did to promote fun in our kids’ lives for the past three months.

A spontaneous trip to a fish farm wouldn’t have appealed to me.  If Ryan had suggested that just he and I do it for fun, I would have respectfully declined.  But enter into the equation a fascinated toddler, and suddenly I’m all smiles.  Seeing him catch his first fish was awesome!

Taking my kids to the park isn’t my favorite thing to do.  I’m not much of a playground person, but I know how much they love it.  We went to a new park in our area and I couldn’t help but chuckle at the thrill they found in this water feature.

 

Some of the activities were mutually beneficial – I didn’t mind enjoying the sun at the lake with friends while the kids swam.  They took it to the next level, finding joy in discovering rocks under the water and splashing around with delight. My unofficial otter pop stand for cold refreshment was a source of smiles, too.

And even though packing for four people and driving across the state is not my favorite past time, this extended weekend opportunity was worth the memories!  Our kids had so much fun and couldn’t stop talking about what an amazing adventure it was!

Even if motherhood wasn’t a part of my life, I look at a child enjoying something simple or thrilling to them, and their joy is contagious.  Making funny faces at the baby in front of me, seeing a new kindergartener be fascinated with their first attempts at writing the letter “A”, or even watching the E-Trade baby commercials, I can’t help but feel like kids have it all figured out.  Add them to most any scenario and their perspective and excitement lightens my life!

Two things: As a parent, I think I can understand how the heart of God smiles when He sees us enjoying His gifts and love!  I relate to that notion when I see my kids find joy in little things. I can’t help but be happy when they are happy! AND, what an example kids are! I aspire to become more like a child, filled with wonder, joy and appreciation for the little things everyday! They bounce back from tears so quickly and move on to finding their next object of joy.  I think that’s the recipe for joy – to become like a child.

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

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3 Years Ago…

Three years ago at this time I was holding a beautiful new baby boy!

That little monkey was bigger than my doctor had anticipated.  After an entire day of labor, two worn off epidurals, and being fully prepared to deliver him, he couldn’t be coerced.  A Cesarean delivery was our result.  A nine-pound-seven-ounce, full-head-of-hair bundle came into the world!

As traumatic as the labor and delivery was, (for me and his daddy), we have no regrets! He has been a spunky, charismatic and clever part of our family! I can’t wait to see his “challenging behavior” turn to strengths and his current strengths turn into amazing character in his life!

We love you, Ryan Jr.! Happy Birthday!

 

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