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. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Beginning to Share my Story

I keep hearing the phrase "Share your story" or similar phrases, especially over the last couple months. God knows I stumble over words when I talk or I start going on "bunny trails" and I forget what I was talking about.  Additionally, talking in groups makes me nervous, although God IS helping me with this- He is my strength in my weakness.  I recently shared my testimony with the young teen girls at our church and I even talked about how much I love bunnies. We have a pet bunny, named "Bunny" (seriously).  Anyway, I do LOVE to write. Life got very busy in the last couple years and I took a break from online blogging. Although I continued to journal, write in cards, and write many of our homeless ministry updates which can be seen here:

Thanks to all my blogger friends and all my friends/family for your encouragement over the years. In case you are curious about what's been going on in my life here's a summary of my last couple years:

~ My Beloved Husband and I stay busy with ministry to the homeless, going to shelters each month to share music, testimonies and the Gospel, give away bibles, pray and encourage their hearts. 

~ I got a part-time job at Gallup (an amazing company to work for) 3 years ago, and the Lord blessed me with a full time position that fits my Gallup Strengths last summer 2013. 

~ David (my husband) and I still have our old cars and praise be to God, they are still running, David's car just passed the 250K mile mark this weekend. Yay!

~ Our average monthly donations for our ministry has been $1,200-1,500 for the last few years. We are so thankful for this support, and that God is growing our team. Praise God!

~ The Lord blessed us with a new church family last fall, at East Side Christian Church. David was hired as their worship leader last fall, and we are so thankful for the loving people there. 

~ My alone time with the Lord is my first priority. Even though I'm busy, I often say "I would rather get 5 hours of sleep and have my 1 hour of prayer-time with the Lord than to get 6 hours of sleep". 

~ By the grace of God, we have been able to live without credit card debt or car payments for about 7 years, and without student loans for 5+ years. Even when things got hard for us financially, we continued tithing and God always provided for all our needs. Yay, God!

So, something happened this summer where I surrendered a dream to God, and He gave me a bigger dream. One that is way more for His Kingdom. And since then I've had a desire to write even more, and to open up with my own story, and all the ways God has revealed Himself to me, freed me, and healed me. I'm planning to dedicate 2 hours each week to work on writing in some way… some of it may be blogging.

If you're reading this, I have a prayer request to share with you: That the Lord will guide me in sharing my story for His glory. And to trust that He will use all the pieces of the puzzle, even the messy stuff that He has freed me off to help others know of His amazing love and grace. (How can I pray for you?)

May you be blessed and be a blessing as YOU share YOUR story. 

Psalm 107:2a NIV