Church, Gift, Holy Spirit, Power, Uncategorized

Holy Spirit Shortage

When I listen to songs lately, I like to think of Jesus singing them to me. ( Zep 3:17 ) As I sing songs that tell the Father how much I love Him, I like to think he is mirroring the words back to me. And I love it.

But as I sat here today and listened to the song, Fill Me Up, I began to think, God has already filled me up! He filled me with his Spirit the moment I asked Him into my heart! (Jn 7:37-38) He didn’t give me a mini version, a 30 day trial or years supply! He gave me His spirit! (Rom 8:11) The same Spirit that dwells in Him dwells in me!! I have a lifetime supply of Jesus in me! What more could I possibly need Him to fill me with? From His Spirit flows all things! Jesus was full of love and compassion and goodness and mercy! So if His Spirit is in me then I also should be full of all those things! ( 2 Peter 1:3) says He gave us all things that pertain to life and godliness! and (Acts 1:8) says He gave us power!

1) His Spirit
2) All things that pertain to life and godliness
3) Power

Now, what are we lacking? He gave us this gift, wrapped in a blood soaked cross, not so that we can put it in the closet next to the hideous Christmas sweaters from Aunts and Uncles of the past, but to pour it out!! (Jn 7:38) says, Whoever believes in me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. Rivers go places. They are constantly moving. Giving life & providing habitats.

The same should be true of us. We should be a “moving river” pouring out God’s spirit to the broken, the hurting, the lost, the sick, the poor……. there will never be a lack of the Spirit. Never a shortage. Never a need to be filled up over and over again.

Never a shortage of the Spirit.. just a shortage of people who are unwilling to unwrap and use the gift given to them.

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Uncategorized

Broken// Passed up// & Cast to the side

I wrote this about this time last year. And since then, the passion for the lost, hurting and broken is even stronger in me. Especially since moving to Birmingham.  I want my feet to be dirty. My hands to be dirty and my face to be dirty because I am reaching out to the ones in a pit of darkness, lonlieness and dispair.

I dropped my necklace the other day and didn’t pick it up right away because I was in a rush to get ready. It was soon just another forgotten good intention. I picked my hair dryer up today and saw the necklace again lying there, due to my laziness. Rolling my eyes I bent down to pick it up and asked myself how many times did I look at thing before I picked it up. It was then the Holy Spirit spoke to me “How often do we see people cast to the side lying broken, passed up daily because we are in a hurry or lazy or don’t want to get dirty with their filth”. Wow. Did that speak to me.

It is our job to love people not to judge them not to berate them or condemn them. People want to be shown love. Someone once said broken people do broken things. And that is so true. We have no idea what happens in another persons life that causes them to act the way they do. Does that excuse their behavior? Absolutely not. But until someone to takes the time to reach out to them bend down to pick them up and impart Gods love to them and guide them they may never be “fixed”. I’m speaking to myself. I don’t like to be disturbed. I like my way my way and to be left alone. But when something comes my way I need to be prepared to drop self and all my insecurities and preconceived thoughts and become as Jesus and show His love. Not asking questions & not condemning, but showing love. Sometimes all people need is for someone to put their phone away take their watch off and give them some undivided attention and bandage their wounds for them. #lessonslearned

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Uncategorized

I Choose Forgiveness – Walking in {HIS LOVE}

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How often do we go to the Father and ask forgiveness? Probably too many times to count !! How many times has he forgiven you? [every SINGLE time] How many times should we forgive a person? Matthew 18:21-22

21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times

It’s easy to hold a grudge! It takes no effort and requires nothing of you other than being sour pussed and cranky. Everytime you think of the person who has offended you your blood pressure probably begins to rise, you turn red faced and probably mumble words about them under your breath! (I bet you have someone in mind this very instant!)

But Forgiveness- Now that takes effort! It requires you to take all your hurt, all your offense, every memory of rejection and every ounce of pain, put it in a “proverbial casket”, wrap it up real nice, dig a deep dark hole somewhere in the middle of grace and love and bury it without a headstone so it can never be found again. And you may even have to forgive some one who has either never asked you or may never ask you; either way, you free yourself from the weight and burden of harboring unforgiveness; and sometimes, the weight of the burden of unforgiveness carries more weight than the offense itself.

I was recently presented with the opportunity to forgive. Many years ago I probably would have taken this opportunity to inflict all the pain I thought was due to them because of the pain I suffered because of their actions. (as you may have read in some of my previous blogs, I have finally learned the true love of Jesus toward me.) Because I know the love the Father has extended to me I am now able to extend that same love to others. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears. (Luke 7:36-50) In verse 47 He says, I tell you, {her sins}—and they are many—have been {forgiven}, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” And that woman in essence is me. I am so loved by the Father. He has forgiven me so much so many times, even while I was still a sinner He died for me. (Rom 5:8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.)  As a Christian who has been forgiven much, I have no right to not extend much love and forgiveness to others.

