CHERISHED {hislove:revealed}

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I’m an avid reader.

I’ve been known to spend a day off from work at the bookstore or in bed with a pile of books sitting next to me.

The stories, the characters, the scenery…..I gravitate to the detail and get lost.

Until last year, I kept my distance from “Christian fiction”.

Watered down plots and emotions.

One dimensional characters.

Unrealistic situations.

I was bored with Christian fiction…..that is …until I came across Heavenly Places by Kim Cash Tate.

Her ability to bring LIFE to her characters won me over and I fell in love with her style of writing.

Here’s a quick review of her most recent book CHERISHED

Without indulging too many details about the storyline of the book; I have to say that this book spoke to the songwriter, worship leader, wife, and lover of Christ in me. In life we all endure many trials & failures on our way to fulfilling God’s plan for our life.
Kim Cash Tate finds a way to bring these varied characters life in this story of old hurts, deep sins, and forgotten dreams ; as they each realize that even in the midst of their “mess” , God still loves each of them.

Marriage, ministry, friendship and redemption collide in this realistic story. The reader is certain to feel challenged, encouraged, and cherished after reading and watching how God’s love is revealed to each character.

As usual; Kim Cash delivered a riveting read, and I look forward to the next book!

**This book was given to me as a part of the Book Sneeze program. I received no compensation and these thoughts are my own**

Let’s Survive this Together {HisLove:revealed}

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Marriage…..

more than a pretty white dress.

more than moments captured; filled with smiles and dreams ahead.

more than petals scattered on a white runner.

more than the waiting and the knowing….

Marriage is much more.

Marriage is a decision….every day to be united as one with a person who has flaws, shortcomings, and imperfections….

Marriage is a work that is never done….sometimes comes as easy as the stroke of a brush, and other times as wearing as sharpening a pencil with a knife.

My marriage is currently growing leaps and bounds due to the amount of  *pressure* and *trials* we have been through in this last year.

My husband and I deal with *trouble* in different ways. I’m usually the one that melts down only to calm down after I’ve vented.

He’s usually the one who stays calm and rational and balances me out.

When my husband gets “down” , it is difficult for me to bring him “back”.

Its as if he “checks out” and becomes consumed by his own thoughts, his own need to “fix” things ….and I sometimes find myself feeling left out when I need him the most.

Recently, I brought this to his attention.

“It’s ok that you’re having a bad day,” I said. “it’s ok that today you just don’t feel like pressing, or talking through, or smiling, or pretending. All that is ok. But I want you and your bad attitude to come to ME. Don’t push me away. I want you, your bad attitude, your “I don’t want to talk” feelings and gestures, and I want you with me …in this moment. You are not alone. ”

Reverb

It was as if someone had taken over my voice and not only spoken through me, but to me.
I don’t know how you handle difficult things in life, but there have been MANY times I have run away from God instead of into God.

I’ve chosen to hold everything in because maybe my feelings didn’t seem appropriate to bring to a holy God. I’ve decided to try to solve my problems on my own because I’ve convinced myself that I must have done something to deserve them, and I in turn have to fix them. I’ve chosen to refrain from pouring out my heart to God in fear that my requests are selfish or wrong. I’ve held back….because I didn’t trust that a perfect God could love me….when I’m depressed, self-righteous, inconsistent, faithless, unforgiving, overwhelmed or just plain angry.

Just as I love my husband even when his body language says “leave me alone”…..God loves me….God loves us….beyond our walls.

 

I was reminded of this song that I love so much.

Reminded that God is a “present” Help in the time of trouble. {Psalm 46:1)

Reminded that I am the apple of His eye and He will hide under the shadow of His wings {Psalm 17:8)

 

He’s there…and wants to be there…..right in the thick of my “issues”….He’s there.

He offers me to “come”….and He’ll give me rest. {Matt 11:28}

What a joy.

As I walk through life with my husband, I am learning more and more about the Father’s love for us.

It holds us.

It keeps us.

It is with us.

