“A Gentle Spirit with a Giant Message, is how I describe Holly Smith. Women are drawn to her message because of her genuine love for Christ and her transparency portrayed in her testimony. The message Holly shares thru ‘The Cracked Pot’ will touch and bring freedom to women of all generations. She shares God’s message with a passionate commitment to change the lives of others in a positive way. She recently spoke at a Powerful Journey Women’s Conference. The evidence of the power in her message was shown as her session quickly filled with standing room only. As God continues to do a great work through Holly, she will be an added bonus to any program.”
— Phyllis Jenkins, Powerful Journey
“I believe God’s ultimate aim is to cause you to conquer your greatest fear. He does this by exposing the lie you believed. One lie is to look to yourself for ability and deliverance. I didn’t need a master’s degree to follow my Master’s decree to my destiny.”
— Holly Smith
Could God take a dream from long ago and make it come true after many years? Could everything that comes in your path truly mean something, well almost everything, and lead to a lesson and good end? What if we truly took God at His word or dream, believing Him beyond a shadow of a doubt? There is no telling how many mountains the power of a faith like that could move.
The last few weeks have proved interesting. I was given a real boost in my faith when an email plopped in my inbox. I was just pondering what I should get for my husband for his birthday since we were on a tight budget and his birthday was three days away. A book! But not just any book. One you could completely relate to and could have been your story only with a resoluteness to finish the work of believing and letting go. Let me explain. I’ve always thought of writing a book from “Riches to Rags” but hadn’t read anyone else who had. I know there are some things you can only discover as you scrape bottom financially and really depend on the Lord for provision. I still wondered does one ever come into their promised land of not worrying or striving to make ends meet?
The email that came reported what was trending in Twitter this week.
Kevin Adams @wakeupmyfaith.
If you’re struggling and want to see living proof of God’s goodness, I humbly believe our story can help.
As I hit the link to the book on Amazon, I read the title, “The Extravagant Fool, A Faith Journey Where Common Sense Ends”. Yes, right up our alley. I must get that book for my husband and me. The synapsis at the back of the book said,
“Despite all the pressures and debt when he lost everything-Kevin chose to rest at the feet of Jesus. Though it is a gamble to literally live by faith, the revelation of encountering God and hearing His voice of who we are and what we are made to do on this earth is worth it along with the financial provision to carry it out. He staked his welfare and future entirely on the goodness of God.”
After reading the book, I realize how relentless God is about men and women walking in their purpose. Perhaps the very reason you are not experiencing success might be because God is doing a new thing and we don’t perceive it. It dawned on us many times but especially last year when we went as a family to look at a few houses my husband was checking out for his boss who buys foreclosures. There was a horse in one of the front yards lying down. On closer inspection my son commented that its tongue was hanging out. It was a frigid morning and we suddenly realized it was dead. As we drove home, I turned to my husband and commented, “We’re beating a dead horse.” This career is dead for us but we don’t know what else to do. (Part II in the next post)
“A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.” Ps. 33:17
The horse has served as a symbol to us often of man’s own strength and striving. My husband was trying to provide for his family but the more he tried, the more unsuccessful he became until God had our attention. It seems when God wants to recruit you in His army He won’t take later for an answer. He heals us in order for us to become disciples and help others.
As we pondered the “dead horse” of our vocation, a ministry opportunity came up which Alan accepted. We were fortunate in working from the house to be able to do projects on the side. He was still very concerned about our finances.
One morning our friend in ministry called to check on us. Alan told him he was still anxious. Jack said he had been thinking about us this morning and prayed that an angel of provision was on its way. We agreed with that prayer.
Three days later Alan’s boss called and let us know a deal had closed that he had worked on much earlier and a check was in the mail. We realized his boss did not really have to even tell Alan that he was the one who had this client. We would have never known. A deal closed that was not even our effort to push it through. In the meantime as he began to serve more, God blessed us and helped us trust Him to work out things for our family.
That night I had a dream: we got to take a trip to Yellowstone, Montana at that time which is one of our favorite places. We drove into the National Park to see Old Faithful perform. We would then stay at Old Faithful lodge.
Interpretation: God is the Old Faithful geyser we are coming to see perform His wonders. He is faithful and consistently meets us when we are in need. We would “lodge” there in Old Faithful’s care. Our hearts could trust Old Faithful to be there for us. Will you join us?
