Your Sozo Story

There is a story written for you by your Heavenly Father.  It is a story of fullness, grace, adventure, love, community.  It is a story of blessing and abundance. It is a story that is bigger than you, and is only possible through the Holy Spirit living in you.

beachWhere you are now, does your life feel full or empty?  Are you living out the dreams of your heart, or have you forgotten them?   Do you know your incredible value, or have you gotten lost along the way?

Sozo (Hebrew) most often translated as salvation or saved is so much more!  Sozo is abundant life, complete wholeness.  Sozo is to save, heal, restore, make whole, transform according to original design so that individuals and leaders live the fullest life using all their potential and receiving all the blessings given by God through Jesus to mankind.

To live ‘sozo’ is to live the full life.  Jesus came that we might live life to the fullest, learning to walk out our earthly journey as a person of love and influence.  We are designed to live in a way that grows and challenges us, while blessing, healing, and restoring those around us.  Sozo is about you.  Sozo is for you.

Sozo Life & Leadership’s primary focus is to teach and develop the true identity and value of women as God’s daughters, so they grow in confidence as they come to understand their God-given role alongside their husbands and brothers. In no way second class citizens, women are needed now for what they alone can bring as God’s image bearers to carry out their life purpose, their own mission, and fill their role in a Blessed Alliance with men.  Godly women do not have to compete with men.  They are designed and created to compliment their husbands and brothers.  {Men and women together display the full image of God.}

Contrary to traditional teaching, the women of the Bible were outstanding examples of strength even though their actions were sometimes contrary to ancient accepted culture.  They were daring, they took initiative, they were courageous leaders whose contributions have many times been downplayed or ignored.  Jesus accepted them as disciples and turned the culture of His day on its ear as he taught that a woman’s identity and purpose is anchored and secure in her relationship with Him above any worldly definition.

Sozo Life & Leadership seeks to come alongside women in churches, businesses, and civic groups to establish God’s order from the ground up through coaching, teaching, and prayer that develops and expands leadership potential to bring to reality the vision God has placed in the hearts of women.

When women understand their value, significance, and true identity, their husbands, families, churches, and communities are blessed!

To learn more,click on the Mission Statement  or Bio page.

We want to encourage you on your journey.  I am available for speaking, consultation, personal appointments, and retreats.  You are more amazing than you know.

~Robin Lawrimore

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An Unexpected Visit

It’s about you, me, all of us.  This life.

“…all our stories are in the end one story, one vast story about being human, being together, being here. Does the story point beyond itself? Does it mean something?  Either life is holy with meaning, or life doesn’t mean a damn thing.”  ~Buechner

I run into life’s walls and trip over its speed bumps.  I feel fear and react.  I fall flat and usually in public.  And occasionally I am unexpectedly blessed.  The latter happened on Saturday.

I heard about a friend’s brother who was very ill and had taken a turn for the worse.  Someone very close to me called and asked if I could go by and visit.  Of course.  Everyone else was an hour away, of course I could go by.

I took my little bottle of oil.

I arrived to find tubes in multiples feeding, breathing, keeping a man alive.  His wife was in the hallway and followed me inside, our meeting for the first time.  Landiss is her name, from the German meaning picket fence.  She’s certainly seen her days all in a row, tightly fitted together, a building of a fence around her husband.  Fitted with a tracheotomy, she had become his voice.  A voice that sometimes was forced to demand what he needed.  She is stronger than she knows.  She is tired, but there is a warrior within.

After introductions, I asked if I could pray.  Yes was unanimous.  Sometimes we just need to hear someone pray for us.  I prayed for him, for Randall with oil on his forehead, claiming him as belonging to God, praying for every day written for him, and I noticed her tears and felt her weariness.  Exhausted after 10 weeks in a hospital.  I prayed with all my spiritual strength for her, attempted to speak encouragement and hope, oil on her hands that have caressed the sick and wiped tears.  Those prayers didn’t fall flat, but were received by open hands.  It was an unexpected holy moment.  I wonder now if I should have removed my shoes for He was there.

I felt His presence in a way that lit up the room.  His blessing was flowing.

I don’t know what His plans are for them, but I know they are being held by strong hands and big arms.  Big arms that also hold this world together.

I was so honored to have been there.