Love never fails……

Be the Answer (HisLove : revealed)

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I work part time.

I’m a wife….all the time.

I’m a mommy to 2 little people who demand lots of attention.

My daily routine consists of diaper changes, at least 100 questions, baths, bed time stories, quality time, scheduling, and lots of driving.

I am also a psalmist.

I write songs.

I lead worship.

I speak prophetically.

I teach.

I exhort.

I love to minister God’s word whether through song or exhortation and long for the day when this can again be my full-time “job” if you will.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of surprising a pastor on his 8th pastoral anniversary. I met he and his wife when he was an associate minister at a church I used to lead worship at from time to time. I was in my very early 20’s when I met them, and although ministering frequently, I was still new to ministry and looked up to them as a couple.

When his wife found out I’d be in town for another engagement, she asked me to come and minister as a surprise gift to him. “You’re his favorite worshiper” she said.

Certainly I’d known that God had knit our hearts in a way, but his “favorite” worshiper? She was being all to kind I thought.

On Sunday morning, my family and I hid in a multi-purpose room until the time came for me to sing. As the pastors wife read my bio and I walked to the pulpit, the pastor wept…and wept…and wept, and embraced me for what seemed like an eternity. By the time I spoke prophetically over his life under the direction of the Holy Spirit, I was full and overflowing with agape love for this pastor, his wife and congregation. There was an immediate threading between us, and I felt the weight of my being there.

Before leaving after church, the pastor grabbed me and said, “You & your husband can not possibly know how much it meant to me that you were here today. This morning I was discouraged to the point of breaking down. I was hurting and laying my requests before the Lord although I’d already concluded He wouldn’t hear me. I was tired. I was tired. And you lifted me. YOU were the answer to my prayers.”

Heart….stop.

This…..this is the reason I love to minister to God’s people.

This is the the reason I press even when I’m tired and burnt out.

This…this is the reason I stand and declare the word of the Lord without doubt when I myself am waiting in “the land between” for God’s deliverance and restoration.

This….this….this is the reason the heartbreak of what happened to us in California…..
the heartbreak of all that we lost…the heartbreak of deception and manipulation has not and will not deter me from pursuing my purpose in Christ.

I am anointed. I am chosen. I am commissioned to bring hope to the hopeless….

life to things that have died….

joy to those who are hurting….

I am the answer to someone’s prayers….ONLY because of and for the glory of JESUS.

Someone needs your song. Someone needs your smile. Someone needs your time. Someone needs that money you’ve been saving. *yep, I’m going there* Someone needs that house you’re trying to rent out but can afford to just GIVE. Someone needs you to overcome your trial so that they can overcome theirs. Someone needs your forgiveness. Someone needs your prayer.

Someone needs you.

And I believe Jesus is asking you….

Will you be the answer?

Work Your Faith (HisLove :revealed)

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On Monday I started an all attack against the 20lbs off & on in the last 18 months since having my daughter.

Eating late, lack of exercise, lots of brownies and ice cream….they’re factors I’m well aware of.

It has been a stressful year and at times I’ve leaned to the comfort of sleep & eating instead of turning my trust to God.

Now that I’m in the midst of a complete emotional & spiritual overhaul; it’s time to deal with the physical….HEAD ON.

I started Monday with cardio and an increase in water and decrease in soda.

Tuesday : I increased the time on the cardio machine, walked on the treadmill and ate smaller portions of healthier foods throughout the day.

Yesterday I felt brave and took a 40 minute zumba class, and just hours later did another 30 minute cardio workout.

Last night….I felt it.

The pain. The resistance. The breaking down.

And it wasn’t just physical.

I cried myself to sleep last night for no particular reason. My husband prayed over me and then because he knows me well….left me alone to just “cry it out”.

Yesterday my enthusiasm hit a brick wall called PAIN.

I couldn’t help but begin to think about the ways these last few days of physical work out & changing of habits correlates to the spiritual part of my life.

