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Worship Warrior Blog

Sharing life lessons I learn along the way….

A brand new year….

Wow, its been a long long time since I wrote on here. I had to look up my username and password to even log in because I forgot! I forgot how much I enjoy writing. I guess after starting the live video on Facebook writing took a back seat. I won’t bore you with the details of my year. It was a good year. God was faithful. I stepped out of the boat and made some changes. I do want to tell you about what happened this morning. I have been having a struggle that has been ongoing. I thought I would deal with it and it would keep coming up. It was crippling me and holding me back and I was getting so frustrated. I felt like every time I prayed about it God was silent. Without getting into the details to much, I was holding onto a hurt and offense. I felt like I was wronged and misunderstood. I would ask forgiveness and I would release the hurt and pray blessing. I would be good for a week or two and then something would come up that would trigger this again, and I would be right back there as if it just happened that day. Talk about a drag. I was getting so annoyed. I was having my quiet time this morning and was sitting at my piano worshipping. The Lord gave me a picture of Abraham and Isaac and how God asked Abraham to sacrifice him. I saw myself standing beside the alter and God asking me to lay those things on the alter that were becoming bigger than Him. I thought of one. Then He asked me to place the things that were holding me back. There were two. Then He said write them on a paper and “Sacrifice” them. Burn them up. I was like ok but that’s kinda weird. I got paper and wrote down the three things. Then He said start with the hardest one. I knew right away it was the hurt/offense I was carrying. I got a metal bowl and a match and lit it on fire. Guys it burned the whole way around the word but not the word! I was like seriously?IMG_2197[288]                                                                                      So I tried again and again and again! IMG_2199[292]

7 matches and one burnt finger later it was finally all burned up. The second hardest one took only 2 matches and the last one burned with one in 2 seconds. As I was sitting here reflecting and writing in my journal I felt God speaking to me. “You would forgive  and let go of 99% of your offense. But you were hanging on to that 1% for dear life. You had to dig deep and work hard to get that 1% out of there. Your finger got burnt burning that 1% but you couldn’t find healing until you first felt the pain of that 1%. It seemed small and insignificant but it was causing more damage than you knew. Like a tiny pebble in a shoe. Doesn’t seem like much but it affects the whole body. The sore finger is a reminder of the importance of dealing with something 100% and not hanging on to even 1% of any sin.” Do you know what 7 represents in the Bible? Perfection and rest and abundance. I believe that God wanted to show me a visual illustration of my inner struggle. He wanted me to know that He saw it and cared about it and was patiently trying to show me and teach me. Then He wanted to show me that when I did finally get it that He would bring rest and abundance into my life. He wanted me to see that when I am walking in step and riding in tandum with Him I can experience His perfection. He continues to work on me. He is continuing to perfect me. He loves me so much that He know I needed a visual. I was desperate for breakthrough this morning. I knew He could bring it. I just had to be obedient before Him. The more I learn of Him the more I am keenly aware of how much I yet have to learn. The more I fill myself with Him the less likely I am to screw things up. I NEED Him. I need Him like I need air. I want to walk with eyes wide open into the new year being fully aware of who I am in Him and why I need Him every second of every minute of every hour of every day. I want to be humble enough to see my faults, strong enough to deal with them, and brave enough to share them. Some of you may have some things that need to be left in 2017 and not drug into 2018. What is God asking you to lay down and burn on His alter today? Be obedient. I immediately felt a shift in my spirit and attitude when I was obedient. Sometimes we like to pretend we got it all under control, but the only person you are fooling is yourself and maybe others. God knows and sees it all anyway and He is so gentle in His correction. You should never feel shame or self hatred. Believe me I felt so much shame and self hatred the past month and I couldn’t shake it. I tried and tried, but because I agreed with the devil on that 1% I had given him authority in my life. And he doesn’t bring peace He brings chaos and despair. God loves you so much and wants to give you His good gifts. He’s a good daddy. Turn to Him. He will never turn you away.

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When you’re tired of the waiting….