My Dad, Joe, whom I have had no contact with in 30 years ( I had my first visit with him when I was about 11 I guess)  recently reached out to me. I’m not going to lie. When the facebook friend request came across my phone, my heart sank into my stomach. Was this for real? Why all of a sudden? Here I am a grown woman with a family and a life established without them and now they want to show up! I later checked my email with a sweet note from my Dad’s wife. Hmmmm. She and I began to talk a little back and forth over facebook. She mentioned Joe would like to start keeping in touch but was scared of how things might play out. They didn’t know me or what kind of person I might be. I didn’t know what kind of people they were. So, there was a guard up on both our sides. I kept it to myself for a while. Not even telling my husband. I didn’t want to bring it up if I didn’t think anything would really come out of it. But as the conversations got longer and more personal I began to share with my husband; who is the most supportive, kind and loving man I have ever known!

Well, God being God, He began to deal with me. I had yet to have conversation with Joe. I couldn’t understand why his wife was speaking to me but he was not. I wasn’t going to stress about it. And I didn’t. Eventually though Debbie gave him my number and she gave me his. I waited for a text/call that never came.(probably because I was impatient) While waiting for that text/call, I wondered what I should say to him. What would our conversation be like? In the middle of thinking all these things somehow God managed to drown out the chaos in my head and say , ” When a person comes to the Father for forgiveness, I do not sit down with them and say, I forgive you, BUT, let’s talk about why you did this” Like, wow, Ok God, point taken!  From that, I realized that God doesn’t open our closets, pull out the skeletons and begin to analyze the course of actions we have taken through out our lives and ask for explanations. We ask. He forgives. The end. (Micah 7:19 You will again have compassion on us. You will overcome our wrongdoing. You will throw all our sins into the deep sea.)   So, ME, being ME, took it upon myself and I texted him. I wanted him to know that I had no interest in the past. Nothing good comes from the past. If he wanted a future and relationship with me, I was willing to build on the future. And I left it at that. Eventually he texted back and we began a texting one another. Sometimes it was just a “good morning” and sometimes it was a more. But it was a start. Eventually we graduated to phone conversations. They had been planning a trip in the Spring of 2015 but decided on a whim to come earlier. They decided to come in October. About 5 months after the first initial friend request. Was I ready for this? Of course I was! I had waited my whole life for this. Was it scary? A little. But with the strength and boldness God has given me, I have learned I can handle any situation and get through anything.

So Joe, Debbie and their adopted daughter Gabby and myself began a countdown. We started with 3 weeks. Oh my goodness this was going to take forever. But before I knew it, they were here!! I didn’t know how I was going to re-act. Did I hug him? Shake his hand? Was it going to be one of those awkward moments when I go for a hug and he extends his hand for a hand shake? Or vice-a-versa ? I had no idea. When they pulled up into the yard, I got a little nervous. Not scared, I have come too far to let fear try to rule me. So- I hugged him. He hugged me back and it was nice. I hugged Debbie and I hugged Gabby. And it was very nice. I was no longer hugging someone who I thought owed my something and didn’t deserve forgiveness and second chances. The person who once would have thought that was long gone. The person hugging these people knew a God of love and forgiveness and hugging them became the most natural thing for me.  The weekend was too short, but we enjoyed the time and made memories and they plan to come back this Spring. And I look forward to that and to the many texts and phone calls. I look forward to developing this relationship with my family. And I look forward to the lessons God will teach me through all this.

By choosing to forgive you release the burden of guilt and shame the other person may be harboring. You release your self from the burden of being angry. By choosing to walk in His love and His grace you show people a version of the Father they may never see. By choosing not to condemn them for their mistakes and sins and choosing to love, you give them access to the Father through you. Because when you show love and forgiveness, you show them the Father.

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Brave, Church, Faithfulness, Goodness, Jesus, Love, Uncategorized

[HE] makes [ME] brave// called out [beyond the shore and into the waves] (Part 2 of my testimony)

If you have not read my blog, ” Trust {without} borders// Complacency Meets Destiny- you definitely should to go read it  before reading this. And if you have already read it maybe you should read it again before you dive into Part 2 of my journey with God to Birmingham

FAITH: complete trust or confidence in someone or something. (googles definition)

FAITH: (according to the strongs) 4102 pístis (from 3982/peithô, “persuade, be persuaded“) – properly,persuasion (be persuaded, come to trust); faith.

