Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Time of Growing Deeper Roots

An Update. 

It’s been on my heart to write to you an update to thank you so much for your prayers.  One of my prayer requests was for a book project I was working on.  I took a week off work in November and during that week, I wrote a VERY rough draft of a book.  I appreciate your prayers so much. Thank you! :)

December was very busy with work, ministry and December type stuff.  At the beginning of January, I had unexpected health issues.  It was an extremely difficult time and I thank the Lord for continuing to bring us through it.  I am thankful for His continued grace, love and mercy and I am thankful for the prayers and help and support we have been given from family, friends, and the Church.

This experience also has brought me to a new place in life.  I am resting, healing, and growing deeper roots in God’s Truth. I have much to learn.

I am thankful the book wasn’t published.

I see things through a new lens. God has humbled me more.

My focus isn’t a book or website right now. I am not sure if it is in the future either.

My husband, David, and I seek to focus on those put in front of us.  We have the amazing opportunity to serve many homeless at shelters each month.  I hope to grow deeper, heal in Christ and serve those whom God puts in our path.

Sometimes it is still very difficult, but this is also a great time of trusting in the Lord, following Him, and growing stronger in Him.

Thank you again for your prayers.  We love you.
God will use this for His glory.

God bless you!

Amber Paulsen

This is a beautiful song my husband, David wrote called "All The Colors". He wrote it while we were going through one of the hardest times of my health struggle, in January. I pray it blesses you. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pure Radiant Joy

Recently, in the last several months, God has been gently uprooting my biggest fears, pride and so many other things to help me shine more brightly for His Kingdom and glory.

I've prayed for years for God to use me and my testimony for His glory.  I used to be one of the most insecure women in the world~ running to many other things other than God. And been in some really low places. I repented of this, turned back to God, and beginning spending morning time in His Word and prayer daily. And year after year, I change and grow. I learn that walking in obedience to Him is so rewarding. Being with Him in my morning time each day is so fulfilling. 

At times when I see people believing the lies that I used to, I began to weep and beg God to use me. Part of my problem is that I don’t like attention on me, so I often don’t speak up (maybe that’s why I like to write).  As I have recently been surrendering my fears to God and asking Him to use me, it has been on my heart to create a new website that shares stories of healing, freedom and Truth from God’s Word and personal testimonies to help women heal.  Lord willing, it will be a Christ-centered website for women that focuses on 3 things:

1) Pure Hearts
2) Radiant Beauty
3) Eternal Joy

Pure Hearts ~ Seek to please the Lord and walk in obedience to Him.  Loving everyone, forgiving, and not have roots of bitterness. To not allow a hint of lust to enter our minds.  Be healed and free from all the lies the world tells us.  Dress feminine and modest. 

Radiant Beauty ~ With Christ living in us, we shine with the beauty of the Lord.  Know that we are wonderfully made and so beautiful to our Maker. Healed of all lies of body image. Believe that our gray (or white) hair is our crown of glory. Have a gentle, peaceful spirit.  Shine brightly for Him. 

Eternal Joy ~ Be filled with joy knowing how loved you are by the Lord. Give thanks in all things knowing this is God's will for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  Know God works all things for good for those who love Him.  Live for eternity, not for the world. Believing all God's promises are for you. Serving God and being a vessel of His love to others is one of the greatest joys.

Those are just a few ideas so far.  I praise God that He has already provided other women who want to help with it, sharing their testimonies and stories of God's redeeming work in their lives.

So eventually I plan to be blogging on that new website, but I'm not sure when it will be up, it could be many months to even have a basic website up.  My husband and I have a homeless ministry the Lord called us to, and I work at Gallup, so I only have a few hours a week on a regular week to work on this.  I plan to take a week off of work in November to work on writing and/or website stuff. 

Dear friend, will you take a moment to pray? I would so love your prayers for:

~ God's will in this website, that He will be so glorified and bring it all together in the perfect timing.
~ God's will in writing a book and/or coauthoring, and that His Living Water will flow through my writing.
~ To set my mind on Christ, and not think of my fears or myself. Attack fear with God's Word.
~ To be uprooted of all ungodly fear and pride and to only have godly motives. 
~ For the Lord to bring women who would be blessed to hear this message through this website/testimonies.
~ God's blessing for our homeless music ministry, facingGoliath.
~ To be disciplined with time to use it wisely and productively for God's Kingdom.

Your prayers mean so much! If you think of me in your daily prayer time, I'd love to have your prayers for God to use this ministry to bring healing to many women.  I pray for you as well.  May the Lord's favor and grace be with you. :)

P.S. So, I will be breaking from posting on here, as I put my writing focus on this new direction. I will let you know when the new website is up. Please keep me in your prayers. I appreciate you so much! :)

Here's a new song that has been speaking to me. JJ Heller "Sound of a Living Heart". Blessings! :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Healing Rain Washing Away Our Fears

May the deep love of Almighty God meet you in your deepest fears. May His gentle grace bring you so much comfort in His love for you that you are in awe and in tears.  Healing tears of deep joy.  May His perfect love cast out your fears, in Jesus’ precious name. 

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves 
punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” ~ 1 John 4:18

The Lord’s love has overwhelmed me to healing tears recently.  Not just the tears where my eyes well up, or a few tears fall down my face and my nose runs~ that happens quite regularly with me. But the kind of tears where I am sobbing like a little child, the kind with almost uncontrollable, gasping breaths. 

Sometimes our fears have deep roots, like fears we’ve struggled with for decades. The lies of the enemy have bombarded our minds. But because we have a Father who loves us so much, we are being healed and freed and redeemed from our fears.  Not just some of them, but all of them. As we renew our minds with the word of God and keep proclaiming His promises, we will see Him use us in ways that we used to say “I could never do that”.  We may not be able to do things on our own, but if we humble ourselves before Him and say “Use me, God. I am your servant”, He will do amazing things for His glory. 