20161004_100300What is one to do when they are so sick of waiting for “it” to happen? Especially when you’re not even sure what “it” is. The only thing you do know is there is a restlessness and a yearning eating you up inside. You’re waiting for a fulfillment of a promise or a dream for years and it seems like life is just passing you by. You seemingly go unnoticed, overlooked, you feel insignificant, undervalued and under appreciated. You realize you’re not 20 anymore and think somehow somewhere along the way you missed “it”.  You try so hard to be content and you do find joy in serving where you’re at. You diligently serve your family, friends and church. You are a friend and servant to all, and even though you are finding joy and satisfaction knowing you are loving and helping others there is still a knowing sensation inside of you that it is not enough. You want more. So much more. What do you do when you lose hope of ever seeing your dreams and aspirations become a reality? What do you do when you cry out to God and all you get is silence or that dreaded word…”wait”? I am so sick of waiting Lord. Can you throw me something? Anything to hold me over till the time for “it” comes. Are all these dreams inside of me not for me? Are they some kind of sick joke? It’s so easy to get sidetracked or allow myself to fall into the trap of shallow distraction.  How does one keep singularly focused and fully passionate in the waiting? I am truly happy for those around me who are seeing their dreams realized and fulfilling their destinies.  I cheer them on and celebrate their success, but inside I die just a little more. I have days where I say to myself “That’s enough! Stop feeling sorry for yourself Melanie! Maybe your calling in life is to support and get behind those around you who are reaching for their dreams” I repent for allowing jealously, fear, anger or bitterness to creep in. I rebuke the victim spirit, I proclaim the promises of God over my life. I look back and thank Him for what He’s already done and all the good things He has blessed me with. And yet still some days I feel crushed and overwhelmed with it all. I think to myself, “How can I be feeling this way again? How can I allow those thoughts and feelings to find their way into my mind and heart again? What in the Sam Hill is wrong with me?” So what do you do when the answers don’t come? What? What do you do when you dig into the word of God, cry out to Him, bring Him a sacrifice of worship and things seem to go from bad to worse? What do you do when you feel your faith weakening and your hope dying and your flame of passion flickering and slowly going out?  What do you do when you feel your heart hardening? What I ask you? What? What do you do when you keep plugging away doing things you don’t feel like doing, but have to anyway? What do you do when all you want to do is cry, scream, punch something and throw yourself on the floor? What do you do when a dark cloud seems to follow you around trying to suck you into its darkness and tempts you to succumb to your sinful nature. What if it doesn’t leave you alone no matter now much you pray, worship, rebuke, repent, and break off?? WHAT???? I know some of you just don’t get it and it’s not your struggle.  Maybe you’re thinking  I am being super dramatic, but I do know that there are those out there who know EXACTLY what I am talking about. I am writing this for you.  So if this isn’t for you and all you are going to do is hardcore judge those of us who have this struggle then stop reading. I am at the point in my life that I just really don’t care if people judge me for being open with my struggles because I know there are a 1,000 more who may be where I am and just need one person to be brave enough to share their story and let them know it’s ok that you aren’t crazy or weird or a loser. So back to the question at hand. What is one to do? Well you and I can do one of two things.  We can roll over and give up. Succumb to the darkness, give in to the temptation and throw it all away. Or we can dig in our heels and say “Jesus help me. I choose to trust you even though I can’t see, hear, or feel you right now.” And then wait some more. The outcome and consequences of each response if vastly different. When you give in to the flesh you are giving up ground to the enemy. The things you find to substitute God’s plan for your life will leave you feeling even more confused, empty and unfulfilled. The anger gets worse, the emptiness deeper, and the loss of hope will crush your spirit. But when you choose to say “Jesus, I need you and I choose to trust you.” the cloud of lies and doubt begins to dissipate. You can get glimpses of God. You have a clearer memory of the things He’s already done for you. Things that the devil wants you to forget. You begin to realize that you are playing right into the hand of the devil by believing these lies he’s filled your mind with. Then bit by bit you begin to have clarity of where God has actually been moving and speaking. And where you thought He was silent and you were forgotten you understand now that your seeing and hearing and feeling Him had just been clouded and drown out by the whispers of Satan and his stupid little minions. Little by little, baby step by baby step you can begin to move forward. You begin to find joy in the small things again. It doesn’t magically happen in an instant but each day a retraining of your  mind, a refocus of your eyes and a recheck of your heart gets you moving in the direction you need to go. There is this misconception out there, the “health and wealth” gospel so to speak, that if you are truly a Christian your life will be just peachy and your struggles will be few and far between. And if you continue to struggle well then you must not really be a true born again believer. Or another view which happens to be my favorite because its been told to me more than once “You must still have sin in your life” Well duh!!! Of course I still do. We all do. We will not reach our complete wholeness until the day we reach our reward…heaven. We can and do walk in victory as followers of Christ, but every victory requires a battle. A football player just doesn’t magically become immune to the tackles of the opposing team just because he prepares himself before his “battle” each week. When he signed up to play for that team he didn’t have to stop preparing and training. If he got discouraged and angry and started yelling at and blaming his coach each time he got hit or tackled we would think him ridiculous.   But in a sense that is exactly what we do when we blame God or get angry at God for not “protecting” us or stopping the enemy. Its all part of the “game” of life. After a hit or a loss a player goes back to his locker room regroups an watches tapes of the game to see where his own weakness and strengths are, as well as his opponents. Then he readjusts what he needs to and goes back to it week after week. Winning some and losing some. When he loses he doesn’t give up and walk off the field, he digs deep and keeps fighting. When a player loses do we say “Oh he mustn’t really be a football player.”? No!  He is still a player and a good one, but maybe just had an off day. We may not have tapes to watch, but we do have the amazing Holy Spirit who is our teacher, guide, cheerleader, and trainer all in one. He is an amazing gift and we need to listen when He speaks, instructs, rebukes, challenges and loves on us! So what are you gonna do? Give up? Give in? Roll over?  Or are you gonna trust God,  knowing that He is a good Father and there must be a really good reason for the waiting. Keep fighting friend! Don’t let that stupid devil win. He may have won a battle or two in your life, but he will NOT win the war! You’ve got the God of angel armies on your side!