Prior to following the voice of God to Birmingham I had faith! I had all the faith I needed to believe that Jesus was my Savior. That he would make a way where there seemed to be no way; open doors no man can could open and shut doors no man could shut and all those other excerpts from the bible we’ve grown accustomed to “declaring” over our situations. I had faith He was healer, provider and comforter. I love Him more than anything. But most of the time my faith in Him was contingent on how I acted that day. If I blew that day, that week or that month, I figured my faith was weak and He would turn a deaf ear to me.  But as I write this and look at the definitions it seems I didn’t have quite the faith I thought I did.  If my thinking is God can’t bless me now because I whispered a bad word under my breath, then my faith was not in him to begin with. My faith was in me and my works.

But there is nothing like a God induced move to another city, miles and hours away from everything you know and love to cause you to look deep inside yourself and measure your “relationship status” with Jesus. And that’s where I was. I loved Jesus. More than anything. But did I have a real relationship with Him? Sure, I talked to him, when I was in a panic, broke, scared, sick, needed something for myself, friends or family. But the brutally honest truth was, my “relationship status”  with Him was a facebook equivalent to “It’s Complicated”. You know those on-again, off again relationships that show up in your news feed and you roll your eyes and make a bet to when the couple will be in a “committed relationship” with either someone new or each other again.  Unfortunately, that was me and Jesus. That was not His desire! He wanted all of me !  [17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves, He will take {great delight in you}; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will {rejoice over you} with singing.” (Zeph. 3:17)  {He rejoices over me and with great delight!} (How powerful!! I’ll be honest, I never read that verse until I was looking for a verse about how much He loves! WOW!)  Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!   That verse to me is so profound! [Even when I messed up Jesus still loved me!] Jesus didn’t want me to separate myself from Him every time I messed up. {He sure wasn’t separating Himself from me and wouldn’t according to Rom 8}  He didn’t want me to not talk to Him until I felt like I had given Him enough space to forgive and forget what I had done! He’s not into “trial separations”, “breaks”, “giving Him space” or any of those “It’s not you, it’s me” lame excuses we give to people when we simply aren’t interested anymore. But the fact that I was giving Him the silent treatment was not His fault. The fact of the matter was, I did not at that time have the revelation of His love. ( and let me tell you, my Pastor has an excellent sermon series from January 2014, called, “A Revelation of Love” and it is amazing! If you’re struggling with that go listen! http://lifeoffaithchurch.org/ ) And I said all that to say this, Because I did not have the revelation of how much my Jesus loved me and  the revelation that He cared about me when I was faithless and when I was faithful and that  my faith didn’t have to be great and un-wavering to receive every single benefit He had for me, I [limited] my faith in Him. 

So, we moved to Birmingham by the prompting of the Holy Spirit and a [GIANT] leap of [FAITH]! It was exciting! But it was scary. Moving to an unknown place where we didn’t know a soul except for the few new friends we had made at our new church(not to mention driving on the interstate-which I had NEVER done before! I’m from a town with 3 red-lights, interstates were not needed!). But somewhere during this transition I had found a {bravery I didn’t know existed}. I had cried what seemed every tear I owned. I watched my husband shed tears and watched his heart break over and over again, but at the same time, I watched the excitement in his eyes and passion in his heart grow; and I had not seen that for quite some time! This is what we were born to do! Follow God.  Derek was pursing his passion and I was finding mine.

The first couple of months were full of adjustments. New jobs, new work schedules, school schedules and bus schedules. What was the most hairy was timing my travel to work. I live 10 minutes away from my office, why on earth was it taking me 45 minutes to get there! And getting home was no easier! In Vernon if it took me longer than 10 minutes to drive my 10 mile work route something was wrong! But with this work traffic and school traffic it was crazy! Eventually I learned the routes and times and traffic is just that now, traffic. And it’s annoying. But, I have found that me and Jesus have the best time together on the rides to work! My new job took some adjusting. Learning things I have had never had to deal with. -Let me give you a little history- I worked as a waitress for the previous 10 years. I had a friend who came into the restaurant who owned his own Engineering company and I heard God tell me to ask him for a job. (Sometimes I wondered if God knew me at all!)  I was a high-school drop out with a 10th grade education. Professionals do not hire people like that. But I did it anyway. I didn’t come right out and ask him, I sent him a message on facebook! At the time they did not need anyone but a few months later, (after many texts and hounding conversations and a developing friendship with him and his family by them coming to the restaurant) he called me and I was hired! He taught me a lot as far as working with word, excel and quickbooks. Within a year, some friends (who I also met at the restaurant) offered me a job. They owned their own CPA firm and needed an assistant through tax season. After much prayer, I felt the peace of God and felt released from my current job. I took the position at their firm. They encouraged me to pursue my GED and offered to pay for it. They allowed me to study on their time in between assisting their clients and soon after tax season I took my test and I passed! For years, I put it off, {believing} I couldn’t pass because math was so “hard for me”.  I was ecstatic! Over the course of the next few months my friends taught me bookkeeping basics. I loved it! (ok, I know for a person who hates numbers and math, this career choice probably wasn’t ideal)! They were such an encouragement to me! And whether they realize it or not, they were used mightily by God by preparing me for my future job!- But I soon settled into my job and continue to learn on a daily basis! But I said all that to show you how God was already setting me up for the future! He knew I would need a career in Birmingham! (Psm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way).

