Tis The Season – For a Change of Heart

I should probably preface this post by saying it is not at all strange for me to be thinking or daydreaming about all things Christmas, no matter what time of year it is. You see, I am a Christmasaholic. Even as I sit in my rocking chair on my front porch enjoying this beautiful 72 degree May evening in Kentucky; I can’t help but wish it was almost Christmas again.

My mind was repeating, the song “Pretty Paper” by Randy Travis. If you’ve ever heard it, I’m sure the unique voice of Mr. Travis is ringing through your ears with those familiar words. I slowly rock back and forth as I watch the sunset over the horses in the field, humming the holiday tune. But the rocking stopped, and I felt myself scowling as I paused on the following lyrics:

“Crowded street, busy feet, hustle by him
Downtown shoppers, Christmas is nigh
There he sits all alone on the sidewalk
Hoping that you won’t pass him by
Should you stop? Better not, much too busy
You’re in a hurry, my how time does fly
In the distance the ringing of laughter
And in the midst of the laughter, he cries….”

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My feelings of holiday spirit quickly shifted to ones of concern and sadness. How often have I been guilty of that very thing? How many times have I been too busy or distracted to notice someone I could help? I’m flooded with conviction as I think of this morning’s drive to work. It was pouring rain; I could hardly see through the windshield. Through the rapid swiping of the wipers I could see a man riding his bike in the same direction I was headed. A raincoat synched around his face and wearing a backpack; I am confident he was doing what he could to get to the school that’s a few miles down the road. The next thing I know, I am looking at him through my rearview mirror as I drive on. I could’ve stopped. I could’ve put his bike in the back of my SUV and got him out of the rain. Yes, I would’ve gotten drenched, and I had no way of knowing if he was a good person or not (you know, all the excuses I let justify me not doing the right thing). But isn’t that the point? Sacrificing for someone else?

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 5:2

My heart aches at the thought that our world, or should I say, the people in it, can be described much more accurately by the lyrics of that Christmas song than by the example set by our savior.

Think about the last time someone did something nice for you that was a complete surprise. Those moments in life when people go the extra mile to encourage and lift us up really makes us feel special. Why do their actions have that effect on us? I’m sorry to say that they probably stand out because it’s so different from what we experience the rest of the time. Day in and day out, most of us are forced to deal with people who care more about themselves than they care about others.

We have allowed ourselves to become a people who are no longer willing to carry the burden for someone else. We make every excuse in the world to justify our behavior. “I’ve got my own problems; I can’t worry about them right now.” “Someone else will do it; I just don’t have time.” Or my favorite, “I just don’t feel called to do that.” So engulfed in the business and worldly things we have worked so hard for; we are suffocating from our toxic self-centeredness as we choke God out of every aspect of our lives and effortlessly make those in need around us invisible. Just look away, don’t make eye contact…the second you are out of sight, they are out of your mind.

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These quotes from Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love are spot on:
“God’s definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love.” – Chan isn’t referring to how we love our families and friends. And neither is God.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matthew 22:37-40

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:43

How are you doing in that area of life? How often do you find yourself showing love, compassion, and respect for those that aren’t your favorite people in the world? One of God’s greatest commandments is for us to love our neighbor as ourselves. To regard their needs and desires as highly as we regard our own. THAT is what God measures our lives by…are we imitating the life of our savior and putting the needs of others above our own?

“It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But, it is absolutely vital to grasp that he didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live your life in comfort and superficial peace.”

Chan is reminding us that God didn’t create you and me to merely exist and make our goal in life to get as much money as possible so we can be as comfortable as possible. He puts us where we are because He has something for each of us to do at that very moment. I passed that man on his bike and FAILED! God’s plan was still fulfilled. Someone did stop to help him. I drove right past an opportunity to serve and glorify God and be used by Him out of complete and utter selfishness. So He used someone else. That shouldn’t be a relief to anyone. I want to stand before a Holy God and hear Him say, “Well Done Daughter, Well done.” Not, “Is this all you did with the time I gave you.”

“Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and loving the people he has made?” – I don’t think Mr. Chan needs my help explaining this one at all, do you?

Making All Things New

I love spring! I love that all the barrenness of winter is leaving, and new life is waking up. I am not a big fan of winter, but without winter we would not appreciate spring, would we? Most of all I love seeing the growth and the newness of what spring brings!



Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Sometimes it takes a season of winter or two ( lol ) to see a ” new thing ” come forth. A new way that God wants to do something in and through us. The only way that we will ever perceive a new way is to do a ” new thing”! Even though I perceive it to be mundane, it could be exactly what Isaiah 43:19 says, a stream in the desert to my soul.


Isaiah 43:19
Behold, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.

God is moving; He was moving when Isaiah wrote this verse; God was moving towards the cross. God has finished the final work through Jesus, but He is still doing new things. Still actively moving in us and on behalf of us. I love how this verse says DO YOU NOT SEE IT? Oh! That question hits me, just like the Jews missed Yeshua (Jesus) our Savior! We can be so caught up in our daily lives, daily rituals, the busyness of life, and miss what God wants for our lives. We can be so caught up in religious activities and good works and miss God if we are not actively reading and dialoguing with Him in the scriptures, we can miss Him and miss the small blessings He brings to us daily.

