Friday, July 18, 2014

On Finishing Heart Projects, Telling Stories, and Needing Your Help

Hey Y'all!

I am so excited about this post that I can hardly contain myself!  My heart project is finally complete.

A few years ago, I fell in love with studying the Bible - especially the stories in the Bible.  There was something comforting in reading about these ordinary & extraordinary people who wrestled with their faith and sometimes did great exploits for God.  As I dove more deeply into studying stories, I found a similar theme that was also prevalent in my own life.

Usually, God was asking people to do one thing - TRUST Him.  This simple request manifested itself in a myriad of tales - "Will you trust me to provide you a child?"  "Will you speak words of truth even if people reject you?"  "Will you go to war when the odds seem stacked against you and trust that I will fight for you?"

The stories were so different, and yet God was relentless in His questions about trust.  In my own life, I feel like I'm constantly in a battle to choose whether or not I really trust God too.  And if I'm honest, my ability to say yes to His beckoning hinges on whether or not I believe that I am genuinely, 100% loved by God.  Some days I feel His love...but other days...if I'm honest, I question it.

It's hard to believe you are loved by a God you can't see when you are facing fear, feelings of inadequacy, and frustration because your life is in a season of waiting.  And yet, God keeps asking for us just to trust Him!

About a year ago, I decided to dive more deeply into these Bible stories and my own journey and as a result, I created a Bible study called Road Signs.  The workbooks have been out for a few months, but the teaching DVDs are now available!  It is my heart's desire that this study would be used by God to work in the hearts of people so that we can more readily say "Yes!" when He asks us to trust Him!

I'm not a great scholar - just an ordinary girl who said yes when God asked, "Will you trust Me and write this study?"


The Road Signs DVDs and the Road Signs Bible study workbooks are available for purchase!

The four DVD's include 8 teachings where I share as transparently as I know how about trusting God on the road of life.  This is a great resource for churches, small groups, college ministries, and even to go through alone in the comfort of your home!

My heart is to get these teachings into as many hands as possible, so we are pricing the entire DVD set at $29.95!  You can CLICK RIGHT HERE to buy one today!

Also, for the remainder of July, we are having a special promotion where you can order a DVD set & get 3 workbooks for $50!  The retail for these would be $90, so it's a great deal and would be an ideal way to kick-off a Bible study with a few friends in the fall.

Would you also consider helping me to get the word out about this great resource?  Here are a few ways you can do this:

1.  Share some Road Signs love on social media!  Everyone who shares sometime this week (ending July 25th) this blog or a link to the Road Signs page on facebook, twitter, or Instagram will be entered into a drawing to win a free DVD set & 1 workbook!

2.  Talk to those in your life who you know like to do Bible studies & tell them about Road Signs.  Maybe it is someone who oversees women's ministry at your church or a friend who hosts Bible studies in her home.  Give them my contact info or send them to the blog!  I have a media kit that I can send out to any church interested with a sample teaching & workbook to look through.

3.  Consider hosting your own Road Signs Bible study this fall.  I've discovered that there is something really powerful about inviting 3-5 friends into your home and studying the Word together.  I know for many of us this is outside our comfort zone, or it feels like we would never have the time, but I want to challenge you to pray about this.  Ask God if you should do it & then trust His leading.

Almost finished...I promise!

But I need to give a shout-out to the COTR media team who helped me so much with these DVDs.  Michael Koontz is the technical director who oversaw all of the DVD shoots & he did a FANTASTIC job.  He is a hard worker & I love that he is as much of a perfectionist as I am!

Others who helped include:
Jason Brandiger - graphic designer genius - I love the cover that he designed SO much!
Leslie Rich - not only is this gal my sister, but she ran cameras & gave me some much needed advice during the video shooting process
Trevor Baldwin, Patti Moulton, Andrea Hamilton, Dusty Joplin, Annie Casas, Kacey Enriquez & everyone else that I'm forgetting - THANK YOU for running cameras, computers, sound, etc.  You are all genius as what you do!

And I'll wrap up this post by sharing the sweet words of two ladies who have gone through the Road Signs Bible study.  What God has done in their lives blows me away, humbles me to no end, and makes me passionate to get Road Signs out of my hands and into yours.

Road Signs is filled with timeless stories from scripture that NEVER grow old!  Paige Allen has such a unique way of bringing the scripture alive and putting them on the 'Big Screen' of your heart in such a way that you are able to see, not only, how God's hand was so involved personally in every aspect of lives portrayed in Biblical days but also His personal involvement and His extravagant love in your life today, as well!  God's love never changes or ever grows old!  Through Paige's teaching you will be able to see scripture come alive and you'll begin to see YOUR life through God's eyes and understand more clearly the Road Signs along the way through the lives of those who have gone before you!      - Terese Holloway

I'd have to say that my overall response to this bible study is that it was very eye opening. Throughout the entire book I was, what felt like, given a chance to see my life in the eyes of another.  Pastor Paige lived through things that at a certain point in my life I was dead set on the fact that I was the only one that ever really struggled with the same issues mentioned in the book. I'm a victim of being caught up in just giving the right answers, even when my heart wasn't feeling it. I guess you could say that this book gave me a new perspective on my problems spiritually, and gave me greater access to ways in dealing with them. Showing me how to live like were supposed to, and obey without second thought. It showed me Gods love for us in an even greater way, and even by just having all of these different women from different age groups and backgrounds come together; it truly showed me that were not alone in our struggles! It really put into perspective that God knows what he has planned for us, and its just a matter of stepping back and waiting for Him to show us the rest. Its a patience kind of thing!      - Justice Ramirez 

Monday, July 14, 2014

On praying simple prayers, falling in love with a new nation, and trusting God with my dad's heart

As you may have noticed, I have yet to blog this summer because I’ve been doing more important things like playing in the pool with my girls, sipping coffee in the backyard in the mornings, and generally being lazy.  I just love summer.

