A playlist to burn the house down…

IMG_0012This beauty is called Crown of Thorns. I love it. It’s a native to Madagascar and Thai growers believe that  more blooms means more luck. This succulent doesn’t like to be overwatered yet lately has been  thriving with all these summer storms. It felt like my day the on a past Sunday and I had to make a decision.

Not that my life has been as heavy as the weather lately but that day, I was undone. Let me explain:

My son just discovered markers last week. It was cute. He played with them for a few hours then realized that the caps can come off and had even more fun. I’m so THANKFUL for washable markers! My table, face and his clothes came back to their full glory before long.

But this day, as I walked out into my living room, one of my greatest fears came true. I physically felt my heart break like the first time I was hurt by a boy when I was 15.

A sharpie marker… my white couch…

Damage was done. Nothing I can do. I went to find my son who was on to the next thing, in the closet- discovered what glitter and craft paint can do to a carpet. It’s officially time to burn the house down.

Knowing that a toddler can’t associate punishment long after the action, I calmly brought my son out to the couch and said, “Que es esto? what is this?” To which he very proudly responded,” a ‘A!'” Yes, if you look closely, my son had permanently inscribed the first alphabet letter in my couch. He’s a genius…

Can you see the “A”??

I know it’s just “stuff”. But those craigslist couches cost more than that Sharpie.

So what am I gonna do? Crown of Thorns. Focus on the beauty OR the sharp, needle-like spindles that hurt to touch (or look at for that matter)

I had a choice that day, as do we all most days. I choose which way my heart will go, which appetite to feed, the negative or positive.

I started blasting worship music as it it poured down rain, had a good cry (overwhelmed that there will be TWO boys soon) and moved on. I love my life, my family, my son(s), my couch and most importantly, Jesus has pulled my life out of darkness and now I’m basking in His marvelous light. I have nothing to complain about. EVER.  Here’s a few songs I’ll pass on to encourage you for future reference:

01. Be Still My Soul- Out of Eden
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2. Moving Forward- Israel Houghton
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3. You Revive Me- Christy Nockels
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4. Our King Has Come- Elevation
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5. Awakening- Chris Tomlin
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6. I Will Exalt- Bethel Live featuring Amanda Faulk
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7. Beautiful Exchange- Hillsong
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8. Gloria- Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir (One of my faves, reminds me of Arlene)

09. Deeper-Hillsong United
10. Jesus’ Blood- Delirious

Jonathan came home and saw the damage. He just flipped cushions and switched things around. Problem solved. What a guy.

 

 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthymeditate on these things The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” Phil 4:8-9

Peace and Sharpies,

Amy

A weekend sermon…

This past weekend Pastor Eric talked about storms in life. And I don’t know how many sermons I’ve heard on storms so I tried to stay tuned for what God may be speaking to me for this particular weekend.

Jesus spoke to his disciples about getting to the other side of the Sea of Galilee after a long day. After Jesus fell asleep under the deck, the disciples encountered a significant storm. Being terrified, they woke Jesus up and cried,Don’t you care that we are about to drown?! And how many times has it seems that God has left us in the middle of our obedience to encounter a Category 5.

I journaled on the last painful trial I had been through and what I’ve learned from it.  In the last 3 years, everything has changed.  In 2011, my husband and I ventured out on unknown territory- the making of an original music CD. We felt like it was the direction that the LoRd was leading. We worked extra side jobs to raise money. During that time, Jonathan’s mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian cancer.  I started full time nursing school almost the same week that a German moved in with us who was still in learning English.  We got robbed the $2,000 we saved for the CD. Cars broke down. Our computer blew up.  Nursing school had it’s unprofessional “politics” and dished out personal blows below the belt. A misunderstanding with a friend in ministry started an incredibly long and painful battle. Unforseen issues kept piling up with the recording of the CD. The band was discouraged and the project was hung up indefinitely. Jonathan and I were exhausted.  I got pregnant and was beginning to lose weight with all the sickness. My mother-in-law moved in with hospice right after Christmas. “LoRd, don’t you care that we’re drowning?!”

Two days into 2012, my mother-in-law passes away. The German found other living arrangements so we could grieve. I started to feel better. School eventually finished. The CD project miraculously was revived, mastered and produced. We welcomed our first son, Joram. We had so much support from friends and family.  It felt as if God had taken us to the other side of the shore. We made it through that storm.

After reviewing today’s sermon with my husband, tears just spilled down my face.  Arlene’s sickness laid a strong foundation for me but for my husband, it really shook him to the core. I felt like I was stronger afterwards but yet this situation with a friend in ministry absolutely crippled me.

“Even after a storm, the waves are still significantly rough.”
-Pastor Eric Ward

We haven’t given up on God. We love the LoRd. But do we take as many risks as we used to? Do we have as much faith as we once did? How will I respond to the next battle when I sometimes wonder if we’ve fully recovered? Obedience lead me to a season where I deeply questioned His character. Things didn’t turn out the way they should’ve. We remember Romans 8:28 but at times it seems like that’s just a church-y answer to deep pain.  In America, we like to have the endings the same: happy, healthy and better than ever. All is well that ends well.

But Jonathan reminded me that Jesus’s whole life goal was to be crucified. There’s nothing sexy about that. He laid down his life in the most gruesome, horrific way so that the price for my freedom could be paid. It’s nice to be acknowledged, supported, befriended.  But it says in Scripture that He was a man of many sorrows, stricken by grief and yet for the joy of it, went on ahead because he knew the cost of giving up was greater. And it also says throughout Scripture that He SEES, He HEARS, He KNOWS, He CARES… so all my questioning of if He’s paying attention to my drowning gets taken out to the trash. With that knowledge I capture those thoughts of doubt and charge into Him with my troubles (1Peter5:7). Deep down, I know one day, He’ll make all things right. Romans 8:28 really is one of His precious promises and He paid a high price to give it to me.

“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

I know I’m not the same person I was, for that I’m thankful!  That crazy season was like a bootcamp and I’m leaning on His promises more than ever before. I know that not everything turns out the way we expect them too but I can still trust Him who knows what’s around the corner.

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10

 Whatever season you may be in, may you trust Him through and through. He will, in all things, make good on every one of  His promises.

In His Grip,

Amy

Mentors, A Word from the Wise.

I once heard someone say that if if you are under 40 years old, you need to have someone at least 20 years older than you speaking into your life. BAM! Take that to the bank and cash it!

I have been so privileged in my life to have had opportunities of older, wiser women to take me under their wings and offer encouragement. Sometimes it’s for a short period of time and others, a long term friendship.

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Parenting 101

I wasn’t much into reading every single article about pregnancy and parenting when I was pregnant.  I just stuck to my knowledge in nursing school and figured that was enough. I never attended a birthing class- I just figured my body was obviously designed for it so what was the point in stressing about every detail and hiccup? I just waited for D-day. Needless to say, some people over-prepare for life and some of us just wing it…

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The Bloodbath and the Victory

I tread carefully as I write this post. I have spent the last three months laying low- away from social media, hanging out with friends etc in efforts to regain some strength and healing. Over the last two years, I have been dealing with quite a painful situation in ministry and it’s been recently that I felt the LoRd nudge me to take a break from pouring into others so that I can sit before Him and specifically deal with the aftershock of this circumstance.

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What’s in a name?

Over the past few months, I’ve taken a huge step back from life, social media, etc and have just been focusing my efforts and energies into other things. Being mentored by older women in ministry has been a highlight. Studying His Word, refreshing. I ran across a journal entry from this summer that contained a listing of the different names of God throughout the Scripture. I”m sure this isn’t extensive but here’s just a few to ponder:

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