Some days a saint…most days a sinner

20160921_140822So yesterday was Sunday. I was on worship and feeling the presence of the Lord. I was lifting my hands and worshipping freely with passion. It was real. It wasn’t a put on or fake. Then I came home and threw a lemon at my husband. Yup I sure did. I whipped that lemon across the kitchen because well, I was annoyed, frustrated and angry at him. The lemon was the closest thing I could get my hands on in a short time. I was aiming for the head but because I’m a bad shot it hit his shoulder. Then he laughed which enraged me more and rather heated argument ensued. To be honest if I had another lemon in close proximity it would’ve went flying. Does this make me a hypocrite? No I don’t think so. This is what a sinner saved by grace looks like.  This is what living in a fallen sinful world looks like. This is what marriage looks like sometimes.(Come on lets be honest. You may have not actually thrown a real lemon at your spouse but admit it there were times you probably did in your head) This is what Paul was referring to in Romans 7 when he said “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is,  in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is the sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law, but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner law of sin at work within me.”  Wowzers, sounds so dreadful when he states it like that, but I totally get it. But where does that leave us? Are we to roll over and say “Well, I have a sinful nature and I will just keep on sinning. Nothing I can do to stop it.”?  No, no, no!! Galatians 2:20 says “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless.”

So what does all this mean? It means that just because I give my life to Jesus my sinful nature just doesn’t  magically disappear. It means because I am still alive and breathing I am living in a fallen world. The enemy wants nothing more than to destroy me. Becoming a Christian doesn’t make me immune to the attacks of the enemy. He will keep coming at me. He will keep testing and tempting me. The difference now is that I have an arsenal of weapons. It means “The Spirit of God, who  raised Jesus from the dead now lives inside of me (you)!” Romans 8:11. The Bible is full of verses encouraging us to keep the faith, stay the course, never give up. “But you belong to God, my dear children You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” 1 John 4:4. I will continually have these battles. What changes is how I fight them. As I grow in my faith, as I understand more what a relationship with God looks like, as I become more in tune with Holy Spirit, I will become aware faster when its an attack of the enemy and my response will change. So instead of throwing a lemon, maybe I will progress to throwing something softer, then throwing nothing at all, then walking away, then handling my anger with grace and patience rather than unforgiveness and agitation.