So now that you have some history, let me give you an update on this journey.

Without a doubt God called us to Birmingham. We love it here so very much. Never dreamed we could ever love it. When I thought of Birmingham, I thought we were moving to the Alabama equivalent of New York City; complete with NYC crime.  Yes, there is crime all around us, and we hear noisy sirens on a daily basis, but I have never felt I was ever in harms way. I am not scared to live here .

When we moved here, Derek took a significant pay cut in his salary; it has never been about money, let me make that very clear; our rent tripled and our living expenses were raised. But, if God can do all the things He did to get us here, I began to believe He would see us through absolutely anything we faced; and He has.

A few months into the move we began to see and feel things that just wasn’t setting right with our spirits. ( I will not go into specific detail about that.) Derek and I loved the new people and friends we had made at our new church which made what we were feeling even harder to swallow. Derek had been seeking God on some things and just like before, when God said move, we did. I watched my husband endure an emotional and spiritual roller coaster. I watched the excitement fade from his eyes. I saw his heart break and I held him in my arms as he cried, doubting the decision we had made. But I knew one thing, Derek doesn’t make a move without hearing the voice of God. He never has. I reassured him that we had heard the voice of God and that he had made the right decision. We didn’t know a single person in Birmingham that would cause us to ever move here. So I guess God used facebook to make connections with people we probably would have never made connections with to begin our journey here. And perhaps the church was the right thing at the right time; we grew in areas like never before; and we needed that; but we knew that our time was over there.  We made the decision together after many more tears, and another heart break to leave the new church by the prompting of the Spirit. Some believed it to be for monetary reasons, others believed what ever lie was thrown their way, and some chose to ask us directly for the truth of the matter. Some remain friends and some have severed their ties with us.

So, here we were. In the middle of a big city, no church family, a broken heart, and another salary cut and a few less friends than when we started. What were we going to do. We know we have a purpose in Birmingham; that was not a question. We knew God called us here; that was not a question either.  So, we began to seek God for our next step.

If there was one thing I was confident of, God would take care of my family.

Derek had previously reached out to a Pastor here in Birmingham for guidance and council when he began dealing with the issues he was having. We met with them and had dinner. They were wonderful. Such a breath of fresh air. So much of this Pastor reminded us of our former Pastor in Vernon. The love and compassion he has for people is evident. You could tell he is working for the greater good and not whats greater for him. We decided to visit their church. – We had actually been there before; Derek led a worship service there for a visiting minister; looking back at it now I believe it was God making a divine connection that we may not have made other wise. The service was a like a burst of hydration to someone who was running a marathon in the desert. It was so good! We sought God’s direction and we both felt peace about where God was leading us. Derek sat back in the services for a while; bathing in God’s presence and allowing himself to heal from the emotional suffering he endured. But he is now co-leading with the Worship Team (who is amazing just so you know).  We love being a part of this body. The people are wonderful, loving and accepting of us. We look forward to growing with this congregation. We don’t know what the future holds for Derek and I  and our ministry together; but I know God and I know his voice and I know no matter what he calls us to do we will be successful.

A year ago, I would have been stricken with fear; moving, new jobs, loss, heart break; all that would have put me in a state of depression. But over this year my relationship status has changed from “It’s Complicated” to “Committed”. I’m completely committed to Jesus!

