Category Archives: Worship

The Author of My Story

Truth: I really didn’t want to go to church this morning. I got woken up early this morning and by the time it came time to get ready for church, all I could think was how much I didn’t feel like being around people. I’ve been in a slump lately. It’s been a crazy roller coaster of ups and downs and it has left my emotions feeling strung out and tired.

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So I went to church anyway. I sucked up my anxieties, packed the kids up in the car, and we went. I sat in the same spot I always do and I stared down at my phone in my lap in hopes that no one would try to talk to me. My motto: don’t make eye contact with anyone.

Then we started singing. Worship always softens my heart. It’s impossible to honestly worship God and NOT feel something.

“Lift us up, for we are heavy laden,
only need and brokenness we bring.
You alone can rescue us falling
We are weak, but You are strong
Lift us up.”

Those words rang so true in my heart as I sang them. I was singing out to a mighty God to lift me up. I often feel like I’m falling, like I’m going to crash and burn in the rubble of my sin and I know that only He can lift me up.

My pastor is doing this series through Galatians right now. Last week, if I’m totally honest, I didn’t go to church because I had read the passage that he was going to be preaching on and it was so very applicable to my life that I REALLY didn’t want to hear the sermon on it because I knew it would leave me feeling convicted about my secret sins. So this morning’s sermon was titled “God Centered Story” and one of the first things he asked was, what centers us and guides us? (I’m paraphrasing from my notes, of course). Clearly, the good, Christian answer to that question is God…and that’s what I wish my answer was. But if I’m totally honest, what centers and guides me in life is my desire to avoid dealing with or feeling my emotions. If I’m totally honest, I don’t really trust God with my life.

We all have different stories. We all come from different backgrounds and have different biases, but for believers in Christ our stories all share one very big similarity – we were wrong and God intervened. God is the author of our stories. He is writing a beautiful story from the ashes of my life.

My story began almost 27 years ago. My story has taken me through joy and grief, happiness and sadness, blessings and curses. My story has led me to do whatever I could do to find immediate relief from my pain. But one big lesson I have learned is that Jesus is WAY better than any of the immediate relief that I have searched for. Jesus is so much better than trying to bury my emotions deep inside my heart. Jesus is infinitely better than any of the “quick fixes” that I come up with on my own. Jesus is so much better and I am NOT the only one who struggles to trust Him.

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God knew me before I was born…I really struggle with this concept. I have always wondered, if God really knew me before I was born, if He really knew my life before it happened, then why did He give me life knowing how much pain I would experience. But I am not God and who am I, as the created, to question the Creator. He chose ME! Me, a broken and wounded sinner – He chose me. He knew that I would walk away from Him and deny Him on countless occasions, but He still chose me. He called me by His grace. I have nothing to bring to Him, just like the song says, “only need and brokenness” I bring. But somehow it pleased Him to show me grace.

You see, if you’ve followed this blog for very long or if you know me at all, I’m sure you know that I tend to shy away from asking for help. I tend to convince myself that I can make it through life on my own accord without God’s help…now, clearly, we all know I’m wrong. Doing life on my own leaves me dead and isolated in my sin. I get scared and trapped by the shame and guilt of my past. But in His infinite grace and mercy, He searches me out and saves me every time (see Luke 19:10).

I get frustrated with God quite frequently because I don’t think my story looks the way it should. I don’t like the way my story has been written. But God didn’t ask me for my editing suggestions.

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I am still in the middle of my story. Pastor Dave used the analogy of doing a flip-turn (as in swimming). Being that I am a former swimmer who loved doing flip-turns, I very much loved this analogy. My story is still in progress. God, the Author, knows how it will end. My choice at this point is to trust that He loves me. This is where I can make a flip-turn and trust His grace. This is where I can let the love of Jesus direct me through the rest of this story.

On my own I am nothing, I have nothing. But with God, I need nothing. With God, I am much stronger than I think I am. I can quit turning to those things that have kept my secrets hidden. I can bring my secrets into the light and let God use those as a part of my story. He can, and He will, use my story to bring others to Him.

Like Joseph said Genesis, what you meant for evil, God will use for good. God never wastes a hurt. He is spinning all the ugliness and hurt in my life into a beautiful story centered on His grace, mercy, and love.

I’m not perfect. I struggle daily. But the Author of my story knows what He’s doing and I will trust He knows more than I do.

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7-in-7 Day 1: Hold on to the Promise

7-in-7 Day 1….I’ve been in a poetry rut lately, glad for 7-in-7 to help draw it back out of me.