I am a work in progress. I cling to the promise that “I am certain that God, who began the good work within me (you), will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” Phillipians 1:6. I may have days I throw things, or say things or do things I shouldn’t. I will ask for forgiveness. I will keep moving forward. I will not allow shame to make me feel like I am a bad person. I will keep asking Jesus to transform and change me.  No matter what, I am still a child of God and He loves me!!  But until the day I have reached perfection someone might want to buy my husband a helmet.

 

How He loves…..

I was recently thinking back over a situation and a conversation I had with my daughter. She just came back from doing a leadership track with Circuit Riders in California. She was originally planning on driving out with a caravan of other kids from DC to California and was super excited about that adventure of the cross country trip with friends. The day they were set to leave she had her car all loaded and met up with friends in DC when her check engine light came on. She took the car to the garage and it was determined that it was something pretty serious that she shouldn’t drive the car across country. It was with major disappointment and many tears that she drove home again. The questions started coming. Why? We just had the car gone over 2 weeks prior to make sure it was in good driving condition for the long trip. The mechanic said it was sound and he would drive it. So why? Why on the day she was to leave would it come on? As I helped her process she still kept declaring God’s goodness and faithfulness.  We prayed and felt like it wasn’t because God was playing a mean joke but there was a purpose for her to fly instead of drive. She flew out and nothing out of the ordinary happened. She went about her school and flew home again. On the way home, she met a lady Julie in the airport who the Holy Spirit prompted her to strike up a conversation with. He told her to ask about the Julie’s daughter. She proceeded to talk with this woman for an hour and found out that her relationship with her daughter was strained, that she had severe epilepsy, and that she was a lesbian. Emily asked her all about her wife and showered her with the love of Jesus. She then asked if she could pray with her and for her relationship with her daughter and for her epilepsy. As they sat in the middle of the busy terminal, the Lord in His tender mercy touched Julie. She encountered the living God and felt His presence and His love. After hearing this story it struck me that this was the reason for the last minute change in Emily’s travel plans. God knew that on that day at that time Julie would be sitting in the airport needing a touch from Him.  As disappointing as it was for Emily, God knew that their paths would cross in 4 weeks time, and He had a divine appointment with Emily and Julie. God wanted this lady to experience His love through Emily. How many times do things “fall through” and we get all angry at God and think He doesn’t care about us?  We rant and rave and feel sorry for ourselves and completely miss the divine appointment that God was setting up for us. What if His love for His children is so great that He will change your plans so that you can meet someone who needs to see Jesus? What if He trusts you enough to know that your faith will sustain a disappointment because we have the assurance that all things work together for His good? What if we would live our lives in blind faith and complete surrender to Jesus knowing  that this life is not our own? We are here for a greater purpose, the purpose of bringing the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth together. I had to think of the line from the song  “How He Loves”…..”when heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss”…. What if you are the “sloppy wet kiss” of Jesus? It’s hard to share the love of Jesus with others when we are mad at Him. What circumstance in your life needs an perspective adjustment? Ask the Lord to show you the reason for a sudden change or disappointment. Most likely there is a higher purpose. Can you imagine how much God must love you to completely train wreck the carefully made plans of someone else so that they can cross your path? WOW! Mind blown. I pray today that you feel God’s love even in the midst of a disappointment so that you can share that love with someone else who really needs it!!

“How He Loves”

He is jealous for me

Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree

Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy

When all of a sudden

I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory

And I realize just how beautiful You are

And how great Your affections are for me.

 He loves us

Oh how He loves us

Oh how He loves us

 Oh how He loves us

We are His portion and He is our prize

Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes

If His graces is an ocean we’re all sinking

When heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss

And my heart turns violently inside my chest

I don’t have time to maintain these regrets

When I think about the way…..

