Monday, March 26, 2007


My husband is a HUGE College Basketball fan! I knew that when I met him. I even was "coached" by male co workers on how to talk "basketballese". I played the pools in the office. I started to like March Madness.....but now its different.

This year has been a "MAD" March. "Mad" in a crazy "God is awesome" and "this is either God or insanity" sort of way. Let me recap it for you.

1) My husband chose to attend a leadership conference over an NCAA game...Completely mad....(don't you DARE dog him out about it was AWESOME...just shows he is a man who honors God. Plus I fight like a girl so watch out :))

2) I was at a leadership conference WITH my husband when 3 years ago we were in a counselor's office and I was told to "throw him out" to get his attention. I did not listen to that advise but listened to this instead.

3) My friend's husband accepted Christ...we prayed for about 2 years. He was baptized w/ her and their son and his dad...3 generations together....we knew God could do it but when He DID....more jump up and down,scream, cry and laugh "madness".

4) God has led me to a church that fires my spirit and makes me want to pursue God for all He has planned for me....a church can do that?? No GOD does that but its important to find the right church. Pray about it . When you are connected with the right pastor and the vision for that church...not the programs you are used to or the traditions but when there is a spiritual connection, something happens. Your life changes ...Positive Madness.

I remember telling a dear mentor friend (I have several, they are great...go get some if you don't) how I did not want to keep "bragging" on all God was doing. She said something that stuck with me. "Every week people stand up and cheer their favorite sports teams, they go crazy, the jump up and down. It is a shame that more Christians don't give God that kind of enthusiasm & praise." I am going to keep cheering for the ONE who wins every time!

So Lord THANK YOU for my March's "Madness". You orchestarted every detail to show me who YOU ARE and I give YOU all the honor and credit. Thank You that I can be a raving lunatic watching "The Big Dance" that you call your Kingdom on earth. In case you are wondering I am the one cheering "GO GOD".

Friday, March 23, 2007

Steve & Barry's

Why is shopping such a challenge? It wasn't even the fact that I attempted it w/ my 3 children while they were off of school. Which, by the way, I don't understand. Had it been next Friday we would have had 1 extra day in Florida....ok back to shopping.....

This was my second trip to the BRAND NEW STEVE & BARRY'S.....the first time did not go well. After searching and trying on several items while trying to keep my 5 yr old son happy, I found what I wanted. $60 worth of clothes (alot of clothes...great deals...very inexpensive...I am all over that!) The customer service was in need of an injection of ....happiness. We were the only ones there. It was hard to find help and I was greeted at the register with a minor hand smile. Now I understand bad days like the rest of you. This is a brand new store though.....OK it gets better. I hand over my Visa Gift card...They don't take it! they take Visa, they take debit cards, they take their gift cards...but NO Visa gift there I left the entire 45 minutes worth of clothing and I walked out.

One week later I am thinking about that $5 long sleeve white t shirt that I have "needed" all winter. I ignore the fact that its EIGHTY degrees and I have THREE children with me and head across town, like an IDIOT.

Gee...long lines at the cash registers, I think to myself. WARNING....don't assume its because there is no school and it is an inexpensive BRAND NEW store that caused the lines. After trying to "relocate" the clothes I did not buy last week (no luck except the T shirt...praise God), I head to the long line...."its ok" I say to myself, they have several cashiers. HA HA HA HA HAAAAA. No the computers were down and they were HAND WRITING receipts. People had 10-15 items....I had THREE children with me ....then I heard words that almost made my head explode..."CREDIT CARDS MAY BE FASTER"......AHHHHHH I HAD CASH. OK breathe...breathe....breathe. The woman behind me mentioned she had tried to return her items 4 times and left the store....I told her she should call it a wash and just leave the stuff there. The refund was not worth the insanity.

God is GREAT though. One of my spiritual mentors came into the store. It was like an angel descending from above to keep me from losing it.

So I got my $5 t shirt and the kids got a few things and we left. We won't be back. It is not worth the drive or the "savings" to get my blood pressure up or the temptation to cause me to "lose my Christianity" . Sorry Steve sorry Barry. But that is how I will rise above that. You know the life lesson here is deep: sometimes trying to take the cheap way out of things isn't always the wisest!

I also know this promise: Romans 5:3-5(NIV)

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

So I considered this a spiritual agility test. So actually, thanks Steve & Barry God used you today to build some character in the Shea family!!!!

PS:I hope you don't think I am criticizing, (see prior post), this was just my honest experience. And remember constructive criticism can be a good thing :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Rise Above Criticism

This is a tough one. I HATE being criticized. I think it comes from childhood wounds from the playground or something. Even constructive criticism stings doesn't it? I think we just want everyone to think we are great. The truth is, many don't and won't. Some will tear you apart just to make themselves feel better and others actually think they are doing you a favor. Why do we forget that it doesn't matter? We should get our accolades from God not man anyway. Don't get me wrong, we NEED people to help us out sometimes and God will use people to keep us on track. We just need to be selective and trust who we really listen to.

I think it is so easy to fall into the trap of defending yourself. Now of course if you are accused of something horrible that you did not do....fight for the truth with grace and love. If you did do something horrible, admit it and repent! What I am referring to are those comments that are made by people who don't know you very well or don't know you at all. If you have integrity, if you seek God and hear HIS direction for your life then the great news is...HE is your vindicator. I love what it says in Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still". Now that is one set of muscles that I want watching my back!