He laid in the bed, she sat in the chair, and I stood among them feeling the weight of God’s presence and wondering about how fragile we are and how delicately He wove each of us together, and realizing that we are all in this life – we are one story.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer understood suffering.  He wrote that we each are like a tree in a forest and how the story of each tree is significant, but that the story of the forest is the greater.  He spoke hope into people in German concentration camps during WWII.  Forests are made up of trees.  And if he can speak hope there, we can certainly speak hope where we are.

I felt purposeful as I took prayers into that room.  I felt God live through me so that another could be blessed.  There is nothing greater than to carry His love into a dismal, difficult place that needs hope.

I asked if she wanted the oil.  Yes, she’d keep it.

And all I had to do was say, yes, I can go by the hospital.  All I had to do was show up.  And we were all visited by God.

This is my first post without pictures.  I hope you are instead visualizing yourself there.  You could be the next one to speak hope in an unexpected visit to someone who needs your prayers.  Watch for opportunity and it will be yours.  Become open and watch as God Himself lives through you for someone who needs help holding onto hope.

(c) Robin Lawrimore, March 2013

If You Have a Heart for Building into Others

encourageLiving StonesPhotographer: Rachel Kennedy

John 13 34

Wendy said, “My heart for this year: That we would seriously build into one another, praying for and blessing one another’s spirits. Thanks for the prayer.  x”

This is the heart of Jesus.  The building into another through the invisible act of praying.  We are called to pray for each other.  Something we may not always remember.  To those who have that special weight to pray for another, I say this – May God make your intercession fruitful, and may we all seek to have a heart like His.  I believe as the Spirit leads you to pray, you will see change in the lives of people who need your prayers to move forward in who they are, in God’s plan for their lives “for such a time as this.”

We are all connected and our prayers for each other are hugely significant.  But, to pray Spirit-led prayers are mighty and powerful for the building up, healing and strengthening of another.  We usually think we know what someone else should do.  We don’t.  We can only see so far, so to pray that someone be built up in the Lord, strengthened in spirit, is beautiful and creative.  And God works through prayers such as these.

May we all come to know our own significance and legitimacy in the Father’s heart for us, letting that spill out in prayers,  encouragement, and love to rush over others who need that building up like a refreshing stream – ourselves submerged in that pool as well.

So seek the Father as how to pray, and if you need a guide or source, get a copy of Blessing Your Spirit by Arthur Burk and Sylvia Gunter.  This will start you on a prayer journey of intercession founded in love for others.  And you will find yourself blessed in the process.  You may just find that God has been looking for another intercessor…you.

Much love!

Robin

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X Marks the Spot

Suddenly, they were there.  Five large white-tailed deer.  I had the camera.  But something was in the way.  I learned something valuable on that dirt road.

treasure mapGod is actively moving His children forward.  You may be one of those who are eager, have a dream or longing in your heart, but not be sure what to do next.  Fear and uncertainty may be holding you back.  {How do we know the next step?  How do we get our feet out of cement to take it?}

We first need to know where we are now.  If life is a treasure map and “X marks the spot” where treasure is buried, then we have to know where we are to follow the map.  So taking an honest assessment of our current position and condition is needed.

Our past negative life events can become a filter for our decisions and an excuse for things like self-protection, fear, procrastination, or doubt.  As this type of filter is mentally reinforced, it becomes like a screened porch.  You can’t see outside without first seeing the screen.

January 2013 033I recently tried to photograph five white-tailed deer who were on the other side of a chain-linked fence.  I couldn’t get my camera to focus on anything beyond the fence and missed a beautiful photo of the deer on a country afternoon before they scampered off.  (Click on image to see them running away!)  We do this – focusing on the fence in our lives and unable to focus on the beauty and possibility that lies beyond it.  Sometimes because we are unable to see, we miss what was waiting for us.  To see further requires new vision which springs from a willingness to change, which then leads to growth.  {So what is your fence?}

Without change we do not grow and without growth we cannot mature. Look around you. If there are points of weakness, lack, or negative influence, then an element of truth is missing.  ~Shirley Weaver

Take an honest look and discover where you are – current attitude, recurring problems, disappointments, etc.  Ask God to show to you the missing truth that can lead to an honest assessment of where you are.  Then…look for the next step towards your goal.  If you don’t know what it is, pray, seek wise counsel and get valuable advice from those who are ahead of you.

next step 2Taking one step at a time is progress.  You don’t have to take 10 giant steps.  Just the next step, even if it’s small.  Taking action gives the motivation and confirms direction.

