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God’s Exchange For Your Praise

God never gives an even exchange…
You pour out your love on him, he pours it right back.
You come in praising him with anxiety, he leaves you with his peace.
You come in with depression, you leave with joy.
You come in with burdens, he brings you freedom.

We go in to pour out our love upon him and we end up blessed. Our Father is a giver even when we are giving thanks unto him!

I will praise You with my whole heart; Before the gods I will sing praises to You. I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name. In the day when I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul.

Psalms 138:1‭-‬3 NKJV

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God, Our Provider. (How We Got To Glenmora, LA)

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I have been anticipating writing this to you. There has been so much change over the past 6 months.
So.Much.Change!!
Let’s start from the beginning shall we?
I came back from the Pink Women’s Conference and saw my husband for 2nd time in a month. We began sharing what God had done over the past couple weeks and my husband laid it on me that he felt that Holy Spirit was leading us to go to a different church that next morning. Brad and I had been praying that God’s will be done. He was in the midst of making the decision to stay active duty military or get out, move home or stay here? There were many big questions that we had that we went to God through in prayer. We really did not know the answer but we knew that we wanted his perfect will to be done in our life. We went to church that following day at a church an hour away and I instantly knew that this was where we were called to be. Through Holy Spirit’s peace and prompting of others to show us the love of Christ as soon as we walked in to the words spoken in the sermon. This was the place God had called us to be. Many things weighed heavy on our heart because we were about to take over Junior High Youth and I was able to serve at the church we were at teaching a women’s bible study. I loved where we were. I loved I was able to teach women and young adults about the goodness of God. We knew that we were in the midst of what God had told us to do, so why the change? I was NOT good with change. We were comfortable and happy. But, we said God YOUR WILL be done, NOT ours. We talked to our lead pastors and began our journey to our new home church in Alexandria. Over these past months after we left our old church for what God had planned, it became evidently clear I was not very good at change and that I had many things in my heart that God wanted out. He began breaking strongholds from the enemy and bringing new people in our life to increase our faith and remember our first love, Jesus. After months and month of praying, God revealed to Brad that he was called to get out of the military when his time was up. My husband also started going to Bible College. There were many big steps of faith we were taking all because of God’s strength for his purpose and will for our life.  We began house searching in Michigan. We wanted to go home to be with family and back to The River where I first started my relationship with God. We missed our family and friends and oh man did I miss my church family. We were so sure I put a Facebook status announcing we were coming home! Little did I know, God had other plans.
We sought out advice from our Pastor’s and friends and family of faith. Something did not sit right. (Might have been because it was what we wanted rather than what God wanted, OOPS). So, we continued to pray and started house searching in Michigan and Louisiana. God made it pretty clear, that there was work for us to do here. We prayed to God continually if it was his will for him to give us the perfect home. A home that would honor and glorify him. We searched and searched and searched some more. Anyone know what I am talking about? It felt like were never going to find a house. But, we spoke and stood in faith. HE had the PERFECT house for US. He has called us to be here. We began driving towards Glenmora and I heard Holy Spirit speak, “this is it”. We weren’t even there yet! I stayed quiet and we prayed before we got to the house that his will be done, that he provide a way if it was his will for us to get a house, and that we know which home is for us. We wanted the home he chose. We walked in and I looked at my husband and the sparkle in his eyes said it all. We felt peace at this house. We began to pray about putting in an offer. Our finances had been hit really bad. We had essentially NO money to put towards anything. He told us to put in an offer, so we did. The seller came back and said she would pay for closing costs. Praise GOD! There were many costs we did not have. But, we knew that God was going to do what he said he was going to do. HE is our PROVIDER. We declared and stood in faith. Can I tell you that over $1000 came in? Through a friend mailing a check in the mail saying it was God’s provision for our “Good Faith” money. From getting free play at a casino while visiting my family who was staying there, and winning almost $300! (I am not saying to gamble your money by any means. It was $10 on a FREE card that would’ve went to waste if we did not use it). From my family blessing us in ways we did not expect. The enemy would come in and swing in and try to fight us, be we knew the battle was already won. We stood in faith because of what God had said we knew would come true. There were times we wavered, it was hard. But, the people who surrounded us stood in faith with us, they pushed us back to his promises. There was a point where we were short $500 and our lender offered to pay it for us. A stranger, was willing to pay $500 because God had put it on her heart. GLORY TO GOD!!! I thought he was done. But, he wasn’t. We were on our way to closing and there were many unexpected bills that came up. I began to cry and shout that we needed God to come through. We needed him and his provision that he promised. We got to closing and the closing lawyer said that we were getting back money!! UM WHAT!!?!?! PRAISE GOD!!!!! We closed on our apartment at Fort Polk yesterday, GOT BACK MONEY!!! God is sooooo good ya’ll. The reason why we have this house is only by him and his provision. He never goes back on his promises! We did not have any money for this house and he provided every single penny and abundantly over. We gave our firstfruits and gave when we thought we couldn’t to others Holy Spirit laid on our heart. We did what God had called us to do. Even though we left alot behind we believe the best is still to come. We believe that God is our provider and he has a plan for us at our new church. We believe that his promises are yes and amen.
I have personally learned:
•God has his hand in everything. The small the big and the inbetween. His love is everywhere. There is nothing his love prints aren’t on!
•He is our provider and will provide through strangers and ways we would never expect
•He is faithful. He is who he says he is.
•There is nothing to fear with an omnipresent God
•He has a plan for us in Louisiana and nothing is going to stop that
•It is much more blessed to give than to receive
•Our obedience blesses us but also blesses the others around us
•God is up to something new
&
•Trust in the process