In the last 6-8 weeks God has been purging , re-shaping, re-aligning and challenging me.

There have been days I have felt like I am on the mountain top; filled with excitement and zeal for the Lord and all that He is doing in me.

There have been other days that I have felt rung out, drained, tired and somewhat beat down from all the resistance I’m struggling with.

This flesh does NOT want to change.

Some of my habits have been in control for YEARS and they are not falling to submission without an all out war.

I’ve thought negatively about myself and about the way God feels about me in certain areas for so long that parts of who I am BREED off of these negative words & lies.

Now that I’m starving those lies it is sometimes a PRESS to confess and BELIEVE what God says about me in HIS word.

It’s a press.

It’s a press against the resistance and change.

It’s a press.

I love the way the message bible paints this picture so plainly….

We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary-we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit. (Romans 3-5)

Now THAT’s delicious word.

This scripture illustrates how all of the purging, and hammering, and struggle develops more “Christ-character” in us and prepares us to receive the overwhelming blessings He desires to pour out on us.

Troubles hurt us. But troubles taken head on through the strength of Christ develop in us a richness of character that exemplifies our Savior.

Hallelujah.

So today….me & my sore back….me & my odd emotions…..me and my tired eyelids are going to the gym.

Today I will PRESS past the physical pain & focus on what is being developed as I work.

Endurance. Muscle. Weight loss.

There is an expected end .

In this journey with Christ we must do the same. Embrace the challenges of this life and focus on the Christ of the work instead of the “work” of our Christ.

drop the weight.

dig in.

press. press. press.

It all works together.

It hurts….but it helps.

Work your faith.

I’m ok with Now (HisLove :revealed)

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I am learning lessons and truths about God and walking with Him.

Lessons I wish I’d learned earlier so I hadn’t endured so many hopeless nights.

Lessons I wish I’d embraced sooner so I could truly minister freedom to others.

Lessons I wish I’d understood prior to now so that by now I’d be a better wife, mother and all around person.

But I’m learning now.

One lesson that I am embracing on a daily basis is how to be content.

When I look at the last 18-24 months of my life I reflect on some incredible highs as well as some crushing lows.

We’ve made steps of faith that ended in progress and advancement.

In that same token, we’ve made steps of faith that left us empty-handed and broken in spirit.

We’ve come back to a place that seemed to move on while we were across the country pressing through the greatest trials of our life.

We assumed coming “home” would mean peace, a chance to regroup, and jumping back into the wave of life here in the familiar.

It hasn’t been that way at all.

Life kept going for some of our friends….

The church we were heavily involved in and dedicated to seems foreign now.

Things are disheveled and scattered.

For at least 3 months; this wore on me to the point of tears.

I’d cry at night; feeling like we had nowhere to “belong”.

I’d watch my friends interact with one another with ease while I felt abandoned and uncomfortable.

I felt as if I always had to explain our situation because assumptions and generalizations had been made.

I lived every day hoping that the next day would bring change.

To my delight; change has come.

Change has come IN ME.

By God’s grace I have decided to be OK with RIGHT NOW.

All the ups & downs, the uncertainties, the maybe’s, whens & what if’s……its all ok.

I am learning to be CONTENT.

I now understand what Paul said…..

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. (Phillipians 4:12) ESV

Here in lies the secret :

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phillipians 4:13) ESV

I can live this life….I can run this race…I can keep the faith…I can press forward….I can hold on…

I can do it all THROUGH Christ who strengthens me.

Not by my own power, strength or ability,

But through Christ.

I am enjoying this journey of faith more than ever.

I am relying completely on the strength of my unfailing Savior and the promises He’s made to me.

I’m something much greater than happy.

I am Content.

Losing & Loving (HisLove :revealed)

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March 7th, 2008

A day I’ll never forget.

My perfectly round “poked out belly”.

I couldn’t stop rubbing my belly.

It seems as if I was overprotective of this child from the moment I found out I was expecting.

When I look back it’s as if there was a knowing….I knew this baby was fragile.

