Monday, March 24, 2014

The Enemy Will Not Win

This past week has been such a roller coaster. Lindsey had the flu, spring break was over and that meant a pile of homework and I was preparing to give my testimony at Celebrate Recovery. I was so stressed out and exhausted. My step dad made an interesting observation of how it wasn't a coincidence all that was happening at the same time. The devil was at work. He wanted to distract me from my testimony and delivering it at church. He wanted to exhaust me and detour me from praising God in my words. 

However, the enemy did not win. 

On Thursday I got up on stage and spoke for almost 20 minutes about my past, present, future and how they are all to the glory of God. I have wrote about my difficult relationship with Lindsey's dad and touched on that during my talk but I also let the people there into a part of my past that I hid so deeply my family didn't even know about until a few weeks ago. Im not completely ready to go into detail here with that information but I know it touched many people in that audience. 

My mom told me that as I spoke the words blanketed the crowd. There were tears, laughs, and many amens. I think the best compliment I received that night was that you could see Christ through me. I can't even explain how my heart felt after hearing that. God has done so much in my life that if I can offer a glimpse of His grace, I consider my life well lived.

 Many amazing moments came out of that night. A girl came up to me after I spoke and she told me earlier that day she had decided she didn't want to go to heaven and even questioned her faith in Christ because of what happened to her when she was younger. I spoke with her for a while and prayed with her, lifting her up to the one who heals all hurt. Later that evening she came up to me and told me that because of my testimony and our talk she was reconsidering her recent feelings of heaven and her faith in Christ. 

God is so amazing. 

I remember praying for days leading up to the talk that if I could touch one person, and if one person's faith in Christ was strengthened because of my testimony I would be happy. I prayed that my words would be God's words and that it would only bring Him glory. Not me. I do not deserve any of it. I may have gotten up on that stage but it was God who gave me the words. God who gave me the strength. It was Him who brought me through those storms. He has done so many amazing things in my life and I know this is only the beginning. 

The director of Solus Christus, a christian center for woman, wants me to come out to their center and talk to the girls there. I told her I would be beyond happy to do that. My life has not been easy but God's grace and strength has brought me through every storm and to be able to share that with others would be my dream. For now Ill keep praying. God has big things in store for me.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8: 28 ESV

Heavenly Father I ask you to guide me to bring you glory in any way you will. Take my story and make it all to praise you. You are the author and perfecter of our faith. I praise you for all you have done in my life and all you will do. 
I ask this all in your sons name,

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Unspeakable Joy

This past Saturday i attended a conference held at my church. It was organized by Encouragement Cafe and JOY Fm. This is the second year Unspeakable Joy has been held at my church and I am so glad I was able to attend this year. It truly was refreshment for my thirsty soul. There were women speakers and Sisters performed. I had never heard of them but oh man those girls have some serious talent! 

The verse for this year was "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy"
1 Peter 1:8

There were a few key points that really spoke to me during the conference and I would like to share them:

Carol Davis spoke on how often we trade God's promises for a plastic substitute. I do not know about you but this was like a smack in my face. I have really been focusing and praying to keep hold to God's word and not compromise any of his promises for me. 

She also pointed out that following God is harder and can be more confusing than if we were to just do it ourselves. Let me tell you from first hand experience: doing it on your own may seem easier and make more sense but its not worth it! God has a better plan for your life than we could EVER imagine. This is one truth I cling to with all my heart. I know following God is not always an easy or understandable task but Christ says "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30

Carol also touched on how easy it is for us to hold onto the things we are not proud of. She asked the question, Why do we remember what God has already forgotten? Isn't that such a profound question? So many of us think God could never use us or love us because of what we did in our past. However, God sent his only Son to die on the cross for those mistakes in the past so our slates would be washed clean!! That gives me so much comfort y'all because my closet has some serious skeletons. But if i were to focus on them instead of lifting them up to the father I would harbor serious guilt and feelings of being ashamed. Not how I want to live and how great is it we don't have to! "Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good." Psalm 25:7

Our name snow redeemed through Christ our Savior. That fact alone makes me want to shout from the rooftop the amazing grace of our God. Its our job to reach out to others and share that amazing grace.  

Nia Davenport spoke of giving our tithes to Christ and her words sat so heavy on my heart. It has always been so hard for me to give to the church or those in need. At least monetarily. I will volunteer  in a second or give someone a hand but give my hard earned money away? No thank you! Nia really opened my eyes to how obeying God in our finances pleases Him and he always rewards those who are faithful to Him.  She broke it down into 3 steps:

1. Knowing God- having intimate knowledge of just who He is 
-He is good Psalm 34
-He is love 1 John 4
-He is generous Psalm 145
2. Obeying God- willing to follow His directions
- Giving our first portion to Him consistently Malachi 3:10
3. Trusting God- we need to release our protective grip on money, for he always provides
 -Giving generously Luke 6:28

The last few things I took from this seminar was how we are a new creation in Christ. Without Jesus there are just bandaids to cover our wounds, but we need heart surgery. He takes what is old and uses them for His purpose in a new way. We are called to bring what God has given to us. I have really been praying about this last point. Ive been struggling to find what God has called me to do to serve Him. My heart yearns to serve Him Im just not sure where he wants me yet. I know I must be patient,  He will call on me when He knows its right. 

It was an awesome, Christ-filled weekend. I am so thankful I was able to spend it with God loving women just loving God all day long!