I wept this summer reading a children’s book. (I spoke of that in my previous post). It’s been quite some time, maybe years, since I’ve wept that hard. It was a good cry though, the kind where I feel SO loved by God that I almost can’t believe how much He cares for the details of my life. :)

For me, one of my deepest fears is attention on me when I’m talking in groups. I’ve had this since elementary school.  I sometimes get panicky and sometimes get red on my neck and cheeks.  I used to have bad panic attacks and get super red and racing thoughts. So the book that healed me much, had these cute little characters and they have rosy red cheeks, and it looks cute. That is what made me weep like a baby. That and the words that touched the deepest place of my soul.

On the back of this book I'm referring to, It Will Be Okay by Lysa Terkeurst, it says, "It really will be Okay. Growing up brings change (whether we like it or not). Change can trigger fears that are sometimes real and sometimes imagined. How do kids learn early on that in the midst of these uncomfortable times, they don't need to be afraid?  Little Seed and Little Fox are facing fears, changes, and brand-new things. And they don't like it one bit! Through this unlikely friendship, children can identify with the main characters and will: Discover that God is always with them as they overcome new or scary circumstances. Replace doubtful thoughts about God's plan as they learn to trust Him through change. Build their relationship with God by introducing them to the scripturally based characteristics of who God is. It Will Be Okay will show your child that in the end, it really will be okay because we all have a God who is good and kind and always watching over us". 

The Lord understands our pain and our fears, even when it seems like nobody else could possibly understand. And He deeply cares and comforts us, through His Word, His Holy Spirit and other people. And He is with us and never leaves us. He is our Shepherd, our Healer. 

It’s been really awesome to follow the Lord’s gentle nudging, even when I'm afraid.  It has been freeing to face my fears and obey the Lord on things He is calling me to do.  And it’s been absolutely breathtaking to me that God is in the process of redeeming one of my greatest fears. Casting it out completely with His unfailing love.
“I sought the Lord, and He answered me;
He delivered me from all my fears."  ~ Psalm 34:4
Isn't it amazing that we have a Heavenly Father Who is longs to set us free from ALL of our fears?  Not some, not most, but ALL. Dear friend, I hope joy fills your heart, thinking of how the Lord wants to take your hand and walk with you through your fears and heal you.  Delivering you and setting you free.  I'm praying for you right now that His healing rain will wash away your fears and bring deep healing in Jesus' name. 

Dear Father, we love the way You love us! You are so personal and You care so much. We thank You so much that You long to free us from every single fear.   Thank You for how Your love is like healing rain washing over us.  Thank You that You will never leave us. You walk with us and are by our side every step of the way.  You are closer than the breath we breathe.  You live IN us and want to do Your Kingdom work through us.  May people be drawn to YOU through us, in Jesus’ name. Amen!! 

This song "No Longer Slaves" has greatly ministered to my heart recently.  May it bless you, Friend! It's POWERFUL. :)

"No Longer Slaves" by Jonathan & Melissa Helser

You unravel me, with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I'm no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

From my mothers womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I've been born again, into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

I am surrounded
By the arms of the father
I am surrounded
By songs of deliverance
We've been liberated
From our bondage
We’re the sons and the daughters
Let us sing our freedom

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
All my fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
So I could stand and sing
I am a child of God
I am a Child of God

Friday, July 31, 2015

God Sees You and Has a Plan

I’m hopeful that the Lord wants to redeem my deepest fears.. and your deepest fears my Friend. : ) This blogpost I thought it would be good to share a struggle I was having this summer, and how God’s love and grace was all over the situation. 

Some of our fears begin to take root in childhood, some begin from a tragic situation, and whatever it is that causes our fears, probably all are just lies from the enemy that we need to overcome. 

One of my fears is ants. When I was little, I saw a strange Sci Fi movie with ants the size of people.  Ants freaked me out after that. One time when I was around Junior High age, I was eating dinner with my family and noticed a tiny ant crawling on my arm. I screamed super loud, probably even scared some people in my family who were just having a simple dinner. All because of a small brown ant, not even a big black one.   

Another one of my fears is elevators. If I knew 100% without a doubt that the door would open in a few seconds I might not be scared. But I know people who have gotten stuck in elevators. And when I feel trapped, especially in a small space I begin to feel like I can’t breathe. So one way I avoid this fear is not taking elevators, for fear of the possibility of getting stuck. I work on the 3rd floor at Gallup and I take the stairs. A few weeks ago I made a doctor’s appointment with a Thyroid specialist who I hadn’t seen before. I asked the receptionist over the phone where their stairs were because I knew I wouldn’t be taking the elevator to their office on the 4th floor. 

My biggest fear is one I’ve struggled with since elementary school and it’s one that has many physical side effects and still effects me today.  God is helping me to get to the root of what is actually going on and it may simply be fear of embarrassment. In elementary school, it was a real struggle for me to be in the classroom when the teacher would randomly call on children to read out loud. I would get this terrified feeling inside me, my face would get red, my voice would quiver terribly when I would read out loud. And speeches was even worse because all eyes were on me. I grew up thinking, “I can’t stand having attention on me”. I probably had that thought run through my brain millions of times. 

It still affects me today, but God has done some miraculous work in this area. Even when I sometimes meet up with a friend to have lunch or at a coffee house, I sometimes start to get a panicky feeling… especially if I feel like I’m talking to much and all attention is on me. Even this sometimes causes me to get shortness of breath and red blotchy skin. In the past, I didn’t think of it as “fear of embarrassment” but as I’m trying to get to the root of what’s really going on, that could be it. 

So this summer, I was having shortness of breath for several weeks in a row. I was fearful mainly for 2 different things. First, I was having thoughts that I might be in jail for feeding the homeless. I know that sounds ridiculous but I have heard of one state where it is now illegal to feed homeless people. Now, I don’t know the details on this so perhaps the law has changed. But I knew I couldn’t stop doing what the Lord has called me to do. When I see a homeless person on the street, sometimes I just pray for them and other times I hear, “I was hungry and you did not feed me”.  My husband and I like to get them something to eat and give it to them and let them know the Lord loves them. My biggest fear of the thought of jail is how I can’t handle being in small places and feeling trapped. 