When God told the Children of Israel to cross the Jordan River, which was at flood stage, He promised to stop the waters and make a way through, but only after the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant had stepped into the water.  We take the steps and He teaches as we go.  He will be faithful to get us to our destination.  {What’s your next step?  It might be speaking honestly about concerns.}

Easy?  Nope.  But do we really want easy, safe, and boring?  If you do, you’ll stay where you are and always wonder what is under the X on the map.  But if you’re willing, if you have a dream and desire in your heart to move forward, then pray and step.  And yes, you will feel a degree of fear, but like someone once said to me, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”  With every choice we make, we learn and find the better way.

Next step quoteBooks are written line by line.  Lives are lived out step by step.

 To follow or subscribe via email, please click on A Sojourner’s Voice above and sign up!  I’d be honored to have you along for the journey of a lifetime.

(c) Robin Lawrimore, February 2013

 

Honest Whispers

 

“Do you think there’s a chance that we might always be together?” she whispered this into the air, waiting, but knowing there would be no response.  There would not be one because he wasn’t there at the time.  This was an honest question from her heart, but a bit of a practice session all the same.

Image“Because I want someone for always.  Someone like you,” she said.  It felt good to whisper questions into the air.  It helped her heart heal, these honest bold statements that a real woman, a strong woman would speak.

Her openness and tenderness and vulnerability were returning.  She now could ask to be held in the way a child might ask, reaching.  She always found him reaching back, their hands and arms finding the other in rest.

Her dinosaurs, one by one, were crumbling into dust and being swept away by Heaven’s big push broom, almost like God was a museum custodian in coveralls and a cap.  He did not stop until the job was done and the windows open for a little more fresh air.

Yes.  She was finding it easier to breathe and breathe deeply. Love Oxygen flowed into parts of her where stale, musty air had remained undisturbed, even protected for years.  But this man had disturbed these rooms, reaching for more and more of her without sometimes a single word.

She loved it when he wanted her near and would position her next to himself, like she was his treasured possession, pulling her in close.  {Cherished.}  She was beginning to feel cherished.  She could pause in these moments of closeness and it felt like all of who they were together slowed down while the world raced on by unaware.  Their protected air space didn’t belong to anyone else.  They could breathe in and out fresh thanks, and lean easily on the chest of love. ~

The Apostle John referred to himself as “the one whom Jesus loved” because he was so certain of and held an open heart for the love Christ freely offered.  The Bible tells us that at supper, he rested his head on Jesus’ chest.  He knew who Jesus was for him, and was open to the love and acceptance of God’s Son.  Because of that relationship, as He hung on the cross, Jesus gave responsibility for His mother, Mary, to John.  He would take care of her.

I am thankful for the love relationship between a man and a woman as a picture of what we have in Christ.  A beautiful earthly experience for those submitted to His Lordship and open to letting His love change them.  We all have to change to be able to receive the love of God.  May we all learn to rest against Jesus, knowing, certain that His love for us is perfect – not lacking anything we need.

(c) Robin Lawrimore, September 2012 – For Selah on her 5th birthday, a child who easily receives love and calls me Gwappy.

 

How to Run Towards the Giant in Your Path

I sit at my desk that faces the biggest window in the house, curtains thrown open and I watch the rain fall.  I feel the peace and can almost see the glory of the Lord.  Even everything created, from rain drops to pine trees, has a voice that offers up praise to the Most High God.  I watch the rain and imagine every raindrop in a free-fall is singing thanks to God, landing softly on grass or pine trees, sliding into rivers and oceans just to do it all again.  I watch blue jays play and all of creation is so beautiful, and I remember my friend in North Carolina who is burying her premature granddaughter this afternoon and I don’t want to imagine her pain.  She is facing a giant of grief and loss.  At the same time that God rejoices in the beauty of rain and birds, He weeps with families who hurt and wraps His arms around them.  

And yet giants do come.

I remember the God I have come to know and how He has taught me to trust Him.  Learning first with small things so I can move on towards greater levels of trust and peace, obtaining all He wants for me.  Every step taken requires more knowledge of Him and He loves showing me more of who He is.  As the rain slows and sun breaks through clouds, I think of that shepherd boy named David who learned the ways of God in fields of sheep.

David gegen Goliath
David and Goliath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The story of David and Goliath is a favorite of many because we all want to find victory in facing insurmountable odds against what looks impossible or hurts way too deeply.  David spent months at a time alone with the herds moving them to the next pasture and stream, defeating what threatened life long before the day he saw Goliath.