Run the race…

 Someone recently asked me why I do these obstacle course races. Couldn’t my money be better and more responsibly spent elsewhere? Well of course it probably could. We all have our guilty pleasures, but that’s for another day. But it did get me to thinking…why? What is it about them that I love? I remember even as a kid at a little Mennonite school we had an obstacle course race on field day. It was my absolute favorite event by a long shot! If my memory serves me correctly I usually came in first at least in the girls and I think I even beat some of the boys 🙂 At my senior banquet I won
the most athletic award. I loved doing all things sports. Fast forward 20 years. I always tried to exercise but having 4 kids in 7 years kinda put a damper on that. Plus I had one with all kinds of health issues so was constantly running to the dr and hospital. About 5 years ago I was a stressed mess and hated how I had let the weight pile on. So I started working out with my tentant who happened to be a personal trainer. We worked hard. I was seeing results, lost weight, etc. Then I broke my leg. Was so stubborn I didn’t go to the dr for 2.5 months and kept hobbling around. Long story short I ended up having to have surgery and all I worked for went down the crapper. Then I heard about this thing called the Spartan Race and I was fascinated. Sounded so so fun, but in my head I thought I can not do that. First of all I hate hiking and it requires a lot of that. Plus the obstacles looked hard. I am to weak, to out of shape, etc etc. I wanted to do it so badly but was afraid I couldn’t. I did sign up 3 times and something legitimately came up that I couldn’t do it but I was secretly relieved. Finally last year I sucked it up and decided to try one. 8 weeks post hysterectomy surgery. I did horrible!! Cried part way through because I was in such pain and wanted to quit. I was with an amazing group of people who wouldn’t let me give up and didn’t make me feel like I sucked (when I knew I did big time haha). Something happened when I finally crossed that finish line. I had faced my fears of failure, fear of thinking I couldn’t do it, fear of looking stupid and I had done it. I didn’t do it well, but I did it! It affected me so deeply. Not just physically but spiritually as well. You see my hubby and I were in the midst of a hard hard season. One that was scary, painful, frustrating. I was getting so discouraged in my personal life wanting to give up. Throw my hands in the air and walk away and say “This is to freakin hard! I don’t want to do this anymore!!” But just as I had people on that mountain cheering me on, yelling at me to not quit, the Holy Spirit was speaking to my heart at home cheering me on, yelling at me to not quit!! He would say to me “Melanie when you cross that finish line it will ALL be worth it!” Whether you are literally on a mountainside struggling to walk up black diamond carrying a sand bag or a figurative mountain in your life struggling through a hard season, keep putting one foot in front of the other and when you cross that finish line all that struggle will fade away. You may be a little bruised and beat up but the feeling of not giving up???? Priceless!! Your body and spirit may be beat down and bruised and bleeding, but when you give your life to Jesus, NO ONE and NOTHING can touch your soul! That part of you that when you have the assurance of salvation and know that when you breath your last on this earth you will be ushered across the finish line with the crowds of heaven cheering and Jesus greeting you saying “Well done!!!” I know we have heard it before but it such an encouraging thought, “it matters not how you start, but how you end” You may have started strong (or maybe haven’t started at all) but somewhere in the middle got off track, or it got hard and knocked you down and around and right now you are bruised and bleeding and maybe you walked off the course all together. Turn around, keep walking, keep fighting, do not give up, do not give in!!! You’ve got people in your corner cheering you on. And if you feel you don’t well then call me! I’ll yell at you 🙂 I’m pretty good at that according to my kids! So why do I do these races??? Well they make me face my fears and dig deep and do things I never thought I could do. You can do more than you think you can. Its usually our minds that hold us back. Plus its fun to crawl through mud once in awhile.
Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up and let us run with endurance the race God has set before us”

