Sunday, November 30, 2014

Unusual by Francesca Battestelli

“You’re a zebra in a pony show, you wear your faith just like a light standing up for Jesus name living out what you believe being who you were made to be. Oh for Heaven’s sake, you’re unusual and unashamed.” Unusual by Francesca Battestelli

               A few months ago when this album was released a friend texted and said number four so describes you! Of course I had been blasting the CD since it was released and there had been one song that filled me with a joy I didn’t understand, gave me a sense of peace and a feeling of accomplishment and that I had repeated more than any other song. When I clicked over to specifically check out track four I quickly realized that was the song I had been so drawn to and why I had been so drawn to it: that is me! My favorite lyric is, “you’re a zebra in a pony show.” I surround myself with amazing women of Christ: friends, accountability partners, mentors, leaders, servants and prayer warriors but God has given me something that I don’t quite see in anyone else around me: completely, blind faith. It is my illness that got me here and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone but then again maybe I would.
The moment I let go the day I was saved by grace and stopped trying to control and squash what God was doing inside of me was the moment I also felt my lungs start to give out. For hours that day I had thought I was running on adrenaline and excitement like I never had before and my body was reacting strangely but the truth was Satan tried to oppress and depress me by inflicting me with a terminal illness and God immediately started using it for good. I can still feel this spiritual battle within me daily, this pull going on inside of my body because God will not let my earthly body give way before His plans with me are finished but the enemy of my soul tries to use pain and a lack of breathe to discourage me from living out loud and in God’s will. I have my moments when I don’t understand what makes me so special, why either God or Satan would care about my salvation so much but the truth is we are all in the middle of this battle to one degree or another.
Two weeks before this album was released God had been speaking to me about the specific plans He had for me in reaching out to women and sharing how loved, cherished, pursued and chosen they are by the Lord of Lords, I was coming to the end of one of my prisoner to my body terms, this one was nearly five months long, and I was having some serious Moses like doubts: how could I, trapped indoors so much of the time, possibly reach any women and share this amazing truth with them. God is so patient with me and we often have this back and forth, a lot like you read about in Exodus 3, and He reminded me that my gift of writing was still waiting to be utilized for the Kingdom. At this point I was reacting to those gentle writing nudges with a three year old mentality and folding my arms in front of me and stomping away. He also promised that my time in the latest sickness wilderness would be coming to an end and I He had much for me to accomplish. Plus, other than Jesus the biggest part of my life is the care of THREE young boys, where and how was I going to get women to listen to me about God. But, God delivers and most of the time more than I ever expected possible in the coolest God wink ways! A small Bible study started with a high school gal from my home church, over the summer I was well enough to attend four sessions at church and lead tables of people in discussion over hot topics and how Christians should respond and met many women who desperately needed the message God had equipped me to relay and when Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study started up again He had stirred a fire to be involved in a way I never had before. He is also constantly reminding me of the ministry He had already put in my life years ago which is made up of all women. I am back in a season of being home bound but are more productive for the Kingdom today than I ever have been before because I am only taking God assignment for my life and not trying to do things that God does not have for me. I also refuse to dim the SONlight that I know radiates from me, God put it there for a reason so I could attract those who are hurting and give them the greatest, most precious gift: Jesus!

9-10 “The Israelite cry for help has come to me, and I’ve seen for myself how cruelly they’re being treated by the Egyptians. It’s time for you to go back: I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the People of Israel, out of Egypt.”
11 Moses answered God, “But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
12 “I’ll be with you,” God said. “And this will be the proof that I am the one who sent you: When you have brought my people out of Egypt, you will worship God right here at this very mountain.”
13 Then Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the People of Israel and I tell them, ‘The God of your fathers sent me to you’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What do I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I-AM-WHO-I-AM. Tell the People of Israel, ‘I-AM sent me to you.’”
15 God continued with Moses: “This is what you’re to say to the Israelites: ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob sent me to you.’ This has always been my name, and this is how I always will be known.
16-17 “Now be on your way. Gather the leaders of Israel. Tell them, ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I’ve looked into what’s being done to you in Egypt, and I’ve determined to get you out of the affliction of Egypt and take you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, a land brimming over with milk and honey.”’
Exodus 3:9-17 MSG

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Just a glimpse at the things I am thankful for this week

 Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. 
This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 
*     12 precious minutes Tuesday morning with S & C reading about bugs and having S read to me; in the foreign territory of getting a seven and five year old ready for school those twelve minutes warmed my heart, lifted my spirits and reminded me that God has redeemed me through my grief with those two (of three) boys.
*     New food experiences while celebrating my best friend: Red Lobster (really I had never been there before) and trying lobster.
*     After 23 days locked away, a prisoner to infection running rampant in my body (sure I had an hour to see the Doc) my much needed change of scenery was seeing my family in Christ, hearing “Melissa” with that joyful glee as I got into the van, a night at my “vacation home” and cuddle time with the Dawgs!
*     Crispy, fresh spinach with slightly warmed left over New York Strip Steak for lunch.
*     Heated seats in the van.
*     God’s timing: an encouraging verse at just the right moment for a friend, a devo waiting in my email that healed the “off” feeling I had all day and my new replacement “Jesus Calling” arriving in the mail.
*     The #pocketprayer which has revolutionized my prayer life!
*     A group of gorgeous gals online, who inspire, encourage and motivate me to be the best Jesus girl possible and keep shining bright for our Lord.