 I finally realized the love he has for me! I finally figured out who I am in him! I finally figured out I belong to him and all those promises he made to me really are yes and amen!  And when I came into His perfect love I realized it’s true, that His perfect love truly does drive out fear. It truly puts me in a place of boldness. A place of confidence. A place of fully trusting my daddy; my Heavenly Father; to accomplish what he said he would do! He has made me brave. I know I’m called to reach the lost and broken and hurting. And I’m excited about that!! A few years ago I got a tattoo (gasp) on my foot that says Beautiful. It comes from Romans 10:15 “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”  That is my desire. Bring the good news to them!! At the time it was a sweet verse. But today, because God had called me out, made me brave and I walk in his love, it means so much more to me. I know now that I’m called to reach the outcast! And I’m excited about that. A year ago I wouldn’t have been. I would have been too scared. But today, I know the love of the Father and i want to let them know how loved they are! God isn’t mad at them! I want them to know he loves them on the stripper pole and loves them when they’re shooting up. He loved them and died for them while they were sinners. I want to show them the true love of God. Because it’s the goodness of God that brings someone to repentance.
I want to leave you with this video. It has become an anthem to me lately and the inspiration behind this title.

 

 

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Church, Faithfulness, Feet may fail, Goodness, Oceans

Trust {Without} Borders // Complacency Meets Destiny (My Testimony)

Oceans- Where Feet May Fail

You’ve heard it in church- You’ve heard it in the car- You’ve heard it on pandora- at some point if you are an avid contemporary worship listener/singer you have heard or sang this song! And if you’re like me you’ve had this song on repeat with tears streaming down your face!

September 2013 this song became my anthem. With this song constantly on repeat and the Father ministering to my heart the lyrics of this song became alive to me in so many ways and helped me get through the hardest time of my life! And still true over a year later!

Have you ever felt disturbed in your place in life? Where complacency meets destiny? Well, that’s where I was. I was so complacent in my walk with Jesus. I went to church. Gave my tithes (sometimes). I raised my hands during worship and fulfilled any duties asked of me. I walked right- I talked right and I praised the Lord. From the outside I was a model Christian. And I was happy with that.  Until one day I begin to be disturbed. (Picture a hurricane on a radar they show on the news. Swirling around and around) That about sums up the spiritual whirlwind I was on! I felt so empty one minute and the next I was so full of ideas of what I wanted to accomplish for God! Not only in my life but the things I knew my husband and son were destined to do!!

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Here’s a little history:

My husband is a very anointed Worship Pastor. [maybe I am biased- but really he is great http://youtu.be/jk1rQEoTdFQ  don’t judge him by this wretchched iphone video but you can get an idea]  We lived in Vernon, Al for the first 12.5 years of our marriage. Derek began leading worship at the age of 16 and has continued to follow God’s leading and is still leading worship. It is who he is and what he does! It’s his passion! We were in our church for about 12 years. These precious people are our spiritual family and friends we have grown to know and love! We have seen each other through laughter, tears, joy and pain! We loved these and couldn’t imagine a life where they weren’t a part of us! My son grew up in this church! Every single one of his best friends attended this church! Some of which he grew up with! But in September 2013 Derek and I both felt the prompting that our time with our family here was done. We were crushed. Not that God was asking us to leave the very people we knew and loved, but crushed that we would be leaving them. We didn’t know how. We didn’t know when. All we knew was that God said GO and we were going to obey Him at any cost. We began searching out churches that were looking for Worship Pastor’s (because the best way to find God’s perfect will for your life is to take things into your own hands and search for yourself.) We even met with some Pastors. They were from Indiana and were great people. It was exciting and taxing! Exciting hearing God’s voice. Exciting not knowing the future. But keeping this to ourselves was burdensome. We couldn’t very well tell the people we were the closest to! Because no matter how close you are to someone- some of them will always know better than you and know the will of God better than you. (and that’s a whole another blog in its self)  Up until this point, I “trusted” God. I knew he was Savior. I knew He was healer. But until this point in my life I honestly can’t say that I fully trusted Him. Well, maybe I did but I just didn’t know the extent. But all that changed.  I was home from work one day sweeping my floors. I was dwelling on the meeting we had with the Pastor’s from Indiana and asked God, “How on earth will Derek and I ever afford to move to Indiana?” It was a rhetorical question. I really didn’t expect Him to answer. But He did. Almost audibly! And I’ll never forget it as long as I live. What He said to me that day was so profound. I could probably write a book about it and title it by the very words he spoke to me, ” That’s Not For You To Worry About”. (And that was His exact words to me.) I stopped in my tracks. Did I just hear Him correctly!? We are about to embark on the biggest journey of our life and He tells me it’s not my concern? Uh, hello God. I’m not sure if you are aware of this or not but Indiana is several hundred miles from Vernon! Your talking rental trucks to move, a new home, utilities, gas to get there and anything else I might run into that will potentially cost hundreds of dollars! [not to mention uprooting my son from everything he has ever known] Pretty sure that calls for concern! But after I thought about it and let it sink in I did what anyone in their right mind would do; I laughed. Not a “yeah right God” kind of laugh. But a laugh that came from a place I didn’t know existed inside me. A place of trust. A place of, Ok you got this and I’m going to sit back and watch you handle this.  A place of rest. I don’t have to do one thing for God to accomplish His will but follow the leading of His Spirit! I don’t know where that place had been hiding all my life, but I liked it!

