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Entries in Cathy Horning (4)

Tuesday
Aug282018

Waiting on God for Dreams to Come True

Cathy Horning is a rare jewel of wisdom. The more I've gotten to know her, the more I realize we are heart-sisters with the same passion for the Lord and His truth. In this Spiritual Growth UPGRADE, she focuses on a popular topic: dreams.

Cathy asks, "Do you have a dream? One you have waited a long time to come true? A dream, that perhaps, you have all but given up on? Me too!"

Cathy's article came along at a time when I (Dawn) have been talking to the Lord much about dreams. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate her insight!

Cathy continues . . . 

I'd almost given up on a dream—until this summer when this nearly-60-year-old grandmother saw a childhood dream come true.  

1. God’s Timing; Not Mine!

I was 12 when I first decided I wanted to write a book. My books were going to be juicy, the kind of novels sold on racks near the checkout counter at the grocery store.

Then I met Jesus, and in His great wisdom, He tucked away my dream while He worked to grow me up and build my faith.

But one day, it was as if the Lord took my forgotten dream off of a shelf in my heart, dusted it off, and handed it back to me.

It was as if He said, “Remember when you wanted to write books for the world? Now, I want you to write books for Me.”

2. God Takes the Little We Have to Offer.

I was thrilled to rediscover my long forgotten dream. Eagerly, I began to write a weekly devotional for my women’s Bible study group.

Then, a few months later, I received two letters in the mail. Each note, from a young mom who had recently moved away, contained nearly-identical messages: “I have watched you as a mom … can you write to me about parenting?”

I cried. This just couldn’t be a coincidence.

But why would they ask me?

I prayed. God answered. And, I began to write letters—one letter a month for the next year and a half.

I mailed them to my two mom friends, then to a dozen more, and eventually to more than one hundred mamas.

In the days before social media and blogs, with four active children and my husband’s demanding career, it was the little I had to offer.

3. God Uses Detours, Delays and Busy Days.

Life got crazy, and my letter writing ended. God called us to a season of home schooling. Then we moved. Our new home soon became the hub for all of our teenagers’ friends. Plus, we kept busy with sports and hosting dinners, parties and youth events. Our basement was the place for our sons’ band, our daughter’s darkroom, and eventually, a dormitory for boys who wanted to move out, but couldn’t quite afford it.

Our lives were abundantly full.

I continued to teach Bible studies and speak at women’s events, but I did little writing.

Looking back now, there is no way I could have imagined how the Lord was using that very busy season of life to prepare, train and equip me (and our whole family) for purposes He had further down the road.  

4. God Will Give A Loving Nudge.

On occasions when I did speak or teach, I was often asked, “Do you have a book?” No, I hated to admit, I had nothing written.

However, that all changed on a flight to Arizona. The woman across the aisle recognized me from the gym, and for the next hour I had the opportunity to share with her the message I would give the following day. As we prepared to exit the plane, she called out, “I need your message. Do you have it written anywhere?”

I was utterly convicted.

So that summer, the year I turned 50, I began to write again. A book seemed daunting, so I decided to begin a blog.

Never again would I tell a hurting soul, “I have nothing written.”

5. God Rewards Sacrifice, Surrender and Obedience.

Our kids went off to college. Then there were weddings, and grandchildren began to arrive. As our family grew, our parents aged, and there were many unexpected health challenges and great family needs.

Through it all, I continued to blog as I was able. I worked to hone my writing skills, as I prayed my posts would encourage others.

Amidst all this, a spiritual season of winter hit hard. There were three long years of dying to self, serving my family, and surrendering my dreams to Jesus.

I began to believe my years of ministry were over.

Yet, as my hope waned, the Lord began to show me signs of spring. And slowly, this past year, God again opened doors for travel, to speak, and to show me that it was now time to write my book.

6. God’s Plan—for Such a Time as This.

Much to my delight, this summer—the year before I turn 60—my childhood dream came true! 

  • I cried as I held in my hands my very first book.
  • I praised God.
  • And, I dedicated it to the Lord.