I think more than ever we are losing something spectacular in our relationships with God. It is dialogue, the word of God is going to deal directly with your heart. It is going to speak to places you thought were dead and barren. God’s word was meant to be opened and we are supposed to ask questions and allow Him to answer us with His word. Ask, and you will receive. Seek Him and you will find Him. Knock and He will answer you! ( Matthew 7:7)

This past weekend I went to a leadership conference. I love how God uses these conferences to fill us up and to speak to us clearly through our leaders inside the church. Plus, let’s be honest just getting away and in a new atmosphere can bring clarity in itself. I suppose that is why I love going so very much. It is about God doing a ” new thing” in me and for me.

He used leaders to directly speak to places of uncertainty with the word of God. Directly into my circumstances! That prompted me to ask God more in-depth questions and to confirm His will through His word to me personally. Guess, what He did!

If I had chose to just shrug off what I heard God speaking and go on my way, I will have missed something God has in store for me. I haven’t always been walking with Christ. I would say seven years total that I have had a real relationship with Jesus. For years I believed, and I accepted Christ, but I never accessed our relationship. I simply didn’t think I had too! I missed those years, but I know now I never have to miss Him again! I have heard the loud critics voice in my ear, saying: ” You are taking that out of context!” “God is not saying that or why would He say that to you.” I don’t have the most exquisite way of saying it, but here is what I have experienced with the word of God and the Holy Spirit. The word of God is God’s very breath, all 66 books, from Genesis to Revelation. I believe and want God’s very breath to breathe in my life every day. The Holy Spirit is the power, wisdom, knowledge and understanding that I must have in order to take God’s breath in. I wish that for everyone, but as a person who lives in reality, I know that some won’t. That does not stop me though!!! I love God’s word, for goodness sake, anyone who knows me has seen my library of commentaries and my resource ” stuff ” I am not writing this to defend myself; I am merely writing this to express what God has shared with me and has helped me so much along the way. So here it goes:


English Standard Version
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12 ESV

If we are going to perceive a new thing that God wants to do in us or through us we have to be actively dialoguing with Jesus in and through the scriptures. That means you ask a question and He answers back through the word of God. In the verse above this paragraph, I want you to read that out loud. The word of God is alive, full of God’s spirit, and the word of God divides the lies that life throws us daily. The word of God redirects our motives and our thoughts.


English Standard Version
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2 ESV

The only way that God can transform us is by the renewing of our minds. Sound’s like God is directly saying to us that if we want a new mind He will give it through the scriptures. God radically wants to transform us, but we have to be willing to find it in the word of God.

Do you sense God is wanting to do a ” new thing” in your life?

Are you confused or unsure about it?

What is leading your walk with God?

All three of these questions are easily solved. The answer is to be found in the word of God.

I challenge you this week, ask God a question in your life. A problem that is throwing you for a loop? See, if He will not lead you to the answer! He is faithful! There are amazing conversations to be had with The Lord of the Universe! What are you waiting for…

Here are some more scriptures about God’s glorious word.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 
Philippians 2:14-16a
Psalm 119:105 
Psalm 119:9
Matthew 4:4
John 1:1 

How’s The View?

I think most people will agree with me when I say that experiencing a moment, or multiple moments, of conviction, can be one of life’s best teachers.  You know what I’m talkin’ about right?  That second you want to crawl in a hole because you’re feeling smothered in guilt, remorse, shame…need I go on?

ashamed I am sure it doesn’t take long for us all to recall those, not so fun, life lessons.  Whether we impulsively stuck our foot/feet in our mouths, blew a situation out of proportion, or continue to fail at that one thing you’ve been trying to work on; if you’re a follower of Christ, His Spirit will quickly begin to weigh on us.  I can just picture His Holy Spirit standing in front of me with His arms crossed while tapping His foot out of frustration until I have that Ah Hah moment of, “Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have done/said that.”

I had just such an experience this week.  Several of them, I’m sure, but one that is really tugging at me.  I have been struggling for about a month with kidney stones.  I was passing seven at one time, had surgery to have a stent placed, and finally began feeling better last week as I was starting to recover.  By the end of the week, I could tell I was passing more.  I went to the doctor, and they did see multiple stones.  Good times (deep sigh).  Ladies and gentlemen let the pity party begin!

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Can’t you just hear the thoughts I was having…”Why is this happening to me again? What did I do to deserve this? Wah wah wah…” Poor pitiful me.  I could feel the frown on my face.  All while sitting in my air-conditioned home, on my comfortable sofa, reclined with my heating pad, my fourteen-year-old daughter making my plate of food, and watching all the Netflix my little heart desires.   Sounds hideous, doesn’t it?