My husband and I were preparing to leave on a trip to Israel. I awoke that day, recalling a dream from the previous night. I remembered hearing a booming voice ask a question: “Do you want to be Sweet’N’Low or Equal?” This is not what I was expecting today. We had travel plans to make and a lot of loose ends to tie up. Nevertheless, God was attempting to start a conversation with me.
I didn’t want to deal with the probing nature of His question at that time. I was getting a vacation to the Holy Land. My toddlers had a safe place to stay with my mom which provided free time and rest. Despite my agenda, I knew what this thunderous question was about. This was a direct reference to my relationship with my husband. Was I going to be equal in my marriage or not? I had to choose if there was going to be any change. This was the theme of the trip we were to have in Israel. I knew God was encouraging me to be Alan’s full counterpart as he would need my help and strength in the future, although at the time, neither one of us knew it. We had a tumultuous 16 day trip which ended in much growth and a truce. We battled to a standoff; he gained new respect for me. Although submissive, I was not to tolerate his overbearing dominance any longer. God had won the day by helping me express myself and conquering my fears of confronting conflict in my marriage by a simple question in a dream.
The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:8 that he felt a burden to preach about the unsearchable riches of Christ. That scripture resonated in me. I wanted people to discover the peace that communion with God brings. I first had to learn what the unsearchable riches were, however. Like the dream in the previous example, I would have to learn that the riches came in a form I didn’t often readily recognize or welcome.
In the account of the Emmaus Road, Cleopas and a second man failed to identify Jesus although He was walking right beside them. They’d experienced a number of failed expectations which dulled their ability to identify the risen Christ. They may have expected a king or mighty warrior to rescue them. Instead, their Savior came on a humble donkey and was crucified. Unfortunately, I had also been guilty of these same delusions; I failed to see the presence of God in the midst of my circumstances, especially in times of distress.
The Holy Spirit is able to communicate profound truths in many simple ways. I had wrestled with feelings of rejection and inadequacy since childhood. I often felt disqualified as a result of some painful experiences I had as a young girl. My parents didn’t shame or demean me, but I had not achieved as much as my siblings, and I took on a rejected identity. Not knowing my value in Christ became the basis for a lifelong spiritual battle. Childhood wounds often provide an avenue for demonic attack. I felt like I was climbing out of a hole of condemnation most of the time only to be knocked right back in by someone’s hurtful words.
God intervened one night, causing me to have a dream. I saw myself in a tight fitting leotard, which I began to remove. Initially, I thought it was my skin, but as I removed it, I realized I was also shedding an old mindset. I saw for the first time that something familiar had been put on me I no longer had to wear. I am very appreciative for the clarity of insight this image provided. The riches I received that day would sustain me for years to come. I decided to reject feelings of rejection and hate shame from that point forward. I realized after reading Hebrews 12:2 that Jesus despised shame, enduring the cross for the joy set before Him. He didn’t own the shame but carried it for us. He focused on the joy of freedom coming and His finished work for us. I am grateful to be a conqueror with Him. I felt like God was saying if I could sacrifice my “scars” and shame to Him, He could make it a place of healing for others.
One other example of God’s gift to me was when I first believed that the Holy Spirit was alive today and still communicating. I became so excited that I hounded the Lord every day on my jog to find my purpose and gift. I knew my destiny might be way in the future because I was raising two toddlers at that time but continued to ask. One night I dreamed in large typed letters the answer to my question about my gift: “Housecleaners over the Lord’s House”.
To tell the truth, I wasn’t too thrilled because I had never been a very immaculate housekeeper but looking further into the scriptures I discovered I might help others with deliverance and cleaning up the issues of their “house”. God let me know then that I would be going through a thorough cleaning myself before I would be helping anyone! This revelation helped me so often stay the course when I continued for years working out my own inner healing. I did feel that no man could take that valuable word from me and I treasure it to this day.
I challenge you whether God comes to strengthen or equalize your marriage, deliver you from childhood wounds, or inform you of your gift or destiny to do what Jeremiah 33:3 says: “Call to Him and He will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things that you do not know.” Whether we hear His still, small
voice, receive a word from the Bible, a song, or a dream, let’s welcome any form He comes in as riches from heaven!
Embracing Your Thorns
Humbling ourselves and making the first move to resolve offenses can turn our biggest rival into our greatest cheerleader. What do you have to lose? Often our own pride and caring what others think are obstacles preventing us from doing so. The Bible tells us to break up hardened ground and not to sow among thorns. What does this mean? Hardened ground might be places of unforgiveness or obstinance requiring repentance. Thorny ground in the parable of Matthew 13 represented the distracting cares of this world and deceitfulness of riches. Worldly concerns choke out the seed of the word from producing fruit. Are you acquainted with any thorny or bitter people?