I was also fearful thinking of the great plans God has for our future, but fear of attention on me and wondering “how will I get past this dreadful feeling of attention on me?”. As I tried to really pinpoint the root of why I can’t stand attention on me, it’s more of a fear of being embarrassed (I think). Because in my fearful thoughts I was thinking things like “what if my face is red and blotchy my whole life” because there is attention on me. 

It may have been all attack from the enemy or maybe God wants to take me to these places so that I cry out to Him with all my heart and get to the root of what’s really going on so that I can be healed.  Anyway, one of the symptoms I was having this summer was shortness of breath about every day. 

On June 24th, while having shortness of breath during my God time, I wrote in my journal, “Lord, thank You for today! Thank You for life, breath, my lungs, air. Thank You so much that I can move. I can breathe and I’m not in prison. Thank You that there is power in the name of Jesus. Jesus Christ, King of mercy, I trust in Thee. I surrender to Your will. Your will, not my will be done”.  I wanted to write something hopeful, not what I was crying out to God in my mind which was, “Help me breathe, Lord!”. Well soon after that, I remember that David and I would be seeing the “Need to Breathe” concert the following month. Some dear friends purchased tickets for us several months before I was having my shortness of breath. 

I felt super loved by God and thought of how amazing it is that “God sees me”. He knew I would be struggling with anxiety again and or being attacked with fear in a big way. Knowing that helped me surrender and just be okay with where I was at even in my struggle. I began to trust God that He is using this all for good and I began to open up to more people around me and let them know I was having anxiety. Part of me was trying to fight that I was even having this hard time, thinking “I’m a strong Christian. I shouldn’t be struggling like this. It doesn’t glorify God.” So I didn’t let many people know. After I surrendered and told people around me and just trusted God with where I was at, things got way better. These last few weeks, my anxiety has lessened and I haven't had as much shortness of breath episodes. And the concert was awesome! We didn’t find out until we got there, but we had front row seats. 

This is kind of a long blog post, I hope you’re still reading it. :) Anyway, I know that God is doing a mighty work in me and in the body of Christ and wanting to uproot our deepest fears and I’m so thankful. I’m very thankful for Proverbs31 ministries and their online Bible studies, and for the book “The Mended Heart” by Suzanne Eller.  Today is the last day of the online bible study with P31.  Through this book the Lord has brought a lot of healing and freedom and He is showing me He is so close to me and He wants me to overcome these fears. May the Lord bless you to help you conquer your fears as well. 

This book "It will be Okay" written by Lysa Terkeurst, and illustrated by Natalia Moore brought me many healing tears. I read it a few weeks ago and I was crying so hard I was sobbing like a little kid. All the characters have red cheeks and when I'm having anxiety my cheeks often turn red. God was letting me know that everything is going to be okay and He sees me and has a plan for everything, including my anxiety. Anyway, it's awesome God uses children's books in big ways to meet us where we're at and tenderly love us.  Be blessed, my Friends! :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

You are Wonderfully Made

I used to spend a lot of time straightening my hair. I didn’t like how my hair was naturally wavy, so I would change it to what I wanted it to be - straight. I compared myself with other women on television and in life.   Many days I would spend an hour or more sitting with an straightening iron to my hair trying to flatten it out.  Watching in the mirror as the iron did the slow process of removing my curls. I remember my mom would say things like “You’re hair is so beautiful natural, why don’t you wear it curly?”. I simply didn’t like it. One time I told my hairdresser in college to straighten my hair (with a permanent straightener) and to thin it out. I decided I wanted thin, straight hair instead of my naturally wavy, thick hair.  She tried to talk me out of it but did what I insisted.

Things all began to change for the better when I was 24, when I met someone who loved me exactly how I was made and who loved me so much He died for me.

 “You are so beautiful, my Beloved, so perfect in every part” ~ Song of Songs 4:7 (NLT).  I met the Lord Jesus Christ.  I found healing and freedom through the power of God’s Word, and after I experienced the God’s deep love through the cross of Jesus Christ.  Finally. I felt free to be me~ the person God uniquely created. I began to let my hair dry naturally (without a hair dryer).  It was fun!  I enjoyed how God made me!  Some people at my job probably thought that I got a perm, because they were seeing my naturally wavy hair for the very first time. God is so good and His love is so healing.  He sets us free.

Every once in awhile, I straighten my hair.  Yet, I feel more free and my true self letting my hair be natural, and I thank God for the the way He created me.  Here are some of the Bible verses (God’s Truth) that have helped me to have joy in how I was made. May you hear God speak to you through these verses:

“You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”  ~ Psalm 139:14

“You are so beautiful, my Beloved, so perfect in every part” ~ Song of Songs 4:7 (NLT)

"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, 
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." ~ Ephesians 2:10

Friend, if you ever struggle with wishing you looked different in any way, I totally understand.  I used to big-time struggle with this.  One thing that healed me is saying God’s Word over and over in my mind and/or out loud. So if you struggle with this, you can say “I am fearfully and wonderfully made by God” or “The Lord says I am so beautiful, so perfect in every part” and you will begin to believe it. God’s Word is powerful and life-changing. :)

Let’s pray:

Holy Father, thank you that You knew what You were doing when you created me~ every part of me. Thank You that I was made to glorify You and even the way You designed me is for Your glory. Thank You, precious Lord that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Heal me and free me of any lies that I believe in the area of body image, in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen!

The lovely painting was created by a sweet sister-in-Christ, Darlene Schacht, of Time-Warp Wife.  She recently started Bible journaling and it’s amazing what God is doing through her art talents.  She has tips for healthy Christ-centered marriage and cute drawings with Bible verses on her website: 
{The lovely painting was used by permission of Darlene~ isn't it adorable?}

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

No worries… Just PRAY. :)

Do you ever worry about anything? If so, I can relate. I used to be a big time worrier, which also led to anxiety, depression, insomnia, and panic attacks. My insomnia, at it's worst, kept me awake for over a week straight. I think much of my past anxieties stemmed from me worrying about my life. By God's grace and the power of His Word, and prayer, I have been healed greatly of worrying. Glory to God! Yet, since we do have an enemy who attacks, I can find myself worrying at times still.