I have been blessed with the opportunity to go on two mission trips to very poverty-stricken areas in Uganda over the last couple of years.  Each time coming home feeling terrible about how so very spoiled we are as Americans, and we don’t even know it.  We don’t realize how ridiculous we sound to people around the world when we complain about standing in line too long, and wi-fi being too slow, and “I don’t really feel like eating there…”

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 I would get so aggravated when people would moan about their “first world problems”, yet here I was, doing just that.  I realized it while I was sitting through our weekly Women’s Bible Study group discussing missionaries over the centuries that have literally sacrificed and lost everything to be obedient to God.  One, William Carey, traveled to India in the 1800s with his wife and children.  While there, one of his sons and his wife died.  He continued to serve the Lord through it all, and His ministry impacted innumerable lives.

The way I would have seen that situation if it was me, I’m afraid, would be a much different view than what he saw.  Through the pain, sacrifice, grief, and struggle, he saw the path that God had laid before him from the beginning.  He could see the lives that would be touched, and the Glory God would receive if he persevered.  His view was filled with the desire to show Christ to a lost world, the faith that knew God was in control, and the expectation of Him to do something absolutely amazing with his situation.  Not only that but what a testimony for people to witness a man walking out His faith in such a way.  We claim to have hope, but so few of us show it when the rubber meets the road.

As we read Carey’s story, I could feel myself sinking in my chair.  How much had I complained that day and the days before?  My view was filled with self-pity and impatience.  I was focused on my circumstance instead of fixing my eyes on the One that was in control of it.  I lost sight of all the blessings that fill my life that I know I don’t deserve.

With that being said, I type this with a smile on my face (while sitting on a heating pad 😊) because I am so very thankful for God’s sanctification process through conviction.  NOT CONDEMNATION.  That’s a whole other topic that I won’t get into tonight.   I am thankful for the tests we must go through, whether I succeed or fail.  I am thankful for conditions that He allows me to endure in order to continue to mold me into the person He created me to be.

Consider changing your view to one that sees struggling in the Christian life as a temporary privilege.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.  Romans 5:3-5

DON’T MISS IT

DON’T MISS IT!

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we are surrounded by insurmountable opportunities.”  (unknown author)

Isn’t it just like us, humans, to overcomplicate things?  I have recently had a realization that is going to change the landscape of my everyday life.  God has already revealed His plan for my life. And yours!!  And yet I, like many believers, have spent so much time making “doing His Will” way more complicated than it actually is.

Over the last several years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of some incredible works.  I have participated in two mission trips to Uganda where I witnessed God’s glory in a way that forever changed my heart and how I see the world.  I have watched our church family here in Kentucky transform into a church determined to spread the gospel as far as it can reach.  After seeing so many miraculous and wondrous acts of God, I allowed myself to be convinced that that was the only way He could use me.  In the “Big Stuff.” You know, the important stuff like mission trips, and church planting, fostering children….so I sat and prayed, “God, show me your will!”  “Lord, I just want to do Your will, please reveal what you want me to do next.”  “God, I’m still here…waiting for you to tell me the next big thing….” (crickets, lots of ‘em).

He was listening, He always is.  He was just waiting for me too.  So, to give me a little nudge it the right direction, he sent my friend Akim from Uganda to shake some sense into me.  He came all the way to Kentucky in the middle of winter to visit the non-profit organization he works with here and in Uganda.  I grew very close to him on my trips there and was thrilled to have him come and speak at our church about mission work.   As we were standing around catching up, he asked how I was and what I had been up to the last several months.  I responded with something like, “Oh, just going to work and church and chasing my teenager around.  I have been praying for what God wants me to do next.  I am seriously considering quitting my job to go into full-time ministry.”  My tone must have been dripping with a bit of frustration. I could tell by the look he gave me when he asked, “Quit your job so you can what? Be in full-time ministry? Are you not in full-time ministry everywhere you go as a believer in Jesus Christ? Does He not have you right where He wants you in order to make the biggest impact at this very moment? Are you surrounded by more people that need to hear the gospel at your work or at your church?”  Oh, how I wish you could read that in his soothing Ugandan accent just as I can hear it in my mind.  I wonder if I looked like how I felt at that moment.  You know that feeling where you want to crawl in a hole and cover yourself up?  Even as I type this, I am shaking my head.  Praise the Lord for His patience with us and the gentle nudges He gives to remind us of His Word and promises.

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The Great Commission wasn’t meant for special occasions, huge church events, and mission trips.  We are called to be everyday missionaries on the lookout for the opportunities God places in front of us, big and small. Everyday missionaries are those who practice life on mission where God has placed them.  As followers of Jesus Christ, our lives have a mission. God has a purpose and plan for us. In fact, He wants to do more “in” us and “through” us than we can even imagine. But it is not about us—it’s about Him. EVERYTHING we do—our jobs, our parenting, our words, our actions, our life’s mission—should be done with the intention of bringing glory to His name.  Never missing the chance to shine a light in this dark and fallen world.

1 Corinthians 10:31— “… Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.” (ESV)

We are everyday missionaries, and God has created each of us in a special way to take part in His plan. From high school students to retirees, from stay-at-home moms to CEO’s, we each have a part in the greatest story ever told. This is a story about an extraordinary love.  Too many people think that only “extraordinary” believers can be used for Christ.  God has called each of us to live a life on mission wherever we are – no matter our age, occupation, biblical knowledge, or busy schedule.

He’s asking us to see what He sees. Opportunities within our realities.

