Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘women’

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)

Read Full Post »

Wow.  I feel like so much has happened all in one day.  I am so very thankful for this amazing group of women that I have been able to call friends.  They have shared some things that are very close to their hearts, and have shared shortcomings that they wish to change with the help of the Father.  It’s so humbling and so very exciting to be able to take part in their weekend of refreshing by leading them in worship…IT’S SUCH A PRIVILEGE to be a part of their lives for just one weekend.  I am full of joy.

I’ve had a lot of moments to think about the love that blossoms from relationships, namely friendships.  I have come to value so many different relationships that I have in my life, I fear that sometimes I take them for granted, and sometimes do not give them the time, effort, and energy that they deserve.  For others, I feel like I may smother them and therefore suffocate.  The relationships that I long to smother and suffocate are the ones that are usually feeding me the most nourishment that my soul needs, however, sometimes I think that I have become a glutton with regard to how much I feed off of that relationship.  Does that make sense?  I overly long for/crave more and more of that relationship.

In my walk through scripture today, I came across Isaiah 30:15 (NIV) – “in repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”

I also came across Job 13:15-16 (MSG) – “Because even if he killed me, I’d keep on hoping.  I’d defend my innocence to the very end.  Just wait, this is going to work out for the best—my salvation!”

Lastly, my life verses are Psalm 73:25-26 (NIV) – “Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

The first two verses seemingly have no relation to one another, however, for me, they speak volumes with regard to my walk as of late.  You see, I have been fighting to do more, to be more, to just be everything I want, in order to find peace of mind. No, I haven’t stomped on people’s dreams or said spiteful things, but I have stopped caring, really caring, about a person’s soul and how important it is to God.  I have not taken the time to remember how faithful the Lord is with our hearts; how wonderful He is in remembering the needs of His people.  I haven’t taken the time to really say ‘sorry’ to the Lord, to be quiet in Him; still (Psalm 46:10).  Because of this, I truly am weakened because I have not spent that needed time just listening and waiting.

When I really think about it, the second and third verses reference do go hand in hand in my eyes.  I really do realize that I have nothing else besides God and His love.  There is nothing else left, and there is no where else that I could go.  He is my hope and stay, and nothing can take me away from Him.

So why do I do things apart from Him?  Why have I been taking my own life and wasting it away, for lack of a better description?   I don’t have a really great answer, however, I get the feeling that it is wrapped up in being very impatient regarding God’s timing.  I crave an answer from Him, however, I want it a certain way; I want it in one amazing moment, an amazing sign, a beautiful tribute.  The problem is, that is a very ‘me’ mentality, and the Lord ain’t havin’ it.

I have been talking about loving well for about 20 days and how I strive for it, but I can’t even love and trust my God well enough to let that love from Him flow into me to flow out to others.  I am realizing that the problem I have begins with me and not with how to do it unto others.  I was sitting in one of the sessions, listening to my mentor, and just remembered some of the conversations from the first night.  I was so moved by these ladies sharing their hearts, praying over us, just being servants to Him.  I then realized that there was an amazing amount of trust going on…but it wasn’t necessarily them trusting me with hearing some of these sensitive topics, it was the trust that they had in the Father that allowed them the freedom to share.  I am always so fearful of sharing my life with others sometimes, that I miss the opportunities to love and befriend people.

I have a long way to go….and it’s time for me to close my eyes and sleep tonight, but yes, it’s that time of realization that faith and trust in the Father go such a long way in dealing with earthly relationships.

PSALM 146:3 – “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men who cannot save.”

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »