Reach Out

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As I can I want to offer a fresh word of encouragement sharing from my experience how our Father God meets us in the middle of loving and living out our faith to draw others to freedom. The road to freedom can seem long and hard not unlike the experiences of living as refugees from war torn nations, walking out of years of abuse and pain in broken relationships, facing the reality check that comes with unplanned pregnancy, and the great journey to healing from trauma and adverse childhood experiences. I fully believe we are offered so much more than we ever experience as Christ followers. We settle for a life in bondage to the elemental nature of this world and continue to live as Hagar when in fact we are daughters of Sarah.
Galatians 4:31
31 So, brothers [and sisters], we are children not of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
-Callie

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Lamentations 3:21-24 CJB

But in my mind I keep returning to something,
something that gives me hope —
22 that the grace of Adonai is not exhausted,
that his compassion has not ended.
23 [On the contrary,] they are new every morning!
How great your faithfulness!
24 “Adonai is all I have,” I say;
“therefore I will put my hope in him.

New every morning! Do I believe that? Do I live that? Can I surrender to the grace, mercy, compassion and love for me today...and in so doing be filled to allow it to flow to those around me?  

Simply, yes...today I give my yes to listen to the voice calling my name, leading me beside the still water, restoring my soul.  The new life source ready to release healing, hope and opportunity to join me in a place of surrender.  The women in and out of my life live in constant cycles of depression and panic the place of crisis, loss and anxiety.  Our neighbors, our friends, our family members can live there too...but I can learn and live a different way.  

If you have seen Kung Fu Panda 2 picture Po in the middle of the river with an enemy attacking and in that moment he "gets it" he sees past the chaos, the noise, the distraction and he allows himself to surrender to a place of peace and rest giving him the focus to not only defend but to move strategically and offensively. In the same way we are called to surrender to the Holy Spirit.  This is where I choose to head today and to breathe in and breathe out, surrendering to the leading of the Holy Spirit operating in His power, His strength, and His mind.  

May you experience this place of surrender today! May you see that the Lord's mercies are new for today! May you be a calm and restful beacon in the midst of the darkness and struggle around you!

 John 8:36  So if the Son frees you, you will really be free!

I recently had the opportunity to save a duckling who was stuck in the Lititz Spring creek.  Maggie, our dog, and I walked by and heard the familiar distress cry of a duckling.  I noticed the mom came to her, but the duckling did not move to follow. She was calm and appeared content, but something was not quite right. I determined that if she was still stuck there on our way back, I would wade into the creek and help.  Sure enough, I heard the cry on our way back and went to the water's edge.  Maggie hesitated, not wanting to leave my side but not wanting to enter the water. Maggie stayed on the creek bank, eyes fixed on me as I waded to the stuck duckling.  I discovered the duckling had a string wrapping around her leg and a low hanging tree branch.  It took a few seconds to decide what to do. In the end I snapped the branch, scooped up ducking, and walked to the bank. Maggie, still vigilant, let me grab her leash and we prepared to walk home to free the duckling.  Fortunately, as I stepped onto the walking path I saw someone had just pulled into a parking spot nearby.

Maggie, duckling, and I walked over as the man got out of his truck and asked if he had something to help us free the duckling.  He obliged and happened to have the perfect tool in his pocket.  As he worked to cut the duckling's leg free we discovered the string was actually some mesh fencing that was not only wrapped around her leg but also her waist.  Once there were no strings attached I walked her back to the creek bank and let her go.  She ran happily back to the water and her waiting mother. Maggie finally relaxed and got excited by the running duckling. Once we saw the duckling was safe and clear we turned and headed home, our job was done.

This was such a meaningful picture of what I have learned about walking with others out of the hurts and the strings that keep them bound.  Often my job is to recognize the need, assess if I can help, and help to cut the strings… but then to keep on going letting each "duckling" find her way and determine how she will use her new found freedom. I am part of her experiencing freedom, but mainly pointing her to the one who can and will bring lasting freedom. However, as we all know from our own stories, being freed from something does not always lead to living in freedom. Regardless, if I pass that way again and the same duckling is stuck in the same place on the same branch… I will offer help to cut her free then continue on my path with no strings attached.

 

 

 

Since my last post we have made several decisions about our assignments and one major one is coming to the realization that we are simply called to mother and father the women the Lord brings to us. To share the reckless, compassion and love of an outrageous heavenly Father and constant companion and friend.  We do so in small simple ways through kindness and comfort as well as questions and challenges.  We make ourselves available for long listening sessions, waiting at appointments, creating a place to return to when everything goes wrong and continually pointing to and looking to Jesus for lasting change and answers. 

Often when I am quiet and still I am overwhelmed by the Love of God for His people, for the lost and the broken, overwhelmed at the lengths He will go and I feel unable to contain and truly express the love inside. The overwhelming, never ending reckless love of God...that line has become so familiar and so personal. This is the overwhelming love that makes visits to the ER, trips to harsh and broken places, unanswered questions and hours and hours of everything worth it.  This is the love that drives us to the cross and on to the other side, it drives us to ask for more, to seek more, to want to be more.  This is the love that breaks through the dead and decaying areas of our hearts and the world around us.  This is the love that never fails.  This is the love I want and desire to not only emulate but to become. I want to embody the Love of Christ to the lost and broken more than anything else I have ever sought after.