You see, to my amazement my first book was filled with the parenting letters I had written twenty-one years earlier, even though I had long lost hope those letters would ever be a book.

But God knew. He had a plan that in His time and His way they would become my very first book, as He has whispered His word to me all year, “Who knows if you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

My dear sisters, do you have a dream God has placed in your heart? Does it sometimes seem they will never come true? Or, that it is too late or you are too old? 

Let me assure you, as you walk with Jesus day-by-day, in His perfect plan and time, He will bring to pass and allow to come true the dreams He has planted in your heart.

Please don’t ever give up!

What dream has the Lord placed in your heart? Which of these six points help you to trust God with your dreams today?

Cathy Horning has been a women’s ministry leader, Bible Study teacher, speaker and writer for more than 25 years. She loves the Word of God. Nothing brings her greater joy than sharing with others how very precious, practical, and powerful the promises and truths in God's Word. Married for 34 years, Cathy has four grown children, 10 grandchildren, and many spiritual sons and daughters. She loves long walks by the bay, a good book or movie, Starbucks ice tea, and especially family get-togethers. Her new book is Letters from a Mother's Heart. Read more by Cathy at her website.

Graphic adapted, courtesty of StockSnap at Pixabay.

Tuesday
Jan022018

Goals to Dig Deeper in Your Faith

Almost from the moment I met Cathy Horning, I knew two things about her: She loves the Word of God, and she is a powerful encourager. In this New Year's UPGRADE, she encourages us to dig into the Word and grow our faith.

“Happy 2018! It’s a New Year, and my very favorite holiday,” Cathy says. “A time to remember. To reflect. To look ahead. To refocus. To prioritize. To set goals.”

That sounds like a big order, but I (Dawn) think Cathy knows how to fill that order!

Cathy continues . . .

I was surprised to discover, as the holiday season ramped up this past fall, a yearning in my soul. A quiet ache. A longing to go deeper in my faith.

In the flurry of activities, I realized I was being swept along the river of life by the relentless currents of an extremely full and demanding schedule.

If you have ever been river rafting, you know what I mean.

One of my fondest memories is riding an inner tube on the Salt River in Arizona. On hot, summer days, my friends and I kept cool as we were carried down the river by the strong current. Occasionally, we were even pulled into an eddy along the way, and were forced to paddle our way out to keep from being stuck there or, worse yet, being pulled under.

Floating down a river is great fun! But, it’s not a place you want to stay!

So, as the new year approached, I knew I wanted off my raft of busyness—to paddle away from dangerous eddies, to swim out of my river, and to plant my feet on solid ground.

I needed a plan:

  • to stop being swept along by the currents of busyness,
  • to avoid the dangers of a spiritual eddy,
  • to be intentional, and
  • to stop drifting along.

Instead, I wanted to be firmly planted on fertile soil, and to go down deeper in my roots of faith. 

The New Year seemed the perfect time. Although, to some, it is simply the next day on a calendar, to me the New Year is very special. It is an opportunity to begin again. To start afresh, with a clean slate.

And in my own story, it has been a time of momentous life changes.

It is the holiday when I surrendered my life to Jesus at a midnight church service, 39 years ago. Then four years later, it became the holiday when I walked down another church aisle and became a new wife.

So, for me, the New Year is a time to celebrate not only a clean slate, but also new life.

For four decades now, my faith and my family have grown! Each year has brought many changes like children, moves, teenagers, college, weddings, travel, grand-babies, aging parents, and so much more.

However, with the changes have come challenges. And the challenges of the past few years have found me in survival mode.

You know, going through the motions. Doing the right things. Getting by.

My faith remained steady, yet my soul was not satisfied.

Thus, the longing to go deeper, instead of simply holding steady or just staying afloat.

This year, that is going to change. I will no longer be swept along or, worse yet, become stagnant and stale. As I prayerfully considered my goals, I chose ways to dig deeper in my faith. In order to achieve this, I came up with three simple goals.