The Promises
As a child she was confused
She just didn’t understand
Why she always felt scared
Lost in a foreign land
There were times that she prayed
Hoping maybe He’d hear
That He’d reach down to her
And remove all her fears
But she didn’t trust
And she believed even less
That God cared for her
Her life was a mess

That scared little girl
Became lost as a teen
Blinded by the anger
From the hurt she had seen
She learned to smile
Through the ache in her soul
Convinced it’d get better
If she had more control
She hid all her emotions
She was too afraid to feel
But when you hide for too long
You forget what is real

So into adulthood
She carried the lies
And she blurred the line
Between truth and disguise
She tried all she could
To find approval and praise
But she never could see
She wouldn’t find it that way
With all that she had
She wanted to believe
“God, if you’re really there
Please come to me.”

Because He is faithful
And true to His Word
He showed her His love
Like He said He would
When she was dying
Drowning in shame
He came down beside her
And He bore her pain
He carried her out
Of the darkness she lived
Showed her she was made
For more than just this

You see, this is a story
I know all too well
Life without God
Was my living hell
Every sin that I had
Weighed down on my back
I tried to save myself
But the ability’s what I lacked
He gave me love
When I deserved death
And He showed me grace
When I had nothing left

The moral of my story here,
It’s as simple as this:
At the end of your rope
Just hold on to the promise
The promise of love
The promise of hope
The promise that no matter what
He won’t let you go


What Children Need

I’ve felt a weird distance between God and myself lately…and I don’t like it!! I know it is me, not God, because He’s promised that He will never leave my side. I know why the distance is there, what I’ve done to create it, but what I haven’t been able to figure out is how to draw closer to Him again.

Until tonight.

I attend an AMAZING church. I came in tonight with a lot my mind, my thoughts scattered, and trying to get myself focused on the wonderful worship going on around me…and with the beginning of the first song, the hardness in my heart melted away and God opened me up to fully praise Him, the way He should be praised, and to listen to¬†and receive His Word with full attention.

So this blog entry is about how this single sermon changed something inside of me. Dave, I’m sorry if I steal quotes from your sermon ūüėČ

The sermon was titled “What Children Need” and it came from Proverbs. When our pastor introduced the sermon I thought, “haha, that’s kind of ironic, parenting is where I’m struggling. God works in funny ways sometimes.” But just like God always does, He uses something intended to teach me about my relationship with someone/something else and teaches me about my relationship with Him.

Proverbs 29:15-18 РThe rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself  brings shame to his mother. When the wicked increase, transgression increases, but the righteous will look upon their downfall. Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.

Discipline is a scary topic for me. I’m afraid of it – not of receiving¬†it, but of giving it. But children need discipline and delight. Discipline without delight makes a child feel¬†rejected and unloved (I know this one from experience). But delight without discipline leaves a child lost in a world with no boundaries. I mean, think about it, if you don’t discipline a toddler/young kid now because you think they’re just too cute/free-spirited/whatever your excuse, what makes you think it’ll get easier as they get older. I love my children, that’s why I need to discipline them. I need to teach them and show them about the world. I need to¬†teach what they can and cannot do. If they don’t learn that it’s dangerous to run out in front of a moving vehicle, what’s going to stop them from doing it?

But in teaching children about dangers in the world, I need to be careful not to make them fearful. Isaiah 41:10 РFear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. My children also need boldness and caution. They need to know the dangers of the world, but they also need to know that they can, prayerfully, take the right safety precautions and face those dangers head on. Life is hard. We love in a broken world. But God is good and God will make straight their paths if they walk with Him. If they walk with Him, He will help them to navigate this scary world. I want to give my children a boldness that tells them that, with God, they can do anything, for nothing is impossible with God. The end goal of parenting is to move my children from dependence on me, to dependence on the Lord.

Children also need holiness and mission. As a parent, I need to protect my children and remind them that God wants to make them holy as He is holy. But God also wants them to be going out and inviting others in to the amazing celebration that happens when you follow Jesus. Be generous. Help those who are stumbling or hurting.

It’s my job to discipline my kids, but I need to pray for guidance. Ultimately, what my kids need is Jesus. God uses parents as the primary vessel to bring Jesus to children. I need to make sure my kids realize that I can’t do this on my own. I can’t do anything without Jesus.