Ephesians 5 1-2 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

 

My prayer for you is to love like that. May you keep company with Jesus and live a life of love. May your goal to love overtake all other ambitions.

 

 

 

Psalm 143:8–10 CJB
Make me hear of your love in the morning,
because I rely on you.
Make me know the way I should walk,
because I entrust myself to you.
Adonai, rescue me from my enemies;
I have hidden myself with you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
because you are my God;
Let your good Spirit guide me
on ground that is level.
Yesterday while talking with a ministry "daughter", sending out a prayer update and reflecting on my experiences in the past few months, I saw that I have been carefully hidden in the middle of the storms around me.  As I have been called "out into the waters" the deeper I go I continue to see and feel the cover and presence of the Lord with me.  Much like a surfer in a wave, I have a course set as I feel and follow the current without turning to the right or the left.  I remain protected and hidden from the destruction of the crashing wave and I am being propelled forward on the current of the Holy Spirit.  How I needed to see this, to know that I can continue out into the unknown and He will continue to guide me as I entrust myself to HIM.  
Even through...the impact of our current times and season, my husband's illness and continuing recovery, selling of the ministry property and navigating the last steps to purchase and relocate, the demands of walking beside women who are hurting, needing care and guidance, prayer and comfort, even through...  He leads, and guides, and makes my path level.
Will you come out into the waters with me?  Will you brave the unknown that is before us all?  Will you let the Spirit guide you even when the waves are where your feet may fall?
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand...

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) Lyric Video - Hillsong UNITED

https://youtu.be/dy9nwe9_xzw

 

 

 

 

assignment

 
uh-sahyn-muhnt ]

noun

  1. The definition of an assignment is a task that has been given to someone.

    An example of an assignment is homework given to a student.

  2. An assignment is defined as a position held in government or an organization that bears great responsibility.

    An example of an assignment is the position of any US Ambassador.

  3. Assignment means the act of choosing someone to take a position of great responsibility.

    An example of assignment is the act of the president choosing an individual to be part of his administration.

 

Assignment...being chosen to take responsibility...a position...a task.  I am at the end of one assignment and the beginning of another.  These moments often come with confusion, guilt and a momentary feeling of not being needed or wanted.  How many times have I allowed myself to get so entangled in the assignment of loving someone else, carrying them in prayer, walking out a hard transition...but getting myself lost in the process forgetting that it is an assignment not my identity.  Forgetting it is a season and my part will shift, will change, will be redefined. He has put me in this position and He hand picked me for this assignment...He is there before and He is here after...The passion that has drawn me to serving as I do, the heart cry to see the lost and hurting drawn out into the light and given release from their oppression, bondage, and imprisonment has come with many hard assignments.  Seasons of intense prayer and fasting, seasons of living with hard to live with people, choosing a person over completing a task, giving up space, time and energy, constant rearranging and times of forced rest when I would not yield...Now I am entering a season laden with opportunity to enter a chosen rest from a place of humility and experience and not from desperation and exhaustion.  I myself can experience restoration...restoration of health, restoration of relationships, restoration of my position as mother and wife and to some as friend.  These were all in some ways set aside as the assignments before me took all of me...and now having wrestled with the Lord in the deep dark places not just of my heart but in the lives of those around me one assignment is ending and a rest from a season of "war" is in front of me. I am learning again or perhaps for the first time how to live after war.  Isn't this what we are here to live out anyway?  Aren't we all positioned to be living examples of those rescued, those saved, those who are able to enter rest because we put our Trust in the living God.  The assignment is to live out my identity in Christ, to just be...If I truly am going to offer a place of breakthrough, of rest, of hope...then I truly have to step into it myself...If what I offer is no different then the confusion, separation and anxiety around me then I truly have nothing to offer.

Several years ago I shared on what I was learning about perseverance and the secret to perseverance in yielding to the Lord in trusting and resting in Him.  Summarized in these points:

We quit moving towards godliness and stay stuck in the treadmill of self-discipline when we refuse to rest:

 

We quit because we are tired.  We quit because it hurts.  We quit because we do not see the end result.  We think we have to make it work.  If we try again…if we put everything else aside…but we refuse to return and to rest we refuse to yield to quietness and trust…we refuse to give up anxiety, we refuse to walk vulnerable…we must shore up our weaknesses, we must fix ourselves …. we must, we must, we must get it right…

 

The places that hurt, the loses, the questions, the concerns, the failures….are only endured through abiding trust and a willingness to walk away from a habit, a self defense even of what seems good and right allowing everything to be measured in the light of the true goal…Love

 

Three things you must give place for in your life:

Encouragement

Its sowing seeds in faith and feeling the Living Water starting to make them grow because even when He doesn't have to send encouragement, He does.

 

PROCESS

 

“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Healing

 

Isaiah 43:1-3

 

43 But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
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.

So may you give place to Process, Encouragement and Healing and learn to embrace the assignments while remaining in a place of trust and rest.  Truly this is a process, we are not called to this alone, and healing is for you not just for those we are called to love and serve.