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Posts Tagged ‘God’

Sunday afternoon, since it was the second Sunday, I went to take part in the prison ministry church service that Knox Presbyterian leads for women.  I opted to bring my journal so that I could share a few stories about myself.  I normally sing, however, I wanted to share a few things about my life with the ladies.

When I went to check in, there was a newer guard who was still learning the ropes.  Apparently, he didn’t know that I was not allowed to bring in a journal (full of my personal experiences) into the prison, and we lost about 45 minutes waiting for the request to bring my journal in, which was later denied.  Suffice it to say, I was discouraged, and I was ready not to say anything to the women because we were already behind schedule.

When we got through security into the general population, I had no idea what God was doing with me there.  I didn’t want to sing, I didn’t know what to share, I was just going to sit there and read prayer requests that the women fill out before each church service in order for people to pray for them.  When we entered the room, I sat on the stage with the rest of the team, like a lump, and didn’t know why, but I asked for the guitar.  I didn’t know what I was going to sing, I didn’t know what I was going to share.  I ended up telling them the truth of what I had planned, and found myself singing ‘I Could Sing of Your Love Forever’.  While Pastor Mike was giving the sermon, I started reading the prayer requests.  There was a random stack of loose papers handed to me, and the second one I read was this one:

Sharon

I knew exactly who it was from, and I remembered that I had not written her lately.  I didn’t know what God was doing, but I knew that His spirit was speaking.  If you want to know more about the story behind the above note, please read this and this.  Pastor Mike left me just enough time to sing one more song, acapella.  Some of the lyrics included “I am a sinner, if it’s not one thing it’s another.  Caught up in words, tangled in lies.  But You are a Savior and You take brokenness aside and make it beautiful, beautiful.”

As I left the prison, I still didn’t know what He was doing, but He caused me to sing what was in my heart to share that day.  For that, I’m grateful that the Spirit Spoke and I am reminded that He still speaks for me.


With every breath I breathe

With every song I sing
I wanna shout it out, Lord I am listening
To every word You speak
I’ll go where You will lead
To love the least of these
Is my greatest offering
(All Sons and Daughters)

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Hold out, hold on, don’t give up, and don’t run.

I’m going to wait for the one who is for me.  I’m going to stand firm in the faith that Christ gave me.  I won’t abandon the hope that I have.  I won’t flee or cower when love finally finds me.

I have learned quite a bit about myself this month.  How capable of love that I am…but also, how capable I am of easily going down the wrong path, tripping over God’s examples, and making a mess of good relationships.  I hope that I am capable of learning from my mistakes and really making the best out of some awkward, painful, and ridiculous situations.  This month has been trying, but then again, I have had other months that have been the same way.

Colossians 1:26-29:

This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.

Two more days of February left…..

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I am currently in Muskegon at a women’s retreat hosted by a church from Rockford.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I was a little uncertain about what to expect in terms of temperament, in terms of humor, in terms of level of friendliness.

I HAVE BEEN COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED BY THESE AMAZING WOMEN.

If I lived in Rockford, I would be attending this church.  If you are friends with me on Instagram or Facebook, I’ll be uploading pics to both sites throughout the weekend.  This retreat is full of amazing women who greeted us with unconditional love and understanding.  We arrived to a pretty huge room beautifully decorated, a great sound guy (HUGE BLESSING), and pretty excellent accommodations.  I don’t think I have ever stayed in a lodge this beautiful before, actually.  My “hotel” room is larger than most, and my hotel room table was wonderfully decorated with chocolates, lotions, cards, and then mints on my pillow.  There is free wifi, food, and accommodations.  My mentor and I unpacked and relaxed for a bit, and then headed downstairs where we found a number of women in a circle praying for us.  They then greeted us with hugs and sat us down and prayed over us.  That was definitely a first for me.  They continued the love fest and hugs into supper.

I am listing all of these things because, I find it incredible, and I would really like to dive into getting know some of these women this weekend.  As I finished my dinner, I got to chat with an 80-some year old grandmother who grew up in Detroit and missed the beauty and accessibility of Belle Isle.  I spoke with women about their decision of which church to attend and how it was influenced by the church’s youth program and support, and I listened as so many women just poured out their hearts and struggles to two complete strangers and didn’t expect anything in return.  They just wanted to share their heart and what the Lord has done.

The last story for the evening that I will share is about a woman whose husband passed away four years ago, and her grandchildren are a large focal point in her life.  As a person works third shift, she doesn’t go and do too many things over the weekends now, however, about three weeks ago, she decided to register to attend this women’s retreat. For some reason, that was the time that one of her children said, “your grandchildren are being baptized on Saturday, February 23rd.”  She was a bit saddened.  Her son said that they would tape-record the baptisms for her, however, this was not what she was hoping for. A short time later, she received a call.  It was a telephone call from both of her grandchildren.  They wanted to ask her a question.  Apparently, a pastor doesn’t have to baptize you; you can choose someone who is already baptized and has had a significant impact on your life.  Her grandchildren chose her.  At that moment, she began to cry.  She was afraid, fearful, not sure of how to respond to them, however, in that same moment the Holy Spirit came on her and spoke to her heart the words of Matthew 19:26 – “…With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Out of the Spirit the Lord put in her, she gratefully accepted the invitation for her to baptize her grandchildren.  I think our entire table was in tears at such a great honor.  She has decided to leave the retreat just for the afternoon to enjoy baptizing her grandchildren, however, I was just for some reason so moved by the entire story.  What a testimony.  Can you imagine? The most influential person in your life is your grandmother, and you want her to baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.  I’ll be praying for her all day tomorrow and as she goes and as she steps out in faith that the Lord will carry her through and that she will enjoy these moments with her grandchildren.

