• RAW.

    RAW.

     What comes to mind when you think of the word RAW?

    Some minds will travel to cucumbers and carrots and uncooked meat. Some of you don’t really think of much at all, maybe it just goes in one ear and out the other. Another person who may have a little baby may be thinking of their little ones diaper rash. Maybe you think about when you have blown your nose one too many times when you have had a cold.

    I’m thinking of the rawness of the heart that comes from being rubbed against over and over again for a long period of time. Maybe you read this today and your heart is raw. You feel if you rub against one more surface one more time the protective layer that is barely there is going to split wide open and everything is going to spill out.

    I’ve been there more than once and I am sure I will be there again. I’ve felt the intense eroding of my heart as I waited on the LORD to come and intervene in my situations. I have wondered when will the new skin begin to cover up this pale, pink, rough, unprotected heart of mine? 

    The truth is

    we cannot sit around and declare all of the promises of GOD expecting Him to change our hearts and heal them when we aren’t willing to lay it down before Him and say, do what you will with my open wound. Our healing is not always going to come the way we expect it to.

    I cannot with the understanding I have of GOD and His word (which is the standard for truth) tell you that GOD is going to heal your cancer. I cannot tell you GOD is going to swoop into your marriage and change your spouses heart. I cannot tell you that GOD is going to get you a promotion in your career. I can however tell you that the One True GOD is CAPABLE to do anything and everything that He wants to. His purposes will be accomplished. He can take your raw heart and make it strong again. He can heal every disease.

    I have said it once and I will continue to say it for the rest of my life… GOD is most concerned with you getting what will bless you the most, and that is MORE of Him. Our LORD does not cause or purpose our trials or suffering but He knows if it gives the opportunity for us to know Him deeper, there is no greater gift than to allow us to rely on Him to endure them. So what is your end goal? Is your end goal more of GOD, or is your end goal for your idea of healing to come the way you want it to?

    GOD can give you a new heart. GOD can heal every disease. But the disease He is most concerned with is the disease of sin which has separated us from Him. This is the most deadly and painful disease of all.

    Are you ready to be healed today?

    He is ready to heal you of your sins when you are ready to accept His free gift and trust that it’s only by Jesus’ goodness that you can be redeemed. When you are ready to lay down your life and admit that no other thing will any longer be your LORD, He is ready and EXCITED to bring you in. GOD the Father will take the raw and use it to show you just how much you truly need His healing love. Surrender it all to Him now, it is the greatest thing you will ever do.

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  • Know Him.

    Know Him.

    Do I really?

     

    I think I do because I grew up in church. I think I do because I’ve read a lot of books about Him. I think I do because I know some verses.  I think I do because I went to a lot of church camps. I think I do because people always tell me I have a lot of wisdom for my age. I think I do based off a lot of things that have to do with me and what I have done or what I have learned. So, do I really know Him?

    All of what I said above is true but when I sit back and think about GOD and his GREATNESS I am completely overwhelmed. We can attend all of these camps and conferences and read all of the books and take all the notes and never truly even know GOD. We have so much information at our fingertips ready for us to search out and fill our brains with.

    I have come to find that the best knowledge is the simple knowledge of who GOD is and what He wants to do. When we are able to get to the attributes of GOD and really learn about Him, as best our carnal minds can comprehend, we begin to see everything else in life from the right perspective. 

    “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.“ Proverbs 9:10

    I don’t think GOD made a mistake when He purposed for that to be in The Bible. GOD knows that we need knowledge of who He is.

    Not only what He is capable of doing, but His very essence.

     

    GOD is one being, made of 3 parts… The Trinity. He is self-existent and needs no person or thing to exist. He is self-sufficient and needs no person or anything else to do what He wants to do either. He is eternal. GOD is infinite, never ending.  He is immutable, divinely omniscient, and the definition of wisdom. GOD is omnipotent and divinely transcendent above all. He is faithful and good and just. He is abounding in mercy and grace and love. GOD is HOLY and sovereign.

    The depth and knowledge of each of the attributes of GOD will take us further in our life than any worship song from Bethel or any sermon preached by Steven Furtick. 

    Those attributes make the gospel so much more full of flavor than any man made idea or “At The Movies” sermon could EVER accomplish. The fact that a GOD like that would do what He did, so he could have ME in heaven with Him for all of eternity, absolutely blows my mind.

    To think rightly of GOD is to get your mind thinking rightly about              E V E R Y T H I N G else in life. I can’t possibly think right about a single area of life if I have even one attribute missing or if I have learned about GOD wrongly. I have got to find out who GOD is. I need to find out what all of those attributes are. I promise you there are no greater riches in life to be found than to find the richness of GOD.

