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Today’s Gifts

This morning, God woke me up and told me He wanted me to go to worship. He said He had a gift for me. As usual, I wondered if this was just me and my crazy brain, or if this was really Him, so I asked Him for a sign that it was really Him. Then, I opened my Bible app (just as I do every morning) to check the daily Bible verse. This morning, it was Psalm 47:1.

“Clap your hands, all you nations;

shout to God with cries of joy.”

Psalm 47:1

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That was my sign! So, after I got my daughter off to school, away I went! There’s a church near me called Crossroads, Oakley and they do an early morning worship on Tuesdays. As I entered the church, God asked me to find a new way to worship. Not the out loud, over excited way that I normally do. So, I remained seated the whole time, singing out loud very little, and just basked in the worship of those around me. It was a very calming, peaceful feeling. And in keeping quiet, I heard the beat of the drum so much clearer! It was electrifying and I wanted to jump out of my seat and dance, but I stayed obedient. I felt like I could feel it deep in my soul!

As I sat there, my eyes closed, all these faces of strangers flooded my mind and I heard God say, “I love these people, but not all of them know Me. I want them to know Me!” It felt like I was falling asleep and instantly dreaming, but I was wide awake. I’ve definitely been tired in church before, and almost fell asleep, but never to the point that I’d had a dream. In this dream, or vision, there was an older woman with white hair and shades of gray. She wore a brightly colored button up, collared shirt. I saw pinks, oranges and yellows on her shirt. She had a stern look on her face as she turned to look at me. Then, I saw children playing at a park and a woman sitting on a bench, watching them. I asked God what this was about and what it meant, but got no reply. I figured He’d let me know if I needed to.

I left the church and asked God what was next? What are we going to do together today? Again, I got nothing, so I started to go home. When I was about 10 minutes from my house, I remembered that I needed to go fill out a police report because my car had been “broken into” a week before. I’d had major inner conflicts about reporting it and had been praying about what to do. My car was in my driveway at the time, unlocked. There hadn’t been much of anything of value in it. I’d forgotten to take my purse in the night before because I was so tired. But that night, I had also filled up my gas tank and put my credit card in my pocket instead of back in my wallet, like I usually do. (Total God-moment there!) So the thief had dumped my purse next to my husband’s car, out on the street. Everything was there! The one thing they did take was an extra wallet that was in my car console. I’d had my extra debit card in it that went to an account that only had about $20 in it. So, really, they didn’t get much.

When I discovered what had happened, I was a bit annoyed that someone went through my car, but thankful that nothing major was stolen. I stopped and prayed for the thief and the life they must be leading to have them living this way, stealing from others. I prayed that they find true happiness and freedom from whatever had them there. Then, I asked God if I should report them. It was such a small, minor thing and no one was hurt. Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek, and to forgive. Plus, there were others on my street who had been robbed as well. They would likely report theirs, too, so why did I need to report mine? I asked God for a sign on what He thought I should do. I was content to let it lie. Then, a few days ago, someone contacted me through Facebook and said they had my wallet. They only identifier was my debit card which was still in there. My driver’s licence was still in my purse when we’d found it, so I still had that. I believed that this was my sign that God wanted me to report it. When I prayed about it, He reminded me of a mission trip I’d just gone on in March.

We’d gone to a small jailhouse in Southern Kentucky. The warden there had said that we should not pity the people there. They had done bad things which landed them there. But the fact that they were there was a good thing because it meant that they could get the help that they needed and were not going to seek out on their own. So, by being there, he was able to help them get off drugs and straighten out their lives. It was a blessing that they were there. So, in finding my wallet, I had a clue as to who might have taken it, which would help detectives find this person, not only for the purpose of stopping them and the crimes in my community, but also to help this person who committed the crime with whatever they were going through.