One night I was awakened in the middle of the night with these words: Embrace your thorns. Why? Because painful circumstances, mean people who have offended you or spoken falsely about you are actually helping you arrive sooner to your destiny. Perhaps we should thank them. They are helping us lose our reputation in the world and, as a result, bring the humility necessary to hold the gift God has for us. If we are made in the image of Christ and follow in His footsteps, we must remember that He was made of no reputation. Hebrews 12:2-3 tells us to keep our focus on Jesus, the perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. The scripture continues to say we should consider him who endured such opposition from men so that we do not grow weary and lose heart. The joy set before Jesus was our deliverance and freedom from sin.
What is the joy set before you that would help you endure your own cross? Would transcending the world system, answering to an audience of One, coming into your kingdom calling or helping point others to Christ be enough of a joy?
What did Jesus do with the shame? He endured it but He despised it. He was going to another place and knew it was leading Him to sit at the right hand of God. We are not to be held back by old companions on the road of victim mentality, self-pity, or shame. Let’s strap on our best running shoes to journey to our new name, a new kingdom, to be seated with Christ. We are being redefined and shedding an old skin that was hard to live up to anyway.
When we see this process in a redemptive light, we will run to make the initial effort to resolve our differences, humble ourselves and break up hardened ground.
Jesus sat down at the right hand of God. Are you trusting in the finished work of the cross and who you are in Him now? Do insults roll off your back replaced by humility? Have you embraced your thorns, swallowed your pride, resolved your offenses? Then you are ready to represent Him.
Psalm 87:6-7 announces, This one was born in Zion. As they make music they will sing, All my fountains are in you.
Have you found the pearl of great price? Matt.13:45 illustrates a comparison of the kingdom of heaven to a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. That sounds like risky business to sell everything and bank on one pearl!
Similarly my husband and I have spent the last twenty years a bit torn between the worry of supporting ourselves and serving God’s people faithfully. I know we can do both but if God calls you to trust Him for provision and you keep hanging on to your usual source of income, it may begin to dry up to force the issue. The turning point came down to this question: Are you willing to shove all the chips to God’s side of the table for this one pearl? What is the pearl of great price? What is real treasure?
Often I would get prayer for my husband at the altar after church when he suffered various ailments. A pastor commented one day, “Why does he want to be healed?” I answered, “I guess to feel better and to go on with his life in a normal way.” “No,” he replied, “you are healed to serve, to become God’s disciple, to no longer live your life for your own selfish pleasures.” Ohhh yeah…
One day I felt like the Lord was saying-”Come and follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” But Lord, what about this provision thing? I can’t see how this will work…
Years passed by and my husband was impressed that we have not really believed His promise to us. We confessed our doubt.
This Christmas was slim for us but very enjoyable with family and fellowship. The emphasis was no longer on gifts but God’s gift to us and the riches of relationship with Him. Somehow our previous fear of failure and financial struggles morphed into a greater desire to be fruitful in our latter years. We stood our ground against former anxieties and believed for supernatural provision from heaven. i feel like we are “moving” to a new place with the Lord believing His best for us. We are truly rich!
“I’ve found the pearl I’ve been searching for and am willing to sell everything to buy it!” What is that treasure? Jesus, He’s the pearl, He’s the source. He wants us to share our life lessons, lose our ordinary lives to His cause, love, heal, connect and encourage His people. He wants us to sell out-shove the chips over to His side and buy the pearl of His kingdom.
A friend came by a few days before Christmas with an extravagant gift. She was expressing thanks for being her friend this year. I didn’t even realize I had helped her until she expressed her gratitude specifically. She mentioned praying about what to give me and felt a confirmation. She handed me a string of beautiful pearls.
Mind if I pray for us?
Lord, thank you for patiently waiting for us to commit fully to your plan and believe your promises and provisions from heaven. Help all of us grow in our love, belief and trust that you have our backs and have incredible plans for us as we serve and take risks when asked. Help us to drive out all our fears so that faith may dwell in each of us fully. Help each of us bring encouragement to all those who come in our paths. Help all of us to know we are children of God and you have a great plan for each of our lives. Thank you for sending your pearl of great price to save and redeem us. In Jesus name we pray, Amen