 

Change is not always fun or easy. Faith is trusting in God and he is who he says he is. That his promises are going to come to fruition. I reflect back on the fact that 5 years ago I didn’t even want to live and I was addicted to drugs. To where I am now, and I amazed at his goodness. ONLY GOD can do the things that have happened in my life. He IS who he says HE IS. He DOES what he SAYS he is GOING TO DO.

 

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All The Times I Thought God Wasn’t There…

I went to Pink Impact @ Gateway Church along with some other amazing women of god this weekend. Let me tell you, Holy Spirit taught every single one of us something this past weekend. I have many moments to share but I want to share a vision God painted for me in worship.

He brought me to these very raw moments of hurt. The times I felt lonely and like no one cared. The moments where I felt no one listening. He brought me to moments where I was abused and confused. He brought me to these moments of sorrow where I was sobbing, broken, and where I felt alone. He took me there and showed me Jesus in the background, weeping. His face was in anguish. I saw in his hand a vile of tears. Each tear I dropped was placed in this bottle.

Jesus spoke to me & said, when you felt the loneliest, I was there.

When you weeped and no one saw or cared to understand your pain, I was weeping with you.

My Child, I feel what you feel. I hurt when you hurt. All those times you thought I wasn’t there. I was.

I know every single tear you have cried. I know every reason you have felt hurt. I am who I say I am. & You are who I say you are.

Do not compare me to your earthly father. This will trip you up. Remember when you called me Abba. Remember your first love for me. Remember my goodness. Remember who I am and who you are in me.

As the worship continued I began to weep and realize that I had it all wrong. The times I didn’t understand, the ones that were the most painful, he wasn’t only there….he was weeping with me.

Even if you have the best Dad in the world, understand NOTHING compares to your heavenly Father.

God not only knows what we are going through, he feels it too. He keeps every single tear we have cried in a bottle.

On the flip side, if he can cry when we cry.