David had gained a first hand knowledge of the size of God when he had faced the lion and the bear that had come stalking and roaring for sheep.  He didn’t remember it as a victim would, the events intermingled with fear and self-focus (as we often do).  No, young David didn’t feel victimized because a lion and bear had attacked.  He perspective was higher – one of a God who had enabled him to overcome both attacks, to survive and to stand.

I can feel like the soldiers of Israel taunted by a giant when I stare too long at what is intimidating or threatening.  Sometimes I forget to remember the size of my God – the One who created all that I see.

But when I remember….“With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.”  (Psalm 18:29)  These words were penned by that same shepherd boy who ran towards that giant, and the point of this scripture is with my God I can!  And that is how we stand on top of fear, how we shoulder pain.  We remember the size of our God as David did that enabled every step he took towards Goliath.  We remember how God has seen us through, how He has kept us.

With every experience we gain knowledge.  I look for knowledge of God – more about His ways which are higher than mine, more about His power unlimited, and more about His love which stands up to anything my soul or the enemy can throw at it.  And my soul can give me trouble – my mind, will, and emotions – the very areas that need healing and surrender to Jesus.  In that giving over, my freedom is found, my strength weaves with His and my weakness bows to His Kingship and I am more free.  And while my enemies have not been lions or bears, they have been giants to me none the less.  Every time I grab onto Truth, my subconscious looks for evidence to support it!  Always…

Knowledge of God changes me.

My friend, Paula, writes, “The kind of fear from abuse is crippling if you allow it.  Forgiveness is wonderful and yes, I have forgiven what was done to me and am now married to a God-send of a real man who spoils me rotten!  Paralyzing, condemning fear isn’t from the ONE who created me, but from the one who tries to tell me that I don’t measure up.  I do measure up and the fear the enemy planted in my mind so many years ago is gone now! The ONE who created me, saved me by HIS loving mercy and grace and washed all that ugliness I called fear away has healed me.  It no longer lives in me and strangles me with doubt.  Jesus is alive in me and HE covers me daily with HIS precious love! Fear is not of God.  Fear is of the devil and the only thing that can release you from ungodly fear is the healing hand of the Father.”

Paula used God’s truth to defeat the fear in her life, and seeking God brought her healing.  God promises that when we seek Him we will find Him (Deuteronomy 4:29).  He promises that if we make Him our heart’s dwelling place, then we live in the shelter of the Most High God (Psalm 91:1).  He promises that He is not far from any one of us (Acts 17:27).

You know it is hard.  You know where you are afraid and hurting, when you feel uneasy and unable to sleep.  But we choose whether to remain where we are or push through fear’s web towards Truth.  Speak aloud His truth, and then walk forward.  With every step, even trembling or painful, you will grow strong, your mind renewed.  Look right through the web to the other side with faith.

The rain has stopped, but the water like faith runs toward rivers and oceans to do it all again…faithfully.

(c) Robin Lawrimore, August 2012

 

Dear Heart,

Relax.  You are just learning to drop so much self-protection.

You are learning to more fully trust in your Father… who watches over you with an intent gaze and longing to see you soar.

While it’s true that you have at times been in as many pieces as a mosaic, your Father has been at work healing and shaping and restoring.

There are red words hidden in you, blood and Blood swirling together with a medicinal effect – for it says The word of God is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword, able to divide between spirit and soul, joints and marrow, so that our truest selves are laid bare before Him – the Physician who knows how to put us back together.

{Active} – the medicinal word describing how living and active is the Father touch in our lives, how His words set in motion the healing needed – and those words never return to Him without fulfilling the purpose for which they were sent.

Heart, be blessed to feel and live in the assurance of this Love that casts out all fear. Beat on!

Be blessed to find healed places like waters gone by.  Memory does not cause pain, but gives God glory as healing becomes testimony.

Be blessed to find stronger ankles that are able to climb to heights yet unreached, before seemingly impossible mountains, now with renewed, restored ability to scale like a deer.

Heart, be blessed to be so filled with His presence that nothing seems impossible to you, security is never doubted, and love is the wave ridden over deep that calls to deep, lifting you higher.

Let this LOVE that courses through your veins, that knit you together with valves and ventricles, conscience and calling, be the love that is given and received.  Made in LOVE.  Cherished.  Daughter – {with full inheritance and an open heart}.

“Because thine heart was tender” (2 Kings 22:19).

(c) Robin Lawrimore, June 2012