DON’T MISS IT!!

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 1 Peter 3:15

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Own Your Worth


Greetings to all reading the blog today.  May it be a blessing to you as it is for me sharing.

Let’s pray

Dear Heavenly Father, as we continue to grow deeper in love with you, help us, to be aware of those around us needing your love as well. It’s easy to get caught up in “our truth” and lose focus on you. Be BOLD to us when we fall short of the messages you have for us; when we lose our attention from you.  May we Lord, glorify you, by reaching out to the ones who can’t seem to find their way. Help us, to reveal to them the only way is through you in our actions and words. Help us, to relate to one another in one accord so that we appear as one army in connection with the Holy Spirit.  Let us acknowledge the Holy Spirit when it’s present and declare its power over our lives.  I pray these things in Jesus name, Amen.

My Truth…

February 23, 2018. A day like any other day.  I woke up to get out of bed, I turned on my children’s lights and woke them up for school.  I proceeded to order some products online before I took them to school.  I don’t usually do work things before 10 a.m. because I wanted to exercise; I thought that I needed to get this one thing done. Ten minutes from walking out the door my ordinary life took a turn that I couldn’t imagine, I suffered a stroke.

While my children were scrambling to get their things together to walk out the door,  I was trying to figure out how to get back in my house from going outside to warm up my car.  Finally, making it back in I mumbled, that they needed to call their grandmother, who was only minutes away.  The look of fear on their faces.  I’ll never forget it. As I stumbled around trying to see correctly,  I felt as if I was in a cloud. I felt light as a feather.  Everything I was experiencing didn’t seem real.  My children were so upset, and I couldn’t get upset with them! I had zero pain or discomfort. I was disoriented and couldn’t see properly, but for some reason I had peace.

  It is so hard to describe into words what I was feeling emotionally and physically.  I felt as if I was in a different place. My body was here, but my spirit was somewhere else.  To see my kids upset usually ignites anxiety in me, but I had no emotions to express.  I now understand the words “out of body experience.” I was lucky….or was I?

God’s mercy reigned supreme.  I was hospitalized for three days and sent home.  I spent twenty weeks in rehab.  My body responded as well as it could. I am grateful where I am physically and emotionally. I am a new person, I know I could be much worse. There is a point of which your body and mind will only allow you to do before it literally shuts itself down.  It is a science, I wished, I could explain, but I know that there is only one explanation…

God the creator of the Universe!

In many ways, I feel that my life parallels with many others.  For instance, I feel as if I somehow can relate to stories I have read in scripture. I don’t mean literally but figuratively of course. The Bible was written thousands of years ago, yet, as I read through it, I’m amazed at the way each story is told and how relatable it is to my truth.

For instance, let’s take Joseph’s story. He came from a large family. He was not liked by his brothers so they conspired against him. His brother’s thought that murdering him would be the answer. Then his oldest brother Rueben stepped in, and he was sold instead. For years he was enslaved then became Potipher’s right-hand man with one request to not have any relationship with his wife. Well, she desired to have a relationship with Joseph but he is a man of God,  a man who honored his position under Potipher’s leadership.  So she lied and Joseph was thrown into jail. There he gained trust from the warden. He beyond his troubles had favor with God. God gave him the ability to interpret dreams. Pharaoh was very pleased with his gift.  Joseph went on to save the people from famine in Egypt.  (Read Genesis Chapters 36-46.)

Joseph could have easily, from adolescence age, have made a decision to not follow the calling God had for him.  He could have rebelled at each place he was brought to. Eliminating his chances at making his environments better than they were. But, because of his obedience to God, Joseph chose the right side to be on. He made a decision to fight for his dignity by doing things that were pleasing to God. He forgave his brothers.

Through everything, you’ve been through, have you made decisions that could have put you in a good position with God and your neighbors? If not, it’s ok, you still can, you have the same freedom as we all do and the many others before you.  Having Faith makes things possible, not easy. You just have to believe that your truth doesn’t define you in any way. That your unique experiences refined you, made you stronger, wiser, and gave you more endurance for the next hurdle to get through.

I’m about to celebrate my “Strokeversary!” That is Stroke Anniversary.  1 year ago this could have been a totally different outcome and yet he has me here sharing with you how you can be your better self.  All you have to do is be encouraging to others. Igniting a fire of inspiration for someone who needs it.

I believe my parallel to this is that through it all, being an orphan, living in a group home, many health issues,  gaining the trust of those around me through my heart on display, being willing to be obedient at any cost, believing that Jesus is the only way to my happiness. I know without a doubt that my testimony, who I know I am through Christ, is the Truth that I need to survive until he calls me home.  What he equips me to be through the process, is his will and I can submit to it. That means I’ll take whatever fire that comes my way in the namesake for the King of King’s and Lord of Lords.  I am invested because He is invested in me.

So don’t let your identity be sold by others. Your identity is in Christ Jesus the son of God who came to redeem you in his name.  Live out your story with integrity and honor to the one who gave, Jesus, so that you can live forever beside him.  The things we endure are not in vain nor are they to define us; they are to refine us.  Today is a new day, live in obedience to God and own your truth.