But over the last couple of weeks, my life picked up it’s pace quite a bit, and I wanted to share a few exciting moments, as well as little lessons that the Lord has taught me.

First, can I just tell you that I love traveling to new places in the world!  I’ve had the opportunity to enter many cultures and lands, and just when I think I’ve found my favorite place or met the most delightful people, I travel somewhere new and immediately have a new favorite.  

I encountered the beautiful people of Nicaragua at the end of June, and their smiles and gentle demeanor are still imprinted in my heart.  I think what I loved the most about the precious men and women that I met, was that although they exuded a gentle grace and joy they were equally passionate and fiery!  

Just look at these ladies!  Can you say GORGEOUS?!  But can you also see the passion in their eyes - LOVE IT!!!

These ladies dressed in gold were dancers who truly worshipped with their whole being.  I was mesmerized by these lovely girls!

And you should meet their fearless leaders, Rony & Mayra Coffer.  Rony is a quiet giant of the faith.  His impact is far reaching in this country (literally reaching into church plants, clinics, and feeding programs throughout villages all over this nation), and his wife Mayra is a ball of energy and zeal!  She loves her people and is leading these women into truth!

The lovely Mayra...this girl can PREACH!

And she was a fabulous translator...she seriously worked non-stop this week!

Rony & Mayra were serving as my illustration...and as you can see...I was a little excited about what I was saying - ha!

And  now for the lesson that I learned from the Lord while I was in Nicaragua: 

I’ve heard it said before that the safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.  And although I agree with the general feelings of this idea, I’ve witnessed over the last couple of years that safety is never really a guarantee when you are where God wants you.  Just ask my friend Matt who was imprisoned while serving in an African nation as a missionary, or ask me to recount my stories from Israel when I entered the country in the middle of a conflict and one day had to take shelter as the incoming missile sirens began to sound.

Safety...not so much.

Comfort...not a chance.

But peace...yes, I do think there is a promise from God that He will grant us His unexplainable peace when we are in the middle of His will.

I got to put this truth to the test as I sat on the plane in Houston awaiting my take-off for Nicaragua.  My dad was scheduled for a heart cath that morning and when he had called to tell me about it he had calmly explained that the doctors were just doing this exploratory procedure to make sure all was well with his heart.  At the most he might need a stint that they would do during the procedure, but he assured me that it was no big deal and to go with confidence...after all, speaking in other nations is my dad's heartbeat and he was excited for me to go to Nicaragua - a nation already deep within his heart.  So imagine my surprise as I texted my sister to find out the verdict of the procedure and received this text in response:

And with these words, I was told to put away all electronic devices and sit back and enjoy my trip to Nicaragua.  I battled in my mind for that entire 3 hour flight.
     How was my dad, really?
     What were the doctors telling my family?
     Why did God orchestrate this trip NOW?
     Would I be back in time for the surgery?
     And how would I focus on ministering to people in Nicaragua when I wanted to be home?

If I'm honest, this battle went on for the rest of the day and late into the night.  I knew all of the right answers to tell myself: 
     He would be fine
     People have this kind of surgery all the time
     What a blessing that they caught it before he had a heart attack
     Focus Paige - you are where you need to be

But I could not get my feelings to line up with these thoughts that I tried to convince myself were the truth.  I tossed and turned that night, and finally awoke at 6am wide awake!  The team was going to meet at 8:30 to prepare for the first day of the conference, so I slipped out of bed and went outside where the Lord and I had it out for the next hour and a half.

I asked quite a few questions with few answers; I vented my frustrations and fears; and then I simply asked that He help.  I needed Him to help my dad.  I needed Him to help my mom.  I needed Him to help me.  I needed Him to help these ladies here in Nicaragua.

Sometimes, the best prayers we can pray are a simple help!

And as my mind began to calm, I opened my Bible and I started to write out Scriptures and prayer.  I wrote Scriptures of faith over my dad's heart and I wrote Scriptures of truth over the women I would soon meet.  I wrote at first unsure if my emotions could believe, but as the time progressed, I discovered that I was writing and praying with a genuine faith.  My emotions were lining up with these Scriptures and the frantic thoughts that had consumed my mind just hours before were now serene and certain.  

My dad would live.  He would live a long and fruitful life.  His heart would beat with a new rhythm that would take him beyond what he has known thus far.

And I was EXACTLY where I should be.  I would speak truth and love and grace and hopefully some revelation to the men and women of Nicaragua.  And I would be more aware than ever before that those words were not from my intellect or greatness because I was truly undone & just clinging to Him.

And as I sat outside in tropical Nicaragua, a peace that truly surpasses all understanding washed over me & reminded me that I was not alone.  I was able to walk confidently in that peace over the next few days. 

I landed back on the tarmac at home, just as my dad was wheeled out of surgery.  I went straight to the hospital & into his room.  He was just beginning to awake from anesthesia, and when I said, "Dad, it's Paige.  I made it home," his eyes fluttered with recognition and KNEW that peace was not just an was a reality.  My dad was going to be stronger than ever, and I was going to know that although it's a battle sometimes - you CAN fight for peace.  And you can ask a simple help from the One who is ready to give it.

I'm happy to report that my dad is recovering really well.  He ended up having a quadruple bypass which is pretty major so his recovery will take some time, but he is up and walking (he walked his block a couple days ago)!  Thank you to everyone who has prayed and is praying for our family.  Your prayers have been felt...even across the ocean.
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