Public ministry can be very difficult. Things you say are taken out of context or things written are misconstrued. It is "funny" how many times God will use people w/ insecurities to be in the public eye for His service. I think that keeps you humble....but it also leaves room for the enemy to get in, if you let him. You have to check yourself from not becoming prideful yet not let the negative comments destroy your God given focus and throw you off track.

As Easter approaches I think the best reminder of letting God have the last word is in Acts 8:32 "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth."
This is very hard to do when we are unjustly accused of something. Or when we just want to clarify our point of view. Maybe we just want validation. But Christians have the power of the Holy Spirit in them. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead! Ephesians 1:18-20 says "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead...."

If the Holy Spirit can raise Jesus from the dead then the Holy Spirit can guide you in keeping still and remaining silent. Let GOD fight your battles, He wins everytime!

Friday, March 16, 2007


Mike & I returned from a great all day leadership conference called "UNLEASH" at Newspring Church ( in Anderson, SC. We went w/ other Elevation ( leaders and it was amazing! 50 FUN God loving enthusiastic "Elevators" in matching t-shirts hop off a bus to be encouraged in our church growth. Sr. Pastors "own the vision" which comes from God. That's right the man in charge of the building gets his "stuff" from the man upstairs. My Sr. Pastor Steven Furtick ( rocks and his vision is right from Heaven. Not only that his vision "coincidently" matches what God has put on my heart over the last few years!!.....Just look "Elevation" and "Rise Above Ministry". Our Church's motto is to reach people far from God and bring them into the abundant life in Christ. OK....we started attending in November. Since August God has given me John 10:10 a total so far of 62 times!! "The enemy comes to steal kill and destroy but I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly".......hmm abundant life in Christ....coincidence ...NOT! Who says God doesn't speak today??

The very first sermon Pastor preached was Feb 2006. I did not know the church even existed. He preached on who we are in Christ (From the series Core 1-6 check iTunes Elevation Church). At that time I was teaching a marriage bible study and alot of it was who we are in Christ!

So it is very easy for me to support my pastor and the vision God gave him. God was preparing me to support this vision by stirring the same thoughts and giving me the same burden. What an honor to support and help fuel GOD's idea! "UNLEASH" confirmed that too! There is a God given vision and then a team who supports it. Watching Newspring in action w/ 9000 church members was awesome...knowing Elevation will explode even more and being a part of God's work is SO EXCITING!

Thanks for including me in the conference Elevation! I am "unleashed" and ready for the ride of my life!!

Monday, March 12, 2007

God Know's My Heart

This has got to be one of those "christianese" statements that has haunted me this past week. Whenever someone says it I believe they think it is a "good thing". To me it is scary. You see God knows our hearts better than WE know our hearts. God has a way of revealing our hearts to us so that we can seek forgiveness and by His grace & His power we can change. Be careful when you say that phrase, using it as an excuse when you don't have the courage to step out in faith is deceptive to you and others.

You see it is NOT OK with God if you know you should do something but you doubt or fear that you can't. You may know you should be respectful to your husband, but not do it because of fear of rejection or being made a fool of. You may know that you need to focus on God's promises for a situation but you give up because you don't see change quick enough or it is too hard. What if Esther said to Mordecai "God knows my heart. I want to plead for the Jews, but it will be too hard for me to approach the King. I could lose my life." Sorry, God wouldn't have given her a thumbs up because she "meant well" but did not follow through.

What if David would have said "God knows in my heart I want to kill Goliath, but he is just too big." What about Mary, "God knows deep down I would love to be the virgin mother of Jesus, but my reputation is going to take a beating. It is OK though because God knows my heart". What about Jesus himself? "God knows my heart but now that I think about it, crucifiction while being insulted and spit at, can't do it."

There comes a point in time when we need to realize God DOES know our hearts. He also knows our potential in Him and He knows what hinders us. Sometimes we need to fight the good fight of faith. Scripture tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). So knowing about faith and acting in faith are two very different things! Pastor Jim Cymbala in his book "Fresh Faith" says we only have as much of God as our faith permits. The promises of God are appropriated only by faith. He states that God is looking for people who will take Him at His Word no matter what the circumstances. Anyone in the bible that experienced the mighty hand of God ACTED on faith.

Don't use "God knows my heart" as an excuse not to step out in faith. Chances are God will allow more circumstances to show YOU the heart that He knows you really have. James 1:6-8 says that we should believe in God and not doubt or we are like a wave in the sea being tossed about. That man will not receive because he is double minded and unstable in all he does. Make the decision to align your head and your heart to grasp God's Word today!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

You Have to Start Somewhere

My very audio/visual technically talented brother would be proud of me! I am an official "blogger" . Why is my face so big over to the right.....yikes. I will need help w/ that....minimizing I mean...can't do much w/ what God gave me :)

Thanks to some great encouragers especially my husband this blog is here. Because some people think I have a neat perspective on things and because I think WAY TO MUCH I can now share my thoughts here!

My purpose is to share my life as a wife and mom of 3 great kids while applying God's promises to my circumstances. I made a decision along time ago to choose what God says regardless of what a situation looks like. So I hope that this will encourage you to Trust in God no matter what!

For more info on what Rise Above Ministry is all about check out We take prayer requests, you can read a shortened version of my testimony and learn how to replace your negative thinking with the words of a very positive God!!

I look forward to sharing life with you!