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Hello, it’s me…

So I’ve taken a little break from writing. Not because I necessarily wanted to, but you know life just gets in the way and I feel like I have nothing to write about. No amazing God moments or epiphanies. Just life. But this morning I was thinking how incredibly blessed I really am. I mean had I lived in old testament Bible times, God only spoke to prophets and sometimes it went years and years without hearing anything from Him. Can you imagine the kind of faith that would require to keep believing? And I can NOT imagine life without the gift of Holy Spirit. Like seriously. So the past month I have focused on myself. I know that sounds selfish but it’s not in the way you’re thinking. Each year as I get older I realize more and more my desperate need of Jesus in my life. I am not a nice person without Him. Yet somehow I go through these times where I still try and do it on my own. And then I promptly faceplant. You know the bad attitudes, pride, taking on offense, selfishness, etc, etc just creep in. Then all of a sudden I’m like “Ewwww, I don’t like myself right now. I am getting ugly” and not in a physical way, but in a character and attitude way. Oh sigh, I am like Paul in Romans where he says in chapter 7 verse 19 “I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway” (kinda like when I ate 2 donuts at one time. I didn’t want to even eat one, but somehow I ate two!) So I’ve been reading more (I keep rereading James Goll book, “The Lost Art of Pure Worship”) and being very aware of what is coming out of my mouth. Trying to speak words of life not death. Trying to catch bad attitudes I may develop right away and nip them in the bud before they blossom into full blown offenses. I am trying to set a good example to those who look up to me. I am trying to actually think before I blurt out words. (I sometimes could use a better filter) I am trying to see a need and fill a need. Looking for ways to serve others. I am trying to be an encourager and a lover. Not a putter downer and a fighter. Though my sassy side sometimes screams to be heard. Just ask my husband. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but see myself as a masterpiece in the making. Just as and artist sometimes has to erase or start over, so must I. God comes in and ever so nicely says, “Hey there Melanie there is this little area over here that is not under my authority. Its running rogue. It may seem little but if let go will get big and ugly fast” I don’t beat myself up about it (though in the past I have). I just repent and move on. So thankful that if I confess my sin He is faithful and just to forgive me and then He forgets it. Now I may have to go make things right with someone or something, but then I need to let it go and not allow shame and condemnation to keep whispering in my ear! So, nothing super profound or amazing this post, but I am trying to count my blessings and trying to honor God in every season of my life. Some seasons are just so dang boring sometimes though. Like if I have to wash one more dish or do one more load of laundry or make one more meal I might scream from the monotony of doing it for the 1000th time, but then again need to say “Thank you I have running water, food, clothes, etc etc” because many people in this world are not blessed like me and pray for the things I can complain about. Well that about does it for me. I think I am out of inspiration for now. Be Blessed my friends!

We cast down our idols….

Last night at EHOP (Eastgate House of Prayer) we were deep in the Presence of God. Our worship was so powerful and straight to His heart. Every person on the team was in unity and we were going hard after God. I found myself singing a prophetic chorus “We cast down our idols, its only Jesus that we seek. We cast down our idols, laying them at His feet” or something along those lines. Sometimes when you are in the middle of it, it is hard to remember what exactly you were singing. Anyway as I was singing that the conviction of the Holy Spirit came upon me. He said “Melanie, you have a pretty big idol in your life that you need to cast down.” I knew immediately in my heart what it was. I have been battling with it for months and months and tried to surrender it over again, but the reason I couldn’t truly lay it down was because it had become my idol and I hadn’t recognized it as such yet. As I was there ministering to Jesus and singing His praises He was ministering to me. He is so gentle with us in our sin. Never condemning.  So right there on the stage I repented. You see I had allowed my calling and anointing and love of worship leading become an idol. I was so focused on MY calling, what I had offer, MY abilities, and My gift that it became all about ME. I was getting offended and hurt and feeling overlooked because I felt like who wouldn’t want ME and MY awesomeness to sing and play for them. Notice all those I,ME, and MY’s? It became all about me. I had allowed myself to get puffed up and thought I had something to offer the world. Why wasn’t the “world” wanting to use me more??  After all I had had many prophesies over the years about me and my calling. Were they all wrong? Was the “world” not ready for me and my perceived amazing abilities? I realized last night I was the one not ready. My heart somehow had gotten all muddled and my motives had become upside down. Wow, did that set me back on my butt or what?? I strive to be humble and deep down I know without Him, all it is is music. I NEED Him to lead me to guide me to make up for what I am lacking.  If I go into something thinking “Wow how awesome was I? Look what I did for God. He must really be pleased with me” instead of thinking “Wow, how amazing is it that God chooses to use me in my imperfection and my weakness and brokenness to do His will through me. I am just a vessel He pours His greatness through.” I will miss all that He has for me. I will operate in my own strength and when I feel overlooked or someone used only when all the “better” people were busy, then I will feel hurt and get offended instead of looking at each opportunity as a great privilege to be used by Him and for Him. Sometimes the repenting part is the easy part. It’s what He may require after that (where the rubber meets the road) that is the real test of whether or not I really meant it. So He asked me to give up EHOP for the month of February. After I had been asked to be the worship leader for one of the nights!!!!! Here’s where the stomping and fits of “Why?” could come in but I did the hard thing and told my leader I needed to be taken off the schedule for a month to show God that I really did cast down that idol in my life.  Now I don’t say all of this to make myself look like I’m some kind of goody goody. Exactly the opposite. Do you know how hard it is to be this honest about something I am so passionate about and something I love to do so much? To admit that I was being prideful? To admit that somehow I thought God needed me, that I was a gift to the world?? So.very.hard!! I am not trying to belittle the callings we have on our life, but when that calling becomes more important than the One who calls, that is where it becomes problematic. I want to be focused only on Him, the One worthy of all my life, worship, and sacrifice. Without Him and His power at work in my life I can only go so far. I recently read a book by Priscilla Shirer called “God Is Able” in there she talks how many of us don’t tap into and rely on God’s power.  She says “God doesn’t have power, He IS power. Power is built right into HIs personhood so it exists in unending supply. This unrelenting supply of power is the bottomless well from which we draw.” So why do we think we have to do it on our own, or it is about us? Sinful nature and pride I guess. What is it in your life that has become your idol? What are you trying to do on your own strength? Just some food for thought today. Chew on it awhile and ask Holy Spirit what in your life you have allowed something other than Him to sit on the throne of your heart. I will leave you with the words of this song that has become the cry of my heart!