This morning, after church, I stopped into the district office, still praying I was doing the right thing and asking God to guide my steps, guide my words, and help my memory with anything the officers might need in this case. I walked in, spoke to a man at a desk behind thick glass and filled out some paperwork. While handing it back in, I spoke to a detective who’s name was Mike. He asked me more questions about what had happened. I answered him and I also told him about my inner dilemma and the battle I was having with God. He then stepped out from behind the glass that divided us and told me he was a man of God, too. He was an assistant pastor at his church! THANK YOU, GOD! He spoke to me from a Biblical standpoint as to why this was so important that I report even the smallest incidents! It’s not about getting someone in trouble. It’s about helping them find the help that THEY needed! Or enabling those around that criminal find the help they were praying for. He said he saw things that we never get the chance to see, nor would we want to! Because of little tips and reports like the one I was making, they were able to rescue children of drug addicts, find lost loved ones who were buried in the backyards of people who had done things like this, and so much more. This might be a minor thing to me, but it could be the tip to a case that cracked the whole thing wide open and saved someone’s life!

I asked him if he thought it was a good idea or a bad idea to keep your car unlocked in front of your house. In my thinking, if I have nothing of value in there, why lock it? If a criminal breaks my window and I have nothing in there, then I have to pay for a new window for nothing! He said he couldn’t tell me what to do, but that he agreed with me. He also said that some of these thieves keep track of their findings and tell their friends, just like when you find a good deal at a local store and you tell your friends. So, if there was something of value in your car, and they stole it, they’ll wait a few weeks for you to get comfortable and feel safe again, and then come steal again, or maybe one of their buddies will. Even for something as small as change in your console!

Mr. Mike walked me to the door, opening both doors like a gentleman, and we said our goodbyes. I am grateful for Godly men and women like him on the force, as well as all the other upstanding good people that work there, keeping us safe and guiding us on the right path. I am so thankful he was there today to help me through this process!

I finally drove home, thinking about everything that had already happened. As I turned onto my street, I saw the woman with the white hair and the brightly colored button up shirt! She was stopped at the light at the end of my road and as I turned onto my road, passing her, she turned and looked straight at me with a stern look on her face, just as in my image! I’m still not sure what this means, but I prayed for her anyway. Maybe God will bring us together one day and I’ll hear her story. Who knows. Maybe God just wanted someone to smile at her today, and that’s enough for me! God, use me any way You want to! I’m all Yours!

So, while this day is still young, there have already been so many blessings God has given me! I am so crazy in love with Him and how He weaves these blessings into my days, when I ask Him to! I wish more people could experience God the way that I do. I wish more people could see Him the way I do and feel His love so clearly. It’s such a wonderful feeling!

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When Holy Spirit Moves

I have blogged about my experiences lately with watching other’s worship and how much it has moved me and inspired me to step further out of my comfort zone and into my free praise of our amazing Father. I have been at conventions and other churches that are doing worship the way I feel is the right way for me. They go up front during the music and they sway or jump or dance around. I’ve witnessed worship like I never had before, at these conventions and churches I’ve visited. After I became comfortable with it and began to understand it, I started to crave that freedom myself! I’ve heard others say that when they aren’t finding what they needed in their own church, they left, seeking it somewhere else. I couldn’t imagine leaving my church! These people are more than just bodies standing next to or around me as I worship and learn more about God. These people are more than just friends that I enjoy seeing! They are my family! Not family that I chose for myself, but family that my Father, Abba chose for me! So, I couldn’t just leave and tell them that they are not enough for me! Besides, in loving them, I want what is best for them, too. I want them to experience the freedom that I have found, the love that I have come to know. I want them to be totally consumed with Holy Spirit, to the point that they are not afraid to become “fools for Christ!” (1 Corinthians 4:10)

I had a vision about 6 months ago where I met Jesus, and in our conversation, He told me that I am never to be ashamed of how I worship. EVER! He also told me that there is absolutely NO WRONG WAY to worship, and that no way of worshiping is valued more than any other. If you are worshiping from the heart, and being obedient to how you are being told to worship by Abba, then you are doing everything correctly! If you’re way of worshiping is to just sit there and bask in His presence, or to kneel on the ground, face down, or, like me, to dance and jump with joy, you are doing it right! No one has the right to tell you that if you are still, you aren’t worshiping! Your worship is between you and Abba ONLY! And once you are actually worshiping in earnest, the devil will definitely attack you with your own thoughts. Since my way of worship is so out loud and boisterous, I am constantly afraid that people will think that I am seeking attention for myself, that I am looking for the spotlight. The only spotlight I am seeking is one that comes from my Father. I worship for an audience of One! If you see me and it inspires you to step out of your comfort zone and worship with me, that’s awesome! But my worship isn’t for you. I welcome any and everyone to worship with me, and, in fact, it makes my worship even more enjoyable!