     

    He is waiting for me, and He is waiting for you.

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  • The F Word

    The F Word.

    It starts with an F and it’s four letters but it isn’t the one you’re thinking of.

     

    Fear.

    We all have it. Some of our fears are legitimate and some are not. We have fear of spiders, sharks, heights, drowning, public speaking, rejection, the list goes on and on. Fear shows up in so many ways in our lives. But today we are talking about the hidden fears.

    While fasting with my church this January I set my expectations on several things, one being my physical healing and two being that God would speak to me about which direction he would have Zach and I go in our pursuit to have more children. Would that come through my healing and my body beginning to function the way it should? Or did God want us to adopt, or maybe foster? These were a few things I was expecting Him to direct my path on.

    God spoke and I didn’t like what He had to say. He allowed me to realize that I have a deeply rooted fear when it comes to physical healing and having a child. I never even KNEW I had any fear related to these things. While praying one day wondering “Why have you not healed me? I know you want to answer me, why am I not getting an answer from you?”. He made me see that I have fear of asking Him and believing because when we ask for the desires of our hearts we then set an expectation and when you have an expectation it sets you up to be let down.

    I have been let down many times in my life. I was let down when my sons father didn’t follow through. I was let down when I believed I had been physically healed and haven’t seen it manifested. I’ve been let down when I gave so much to people to have them steal from me. I’ve let myself down. These let downs have two things in common: Humans & expectations.

    In my heart something tells me believe will only bring disappointment.

    I believe this because I set my expectations on humans rather than who God is. My fear is ridiculous. If I would trust that God is who He says He is and not set my expectations on the outcome but instead have a desire to know Him above what He can give me… I have no reason to fear. God won’t keep himself from me. He won’t keep himself from you.

    I had to continue my fast. I had to learn to “Count it all as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him…” (Philippians 3) And guys this is HARD. To tell yourself, “I know how badly you desire to be healed and to have a baby, but that is all garbage compared to knowing God.” It sounds crazy- but I had to do it. I believe that through the fast God has gave me the desire to have healing and have a baby- He has it for me. God will deliver on His promises, He has too. But the joy that comes from his blessings are nothing compared to what He is going to give me in knowing Him more.

    As hard as it is and as much as I have to force myself to say it… this has to be the cry of my heart:

    I believe your promises are for me. I place my trust not in man, or in the outcome of my prayers. I know your word does not return void and I will see the goodness of the Lord. But more than that, You are my true blessing. You are the only thing that fulfills. I lay down my desires to you and say they are nothing compared to knowing you. Help my heart to believe.

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  • Abandoned.

    Abandoned.

    Nothing hits your heart harder than hearing your eight year old son say out loud, “I know what it’s like to be abandoned.”

     

    This simple yet profound statement coming from the mouth of my child should have left me in shambles. A natural thought process after hearing this should have been, “Is my greatest fear starting to manifest?” I should have played those words over and over again in my head to the point of exhaustion. I should have had the tortured thoughts of how my dumb mistakes in the past are wrecking his future. I should have realized that my innocent son was beginning to believe that he was not good enough for his biological father to want to be in his life. We’ve all heard the stories. A child is abandoned at a young age and every aspect of their life afterward is a picture of how badly someone broke them. 

    That’s how I should have processed his statement, but I failed to mention one little thing. Context. The context in which my son made this statement is absolutely key when understanding how I chose to process this information. The entire conversation went something like this:

    Elijah: “Mom, Dad, we need to make more of those bags for the homeless people because we gave out our last one today.”

    Me: “Yes buddy, we do. And we will. It makes God so happy that you like to give to people and help them.”

    Elijah: “Yeah, I know. And I can help them a lot because they got left and I know what it’s like to be abandoned.”

    This is why context matters so much. Context allows us to see something for what it really is. His statement reveals so much truth. Has he been abandoned? Yes, his biological dad did choose to step out of his life. He knows in his heart that someone who was supposed to love and care for him decided not to. He also knows that God will never leave him. He knows in his heart there are other people who are dealing with similar pains. He also knows that God wants to use him to help them. He knows that his biological dad isn’t around and may never be. He also knows that God brought Zach into his life to be everything he needs. He knows that his heart is sad. He also knows he can go to God, and us, and share his heart.

    I remember one journal entry I wrote a couple of years ago while praying specifically about Elijah and his life. God spoke so clearly to me about this exact issue. He comforted me in a way that only He could. “Elijah will be a rock for many people because of the difficulty he has faced at such a young age.” The context of our conversation proves that this word from God is already coming to pass in his life.