Recently, I was attacked with worry to the point of having insomnia almost a full night. And guess what? The Lord led me to the perfect Bible verse; and not to just read it but to apply it ~ each and every word.  I see God's faithfulness and how He always meets us right where we are at and gives us what we need. Especially when we cry out to Him and ask Him for help. He is so good! I'm praying this helps you, too. Here is the verse He led me to:

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.  If you do this, you will experience God's peace which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus".  ~ Philippians 4:6-7

I love how God's Word it says "Don't worry about ANYTHING". It doesn't say "Don't worry about the big things" or "Don't worry about most things".  And it doesn't just stop there, it guides us to what to do INSTEAD of worrying - "pray about EVERYTHING". I LOVE how it says "everything", not "the important things" or "Some things".  It also says to "tell God what we need" and "thank Him for all He has done". Even though God knows what we need, He desires relationship with us, and He wants us to tell Him.  And thanking Him for what He has done, puts joy in our hearts and reminds us of how faithful He has been. 

So, I realized because I was worrying I needed to talk to God more, even cry out to Him about everything I was worried about.   I've been trying to do what the verse says and the moment a worry comes to my mind, I talk to the Lord. Ask Him for help. (I'm actually asking Him for help right now as I type this ;) ) I've been telling Him what I need, even though He already knows.  And I began to thank Him for all He has already done and is doing that I cannot even see. And just like His Word says, His peace has washed over me. 

And as we cry out to the Lord with all of our hearts, He leads us to what we need. He guides us step by step. Cast your cares on Him, He truly cares. He not only loves you, He CARES.  Your every worry. He cares and He has answers. Lets try to remember to talk to Him about everything~ even the small things, and most definitely the big things and medium things. Let's give Him control.  Let's fight the enemies attacks with the Word of God. Let's praise and thank Him more for all He has done and is yet to do. I'm praying the Lord teaches us to turn our worries into prayers and to experience Him and His caring heart towards each of us in incredible ways. 

LORD, thank you so much for teaching us to not worry about ANYTHING, and instead to pray about EVERYTHING. Help us do this, Lord. We need You so much. The moment we are attacked with worry, doubt, or fear please remind us to cry out to You and to pray about the situation. May we tell You what we need and thank You Father God for all You have done. Thank You for Your promise that as we do this, Your peace will guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ Jesus. 

If you would like to share a prayer request or testimony of God's goodness, please share in the comments. We can all encourage each other and pray for each other. Thanks, and be blessed! 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Lord Is Everything We Need

Hi Friends! It is a joy to share with you some awesome promises from God's Word today. Also, it's on my heart to share a mini testimony of something God has been teaching me. As you read through these verses may the Lord bless you and fill your heart and mind with His amazing peace, knowing that He is your Shepherd through whatever you are going through, and He is everything you need.

"The LORD is my Shepherd; I have everything I need". ~ Psalm 23:1

"I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. 
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken." ~ Psalm 62:5-6
"O my people, trust in Him at all times, 
pour out your heart to Him, 
for God is our refuge." ~ Psalm 62:8
"I desire You (LORD) more than anything on earth". ~ Psalm 73:25b
"Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself; 
how I praise You!
I will honor You as long as I live, 
lifting up my hands to You in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest of foods. 
I will praise You with songs of joy.
I lie awake thinking of You, 
meditating on You through the night.
I think how much You have helped me;
I sing for joy in the shadow of your protecting wings.
I follow close behind You;
Your strong right hand holds me securely". ~ Psalm 63:3-8

When I went to bed last night I prayed something like "Lord wake me up early if you want me to write an article or blog". My alarm was set for 4:00am. I woke up and looked at the clock and it was exactly 2:30am. I got up and as I spent time with God in the prayer room (a.k.a. tiny laundry room). The above verses are the ones He led me to read this morning and share. His Word is so fulfilling. 

Then, I wrote in my journal, "Do I truly only desire You, Lord? I mean do I desire You more than anything? Yes, I love spending time with You, but is my heart and mind always believing that You are my number one desire? Lord, help me believe that and write an article through me that will help others believe that. Help us to believe that You are our Shepherd and You are everything we need". 

So here's a little testimony: I used to be religious and judgmental. I believed in God and said religious prayers before bed, yet I didn't know that I was in need of a Savior and Lord of my life. I hadn't truly experienced the cross of Jesus Christ, realizing what my sin had done to Him and receiving His deep love for me, knowing that He died for me. I cried out to God with all my heart and trusted in Jesus Christ as my Savior in 1999, repented of sin, and longed to follow Him. I was born into a new life. That's also when I finally stopped straightening my hair every single day because I loved the natural beauty God created. 
The freedom, joy and peace I felt was so awesome. I remember wanting to share it with the world. I began talking to homeless people on the street about God's love for them and asking if they were hungry, and if so take them out to eat. I was so glad to finally know what they needed (what we all need). The Lord. Not money. Praise God for this truth. When we have the LORD, He promises to provide for all of our needs. 

Early in my walk with Jesus, I was living without truly believing there was an enemy who was not happy I chose to live as a follower of Christ. I slowly fell away from the Lord for a couple of years. Those were the hardest times of my life. I disobeyed God and was living in sin and darkness. I thank God for rescuing me from the enemies lies. I thank God that He continues to sanctify me and free me in ways I didn't even know I needed more freedom.  He continues to reveal to me that He is all I need, and that I need to trust Him more and thank Him more.

By His grace and mercy, the Lord has delivered from man made religion and into a personal relationship with Him. He has transformed me from thinking one denomination is the best into believing with all my heart that He and only He is the best. God has changed my old prickly heart to have a love and compassion for all people. Wow! His grace is so amazing. I needed help. I will always need His grace, mercy, and help. Praise God!

Just over 2 years ago, in March of 2013, I told some people (who asked what I wanted or needed for my Birthday) that I only wanted more of God.  Actually to my mom I said "Actually I also need more time". The year I only wanted more of God for my birthday (and time), God blessed me abundantly. The day after my birthday, someone at my workplace told me about a job in a different department. I almost threw the blessing back at God (I wonder how often I do that). I liked my current job and didn't have plans for a new job. Then, a day later, I realized I should pray about it and tell my husband. Well, I ended up applying for and getting the job and it has been one of the greatest blessings from God. He always knows what's best.  I need to remind myself to pray about everything, not just assume or make up my own mind. 