In 2018 I choose to—

1. Spend More Time in God’s Word

  • I will spend more dedicated time in God’s Word, reading, studying, listening to, meditating on and memorizing it.
  • I will reserve set times for social media, because, honestly, it is one of the strongest currents which robs me of going deeper.

2. Pray Bigger and Bolder Prayers

  • I will take each worry and turn it into prayer.
  • My prayer requests will be bigger and bolder.

I will not allow myself to get stuck in an eddy of worry. Instead, I will ask, and praise God, for audacious answers which will bring Him glory!

3. Listen To and Follow My Shepherd More Closely  

  • I will more intentionally seek to listen for the Lord’s direction throughout my day.
  • I will follow His lead, even if it is contrary to my own plans and inclinations.
  • I will not be swept away in the currents of routine and order or by the imagined urgency and needs of others.

“Now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots go down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7 NLT).

Dear friend, this New Year, let’s be on our guard against being swept along by the currents of life. Or, worse yet, getting stuck or pulled down in an eddy.

What goals can you make and what intentional steps can you take to dig deeper in your own walk of faith?

Cathy Horning loves the Word of God. Nothing brings her greater joy than encouraging women how to walk in His ways. She is a popular speaker, blogger, and writer, as well as a beloved wife, mom, Grammy, mentor, encourager and friend. Her first two books will be released in 2018. Learn more about Cathy here.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Marboon at Pixabay.

Thursday
Jul202017

3 Ways to Keep Summer Sane

Women's ministry leader Cathy Horning loves the Word of God and making biblical truth practical. In this Summer UPGRADE, she shares three ways to keep the summer months sane.

“I love summers! I love long days of sunlight, warm evening walks, and so many other special summer delights,” Cathy says. “However, I also hate summer.”

I (Dawn) read that and thought, "Huh?" Who could hate summer? And why?"

Cathy continues . . .

I hate summer because as much as I like to imagine I am an easygoing, carefree, and flexible person, in reality, I thrive on routine, order, and schedules.

And every year, I am reminded how summer time, pretty much, throws a wrench into the regular rhythm and predictable plans in which I flourish the other nine months of the year.

This summer is no different. I have been out of town nearly every weekend since May.

My husband and I have attended out-of-town birthday and anniversary parties, graduations and weddings, as well as helping our daughter move into a new apartment in Los Angeles. When we happen to find ourselves at home, we enjoy time with those who come to visit our beautiful beach community, or being Grammy and Papa to our ten amazing grandchildren.  

Summers are crazy—full and busy!

However, unlike summers past, this year I hesitantly took a step of faith which, surprisingly, has kept me a little more sane in the craziness of this season.

The step I took was to accept an online invitation to become part of a group of ladies who would go through a book called 40 Days to Healthy Living, by Danna Demetre.

When I first saw the Facebook post, I thought, There is no way I can add this to my summer.

Yet, the day before the group began, I decided to order the book and jump in. And, I am so glad I did!

This book and the group have helped me upgrade my life and bring order to three vital areas that often suffer in the chaos of summer.

1. Make Time for God’s Word

As a Bible teacher, I love spending time in the Word of God. Still, with the busyness of  company, travel, and all the fun of summer, I confess my priority of spending intentional, daily time in God’s Word can slip.

Danna’s book begins each day with scripture. And, always, what she shares about the passage is a good reminder, or brings fresh insight, that I can apply to my life during these long, lovely summer days.

2. Make Time for Healthy Eating

Every year, I grow in wisdom regarding my diet, but with the many celebrations and lack of routine in summer, I find it extremely difficult to eat the right foods, as well as the right proportions.

The "40 Days to Healthy Living" group has given me daily nutritional tips and challenges that I discovered are guiding my food choices during these wildly-full summer days.

3. Make Time for Exercise

Finally, one of Danna’s strong recommendations is to simply eat less and move more.

Going through the book motivated me to be more diligent to use my Fitbit. It doesn’t happen every day, but most days this summer, I am hitting 10,000+ steps, sometimes by only adding little things like parking further away, taking the stairs, and choosing the long way to get where I am going.

1 Timothy 4:8 NLT says, “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

I love summer! It is my favorite time of the year.