Check out a book about Destiny! Follow the link below

Detours by Tony Evans

Your First Ingredient is Brokenness

broken woman

We must be broken in order to be made whole.

A Sociologist named Brene Brown said, “We are ‘those people.’” The truth is… most people in our world are one paycheck, one divorce, one addiction, one mental health diagnosis, one serious illness, one hurt, or one bad choice from becoming “those people”— the ones we don’t trust, the ones we pity, the ones we don’t let our children play with, the ones we don’t want living next door, the ones we know deep down need our love and God’s love more than anyone, but we can’t approach “those people.”

Our minds are so sensitive to the quiet voices telling us to keep up appearances, keep ourselves busy if we don’t think about it; it’s not really there, it will eventually get better.

Our generation has become artists of illusion, masters at covering pain, self-medicators, slaves to their finances, and lost in loneliness even when we are surrounded by those we love. All because we can’t seem to realize that the only solution for being broken is… brokenness.

We can never truly be whole until we’ve been broken. Those in this world that can make the most significant difference have not only risen to the top but have also fallen to the bottom.

Jesus makes the broken whole again. He takes the overlooked, the undervalued, the left out, the written off, the damaged and devastated, and then He does what only He can do.

I know this may not sound like it makes much sense, but brokenness is the first ingredient in a miraculous transformation. I am living breathing proof of that. The fact that I am alive, sober, full of peace and joy, and madly in love with Jesus Christ is all the proof I need. But in order for God to build me up and bring me this far, I first had to be broken down. Through loss, pain, anger, doubt, and tears I was not only broken…I was shattered, fractured and in pieces.

It was in that darkness that Christ’s light shone the brightest — illuminating each piece, gracefully fitting them together to form a new creation. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

“Not only that but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.
You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence.” Colossians 1:20-23 (The Message)

The best part of all, the part I still can’t believe most days, is that time after time God chooses to use the broken things. The ones that when asked how they have made such a miraculous transformation, they can only point to Him. That is why I am thankful for every tear, every heartache, every circumstance that broke me.

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“If grace was a kingdom
I stopped at the gate
Thinking I don’t deserve to pass through after all the mistakes that I’ve made

Oh but I heard a whisper
As Heaven bent down
Said, “Child, don’t you know that the first will be last and the last get a crown”

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours

The pages of history they tell me it’s true
That it’s never the perfect; it’s always the ones with the scars that You use

It’s the rebels and the prodigals; it’s the humble and the weak
All the misfit heroes You chose
Tell me there’s hope for sinners like me

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours

Grace is a kingdom
With gates open wide
There’s a seat at the table just waiting for you
So, come on inside”

Broken Things – Matthew West

First Steps

In The Beginning…

First I want to help prepare your heart for what is on mine through a quick simple but pure prayer. Here is my prayer….

Heavenly Father we rejoice in today as it is a new day.  Help our hearts and minds to be fully aware of our surroundings as we go through our day today.  Help us to remove all negative chatter in our heads that could cloud a message from you today.  If it is the first time ever hearing your word through my post Lord,  may it be a Blessing to them.  I pray it offers to them a place of peace in their own story or a hope to fill the emptiness that may be robbing their joy.  Heavenly Father open your gates in a mighty way through using my story to relate to theirs and bridge it to yours. I pray for healing, restoration and courage to be overwhelming to the souls embarking on this journey with me.  In Jesus name, Amen! 

Where do I begin today? This is a typical thought a woman asks herself on a daily basis. Literally!  Well I do anyway.  As a woman we are made to multitask.  From balancing the single life, wife”ing”, mom”ing, boss”ing”…. our jobs consist of cooking, cleaning, driving, working, appointments, school schedules, friend sleepovers, grocery shopping, among so many other jobs, should I go on? 

We all began somewhere! Genesis 1 explains the beginning of time.  It’s one of my favorite books to study because the magnitude of wonder.  I can read it over and over again. It just fascinates me to know how the Heavens and Earth was created.  How God created Man and then Woman.  How he breathed Life into it.  How just a word from God was spoken and “POOF” there it was in all his Glory, the Sun, Moon and Stars. Just look outside at all the wonder around you.  I’m in aw of it everyday. Do you see what I see? 

Humble Beginnings….

Just like the beginning of the Earth and it’s being, so is the story of our own lives.  To be a part of a story that started with adversity from the very beginning, it humbles me. My mother was married at 16 years old.  She married a friend who was so kind to her. He Loved her so.  I know she married him to leave her life back home. So she didn’t marry him for Love. That was her first big mistake.  She and my grandmother were just alike. Beautiful, charming, full of life, exciting, spontaneous, energetic, the life of any party, literary.  Shortly after marrying the first man, she divorced him. On to the next one. With him, she had two sons. Throughout that marriage, she was not able to stay faithful. It ended and then she got mixed up with my father. Then I came along. In three years my mother had three kids just that quick. Three kids and no way of being able to take care of them adequately.  She was always unsatisfied in her life still searching and seeking the wrong things and getting mixed up with the wrong kind of people.  I won’t share much more of her testimony because of two reasons, it’s hers to tell, and unfortunately for her,  she is no longer here on Earth to say it.  She left this place 12 years ago at the age of 48.  So very young.  Without God in her life she ran it ragged. Her body just couldn’t keep up with her wild spirit.  I lost her long before that though.