Turns out Indiana wasn’t the plan God has for us. I was spent. Hours of online searching. Countless resumes were submitted. Is exhausting trying to find Gods will!! (What happened to that place of rest?)
In the midst of believing God and seeking His will I posted a video of Derek leading a song from a Sunday morning worship set. A song he wrote. It got a few likes. A couple shares and a few comments. Among those comments a Pastor from Birmingham I had randomly friended a months earlier. He messaged me asking who he was and soon friended Derek. Our families talked back and forth a few times and they were seeking a worship pastor but wanted the perfect will of God to be accomplished too. We decided to meet and talk about the position and the future. We loved them immediately. They invited us to come visit and allowed Derek to lead a worship set. We LOVED the church! The people and the Pastors. A multi-cultural church! Just as church should be! We had so desired to be a part of a church with more than one culture. It was beautiful!! Our spirits connected to the people and we knew immediately God’s will had found us. It’s amazing how when you let God drive he can get you to your destiny!
Step 1: Follow the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit. ✔️
Step 2: tell the ones we love the most we were leaving everyone and everything we know and love and moving to Birmingham. ✔️✔️
Step 3: Find a home and jobs. ( Not as easy as one might think)
I’d love to tell you everything was easy peasy and fairytale-esque from the moment we accepted the call to Birmingham. But it wasn’t. I laughed. A lot. I cried. A lot. I laughed because I knew God was faithful. I cried because my heart ached to leave the people we loved so dearly. One part of me was excited and could not wait to get out of small town USA- which is all we have ever known- and in my heart, I was already in Birmingham. But the other part of me didn’t want to leave my family, his family, or our very best friends who had just found out they were expecting their first child!
I would also like to tell you we found a home and jobs in no time.  We didn’t. The next few months were laden with submitting resumes through craigslist, monster.com, indeed.com, Al.com; you name it! If there was a website out there offering jobs, we submitted them! Finding a home also proved to be difficult. There was no shortage of homes by any means. But everything we looked at either doubled or tripled what we were paying in Vernon.
A couple of friends at our new church knew people who were hiring. Derek was pretty much hired, but the boss didn’t want to hire him until we had actually moved; which makes perfect sense! I applied for a position at a CPA Firm. I had a years worth of bookkeeping experience and a brand new GED but I was still hopeful. Weeks went on and I finally got a call back from a CPA firm in Hoover. It did not pay what I wanted but it was a job and and I accepted! I was excited to find a job and take the first step into our destiny; but here’s the kicker: WE STILL HAD NO HOME!  The Pastor’s were gracious enough to allow me to stay in their home while I worked and looked for my family a home. And this is a big deal because Derek and I have been  married 13 years. And the most we have ever been apart was a week and that was tortureous by itself; and I had never been away from my son for more than a week/weekend when he went to his grandparents house! But we were committed to this call and move and we made the sacrifice. For the next 5 weeks, we lived apart. He and Elijah in Vernon; me in Birmingham. I worked in the mornings, searched for homes on my lunch break and on the weekends when Derek and Elijah would come up we would look for homes. We DID NOT want an apartment. We wanted a countryesque home like we were accustomed to! Eventually we decided on an apartment. The week before we decided to just get a “make and do for now” home Derek asked a friend in Birmingham to spread the word that we were looking for a home. In no time she found a home for us! From the moment we stepped on the property we knew it was the home for us!! The price was a little more than we wanted but we decided to take it and believe God for everything else. I mean, He had brought us this far, why would he not follow through with us? The landlord asked what our budget was and she agreed to lower the price. She knew we were in transition and also worked with us on the deposit! What a blessing! (OH and get this! It is 5 miles from “town” and on about an acre lot with lots of shade trees! We got our private country feel we were looking for!! And we got to bring the family dog Roxy) Psalm 138:8 The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Your loving kindness, O Lord, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands. 
In the midst of this my job was not at all what it should have been! I knew when I took it, it was not my forever job! But after two weeks of being there I had not received a pay check, so Friday at 5:00 I asked the boss if I could get paid. He handed me the check and asked that I wait until the following day to cash it because he had forgot to go to the bank. No problem. He was no spring chicken and I could tell his health wasn’t great so I overlooked it. (He was a super precious man). He asked me how I wanted to be paid, weekly or bi-weekly. We agreed on weekly. (And up to this point he had not taken any personal information for me for taxes.) The following week, Friday at 5:00 rolls around.  No mention of payday, so again, I ask for my check. He writes me one out; still no taxes taken out. So I ask when he planned to take them out, he said, “When would you like for me to?”  OK! If I was dissatisfied with this job before I certainly was now for sure! The next day Derek and I are out riding around looking at homes (this is pre-finding the perfect new home) when my phone rings. IT WAS THE BOSS FROM THE JOB I WANTED! He asked if I could come in for a second interview with him and the other partner! (uh-heck yes) We ran to Regions to cash my check so I could get gas before I went to the interview; I WAS DENIED! The check was bad!  I was so upset, but Derek and I just believed that it was oversight on his part again.  