So fragile….to the point of breaking.

loss.

dying.

I held the broken fetus in my hands with streams of tears pouring down my face….

I hoped….I prayed…I wished….

for LIFE.

but my baby was broken and gone.

A piece of me died that day. I didn’t just lose a baby.

I lost alot of selfish ways.

I lost tolerance for foolishness and deceitfulness.

I lost the desire for momentary gain, success and wealth.

In the days following the miscarriage it felt as if I were living in a dream state.

I remember the sound of the passing cars outside our bedroom window.

I remember the sound of the soft rain on the window….not quite patterned, but rhythmic in it’s dance.

I felt hypnotized.

My baby was gone.

But there was a love….this deep , resounding love that sang through my heart loudly.

Yes, for my child….but even more so for this loving God who was somehow holding me in His arms giving me strength to breathe.

This God who knew my child by name and knew each tear I cried over losing him.

I saw this God even when I held that delicate fetus in my hand….although already passed on…still real and being formed in the image of God.

His magnificence was real even in death.

I still cry for my son. I dreamed of him for weeks after the miscarriage, and I wondered what he could’ve been on this earth.

I longed to know his smile. I longed to know the smell of his hair. I longed to know his personality. I longed to hold him.

I’ll never forget the day I lost him.

But even more….I’ll never forget the way Jesus held me with His strong arms, His gentle voice, and wrapped me in His unfailing love.

I lost him….but HE loved me.

His Love :revealed

Christian……I still think of you……

Ephesians 3:20 (HisLove:revealed)

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During this walk with Christ I’ve had a few “AHA” moments.

Moments where I’ve read a scripture and thought “oh yeah…that makes sense.”

Times I’ve heard a message and literally laughed out loud thinking, “DUH!!!! I get it now”.

But most recently I’ve been transformed by a bible study featuring Priscilla Shirer.

So much so, that I stopped going to the bible study when her 2 weeks were up and they moved on to another speaker.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate all the women who taught in this particular series, and I actually tend to gravitate towards the way this other woman of God teaches.

But I was enthralled with the revelation God gave Priscilla Shirer.

It was more than an AHA moment. It was brighter than a “light” coming on.

It was more like an earthquake….the kind that shakes the whole house, and brings pictures frames and cherished china crashing to the the ground.

The way the Lord spoke to me through her was life-changing.

The teaching was centered around a verse that I not only know well but love dearly; Ephesians 3:20

Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

It would take much more than a blog post to explain to you in detail how she broke this scripture down into intricate pieces. But the part that seemed to have a flashing neon light surrounding it was exceeding abundantly.

Really? EXCEEDING? ABUNDANTLY? Like way past more….way past bigger…way past great….just so huge and magnificent beyond what I ask or think.

Needless to say, my heart & spirit really let this word sink in and when I laid my requests before God they were no longer tossed down with fear or hesitance. I came boldly before his throne TRUSTING that He was able to do more than I was asking.

And that’s JUST what He did.

We’d been having car trouble. The last year 1/2 of our life included selling alot of things in order to move to California (where we don’t live anymore. Another story for another day) which included selling my car, giving up our home, and positions in our local church. When things didn’t work out in Cali (oh boy, what a story) we moved back with less than half of what we gave up to move there. So to have ONE car when were used to two, and for that ONE car to be breaking down was such a heavy burden. So we prayed fervently for God to bless us with the finances to get our car fixed.

Well friends….today I drove our “exceeding abundantly” new car while running errands.

God didn’t give us what we asked for…he gave us MORE.

It wasn’t our credit that did it (trust me. ha)

It wasn’t our sweet talking (although my husband is quite the charmer)

It was simply GOD.

AHA! DUH! OH YEAH THAT MAKES SENSE!!! All these moments in one.

HIS WORD IS ALIVE and when put into action IT WILL NOT RETURN VOID!!!!

This serves as a marker in my walk with the God.

His love revealed…through the tangible manifestation of Ephesians 3;20