So, with all of that being said, I have been praying for the change in my church that I need so badly. I have been trying to be obedient to God and have been walking down front to dance when I feel He is calling me to. Sometimes a few of my friends will join me, and sometimes, I’m all lone, worrying if others think I’m dancing there, screaming for them to look at me! (That’s the devil talking to me!)

Last week, I was all alone again. I enjoyed my time with Abba, but felt defeated. I felt like it really wasn’t going to ever happen and that I would continue to worship alone up front. I was asking God, do I stop? Do I give up? What would You have me to do? It isn’t working! Could I possibly be the only one who is moved to dance during worship?! I mean, I have my girlfriends, and they dance with me at our seats, and every once in a while they go up front with me, and I love all of that! But I need more! Then, at a class this week, I was inspired through a prophetic word from a friend to try once more. And another friend and I spoke at a lady’s gathering we had at church. Both of us spoke about worshiping down front and how we wished others would join us. Then came Sunday. The music was intoxicating and I was so moved, that I don’t think I could have stayed in my seat if I had wanted to! I walked down front and when I got to my place, I turned around and there were 7 ladies who had joined me! 7!!!! My lucky number and one of God’s favorite numbers! I felt blessed beyond measure! I felt like God had heard my cries and had answered them by inspiring others! I began to cry and I couldn’t contain myself! I wanted to celebrate the love that my Father had shown me! I wanted to scream with joy! As each song played, I could feel Holy Spirit wrap Himself around me closer and tighter, and I just gave myself to Him! I was so overjoyed! Then, the last song came on, and part of the words were, “Yes, Lord, Yes, Lord, Yes, Yes, Lord!” I changed the words to, “More, Lord! More, Lord! More, More Lord!!!” I became overcome with His presence. I was told to get on my knees to worship, so I did. I cried even more and my joy overflowed, and I began to laugh uncontrollably, to the point that I couldn’t stop. It felt so good in that moment (even if it was a little awkward that I was the only one laughing). Then, a friend came to pray for me, and as she touched my shoulder, she fell into fits of laughter, too. What an amazing moment that was! I’d witnessed what they call “Laughing in Spirit,” but I hadn’t really experienced it to that extent. It was overwhelming and uncontrollable. It was a beautiful moment!

Now, I know that my dream of worshiping up front with my brothers and sisters in Christ WILL come true! The flood gates have opened! I just pray that the devil doesn’t stop anyone from joining me. He can be pretty tricky and very powerful, but my God is BIGGER and even more POWERFUL! Thank you, Abba, for loving me the way that you do! And to everyone else, never stop worshiping, in whatever way that is for you!

Life is Hard Sometimes

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Having a rough day today. Having to go through everything in your house and decide if it is important or not is hard. It’s like being forced to take a look back at your life and being asked if this memory is important enough to hold on to. The sentimental side of me keeps saying, “YES! YES! Hang on to that!” But the practical side says, “Come on, how many times in the past year have you actually picked that up or even thought about it?” It’s so hard to categorize everything in this house and let go of things. I keep getting choked up over pictures that my Youngling has made for us or a card from a friend or even my Hubbs. I spend minutes with that card in my hand hanging over the garbage can, and then the KEEP pile, and then back to the garbage. I throw it away only to come back for it minutes later, deciding that I can’t let it go. And then laughing at my silliness, I let it go, only to wonder if that was the right decision. This is probably the toughest move I have ever made, and my partner in crime isn’t even here to help me through it. That’s even harder.

For the most part, I’m ok with that. I don’t like it, but I don’t let it get me down. Most days I can smile and laugh and go about my day just fine. But days like today, on this windy, rainy,  gray day, all I want to do is cuddle up next to him and have him hold me and tell me it will all be ok, even though I already know that. I know that my life in the Caribbean is going to be amazing! I know that I have a fabulous adventure ahead of me, that, if given the chance, I wouldn’t pass up. I know that we are going to experience some pretty spectacular things that some people only dream about. I know how lucky I am. But in this moment, that doesn’t make it any easier.