This year as it got close to my birthday (in March) I told my husband I only wanted prayer, nothing else. It sounds kind of silly to say "only prayer" as if that's a small thing. Well, it ended up being possibly the best day of my life thus far. It was my 40th birthday. And since then, it's even gotten better.  It seems like the Lord pours out abundant blessings when I only desire more of Him and more prayer. It amazes my heart that He loves us so much and longs to bless us. He gives us more of Him but also things that we don't even realize we need. 

So what is it that you are desiring? I am praying for you (and me) that we come to know the Lord as Almighty God and Father, and giver of good gifts. And mostly that you (and me) realize He is the gift. His Word is true and His Word says "He is our Shepherd and He is everything we need" and "He is our heart's deepest desire". 

My birthday gift from my mom in 2013. A devotional and "Thyme saved in a bottle". :o)
Father God, help us to pour out our hearts to You, trust You at all time, and know You as our refuge. May we truly believe with all of our heart, mind, and soul that You are everything we need. May we desire You more than anything on earth. May we praise You with songs of joy and know You as our Protector. May we follow You closely, and know that You satisfy us more than anything possibly could. Thank You Lord! Your unfailing love is better than life itself. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Fringe Hours

"The Fringe Hours" by Jessica N. Turner is a beautifully written book that helps women to make time for their passions and the things they love.  I first found out about the book through Angie Smith's video on her Facebook page.  I felt wrapped in God's arms, as I read about what the book was about,  like He was whispering, "It's okay to make time for yourself, do things you love and take care of yourself, Amber".

After praying and asking others to pray for God's will about joining the study, I finally signed up, bought two books, prayed about who to give the other book to and my dear friend, Lachelle, came to mind. :) Lachelle and I also signed up for a Proverbs31 bible study called "The Best Yes" by Lysa TerKeurst last fall yet I only made it through chapter 4.  The book was awesome, my life just gets so busy October through December. Both books seem to have a similar theme, so I believe God wants me to learn this. 

The other day Lachelle and I met and discussed what we are loving about the book "The Fringe Hours". She started reading a paragraph she loves, and it made me smile that I had the same paragraph circled in purple glitter pen. Here's the paragraph, it's near the bottom of page 91…

"Making time for yourself is incredibly important. When you pursue your passions regularly, your life perspective will gradually shift. You will slowly begin to see life with eyes of optimism and gratitude because you are living full of hope, wonder, and joy". 

Meeting at 7am before work day to discuss The Fringe Hours with Lachelle. Blessed time! :)

God changed my life for the better through this book. My husband and I began to regularly work out together at the gym and each bring a book. It was great as we do need to take care of our health more and it was a sweet time to spend with my husband. Sometimes we would even be on the treadmill next to each other and share what we were learning in our book. 

"The Fringe Hours" also helped me realize how I have pockets of time that I didn't realize I had prior. One of mine that I found which is embarrassing to admit is how much time I was taking to get ready for work in the morning. I would get up about 5am, have my hour God time, pray with my husband, and I sometimes wouldn't leave for work until 8am (or later!). I was like "What in the world am I doing with all that time?".  I think I was just getting ready super slow. So now I am being a lot more disciplined in the morning getting ready (after my God time). This book blessed me with 4+ extra hours per week that I didn't realize I had. 

Another way the book blessed me is that I realized I hadn't been to the dentist for a teeth cleaning in 1.5 years, since I had often put off stuff like caring for myself. I made an appointment and went yesterday for my cleaning and WOW, they got my teeth so much whiter, and it's nice. I had been drinking tea and didn't realize how stained my teeth could get from tea. 

One amazing thing is that the book brought me a deeper thanks to God and joy.  For many years now I've been spending quiet time in prayer and reading the Bible each morning. I realized what a blessing this is that I often take for granted. Also it made me more grateful for my husband, how he leads us in prayer each morning. Thank you, Lord for this amazing blessing! We need you so much and always will. 

I should also add that I only made it through chapter 7 of "The Fringe Hours" so I almost feel it's not a fair review of book as there are a total of 13 chapters. Jessica's book deserves a better review than this. But I wanted to attempt the assignment for the (in)courage book club to write a little review about how this book has impacted my life.  I recommend the book and also recommend the online book clubs through (in)courage and the online bible studies through Proverbs31. Both ministries are awesome and have blessed me so much. 

Me & Lachelle with our books "The Fringe Hours". The lovely barrista took our photo. 

In case you are wondering what I'm going to do with my extra 4 hours or more per week that this book helped me find… The Lord has been leading me to share the darkest times of my life of what He has redeemed me of.  Over a decade ago I struggled with many things including depression, lies of lust and lies of body image. The reason I can say "lies" of lust/body image, is that I learned that once I am healed from believing lies, I am free from any temptation in this area. I learned that temptation is just Satan lying to me, and when I don't believe the lies, I am free of temptation (in any area that I have replace the lies with God's Truth). The Lord has done a beautiful thing, so I plan to write to share what God has done, to obey Him and to help others. 

Thanks for taking time to read this blog. I pray that you are blessed.  :O)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Blessings Are Often Disguised

Yesterday evening my husband and I were doing ministry at a homeless shelter.  I normally sit at a table  with devotionals, bibles and books that we give away, while my husband David is playing music and sharing a message.  We are there to minister to others, yet often we leave feeling like we were ministered to (through the homeless, staff, message, etc). Last night was one of those healing nights for me.  I picked up a small book that we had purchased at Parables to give to the homeless called "Facing Illness with Hope" by Rev. Tim Wesemann. Tears kept filling my eyes as I read through the pages on an off through the night. Although I haven't received a diagnosis, I've had many different kinds of nerve damage symptoms for 7 years. The book was very comforting and filled with God's promises.