So here is where I also learned something about my relationship with God: I am a child of God and He loves me with an unconditional love that I cannot fathom. But being that I am a child of God, I need realize that He disciplines¬†those He loves. God’s discipline is an amazing guiding¬†tool. God wants what is best for me, and He knows¬†a lot better than I do what that is. If God disciplines me because I am going down the wrong path or doing something dangerous to my soul, I need to follow His guidance and turn from whatever I’m doing. God delights in me. God tells me that I don’t need to be afraid because He is with me and He will strengthen me. But He also says, Deuteronomy 6:16 – You shall not put the LORD your God to the test.¬†God wants me to be holy as He is holy. He wants me to be separate¬†and different from others. But He also wants me to be sharing His love with others. My theory: once you’ve felt the full force of God’s love, mercy, and grace, you physically CAN’T keep it to yourself.

But back to my distance from God for the past week or so. I’ve had family in town and been preparing for Robert to leave for a school a few weeks. I think that it is largely¬†in part of these two factors (a few smaller ones may be included though) that I’ve started to turn back to the thought that I can do things with Him. When things get hard, my natural¬†human instinct is to run and hide from the world and lock everyone out. But God tells me that I need to pray. Philippians 4:6 – Don‚Äôt worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done¬†(I really love how the NLT words this verse).

The moral of my story: We are God’s children and He will discipline us as such. He will never abandon or forsake me. God is always there. Even when I stray, He still forgives me and welcomes me back with open arms…that’s the beauty of grace!


I Am The Woman At The Well

John 4:1-26, 39-42

This comes from the character profile of the woman at he well in the Celebrate Recovery Bible.

“When the Jewish man asked her for a drink, she was wary. Every experience in her life has excluded the possibility that she could trust a man. Her instinctive suspicion was intensified by the fact that she was a Samaritan, an unclean person in the eyes of most Jews. Her suspicions provoked an immediate question: “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (v. 9). Jesus’ reply included an offer of “living water” (v. 10). The suspicious woman had no idea what that might mean, but she knew that men lived to take, not to give. Still, her curiosity overcame her disgust: she did want to know how this strange man thought he could give her water when he had no jar or rope. So she engaged him in conversation, and his responses confused her even more.

The mysterious stranger claimed that he could give her water that would forever quench her thirst, water that would give her eternal life. That sounded too good to be true. She admitted to him that she was ready to end her exhausting trips to the well. But that response didn’t seem to satisfy the man. Impossibly, he revealed his knowledge of her secret shame (vv. 16-18). Her life so far had been bound up in giving men her body in the hope of satisfying her own thirst, her desperate need to be desired – no, to be loved. She had bounced from one destructive relationship to another, a pattern she seemed helpless to change.

This wounded woman was determined to conceal her hurts. Initially, she ignored the truth about her own life and tried to change the painful path this conversation was taking. Clearly the man was a prophet. So it should be easy enough to shift his focus from her onto the religious rift between Samaritans and Jews. But he wouldn’t enter into a debate, choosing instead to inform her simply that an hour was coming when truth would triumph and real worship would be a matter of spiritual condition and truth, not mountaintops or temples (vv. 21-24).

His simple words fired the embers of hope, hidden somewhere deep within and otherwise frozen and aloof heart. He was speaking of the Messiah who would solve all problems, end all conflicts, and answer all questions. Then he threw in the clincher, declaring that he was the Messiah, her Savior (v. 26).

Why did the Samaritan woman find it ard to understand the Master? So hard to focus on the reality of her own need? Sin and shame harden our hearts and prevent our perceptions. We become blind to reality and oblivious to the deliverance available to us in Jesus Christ.

Jesus cared enough for this woman to confront her with her sins and to fan into flame the embers of her hope in a coming Messiah. He was offering her real love, real life. Once she recognized the greatness of the gift, she felt compelled to share it with her fellow villagers (vv. 28-30).”

I find this story eerily familiar to my own. I too have given myself to fill my deepest desires – a desire for love. It’s odd in a sense to picture women 2000 years ago as having the same problems women have today. But it’s captivating to see the beauty in her conversation with Jesus. He knew all of her transgressions, and He loved her anyway.

I also struggled with what Jesus wanted from me when I first believed, because from my experience, men only wanted to take, not give. I didn’t understand what this “living water” was that I had heard about. I didn’t understand the joy and hope that I saw in others; but I was eager to know more and my curiosity overcame my disgust.

Jesus knew me and every sin I would ever commit in my life when He died on the cross, and He still chose to die for me. He knows me better than I know myself and He is always there for me to show love and compassion when I feel abandoned and judged by the rest of the world because of the things I’ve done.