“Give Us Clean Hands”

We bow our hearts, we bend our knees

Oh Spirit come and make us humble

We turn our eyes from evil things

Oh Lord we cast down our idols

Give us clean hands

Give us pure hearts

Let us not lift our souls to another

O God let us be

A generation that seeks

That seeks Your face

O God of Jacob

 

 

Worship the One who is worthy….

20150812_104304-1Ephesians 6:12 “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers of darkness, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” but we have this hope “Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world!” When we exalt the name of Jesus demons run and flee…what are you up against today? Remember the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you!! Worship the One is worthy of worship..lift the name of Jesus as a banner over your situation and declare that He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and then wait in anticipation for Him to move! Fill us with supernatural faith today God to believe in the impossible!!

A Christmas Story for the books….

Screenshot_2016-01-08-10-58-30-1Merry Christmas everyone! As I was sitting here this morning reflecting on the meaning of Christmas, and what sacrifice it really was for God to send Jesus, and the sacrifice it was for Jesus I had to think back to our day yesterday. If you just indulge me for a moment I have quite the story to tell. Let me start at the beginning…..
Tuesday was a busy exciting day as the kids and I did all the last minute things to prepare for our long drive to Sarasota Florida. We left our house around 6:30pm with a little less enthusiasm as the kids were already fighting and we didn’t even make it 5 miles up the road. Needless to say I was at that point that you get to when in a confined space with 4 fighting kids….”Why didn’t I pack some wine?”  Anyway things settled down and we buzzed down the road. We drove in rain the entire way until we hit the Florida line. By noon Wednesday we had made it to our destination. We were exhausted and the last 20 miles talking about who would get the shower first and how a bed would feel so wonderful.  I walked to the front door of our rental house looking for the hiding spot of the key but the key was no where to be found. We checked and rechecked and checked the house number again. Yes we were definitely at the right house. Zach walked around back and found that the back door was opened. I was on the phone with the homeowner when Zach opened the front door with a weird look on his face. He said “I  think someone is already staying here.”  WHAT?! this couldn’t be. I was waiting for a call back from the homeowner hoping he was going to say we were a little early and they were coming to clean up and leave. We all had to use the bathroom so we did only to find water in the tub and toiletries all over the sink. I started at this point getting the feeling these people were here to stay. We got the call that there was a mixup and they thought we were coming next year. Oops! The homeowner felt awful.  We were so tired! I tried to tell the kids and mostly myself that we will one day look back on this and laugh but today is NOT that day. Thankfully there was another apartment that my mother in law and sister in laws were staying in close by that we could go to because they hadn’t arrived yet. We had the option to stay there but we then we would’ve displaced them and knowing first hand how that felt didn’t think it would be nice. We went there so Kent could at least sleep awhile. I made some phone calls, talked to some strangers, and got taken into a strangers very stinky scary looking house, all in hopes that a place would miracously show up. But alas every “inn” was full. There was no room for all 7 of us. Room for 4, but I just couldn’t get rid of anyone. (Though 300 miles ago I would’ve gladly thrown a couple of them out because the fighting had started back up). Then Kent’s aunt called and said she found a house that the owner wasn’t coming until Tuesday that we could stay in. YAY!! Praise God!! But, its been empty since April and may be dirty….Oh well at this point I didn’t care. We went and looked at it and it didn’t seem to bad. We went back and woke up Kent. He had been