David sang the song "Our God" by Chris Tomlin. I took a video of the song and at the end David prayed this powerful prayer, "You are not afraid of any problem we face, Lord. You have overcome all. Thank you Lord that we have victory with You. May we walk with You, abide in You, and look to You for our strength. You are faithful. You will provide a way out and You will provide a way through and You will lead us to better places. What the enemy has meant to harm and destroy us, You will use for our good and for the saving of lives of many others.  Thank you Lord! You are an awesome God!"

Tears filled my eyes through his prayer. I was reminded of Joseph's story in the bible.  I praised God knowing that He is using my health issues for my good, David's good, and God's glory. That gave me a desire to write this post with hope to help others who are struggling with either health problems or walking through a hard time in life.

One promise in God's Word that I love that has helped me so much not only in my health issues, but through many things that happen on a daily basis is Romans 8:28, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose".  It's so awesome that the verse doesn't say "some" or "most", but "all" things are working together for the good of those who love God. That's a promise. Wow! Thanks God!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 is powerful as well. I like how John MacArthur put it in one of his books, "And whatever happens in your life along the way, give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. He is using it to shape you into His will".

So, last night as David and I were talking and praying, I reminded David of many of the blessings that have come through my health issues.  It drew me a lot closer to the Lord, often on my knees or on my face crying out to Him. It has sanctified me and humbled me more. It has helped me live more with eternity in mind~ for example one of my health symptoms is burning pain and I often think about what will happen when someone rejects the awesome love and forgiveness of God their whole lives. I pray hard for many thousands of people's salvations. I also told my David that I would be a lot more prideful if I wouldn't have gotten this major health issue as it is one thing God has used to humble me more.

One great blessing that has come through my health issues is to know in a much deeper way my husband's love for me. He has prayed so many times for my healing. Last fall, on the night of his birthday, we went to a healing ministry service.  God did some amazing, fast, miraculous headings that night. David brought me up to the front for prayer. He said "I want prayer for my wife to be healed". A woman prayed over me such a powerful prayer, and afterwards she said "I have never prayed like that for anybody". I felt so loved by God, by her, by David. I thanked God that even though I wasn't healed physically, I experienced His love in such a great way that I did feel more healed. * On a side note, David's back got healed that night. He brought me for healing (that's all he wanted for his birthday) but he struggles with back pain. There was a time they prayed over everyone struggling with back issues. David said his back all of a sudden felt warm, and then all pain went away. Glory to God!

A few months ago in December, I heard God tell me that something I have been praying for the last 7 years would be answered in 2015. I instantly thought about my health issues which started February 15, 2008.  2015 would make 7 years. I believe He said there was something significant about 7 years and that it brings Him glory. I was in awe of His goodness and wept joyful tears.  I trust that the Lord wants to heal me and I'm grateful for the 7 years with symptoms, and grateful for His plan to heal me.  He recently gave me some wisdom about my symptoms that I didn't know prior and it helps give me hope that I am on a path of healing and will be healed. Glory to the Great Physician (God). I'm am so thankful for my health that I do have and for God's comforting Holy Spirit.

If you are reading this, I am praying for you to know how loved you are by the One who made you. David wrote a song several years ago~ he wrote much of the song while we sat in a hospital waiting room. We were there to pray with and comfort our friends from church whose son was in an accident and had a severe head injury. God did a miracle healing in the life of their son, Paul. May the words and melody bless you. Some of the words are from Isaiah 41:10, ""Do not be afraid, for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your god. I will help you. I will strengthen you." (Click here and click arrow to listen to song). :)

May you walk hand-in-hand with the Lord through whatever you may face, whether it be a health problem or anything that is difficult.  May Jesus be your Shepherd through each day, each moment, and may you see things through His eyes - the eyes of the deep love and compassion. May you be comforted by the promises in His Holy Word (the bible) and may you cry out to the One who loves you most and created you for a great purpose~ Your Heavenly Father.  May the Lord use all that you are going through for your good, for the good of your loved ones, for the glory of God and for the saving of many lives. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lord, do You want me to be baptized again?

I'm feeling so thankful and blessed today.  Thankful that God does not ignore us when we cry out to Him, He answers through His Word and His amazing Holy Spirit. Praise God!  I pray you are blessed somehow by this little testimony of God's grace…

I grew up believing in God but it wasn't until I was 24 (in spring of 1999) when I cried out to God for help with all my heart.  My panic attacks and fear led me to the Lord in some ways, but then again it was only HIS AMAZING GRACE. His peace came over me and I felt His presence and my eyes filled with tears. God led me to the cross of Jesus Christ and I finally realized what my own sin had done to Him and at the same time realized He did it because of His deep love for me - to save me from my sin and death. I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord in 1999 and what an amazing thing. His love overwhelmed me and I begin to transform (in some ways) almost right away. One of these ways was FINALLY loving myself the way God made me, including my naturally wavy hair.  It was so FREEING to just let my hair be natural instead of spending an hour straightening it every single day. ;)

God's joy, peace and love filled my heart. I loved God and loved reading His Word. He began to heal my heart and my panic attacks almost completely went away for quite some time.  As a follower of Jesus, I longed to obey Him and I was baptized in December 2010. Acts 2:38a says "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins". 

Here's God's amazing promise to everyone in Romans 10:9 "That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved." God's grace came upon me in 1999, and I trusted in Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, and I received His precious gift of Salvation. Just as much as God commands us to love one another, and forgive each other, His Word calls us to repent and be baptized. Jesus, God's perfect Son, was baptized I believe around the age of 30, at the beginning of His ministry. I think of Baptism as an outward symbol of a person's life who has been "Saved by God's grace". We are only saved because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross for us, we are not saved by our "good works". Glory to God!

I fell away from the Lord for a couple of years beginning in the year 2001. It was the DARKEST time in my life. I began to live "in the world" again, which is really hard to do. It would take too long to explain what happened… so I will focus on the good. In the fall of 2003, I cried out to God and told Him "I miss you". I sat there and couldn't even think of one good thing about myself. Praise God! The Holy Spirit drew me back to my Heavenly Father. I began to set my alarm a half hour early to have time in prayer and time in the Bible - God's Holy Word. 