I feel like there is so much left to do here in Cincinnati. There are so many things that I wanted to do. I wanted my baby girl to grow up in the same school until she graduated. Have the same friends all through school that she kept in contact with for her whole life, like mine and my Hubb’s friends. I wanted to grow old in this house. I wanted to grow old with my girlfriends and have those silly memories of when “Sally” got locked out of her house and I had to come rescue her, or whatever. Join knitting clubs, and sewing clubs, or reading clubs with my girlfriends. I wanted to be in the lives of my nieces and nephews, so I wasn’t just a sometimes Aunt. I wanted to be the favorite. There is so much that I wanted.

And I am fully aware that I can still have these things in the next place I go to. It’s just that I thought I was living in that place now. I have come to terms with the fact that, being married to a talented, ambitious chef, I am pretty much signing my life over to him to do with as he pleases… in a manner of speaking. It’s like being an Army wife. He goes where the duty calls. We could choose to stay here in Cincinnati, but then his career might become stagnant. And his happiness might dwindle, and then what kind of life is that for us?!

Anyway, my point is, I’m just having one of those sentimental, emotional, cry-baby kind of bad days. Can’t wait to get past it so I can be happy again. But then again, there might be more of these in my future! Oh brother!

Aside

Happy Father’s Day

Father’s Day is quickly approaching, and as it is, all of us, sons and daughters both, are running around trying to think of the perfect gift for that one man who has done so much in our lives. I had a friend ask me the other day if I thought dads really did enjoy getting ties for Father’s Day. I said that maybe some do, maybe if they are professional business men. Other than that, I don’t suppose they do. But yet, we give them these ties every year. So, we went through a list of gift ideas and tried to think of something that our dads didn’t already have.

You know what the problem is with getting a grown man a gift? Like most adults with jobs, if they want something, they go out and get it. They usually have everything they need! Sure, you can buy them another car wash gift certificate packet. They could always use more of those. But, is it going to mean anything?! Are they going to look back at that car wash years from now and think, “Wow, my kid really loves me?” Probably not. So, the question still stands, what is the best gift to give your father?

Reflecting back to memories shared with my own father sometimes helps me to come up with the perfect gift idea! I think my favorite memory is of the day that I was playing in my room with my dolls. He called me to come into the living room quickly! So, I ran into the room and he was sitting on one of the chairs with the radio on. He said, “Do you hear this song? They made up a song about you!” It was the Rolling Stones playing “Angie”. He patted his knee and I crawled up into his lap. He sang the whole song to me while I looked up into his eyes with awe. I don’t remember if he sang it well, or if he said all the right words. But I do remember feeling loved. My daddy was singing a song that was written about me and was playing on the radio! I was thrilled! Best memory ever!

I also remember a vacation where we stayed at a hotel on the beach. Early one morning, before the sun even came up, my dad woke my brother and me up, whispering to tell us to hurry up and get dressed, but be quiet so we didn’t wake anyone else up. I slipped out of my pj’s and put on my shirt and shorts and we quietly tip toed out the door. We walked on the peaceful beach until we found a good spot and sat down and watched the sun come up. It was the first sunrise I think I’d ever seen. It was beautiful, and I shared it with my brother and my dad!

Thinking back on these beloved memories, I wonder what I could do to show my father that I love him and am thankful for the memories that he has created for our family. And the answer comes to me! Create more memories! Father’s Day isn’t about buying your father something. It’s about celebrating the memories and the love he has shared with you! It’s about thanking him for being a great dad to you. Thanking him for everything he has taught you, for every time he has worried about you, or been proud of you. Thanking him for a lifetime of love. So, the only real way to honor that is by sharing with him the one thing money can’t buy, your time!

So, whatever that means to you, be it taking your father on a picnic, or going to a ball game, your valuable time is the most precious gift you can give to your father! One that I am sure you both will cherish for years to come.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there. I hope you have a wonderful, fun filled day packed with beautiful memories!