Father, You are Good
I need help
Heal and forgive me
They need help
In Jesus name, Amen
The Pocket Prayer from "Before Amen" by Max Lucado

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A blog hop in a bloghopless world: Week 1 of #BeforeAmen and the #pocketprayer

Father, You are good.
What astonishes me is how very differently You fashioned each of us, how You have individually equipped us to relate to You and each other. I am so thankful that Your goodness always seems to be my main focus, even in those moments when I can’t breathe or when I got the phone call no mother figure and big sister ever wants to get and even when doctors declared a death sentence upon me. Growing up I longed for a Grandmother, a Mom and really a family who could see the good in life and who looked forward to the day ahead instead of waking up always feeling behind. My positive outlook on life was one of our greatest divides but You implanted that desire to see the good even before You came for me.

I need help.
There isn’t a second in my day when this isn’t true. I never could have handled being sickly before You rescued me. Being raised to trust and depend on no one left me marked with a destructive sense of independence. This illness has forever changed the hard heart I once had that couldn’t reach out for help and never wanted to accept it.

Heal me and forgive me.
I know that I will be healed, it may be here on earth but it will defiantly be in Heaven and I have not only accepted that but thrive because of it. I don’t need ultimate healing here on earth, You have showed me all there is for me to do in this life and how I actually live more now than I ever did before You. I live out loud now, ready to face the day: clean, sober and passionate. I never considered myself a good person, I was a villain who made horrible choices and only ever thought of myself and my brother. I didn’t care who I lied to, who I drove drunk and who was left in the wake of my fear to commit. It took me nearly three years to accept the forgiveness You offered when I repented of my life style before You freed me. Now I am set on a path to liberate other women from the prison of guilt, shame and comparisons. You have loved me in a way I never thought I deserved and Your desire to spend time with me and hear what I have to say redeemed me.

They need help.
I struggle with who to pray for because I don’t want to leave anyone out. You have guaranteed me simply lifting the world up is obedience enough to let go of those who are hurt, desperate, in need of love, financial stability, clarity and so much more; that You will take care of the rest. I have heard form You that we need to  agree to take whatever answer You give, we need to listen and be ready for Your miracles, Your noes, your yeses and Your not yets.

Thank you.
There is a lot I have learned in therapy but the greatest tool is when my mind won’t shut off, when the worries of my health, my excitement for all You are doing for me, through me and in me or that late night caffeine that helped my lungs but is keeping me awake’ that sheep are not the answer, all I need to do is start listing or counting all the blessings You have given me and I not only drift off quickly but have written those blessings on my heart ready for any storm or trail that may come.

In Jesus name, Amen.
My comforter, redeemer, Prince of peace, Lord of Lords, son of God, Emmanuel and mighty to save just to list a few of Your glorious names!

Psalm 136 The Message (MSG)
136 1-3 Thank God! He deserves your thanks.
    His love never quits.
Thank the God of all gods,
    His love never quits.
Thank the Lord of all lords.
    His love never quits.
4-22 Thank the miracle-working God,
    His love never quits.
The God whose skill formed the cosmos,
    His love never quits.
The God who laid out earth on ocean foundations,
    His love never quits.
The God who filled the skies with light,
    His love never quits.
The sun to watch over the day,
    His love never quits.
Moon and stars as guardians of the night,
    His love never quits.
The God who struck down the Egyptian firstborn,
    His love never quits.
And rescued Israel from Egypt’s oppression,
    His love never quits.
Took Israel in hand with his powerful hand,
    His love never quits.
Split the Red Sea right in half,
    His love never quits.
Led Israel right through the middle,
    His love never quits.
Dumped Pharaoh and his army in the sea,
    His love never quits.
The God who marched his people through the desert,
    His love never quits.
Smashed huge kingdoms right and left,
    His love never quits.
Struck down the famous kings,
    His love never quits.
Struck Sihon the Amorite king,
    His love never quits.
Struck Og the Bashanite king,
    His love never quits.
Then distributed their land as booty,
    His love never quits.
Handed the land over to Israel.
    His love never quits.
23-26 God remembered us when we were down,
    His love never quits.
Rescued us from the trampling boot,
    His love never quits.
Takes care of everyone in time of need.
    His love never quits.
Thank God, who did it all!
    His love never quits!