This was just one woman sharing out of over 35+ women.  I have more stories, but we’ll save them until Saturday or Sunday.

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As we approach the end of the month, I find myself wondering if I will actually keep up writing in my blog with the daily news and things that I have been learning.  I haven’t actually fully made that decision, however, I think it would be good to at least do something at least 2-3 times per month.  We’ll see 🙂

This past month,  I’ve had the joy of seeing that people actually like my posts! It’s very humbling.  I have no idea who the majority of you are, however, I have been visiting some of your blog sites and am honored that some of you have actually subscribed to my blog.  Thank you so very much.

Tonight, I am mentally preparing to go on a women’s retreat that starts tomorrow afternoon on the west side of my state.  I have been looking forward to the trip somewhat, and yet it sometimes just makes me nervous.  It’s mainly because, as someone who has done about six women’s retreats to date, there are sometimes groups of women that I don’t know.  I don’t know what their humor is like, if they will like the style of worship that I lead, if they will like the message that my mentor will be bringing, etc.  At a certain point, I just give up and know that everything really is not in my control.  I just wish that I would get to that point earlier.

My difficulty this weekend will be loving the women that I come into contact with, with the love of Christ and everything that He would like to speak to their hearts.  I really want for them to experience his joy and peace and refreshing during this weekend getaway, and the conference center seems pretty amazing, so all I can do is wait for Him to give me an opportunity to love well.

I often wonder how many people worry about the odd details that I do, but I think that once my worry is turned over to God and I start getting excited for everything that He is going to teach me/us, I begin to find the peace and can prepare my heart.  OK…now I’m getting really excited for the weekend.  You may see some interesting posts this weekend!

ONE LOVE.

IMG_0588

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This is the blog entry that I have kind of been dreading.  Now remember, I am not necessarily offering the absolute correct answer.

I know that all of us have had people in our lives that have done wrong to us and that we have done wrong to.  I know that sometimes the wrongs done to us can be almost unbearable to the point where we feel that we can never talk to that party again.  And for a while, it really seems like we never will again, however, there are times when I believe our spirits soften toward them, if only for a moment.  When that happens, I would hope that each one of us would consider the act of forgiveness.

Last year, I went through a time that I never thought would happen.  I cannot go into extreme details, but it resulted in me settling for something temporary and something that wasn’t right.  I’m pretty sure that reveals more than I intended, however, as a result of my misstep, I ended up having to cut someone out of my life.  I am having a problem forgiving them for what they did, and while I know they still love me, I feel that I was taken advantage of.  These things are now being shared to perhaps benefit those that may be going through something similar.  Because I feel like I was taken advantage of, I am having a hard time loving this person through the hurt I am going through.

I don’t know what will happen next, but I do know that God has been ever present during my misstep, during the after-affects and consequences of my sin, and during my healing and moving forward.  I know that at some point, I will let this person back into my life as an acquaintance and not a friend, and I know that while the relationship may be strained at times, it can still be one that honors God.  These aren’t necessarily the best answers, however, I know the Lord desires that we do live at peace with one another.  He knows that we are not perfect like Him, but I believe that’s why He gives us Himself so that we have the Perfect One to lean on and trust in.  The Lord has never taken my heart for granted, He has never sent me in the wrong direction, and He has always loved me perfectly.  I’m the one that comprised and chose the wrong path, but at least He made a way for me to get back to the right one.  I have to confess, truly, it is SUCH AN AMAZING THING when we let the Lord take hold of the reins of our lives and He guides us through.  It brings an intense joy and a wonderful peace, and it has made me glad that I could return to Him.

How do I love the person that hurt me?  I can’t.  I can’t love the person with the love that I have; it’s just not good enough.  The extension of the Father’s love will have to cover it all since I cannot fully love this person any longer.  This might not be the world’s greatest entry about love and forgiveness, but it’s the honest one.  Sometimes sin does considerable damage.  The Lord can restore, though, and miracles can happen.

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I am learning so much about love this month.  I learning about how difficult it is, how beautiful it is, how wonderful it is, and how painful it can be.  I kind of want to pool the group reading this blog to ask how it is that they are able to continuing loving people with God’s love.

I almost forgot to blog today because I have been scheduling my days so tightly.  I normally blog in the early morning, however, I wanted a morning off to watch a tv show and sleep in a little bit.  I have found my own spirit a little less-driven to read His word and pray, however, I can almost feel the prayers of those who are thinking of and praying for me daily; I’ve felt it since I left my house on Monday morning. That’s love for the Lord and dedication to His kingdom.  For those of you who have been praying for me and thinking of me, thank you, I really have felt you.

This will be a short post, but I have a free evening this evening to go over some things and so I hope to have something more put together for tomorrow.

Love and Light.

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Today is a day I am tapped out.  I normally have a topic that I really wish to share, however, this morning I am finding nothing of love that I wish to discuss.  Know that the rest of my entries this month may not always be like this, however, after taking the time to attend my small group last night and having them take the time to pray over me, there are other things on my heart and mind today.

I wish for everyone who reads this entry today to learn to trust a group of people with the struggles in your life.  If it can’t be a group, tell someone.  We all know that life isn’t a cakewalk, but we cannot go about thinking that other people can’t identify with our struggles.  As I learned yesterday while someone was praying over me…they knew EXACTLY the kind of pressure I was under and prayed to God on my behalf.  Allow people to know you, keep you accountable, and keep you ever striving to be more like Christ.  I guess in a way this post is about love.  🙂

Numbers 6:24-26

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.

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