The following Monday I spoke to the boss and he said to give him a couple day before I cashed it. (Um-ok) Well, the next day Birmingham got a snowstorm that shut down interstates and stranded motorist and kids at school and people at work. Luckily for me I worked only 3 miles from where I was still staying with the Pastors and they came to my rescue). We returned to work two days later. He asked me if I had tried to cash the check yet and I said no and he handed me cash. The young lady who took the place of the lady that had retired cornered me later and said she was about to quit. She wasn’t getting paid at all! She swore there were things going on there that didn’t add up. And I completely agreed. Daily we had people come in and pick up their returns because they weren’t getting done in a timely manner. (scary) The rest of the week went on with this lady ranting and raving day in and day out. Friday came and I asked for my check, again he asked me to hold it till Monday. Thing was, it was my sons’ birthday weekened. I needed that money!  I went home to Vernon that weekend and cashed the check anyway. Looking back now that probably wasn’t a great way to handle it. How ever, the following Monday was a crazy day! We worked. She ranted. She moved her belongings to her vehicle. She begged me to quit too! I couldn’t just quit! Yes, his business was failing and yes my checks were bad but there were so many factors keeping me there! On the way home she called me. “Jennifer.” she said, “If you will not go back tomorrow I will pay you your last check! I just don’t want you to go back.”  WAS SHE CRAZY!? Who was this chick! I told her I couldn’t because of our current situation and that I was actively searching out new jobs and that I felt sorry for him. We knew he was having health, family and financial problems. Finally she says, “Jennifer, I work for the State of Alabama in the Labor Department. I was hired to work undercover and investigate. I need you to quit. I don’t want you there when things go badly!”
DID I JUST HEAR HER CORRECTLY!! Never once have I ever questioned moving to Birmingham, but this was cutting it very close! I wasn’t sure whether I believed her not. I didn’t know her. She was loud, very brass, liked her F word and couldn’t wait until beer-thirty everyday. She had told me wild crazy stories about her ex husband and how she quit her job making mega bucks to work at a lower paying so that she wouldn’t have to pay alimony! I just wasn’t sure how credible she was. So I call Derek. The Pastor’s weren’t home and I was in panic mode! I NEEDED MY MAN! He calmed me down when the Pastor’s got home they suggested I call a friend of ours from church who worked for the Police Department. He told me that it wasn’t at all unlikely that things like this were quite common! I gave him her name and he looked into it for me. In the meantime she called me again to talk to me and begin to tell me about the operation and how he got turned and begged me to meet with her and the former employee. I WAS SICK! How could this happen now of all times! We were just about to move! Everything was going perfect! I agreed to meet her and my friend from the PD assured me he would be available if I felt unsafe I could message him.
The next morning I got up and and decided, I’m done with all this. I didn’t want to take any chances of being stuck. I just felt that I should quit. I went in early, gathered all my belongings, wrote a letter of resignation to the boss and left it on his desk and left a note on the door for any client that might stop by before he got there. (he always came in nearly at lunch time anyway) I met with the ladies. I was still unsatisfied that she was being truthful with me. She didn’t show me her badge like she mentioned she would, nor was she in the vehicle with State of Alabama tag like she said she would be.(Days later the my officer-friend said by all accounts and activity she was being completely truthful- the firm closed a couple weeks later.)  I was so done with the whole situation. I turned my key over to them and left. I called my Pastors who prayed with me and encouraged me. I then drove all over Hoover applying for jobs.  I didn’t cry. I felt kind of bold and brave. (Ok- I was a little scared, but mostly brave). While still in Hoover, Bed, Bath & Beyond called me for an interview! Praise the Lord!! I went to the interview and it went very well. I got a lump in my throat. I really didn’t want to work retail. Weird hours. Part time. Minimum wage. I needed FULL TIME and more than minimum wage! But I was willing to do what I had to do! After the interview I drove over to “our new home”. I was meeting the landlord to give her our first months rent and part of the deposit. Plus I wanted to unpack a few things. I felt happy just being there. It felt like home. In just 2 weeks my entire family would move and we would all be under one roof.
As I was unpacking my phone rang. I stopped immediately what I was doing. I hope I didn’t sound too anxious when I answered. It was the JOB THAT I HAD BEEN PRAYING FOR! (again Psalm 138.8) Was this real life right now? Was he really offering me a job?! YES HE WAS! I asked him when he would like for me to start. He said, “You can start tomorrow if you would like to!”
Like. I lived this and it’s still hard to believe! The very day I quit my job and had no idea the next step in this journey my dream, job calls me !!!! It was true. I was so excited! As soon as I hung up I called Derek. I think even he was in disbelief! As a matter of fact he was so excited he drove almost all the way home and forgot to get gas! He stopped by my moms and told her the news and they both shed tears of joy!  GOD IS SO GOOD!!
The following weeks we made our move. God provided everything we needed. If there was a need it was provided.(For the friends and family I left names unmentioned on purpose, but you know who you are and we are forever grateful for you!)
 I have moved from that place of trusting God to provide the light bill money (my place of complacency) and into the place of trusting God for every single area of my life! He is my healer. My provider. My comforter. My everything.
HE IS MY DESTINY- He called me out up on the water- the great unknown- where feet may fail – and there I found Him in the mystery- In Oceans deep- My faith will stand
His Spirit led us to Birmingham. We are continuing this faith walk and this journey with Him! It’s exciting to know that He has big plans for us!
This is NOT THE END OF THIS STORY- This is just the beginning……………………………….
Just in case you live under a rock and never heard Oceans here is the best version you will ever hear! www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGRz2BJQRXU
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Church, Jesus, Love, Uncategorized