Since then, fall of 2003, I've learned the more I obey God, spend time with Him and in fellowship with other Believers, the more blessed and peaceful life is. I've learned the power of His Word, our only offensive weapon in our Spiritual Armor. When I am attacked with a lie or anything negative which probably happens almost daily, I try to fight it with God's Truth in His Word.  God has transformed me to no longer live "in the world". I'm living, knowing I will live ETERNALLY with Him, to do His will and to be a vessel of His love and grace for others. 

I have often wondered and even asked others "Should I get baptized again?" since I had totally fallen away from God and was living in sin and darkness for 2 years. Everyone I asked said "No you don't need to get re-Baptized". So I just went along with what "made sense" or what others said. FINALLY, I asked God (which is probably what I should have done in the first place). Not caring about what others thought, and ready to accept any answer He gave me. I cried out to the Lord last Saturday asking Him if I should get baptized. Then…

Early Sunday morning, around 5am, when I first opened my bible for a Word from the Lord. I opened right to page 1750, and my eye went right to the only underlined words on the page which is Acts 22:14-16, "The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and hear Him speak. You are to take His message everywhere, telling the whole world what you have seen and heard. And now why delay? Get up and be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on the name of the Lord"

Three days later, which was yesterday, I was baptized at East Side Christian Church during their youth group. I shared my testimony with the Youth, made my confession of faith in front of the Church, and was dunked fully under water by my dear Husband, David. God also set it up so that David and I have the same baptism Month and Day - November 12th. I knew David's Baptism was around this time of the year in 2006, but had no idea it was the same month/day until I decided I wanted to get baptized then. When I looked up David's baptism date, I was like "Wow! That's interesting!"

Here are some POWERFUL bible verses on "Salvation" to know more about what God says:

Thank you, Father, that You never ignore me when I cry out to You. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sins so that I could have eternal life. Wow, Your grace always amazes me, Lord. And thank You for doing cute things like giving me and my husband the same baptism date. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Your Maker is Your Husband

I'm excited today to share with you some powerful quotes from Cindi McMenamin's book "When Women Walk Alone" and my own personal testimony of the Lord as my Husband. The first Monday of each month I go to a women's fellowship bible study group.  I thank God for my dear friend Julie, owner of Saving Grace Therapeutic Massage for starting this group summer of 2013. Our group recently started a new book that the Lord led us to, Cindi's book "When Women Walk Alone", and I'm so thankful He did as it is a message we all needed. Women have been LOVING this book. I'm praying this message blesses you, too. 

Here are just a few of the MANY words of wisdom written by Cindi McMenamin from chapter 2: "Alone at Heart: Looking to Your Heavenly Husband":

"Whether we long for a husband, or long to be emotionally connected to the one we already have, we need to know that we can know fulfillment in the midst of our aloneness."

"Throughout the Old Testament, God refers to His chosen people, the nation of Israel, as His bride. In Isaiah 54:5, He tells Israel, 'Your Maker is your Husband - the Lord Almighty is His name'. "

"In a marriage to Christ, you are treated as the most precious, beautiful, sought-after bride there ever was. Because in His eyes, you are."

"When we make our relationship with Christ a priority and make Him our focal point in all things, we will know true fulfillment - even in our alone times". 

"Let me share with you three practical things we can do - every day - in our relationship with the Lord so that our marriage to Him fills the void a man cannot fill. 1. Communicate with God about everything. … 2. Commit yourself to trusting in God alone. …3. Consider your life with God a partnership. …". 

Oh how I LOVE those wise words from Cindi!  Lord, let these truths sink deep into our hearts and minds.  Teach us to communicate with You about everything, commit to trusting in You alone, and help us to see our life with You as a partnership. 

My personal testimony of the Lord becoming my Husband:
My relationship with the Lord began about 15 years ago. I was 24. I was having panic attacks and they got so bad I was getting scared to do just basic every-day things. I cried out to God with all my heart and asked Him many questions. He poured out His peace on me. I cried peaceful tears. It wasn't long before the Holy Spirit led me to a vision of the cross of Jesus Christ and what He did for me.  I had believed in God ever since I was little, but had never experienced Him, or truly accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord. His grace overwhelmed me. I fell to my knees and I cried so much I was sobbing, shaking and saying over and over "I'm so sorry" for what my sin did to Him on the cross.  Love songs began to remind me of Him instead of "guys" (like they had prior).  He began to free me of anxiety and WOW, I felt alive for the first time in my life. No man could have met that need. God filled me and began to heal me. 

In my walk with Christ, I went through a dark period. Too much to explain, but I tried to take things into my own hands, stopped trusting Him, stopped believing in His promises.  I began forgetting about the gift of eternal life. I was desperately insecure and wanted a relationship, a husband.  One thing I learned from this hard time in my life (after the fact) is that God IS truthful to His Word and He knows way better than me.  Also I didn't know this until after I came back to Him, but He never left me, even though I sort of left Him. 

God drew me back to Himself about 11 years ago. Praise You Lord! I began praying and spending time in His Word, and being still before Him on a daily basis. He began to transform me more and more from the inside out, and bless me as I learned to obey Him because of my love for Him. Obedience truly leads to blessings, friends.  A few of the ways I began to obeying Him about 10 years ago were to not allow a hint of lust to enter my mind, dress modest, and tithing. 

I love how the Lord DOES make us feel, like Cindi says, "the most precious, beautiful sought-after bride there ever was". How amazing the He has the ability to make each of us feel like this.  And each of us has a story that is even better than a "Cinderella Story" with Christ as our Husband.  Lord, help each of us feel like the Princess we are with YOU as our Prince and Husband and God Almighty as our Father. 