    So, how do we handle this? We pray for his dad. We talk about how unfair life can be. We allow him to be confused and upset and angry at times because those are all normal emotions. We tell him it is okay to love his dad and want to see him. We are honest with him when he asks us the hard questions and we do our best to share Gods love for him while he is processing his pain. I believe context revealed that what the enemy meant for destruction, God is redeeming.

    At eight years old my son understands that his pain has a purpose and his purpose is bigger than himself. 

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  • Praying

    Praying

    In July God told me He has called me to be a person of prayer. This was no surprise to me because at the time I had been placed in a situation that needed to be completely saturated in prayer.

    Zach’s mom was very sick with Leukemia. She had been in remission but it came back and it came back hard. We were faced with a choice. We knew because of the leading of the Holy Spirit, that we did not have much longer for her to be here with us. Some may say it’s ridiculous for me to say it was the Holy Spirit that told me she was getting  sick but it truly was Him. We prayed for her to be healed and we believed God wanted to heal her, but He kept ordering our steps in a way we knew He was preparing us for a very bittersweet day.

    You always imagine your wedding day involving the people who matter the most to you. So we wanted to make that happen.

    Fast-forward 3 days later, we got married in the hospital and our lovely Becky was with us- body and mind. It was a God-anointed time and we could not have had a more perfect ceremony. Just like He is always faithful to do, God came through and delivered on his promises to us. We were married! And it was not at all what either of us imagined it would look like, but it was so much better. After two nights of wedded bliss we received the call that we needed to come to the hospital because it wouldn’t be long before my sweet mother-in-law would leave us and go to be at the feet of her King.

    How beautiful it was that God was speaking to me in the midst of all the chaos. I have waited so long to be married and now I am! Glorious! But what I walked in to was something that truly only God could carry me through.

    We spent the next 48 hours awake at the hospital. I heard so many stories and made deep connections with my new family. But I also saw was how deeply this woman touched each person she came in contact with.We listened to the recordings of her piano playing, we sang hymns, and we talked about everything she was going to soon get to experience in Heaven. It honestly created a longing for Heaven in my heart.

    God, thank you so much for being here with us in this situation. Thank you for my husband. But God, what am I supposed to do? This situation is over-whelming. I don’t know how I am supposed to help in this situation, but you sent me here now for a reason. What’s the reason? Why me, and why now? Why does my sweet husband have to endure this just days after our marriage? And how in the world am I supposed to comfort him in this time? God- you orchestrated this to happen the way it did for a reason, but what is the reason? HELP. SOS. I cannot do this, even if I knew what it was that I am supposed to be doing.”

    There were a few times I would go out of the room and down the hall to the furthest bathroom and fall to my knees and lose my composure crying out for the pain that my family was enduring. I was exhausted, physically and mentally. The last week had been a complete whirlwind. I had my marriage license before I was even engaged and was married two days after being engaged. My new mother in law would be leaving us soon, and here I am. Sent.  He sent me to be the one to stand and pray for my family. Not just in the current situation but God told me that because he was giving me a new calling over my life.

    God told me to read about Hannah in the bible, so I did. Her prayers for a child went on for years and years but she persisted. She never stopped praying. She was faithful, and not only was she faithful to pray but she believed her prayers would be answered. She was devout and she was humble and she allowed God to strengthen her during her many years of praying. This is what God was calling me to do.

    So, I ran with it. I reached out into the world and found where prayer was needed and it’s pretty much everywhere. God started throwing it at me. Pray. Pray. Pray. I got on the intercessory prayer team at church. I started asking for prayer requests on Facebook. I began asking for the prayer request cards at church so I can pray over them during the week. I do my absolute best to actually write down every need, dream, desire, and thought that people bring to me. I pray over that journal that has the words written on it “Yes and amen.” Because that is His answer to us. 

     I do not have it all together. None of us do. I pray because I know I need him. I know you need Him. I know that with every fiber of my being and coming to Him in prayer keeps me in my right position. At the Fathers feet. Your prayers don’t need to sound fancy or eloquent or use big words, they just need to be honest.

    I am saturating my circle in prayer. I am reading the bible looking for people who were also faithful in prayer. I am looking to see where prayer was ineffective and asking the Holy Spirit why? I am also seeing where it had great power. We get to have conversations with the Holiest of Holies and that is what will draw us near to Him. The best thing about prayer is that to deepen our intimacy with God, all we have to do is speak and listen.

    I am not sure what your prayer life looks like, or if you even pray at all. Dude, maybe you don’t even believe in God or maybe you believe in another god. Regardless of how much you pray or who you pray to, you cannot deny your inner need to connect to someone or something. For me, I have found the strongest connection in Jesus Christ. In Emmanuel. And with that being said, I want to pray like Hannah. Relentlessly. Fervently. Passionately. Honestly. Faithfully.

    So, let us pray.

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