He must rejoice when we rejoice. Abba is a good father.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.”-Psalm 56:8

“Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept.”-John 11:34‭-‬35 NIV

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”-Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

“May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.”-Psalm 119:76 NIV

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When Life Gives You Lemons You Freakout or Frank

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I just had locked the door on my way out of the Airbnb I stayed at with my family in Houston. I was ready to travel back the 3 hours to Louisiana. I had already said goodbye to my family early that morning since they had a plane to catch to make their way back to Michigan. I walked down the stairs and tried to unlock the car but had to manually unlock it. (What a tragedy) kidding! I went to go start the car and soon realized that I had a dead battery in the midst of a gated community somewhere outside of Houston. My family was already in Dallas by now and not to mention my husband was in training and far away from Texas, WITHOUT a car. I was faced with a choice…

Do I panic? Or do I remind myself and declare that God already has a plan for this?

I chose to deny my flesh and go with God’s promises. My heavenly father already has a plan.

I saw a random guy pull in and began to slightly jog to ask for help. I asked for help and he said he couldn’t help me. Me being me, of course asked if it was okay if I knocked on other people’s doors and the guy proceeded to tell me he has lived there a year and didn’t talk to anyone. I thanked him anyways and he told me to look for maintenance and maybe he could help. I walked into the pool and saw a man and began to explain I needed a jump and soon realized he was not the most fluent in English. But he offered to help. I was like THANKYOU JESUS!

We walked over to the car and soon saw the dilemma besides NOT having jumper cables…My car was in a parking space with grass, Rhonda the Honda, another vehicle with an unknown owner, and grass again. So he told me to stay there so I stood there and just continued to pray. I told him that I trusted him and that he will work out everything for the good.

Soon, a white minivan, one EXACTLY my grandmother and grandfather handed down to me had pulled up with a guy inside who asked if I needed help. I told him that I had someone helping me and he was going to go see if he had jumper cables. He soon pulled out a bag with brand new bought jumper cables and told me to keep them. I asked him for his name so I could give them back. He persisted that I keep them but if I decided not to give them to the maintenance guy and his name was “Frank”. Frank proceeded to pull away as I thanked him and told me to “have a blessed day”.

I looked up in awe, holding onto the brand new jumper cables and thanked God. I knew “Frank” was a blessing only God could send at his impeccable timing.

I was overwhelmed with emotion and thankfulness that his love is always on time.

Soon the pool guy found the owner of the other car, pulled his car forward, gave me a jump, and I was on my way back home to Louisiana.

I had two options here that I would like to call, Freakout or Frank.

I could’ve freaked out and worried for no reason. I was stuck 3 hours away from home with no one I knew or trusted to help. No jumper cables. & it seemed to be circumstance after circumstance.

Or instead of reacting in my flesh and acting on feelings, I could hold onto biblical truth and trust that Abba is an amazing father and he will take care of his daughter.

In this moment even a week before this, I would’ve reacted in my feelings. I would’ve panicked…(& probably cried, let’s be real). But instead Holy Spirit spoke to me and reminded me of a scripture I hold onto so dearly…

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”-Romans 8:28

So the next time you are going through something remember you have a choice: Freakout or Frank. You can choose to react in the way your flesh wants you to, in your emotions. Or you can remember who your father is and choose to believe that he will always keep his promises.

He is faithful.

He will never leave nor forsake you.

&

His love is always on time.

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What Is Your Top Priority?

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I love the way the NLT bible puts this verse. KEEP AWAY from ANYTHING that MIGHT take God’s place in your heart. This verse shows how important it is to keep God first above everything and to protect ourselves from the world’s distractions or maybe the distraction is even ourself! God’s proper place of order is ABOVE ALL, including our spouses, kids, jobs, or *place something or someone important to you here*. Has there been something you’ve been putting first before your relationship with God? What is your first priority? What way can things be put in proper order? Too much of a good thing can become idolatry. Start with a small amount of time and go to your quiet place and spend time with God. Get an accountability partner if this is something you struggle with. A little encouragement can go a long way!

Also, a really awesome book to go along with today’s devotion is- God’s At War by Kyle Idleman.