However, I also hate that summer can rob me of investing in my spiritual and physical well being.

What a nice surprise it has been to discover help in this area from the 40-day devotional, plus the support and encouragement of other women online.

I have a feeling this may be my best summer yet!

What are you doing this summer to upgrade your spiritual life and health and keep summer sane?

NOTE from DAWN: I do not normally do "book promos" on this blog, but Cathy and I were both part of the group she mentioned, and I wanted to share how encouraging Danna's book was to me personally too. If you're looking for a new devotional book that will encourage your health as well as your heart for the things of the Lord, this is a good one.

Cathy Horning has been a women’s ministry leader, Bible Study teacher, speaker and writer for more than 25 years. She loves the Word of God. Nothing brings her greater joy than sharing with others how very precious, practical, and powerful the promises and truths in God's Word. Married for 34 years, Cathy has four grown children, 10 grandchildren, and many spiritual sons and daughters. She loves long walks by the bay, a good book or movie, Starbucks ice tea, and especially family get-togethers. Read more by Cathy at her website.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of rwalsh623 at Pixabay.

Thursday
Oct172013

A Winner at Parenting

Cathy Horning is gifted in drawing practical truths from the Word of God and showing women how God can transform their lives and homes.

"My family loves to play games! Card games, board games, verbal games—you name it, we love them,” Cathy says. “My children are grown and gone now; still, whenever we get together our time often ends with a healthy, fun, and competitive game.”

Some families play games … others play sports. I love how Cathy makes this great parallel between playing and parenting.

She continues …

So, when I was asked to speak to a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group on “How To Be a Winner at the Game of Parenting,” I reminisced about all the times our family played games. I discovered three necessary ingredients to truly be a winner when playing the very serious “game of parenting.” 

1. Get to Know your Game. When my children were young and received a new game, they tore into the package, unfolded the playing board, examined all the pieces, and quickly claimed the game piece they wanted to represent them. A similar process is essential in parenting.

We must get to know our family. What do we look like? Who are the players? What distinguishes our family from all the others? I found it helpful to learn about each person’s temperament, their love language, his or her learning style, and each child’s position in birth order. It was also invaluable to discover where each child was gifted, what their strengths and weaknesses were, and how best to train, correct and discipline them.

Gaining insight and gathering information about your “game” and its “players” helps a family work and play better together.

2. Learn and Follow the Rules. Next, my children found the list of rules. Then, our rule keeper explained the instructions to his siblings.

Of course, there are many rules to follow in the "game of parenting." For me, the rule I needed to learn and follow more than all the others was, "I am the boss." My peace-loving personality wanted my children to like me. I didn't want to be too hard on them.

My college child-development classes taught me I had to reason with my children and always be ready with an explanation. This did not work, because it was not true!

I had to re-learn that it was okay to say, "Just because I said so!" Period! The End!

3. Model and Practice Good Sportsmanship. Finally, my children settled down to the business of playing the new game. There was always healthy competition, often roars of laughter, and occasionally friendly squabbles as they learned to play their new game.

However, as leaders of our family, my husband and I knew that we set the tone. We were the role models—we gave our children an example to follow. There was NO whining. NO temper tantrums. NO name calling. NO storming off. NO silent treatment. And absolutely, NO QUITTING!

Unlike the board game of Monopoly, we understood there are no short-cut versions to the invaluable and eternal “game of parenting.”

Of course, being a parent is much more serious than playing a game. But when we apply the essential ingredients of game playing to our parenting, we will always come out a winner. Like Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it" [Amplified version].

Which of these points has been a “game changer’ for you in your parenting?

Cathy Horning has been a women’s ministry leader, Bible Study teacher, speaker and writer for more than 20 years. She loves the Word of God. Nothing brings her greater joy than sharing with others how very precious, practical, and powerful the promises and truths in God's Word. Married for thirty years, Cathy has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and many spiritual sons and daughters. She loves long walks by the bay, a good book or movie, Starbucks ice tea, and especially family get-togethers. Read more by Cathy at her website.