One blessing that came after I truly fell in love with Jesus and only wanted Him, was the blessing of my husband, David.  Another huge blessing that came with this is David's super healing music.  Music that draws me even closer to God's heart. Yet I wasn't blessed with even meeting David until I began praying this prayer and really meaning it: I began praying that no man would be attracted to me except the one God wants me to marry, and that I wouldn't be attracted to any man except the one God wants me to marry. God revealed to me that some people believe "lies of lust" and if I'm dressing in a way that attracts men, I'm going to detract my husband and attract many of the men who believe lies.  I decided to believe what God's Word rather than what the world says.  I began to dress ultra modest and I obviously wasn't trying to attract a guy because I mostly wore jeans and a baggie t-shirt during that time in my life. I met David soon after that. And I've been praying over the years to dress more feminine. :)

David my husband (before we met) didn't know if God had a bride for him. But he knew that if God did, that He (God) would know better who would be the one for him. So at just the perfect timing, David said the Lord told him that I was his wife ~ future wife.  We barely knew each other at this point in our lives… only had talked a few times in a group setting. The Lord blessed me as a "Helper" for a godly man very soon AFTER I began obeying God in many areas of my life, both His Word, and His Holy Spirit.  I love the verse "Man was not made for woman but woman was made for man". 1 Corinthians 11:9.  God told me "He needs you", a couple months before I met David, when I was telling God I was nervous to meet my husband.  So it helped me to know that my husband wasn't made for me, I was made for him. 

After David and I were married, there was a time I was becoming a nagging wife as I would go to him about things before going to God. Also when David and I would pray together in the morning and read a devotional, I thought "oh good, I already had my God-time".  Wrong! The Lord taught me that I still need my quiet time with Him daily, no matter what, that I need to put Him first and go to Him first about things.  One of my heart cries over the years has been "Lord I pray that David and I love You more than anything, even more than each other".  God began blessing my marriage to David in much greater ways when I honored the Lord as my Husband. (I still often need to be reminded of this). 

Okay, this is long I know. I hope you stayed with me. Back to Cindi's book "When Women Walk Alone". Whether you are single or married, this book will bless and heal you. I know many women reading it now, and each one has said things like "This is exactly what I needed". To tell you the truth, before I got the book I saw the title and thought "I don't need this book, I have God and I have David and lots of friends". I'm admitting my pride now. I was thinking I needed one of her other books "When You're Running on Empty" or "When Women Long for Rest" (which I'm sure I will be blessed by those as well).  Yet God made it clear "I needed this book". This book will help you know that you are not alone, not even for a minute. And it will help you learn to allow your Maker to be your Husband, which will truly bless you whether you are single or married. Cindi's books can be purchased for a discounted rate on her website

I hope this message blessed you today! I'm praying for you, friends. Please leave a comment if this article blessed you or if you have advice for me or other women. Thanks for sharing what's on your heart. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Surrendered Dream

I'm still getting to know God's heart and the more I get to know Him the more AWESOME I find out He is.  Here's a little story ~ a true story ~ that reveals more of His loving heart through a prayer I prayed this summer….

Background story… David, my sweet husband and I like to give the Lord control over many of the big stuff in life. For example, even our meeting, courting, marriage, was a "set-up" from God. David didn't pick me, and I didn't pick him. Anyway, that's ANOTHER story that I will someday share. We also like the Lord to decide on His timing of when we have children. We have prayed things like "Bless us with children ~ according to your will OR in your timing, Lord".  I often tell David, "I have a feeling the Lord will bless us with kids someday", and he says "me too". :o)

At least two people I can remember asked me if I ever prayed for children. I thought about that, and thought "oh yes, but never in a begging type of way".  I thought about the feeling in my heart. I thought, "If I truly ask God, with all my heart, to bless me with a child, and He said 'No', I think my heart would hurt too much".  Plus I always want His will, not mine. He knows best and ultimately He is in control.

So here is what happened: This summer I had a feeling ~ due to several things that were happening around me from the Holy Spirit~ that God wanted me to ask for a child, yes, EVEN beg.  I was so excited! I thought maybe His plan for me is to get pregnant soon, and He is waiting for me to truly ask.  So before I went to bed, I kneeled on the hard bathroom floor and asked God, even begged to the point of tears, for a child. I cried, and I went to bed so peaceful.

The next morning I heard from the Lord. In my quiet time, the Lord whispered to my heart and mind very clearly, "Would you give up having a child if you could reach more people for My Kingdom?" His answer was so sweet! How tender His heart is~ He gave me the choice to say "yes or no". Then, my heart didn't have to ache. Praise the Lord He speaks to His children, through His Word and through His Holy Spirit! I love that He didn't give me a "yes or no" answer. Actually, I wasn't thinking He would speak to me necessarily, I just thought I would get pregnant within a month or so.  But, Wow, He spoke soon, and I loved His response.  

I answered "Yes" as tears streamed down my cheeks. (Also in tears as I type this). I was in awe of His voice and His tender love for me.  I could have said "no” and with a child, I could still reach people for God's Kingdom. As we know there are many moms and dads who work for God's Kingdom. But because I love God more than anything, I want to say "Yes" to Him to anything He wants me to do.  I want the Lord to use me in ANY way to help people know of His unfailing love. Since I said “Yes”, He has given me a strong desire to write again.  Also He is answering my prayers for writing and women’s ministry in greater ways than I could have even thought of.  

If you happen to be reading this and you have a child or children, praise GOD! His Word says "Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him" (Psalm 127:3). I LOVE that verse! I love true miraculous stories of women who have had children way past normal child-bearing years, like Sarah and Elizabeth. Praise God for stories that give people hope. And praise the Lord that the ultimate hope, Jesus Christ, is available to anybody who calls on Him~ no matter your age, no matter what you have done.

If you are reading this and you have a dream or prayer that you are praying, and you are not receiving, it's possible the Lord has a different plan OR that it's not His timing. What I have discovered in my walk with Christ, is that when I desire God more than ANYTHING, He is already everything I need.  I often say that if we can see things through His eyes, we would be thanking Him a lot more often, and even for the things in life that are difficult.  I LOVE His promise to us in Roman 8:28, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose."

I want to say “Yes” to God’s plans for me, even if that means giving up my plans and dreams. Here's one of the greatest prayers of surrender, especially when you mean it with all your heart, “God, not my will but Your will be done”.  Are you willing to surrender and say “Yes” to everything God calls you to do? My prayer for you is that you do.  His plans for you are far better than anything you could ever dream or imagine.