blissfully sleeping for 2 hours. When we got a closer look it was waaay dirtier than I thought. Ok who cares right? I’m not afraid of a little dirt, BUT bugs and especially cockroaches……well that’s a whole other thing. The kids all picked bedrooms and when I walked into ours I discovered why they all passed……there were ants and cockroaches everywhere. On the floor, the walls, the windows, and as I carefully pulled back the covers….gasp…in the bed!!!! We got to work cleaning. Found a sweeper and some cleaning supplies. Each time I came across a cockroach my heart skipped a beat. I stripped the bed and washed all the sheets and bedding. By this time I am so tired because I didn’t sleep much on the ride here and had taken my turn driving as well. Kent decided to take the boys grocery shopping and told me to shower and lay down (on another bed of course). He left and I opened up our Rubbermaid tote. ( We had 4 totes that we put on the back of the Expedition on a platform) All of our clothes were soaked. Not just damp, but dripping wet!!! I quickly checked the kids totes, and thankfully they were all dry. I dug out our soaps and shampoo and went to the bathroom. I thought well I don’t have clean dry clothes but at least I can take a warm shower and I’ll figure out what to do after that. A shower will make it all better. I walked into the bathroom and you guessed it….more cockroaches. At this point I calmly picked them up and flushed them. I am to tired to care. I open the shower curtain uh huh, more bugs. I washed them down the drain. Then tried to turn on the shower. The water worked but the shower head did not. Ok well I’ll just take a bath then. Well the drain plug was broken. So as I stand there in my birthday suit in a cold tub, I actually said out loud…ok very loudly…”Are you kidding me?!?!?!?!” Seriously what more could go wrong? So I awkwardly kneel trying to splash lukewarm water on myself and wash my hair. When I’m about 3/4’s of the way done I notice another drain plug behind a bottle of shampoo that was already in the shower. YESSSS! I plug up the hole and sit back to relax as I let the tub fill. And all of a sudden I’m feeling things bump against me. MORE FREAKING BUGS!!!!! There were some between the shower curtains and when the water filled up they had no where to go but in the water and on me. Believe it or not, I didn’t scream, I didn’t move, I just sat there. First time in my life I’ve ever had a bath with so many bug buddies. I think I may have hallucinated from exhaustion at this point because the rest of my “bath” was a bit of a blur. I got out wrapped a towel around my head and body and sit on the edge of my bed waiting for some clothes to dry so I can get dressed. As I sat there I had a heart to heart with God. I had been praying for weeks that this would be an amazing, memory filled vacation. Why was He letting all this happen? Why was it my room and bed that had the bugs, my clothes that got wet, me that had the first bug laden bath? Then I had to think about how Jesus left all His comforts of heaven to come here. His first hours of life were spend in a barn that I’m sure was much dirtier and smellier than my house. He took on all the pain and shame so I wouldn’t have to. And I’m sure He did it willingly and gladly, not shouting while naked in the shower “Are You KIDDING ME FATHER?” So I was a bit convicted and overwhelmed all at the same time. He gave it all, bore it all, and loved so deeply just for me. I wouldn’t have wanted any of my kids to have to sleep in a bug filled room and bed, have wet clothes or take a bath with bugs. I would be paying for therapy to help them overcome that for years to come. No, I gladly and willingly take on the inconveniences so they can enjoy this vacation. Honestly people, I do not make this stuff up!!! I don’t know why the crazy stuff happens to me but it does and I have a choice…I can get mad or I can look at it as a privilege that I get to experience it, so I can learn something and share with you. And hopefully make you laugh a little along the way.  Merry Christmas all from warm, sunny, bug filled Florida!!

PS…we are very thankful for this house!! Its a wonderful blessing.


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