The love of Jesus has kindled a hope in me that I didn’t even know was there. A hope that things will ne better. A hope that I was not meant for this world. A hope of unconditional love. How breathtaking!!

Because of the hope He’s places in me, I cant help but share ot with others. I don’t want to keep it to myself. I just pray that God will use me to help others to know Christ and draw closer to he Father. God never wastes a hurt; He’s going to use me and everything I’ve been through to make a difference.


Joyful Joyful, We Adore You

During the worship service at Grace this morning, we sang Joyful Joyful, We Adore You. I haven’t heard this song in a while, and NEVER before have I heard it the way I heard it today.

As we were singing, I could feel God’s presence as I have never felt it before. It was as if God was in that room with us, standing right next to me. It was the first time I’d ever felt EVERYONE around me shouting out their praise to the Lord. It was breathtaking.

The worship band at Grace is always wonderful, but today, there was something different. There was a joyful presence that seemed to take control.

You see, I was struggling this morning. I wasn’t feeling very well, combined with being tired, but as we started worshiping…none of that mattered. It felt like God and me were the only ones in that room.

“melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the dark of doubt away”

Our God never ceases to amaze me.


Freedom in Trust

This was read during a friends testimony at CR last night – “God will not protect you form things that he will perfect you through.”

This is the poem that I wrote for a wodnerful friend, to go along with his testimony.
Freedom in Trust
Children learn what they live
And he learned to drink
But it wasn’t till later
That he saw the link

In the meantime he drowned
In the pain of his sorrow
Promise after promise
It’d be better tomorrow
He couldn’t get out
Of the sin, he was trapped
And with only his power
He’d see God’s wrath
He was on his way
To death through his sin
But that’s when he gave up
And a Savior came in

Jesus embraced him
And said to him, “Son,
Just give up the battle,
I’ve already won.
Give me your burdens.
Give me your tears.
And don’t ever forget,
I know all your fears.‚ÄĚ

You see, freedom is found
Only in trust
Trust in a Savior
Who’ll never give up
Sin has a price
And pain will ensue
But depending on God
Is what brought him through

I think what I love the most about the Gospel is just the pure freedom we find in trusting Christ. I know, at least for me and maybe everyone else is different from¬†me, that before I had Christ in my life, I was bound, chained, and imprisoned. But the imprisonment was within myself. I was imprisoned in a life of sin that I couldn’t get out of.

Yesterday, I was listening to the Grace Bible Church podcast. And I was listening to a sermon that Pastor Dave preached back in November called Follow the Warrior and I caught a glimpse of something wonderful!! This passage in Mark reminds me of myself.

Mark  5:1-20
They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart and he broke the shackles¬†in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountain he was crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asking him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And they begged Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So He gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

The herdsmen¬†fled and told it in the¬†city¬†and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and the demmon-possessed¬†man, the one who had, had the¬†legion, sitting there, clothed¬†in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. And they began to beg Jesus to depart for their region. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possesses with demons begged Him that he might be with Him. And He did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

Before I knew Christ, my life was uncontrollable. Nothing I did helped and nothing anyone else did could help to subdue it. I was at odds with myself, hurting myself both physically and emotionally. I was imprisoned within myself, with no way to get out. I was uncontrollable. I was the man with the unclean spirit, lonely and hurting, lost and forsaken.

But what I now know¬†is that I was never forsaken because God promises in Hebrews, I will never leave you nor forsake you. I think that, that alone is, for me, one of the most powerful statements. To know that God is ALWAYS with me and that he will NEVER leave me. To know that God ALWAYS loves me and will NEVER give up on me. This is a kind of love that I cannot fathom, it’s beyond my power of recognition. But, I’ll take it ūüôā

Like the demon-possessed man, knowing what Jesus has done for me, I just want to be with Him. Forget about everyone else, I just want to spend my time in His presence and worship Him. Standing in awe of His presence is simply wonderful. I read in a book once, “Once you have been truly saved, you can’t help but worship,” and lately, I’ve found, that this is where I find myself – worshiping Him for all He has done and for all He has yet to do. I know that God who began a good work in me will be faithful to see it through (I don’t know that verse word for word, or even the reference for it, but I love it nonetheless.)

This song is a current favorite of mine right now, I can’t get it out of my head and it’s just a constant reminder of our gret God Robbie Seay Band – Song of Hope.


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