My Beginning….. 

At the age of 13 years old I became the property of the Bluegrass State! I was originally from Elgin, IL.  I ended up in Kentucky when I was 9 years old.  After my mother had me, she went on to have my sister with another man and then I had a younger brother whom also had another man as his father. So I’m part of a 5 sibling group and 3 of the 5 have different fathers. My mother ended up meeting and marrying number 3 after all her children were born and his mother lived in Kentucky.  Hence the how I got here.  Long story short that marriage lasted 6-7 years before he decided he had enough. I couldn’t blame him one bit.  So all this time I’m being raised by a person who is faithless and as lost as a kid in the kitchen looking for the dishwasher. All you mommas know what I’m talking about! 

It was unfortunate for her because she too had the same wild beginnings I did except my grandfather an army Veteran was too stubborn to let my grandmother go.  I also think back then too that marriages tolerated much more than they do today.  My grandparents were married for 41 years before he passed away from his injuries serving in World War II.  

His passing was a blow to my mother’s spirit that just fueled the devils schemes.  She spiraled our if control and made so many bad choices that they all caught up with her. She left my brothers on their fathers doorstep and never looked back. She moved to another state with a new husband and 2 young girls. Alcohol and medications were not a good fit for her. I believe she had some mental health issues that she, like many others do, medicate themselves with substances that mess with their heads even more negatively.  

I ended up in court one morning in front of a judge pleading in a letter that I wanted to stay with my ex-step-grandmother.  Say that several times fast.  I was at an age where the abuse and neglect had me pleading for change.  The judge granted that my sister and I could stay with her until my mother got her life in order. That order never came. She gave up her rights in court a few weeks later and then left the state.  From that day forward I was to find my place, my identity as a child marked with bruises and battered was over.  But who was I now!

It happened on my 13th Birthday the last day I was to be in my mother’s guardianship.  I was exhausted from sitting in the dispatchers office until the early morning hours trying to decide for myself and my sister do I tell them that I want to go to my ex-step grandmother’s house before we go to a foster home. The dispatcher knew I had her in my mind but prior to that time my mother was being detained and in one last shot at her abusing me she placed her hands around my neck and was choking me telling me I better not call her. It took 3 officers to get her off of me.  So can you imagine a broken young adolescent girl abused in front of police how I must have felt?  

Someone out there reading this has a similar story of the beginning of their childhood like mine.  Beyond just the abuse that I sustained from my mother’s hand,  I also had been molested by a neighbor at the negligence of my mother’s. So I’m 13, puberty, witnessed all the men my mother had encountered,  molested, beaten, broken spirited and barley holding my head above water believing I had no worth.  

Through feeling so incredibly alone from a physical person I was introduced to God shortly after this nightmare was coming to an end.  I started looking at life in a new light. Even though I had see the world for what it is without God, I always saw a silver lining of Grace and Mercy. I had always felt with all the opportunities that I faced where I shouldn’t be here but I still am as a higher force than man could ever explain. I knew in my soul that there was a God before I actually knew of him.  I have my ex-step grandmother to Thank for the introduction to him. For her prayers and influence in my life.  She is no longer here with us but I know she is looking down with a big smile. 

You see in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, you can read about the beginning of time. As you read along you will soon read further into how the world became what it is today. How sin just took over the hearts of men and women.  How they turned from God and how they caused self-inflicted blows to their own stories by choosing Evil over Goodness.  

Let me hope that in this first of many posts you find this encouraging and not depressing in any way.  I’m encouraged every day by my humble beginnings. I may not know exactly what to do looking forward in my life, how I can raise my children to be God fearing instead of fleeting because I can sometimes get a little self righteous due to my knowledge of the word, which can back fire. I’m human in every sense of the word.  I fail every day to say and do something I should in the Glory of the Lord. The Power I have that others can as well is the Gospel of Jesus Christ who died so that I can live again.  I die to myself everyday waking up to a new day. I have more gratefulness than I did the day before because I know our life is a vapor.  I’ll go more in depth with that later.  

So I want you to go with me on this journey to do understanding your identity Through Christ Jesus.  The Bible App has reading plans. Come along with me while we read together Bible in a Year.  I’m having to go back and read due to a stroke I suffered last February.  If you have had a stroke and are reading this My Heart Burns for you! I get it! You are doing great! Keep up the recovery! You got this! 

In the meantime end this time with your own prayer to God.  You are Blessed. Know you are Blessed! Show Gratefulness!  Most importantly be Thankful to God for his provisions and his Sufficient Grace! 

Cassie

Introductions Are In Order

I am so thankful to begin this new year as a part of this ministry.  Before I jump right in though, I think some introductions are in order.  I am a true believer in the fact that, for you to understand and get a deeper look into the heart of a message, you need a pretty good picture of where that person has been and what God has rescued them from.   A visibly transformed life can have a major impact on the world around you.

