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Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

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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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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Over the past decade, I have sometimes forgotten who I am.  I really don’t know if I am at home with the person that I did become.  Did I become someone that I really wanted to be, or did I compare myself with someone else in order to become like another person?  Who is the real me, anyways?

Over the past few months, I have definitely had some ups and downs; I have been able to easily see who I am in a sense, and, in a sense, of who I am not.  I have been able to say ‘no’ to some things that I know will not benefit me in the long run, and closeout the relationships that hurt me.  I guess in essence, this blog would have to be the example of how to love oneself.  I really don’t have any solid advice about how to go about getting there 100%, however, I have some thoughts….of course:

FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT TO DO AND BE…AND THEN DO IT. BE IT.

If you have figured out what you like to do (that is something you can make a living off of), I think that you should start to pursue that as a goal.  It has taken me most of my adult life to become cognizant of the things that I enjoy doing and would like to continue to do, but it has caused me to start in a direction toward a goal.  In that, I feel like I am able to have a face, to have a reason for existence (for lack of a better description).  In that, in a sense, I can face my next task, my next hurdle, knowing that I am heading down a track/road that isn’t necessarily easy, but I am content in, knowing that’s for a certain purpose.  All of that, leads to a sense of having a little bit of a “chin-up” moment; a moment when you realize that you like what you are doing, and therefore can push yourself knowing you can love who you are while working towards that goal.

There are a lot of bad voices out there; too many to really name specifically, however, they say sometimes that you aren’t good enough to do what you want, or be who you want to be.  Sometimes, the voices say that the world is better off without you in it.  I can tell you that these things are not true, that your life most definitely has value; the people around you really don’t want to lose you, but, YOU have to make that decision of belief for yourself.  These voices can stay with you hours, days, weeks, months, years after you have originally heard them.  I think sometimes I have stayed so busy in an attempt to block them out.  That could be true, however, the people that have stayed around me, have had to constantly tell me that they enjoy spending that time with me; that I’m loved.  I’m still here, haven’t left town or the people that I love, so I guess it’s me deciding that I do indeed trust and believe what my loved ones are saying.  It’s up to each person to decide if they desire to trust.  For the parties getting the negative vibes, etc.:  do you really trust your friends and family when they say that they love you?  Sometimes that is the key to being able to stay in a town, stay in a lifestyle, or staying alive.

To come to a conclusion of sorts, friends, what you say to others and how they respond to you is very important.  You are helping each of your friends and family members determine how they feel about themselves; you’re letting them know they are worth the time and effort to know; that they can be loved.  As much as I’ve absorbed over these last 33 years, the one thing I’ve taken closest to heart is the people in my life that haven’t changed how they feel about me and the life path that the Lord has chosen for me.  Those people are sometimes are the reason why I love myself and what I do.

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