Ten years ago, if you would have asked someone to describe me, I’m afraid they would’ve used adjectives like angry, lost, empty, aggressive, broken, self-destructive… I’ll stop there, I’m sure you get the picture.

After moving around for a good part of my childhood as a military brat, we finally settled in Western Kentucky where most of our family was.  Within our home, there was no prayer, no Bible reading, no foundation of faith.  I don’t blame my parents.  They were both very young and did the best they could while dealing with their own childhood trauma.

To spend as much time as I could with my grandmother, I began going to church with her every Sunday.  The bond that I had with that very special lady is something I could never describe in written words.  We were inseparable.  I remember sitting beside her each Sunday, in amazement, as she gracefully played the piano during worship. She loved me like I had never felt love before and made me feel deserving of that love.  Around the time I would be starting middle school, something terrible happened.  My grandmother was life-flighted to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis because her heart was failing.  I can remember my aunt picking my sister and me up from school and taking us to the movies to keep us distracted. Fortunately, she was blessed with the opportunity for a transplant, and it seemed like everything was going to be ok.  She lived for eleven years after the transplant.  The last two years of her life were the two years of my life that the devil used to catapult me into a lifetime worth of anger and emptiness.  The medication she had to take to keep her body from rejecting the new heart destroyed her kidneys.  She began dialysis several times a week but was withering away.  I watched her light and life slowly fade as she suffered every second until the end.  The questions, fueled by anger, started flowing.  Why her?  She went to church! She played music in church! She loved the God that was supposed to love her back! She was too young! Could there really be this all-loving God? No, there couldn’t, He wouldn’t do this.

That anger combined with a life that was in a constant state of chaos due to a lack of involvement, lack of faith, substance addiction, abuse, and family members who were out of control…I was left to let the anger, sadness, and loneliness open the door for the devil to make himself at home.   I began trying to fill that brokenness and emptiness with every terrible thing this world has to offer; partying, attention from anyone willing to give it, and more and more anger.

When I was 21, I became pregnant.  Of course, we had to get married because that’s what a good southern woman does to save face.  But this wasn’t all bad.  I started to feel a little peace and happiness.  I thought I loved the man I was marrying, we were going to have a child, I was doing great in college and could still finish so everything was fine.   The day I had to say goodbye forever to that baby, I felt myself break.  I can remember it vividly.  Any anger that had been buried came erupting to the surface.  That was it! There definitely is no God, and if there was, He could care less about any of us! That is what I told myself for years.  I was an anthropology major in school, so there was no shortage of professors who were quick to reinforce that thought with scientific facts and figures.  And boy was I ready to argue with anyone who dared to try and convince me that there was a loving God and that “He had a plan”, and that “there was a reason for everything”.  I was educated, had an aggressive personality and was motivated by so much anger that the devil had a field day with me.   I did what I could to try and convince everyone around me to give up on all those silly stories and rules created by men to control society.   The only person I know I successfully pulled away was my own mother.

My marriage was anything but happy.  How could it be?  We were so young, and I was so volatile.  We each turned to different ways to numb the pain.  Two years after the loss of our first child, we were both preparing to graduate college and had big plans for our future.  But God had a different plan.  I became pregnant with Chloe.   It was a shock because due to health issues, I wasn’t expected to be able to have any more children.  When that child was born, I felt myself begin to heal.  Just as I felt myself break when I said goodbye to my first child, I felt myself, LOVE.  Really love.  I knew then that she was sent to me for a reason and that there had to be “something” or “someone” out there because this kind of love could not be explained with science.  But I had no understanding or faith to fall back on.  I was the poster child for someone who was “lost”.

I struggled for years after Chloe was born.  Her father and I couldn’t seem to get through past hurts, and our marriage was so unstable that we divorced when she was one.  I was a single mother moving from place to place and job to job.  I know now that I was moving every year because I was running.  Running from my sadness and emptiness.  But no distance ever made a difference.  I was still angry and lost.  Along the way, everywhere I went; I met and got to know bold Christian men and women that tried their best to lead me to Jesus.  Each planting seeds.   I would always disregard them though.  Until one person, someone I had grown to love, all but forced me to go to church.  I started attending on Sundays.  I enjoyed the singing and meeting new people but would zone out and not pay attention to much else.  But one day was different, I woke up feeling different.  I went into the church, sat in my pew by myself as usual and listened, really listened.  I didn’t feel alone.  I had been so ashamed of myself for so long, thinking that even if there was a God, “How could He love me now? Look at what I’ve done, what I’ve said!”  That day, I heard and felt that He does love me because Jesus loves me! He suffered and died for me! ME! Not just the righteous people that have never fallen.  Me!  I could feel Him right there with me as I fell apart.  Almost like He had His arm around me as I finally let go of all that anger, shame and guilt and gave it to Him.

On August 8, 2009, at the age of 28, I was baptized.  And I’ve never been the same.   The devil didn’t and still doesn’t make it easy, but now “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

I saved the happiest part of my testimony for the end.

The sorrow I felt for convincing my mother there was no God was unbearable.  I prayed for years for God to allow me to bring my mother to know Jesus. On Mother’s Day of14910490_10209443515783872_6246060035715518067_n 2017, my mom gave her life to Jesus and was baptized.  Now we worship Him together!

You see, that is what we are created to do.  To be transformed through God’s Grace and to live it out each day to be a living testimony to those around us.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me down a path that helps those as lost as I once was.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

“ ‘The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ ” “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” Luke 15: 21,24

Hearing the Heart

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I think the worst downfall for me is a transition. I mean really how much of us like drastic changes? I know for me I fight with all that I have and the funny thing is I always end up loving the difference. That is where I am currently, right smack dab in the middle of hard change. ( I am sighing at this moment whispering. It is, what it is.) One of my commentaries said: ” Sighing is just groan for home, a cry for redemption.”

Psalm 38:9 ESV

O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.

 

Even my subtle sigh is heard, nothing missed by the sovereign ears of God. There is great comfort in that for us today. That we would be understood by the creator of life, acknowledged by the lifter of our head’s. It seems when I am tossed around in the waves my heart goes directly to the Psalms, such practical and heartfelt cries to the Lord.  That He not only hears my physical cries, but even more, He actually listens and knows the ache of the heart like a melody.

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Psalm 139:3-4 TPT ( Passion Translation)

You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.

 

I am reminded to give Him the invitation to search my heart throughout my life. Not just while the ache is the loudest, but when the ache is dull. Continually search and know my heart, Lord.

Psalm 139:23 TPT (Passion Translation)

God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.

woman standing with mountain as background

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I invite you today, maybe if you are in the middle of rough transition and your heart is just aching. I merely want to remind you we are all on a journey. A journey with God through this life into the next. A mission is often long and challenging, but it is worth every step. Don’t give up now! Just because you are on the beginning of a new path doesn’t mean that He is not with you. The route could be dark with a blanket of dense fog appearing, but what gives illumination is the beautiful unfolding of His word. It will cast light on the next step. Hang in there, keep praying, keeping reading your Bible, most of all keep worshiping through the transition there is power in His presence.

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Psalm 119:130 ESV

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.

 

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This simple truth sets an aching heart upright and redirects us right back into the loving gaze of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Psalm 46:10 ESV

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

 

 

Washed by the Water

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In our service to Jesus sometimes we have to make hard decisions. They are sometimes hard to carry, sometimes they come with a price. I am reminded of what Jesus said and did for the disciples in
John 13:6-8
Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
 …6He came to Simon Peter, who asked Him, “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?” 7Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later” you will understand. 8“Never shall You wash my feet!” Peter told Him. Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.”…
I can relate to Peter. Peter’s heart is in devotion mode, but his flesh needs constant washing with the Word. Jesus knows the heart. Jesus saw past the quick response that Peter gave and saw a heart that was devoted but lacked understanding. Peter replied to Jesus,
Never will you wash my feet, and Jesus said, “Peter! If I do not wash your feet, you will not have business with Me.”
Peter complied because his heart was devoted, and Jesus washed Peter’s feet signifying that nothing is below us in service to Jesus and that in Jesus washing us with the Word of God we will be able to remain in Him and devote ourselves to service.
Even the most mature Christian will become ineffective if we refuse Jesus, and deny Him to wash our feet with the Word of God. With that washing, our lives will bring glory and honor to Jesus. We must determine ourselves to duty and anything that might hinder us to do so we must lay to the side so that we can bring glory to Jesus. We must Abide in Christ. He is our source for service, without Him will we fall away.
John 15 Abide in me, and I in you.
My point being Jesus is telling us Abide in Him, then He remains in us.
He never leaves nor forsakes us; we are the ones that decide where to abide.
We leave Jesus; He never leaves us.
 Jesus is our source.
 Jesus is the Word of God.
 Jesus has made us clean.
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So, today if you are facing another decision, another boundary, another problematic circumstance. I am praying for you, Jesus never said that our journey through this world would be easy. He did say He would be with us and help us through our troubles. One day we will no longer feel the pain of stress, sickness, or sadness.
One day we will not feel the frustration of being wronged, betrayed, misunderstood, or accused. One day we will be standing in front of Jesus wrapped up in his everlasting arms, and we will understand everything. This life is difficult at times; I pray we give each other grace. I pray that today for both you and I that we will sit for a while and allow the water of the Word to wash over our minds, hearts, and souls.
I am praying this verse over all of us who are in Christ and are in service and who are facing difficult decisions.
Galatians 6:9
 Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in.
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No matter what Jesus is asking of us or leading us to, you can know this. There are reason’s and things that we don’t understand, but we can trust that He always has the best for us.
Abide in prayer
Abide in the Word
Abide in Worship
The Father gave us the best rescue that is Jesus. He did not withhold His very own son. (John 3:16) We can’t out give God. Trust Him, and know that whatever He may be asking from us it is because it is for our good and His glory.  Remember His ways are greater, and His thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55).
I am reminded of what I wrote in my journal:
 Today I wasn’t perfect, I might have even acted like an idiot trying to figure it all out! I am reminded of the Word. His thoughts and ways are higher and greater, My ideas and thoughts are a path to rebellion.
Love you, friends