Love Note to my Heavenly Daddy

You are my passion

my first true love

I can’t face the day without you

You know my secrets

Ones I speak not of

You hold me together

When I am falling apart

You speak to my soul

Words of comfort

You’ve bound up my broken heart

You lavish your love on me

When I am weak and lonely

Your Spirit comforts me

You focus on me wholly

You never leave me broken

You have made me whole

Your whispers comfort my heart

Your touch ignites my soul

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Uncategorized

Every//time {I Look} In The Mirror {I See Him}

Genesis 1:27 –  God created human beings; he created them god like, reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. (Message Translation)

Valentines Day! The day of love!! The perfect day to propose to the one you love, get married, or ask that special person out! The day to spend your hard earned cash on Ghirardelilli, roses, wine, chocolates and fancy hotel rooms!! I love Valentines Day!! It’s my favorite! (And according to statisticbrain.com I am not alone!  $13.19 BILLION dollars are spent on V-Day! and $116.21 being the “average” dollar amount spent) But that isn’t why I love Valentines Day so much! February 14th, 2001 Derek (my husband of 13 years) FINALLY asked me to be his girl-friend after my effective and relentless stalker tactics! (Fun Fact: We married March 10th of 2001- you can do the math)  He’s such a romantic and has always done right by me on this special day!  But even that is not why I love Valentines Day soooo much!!

Fast Forward to February 14th, 2003!!

It didn’t break national news. It didn’t trend on twitter. It didn’t go viral. But this day was the most wonderful day in history and it is forever imprinted on mine and Derek’s heart. On this day, the sweetest, most handsome, most adorable kid on the face of the planet was brought into this world – AND HE WAS MINE!! Elijah Alan Crosby. 6lbs 2.3 oz and 21.5 inches long. One week earlier than expected, but perfectly healthy in every way! The epitome of perfection! So tiny yet loved so big!! He came into this world and made the most wonderful day even more wonderful!!

He had a sweet complexion. Dark hair, blue eyes, little wrinkles in is face and a conehead!

Ok! Maybe he wasn’t exactly the CUTEST thing ever the second he was born! Maybe he looked like a wrinkled up old man-alien but he was my wrinkled up old man-alien!! And he was still beautiful!!

He looked exactly like his daddy.

The Dr. barely had him entered into the world before I heard him say, “Put a goatee on this baby and he looks just like his daddy!”

Yes, I prayed he would look like his daddy. Yes, I was grateful for his manly features. But c’mon!! Couldn’t he at least waited to say that until I had recovered from birthing the perfect angel before he started throwing out comments like that!!!

•Anyway• to recap- Valentines Day, a child is born, he’s perfect, spitting image of his daddy.

Let talk about that. “spitting image”, just alike, similar, identical.

We read in Gen 1:7 We are created in His image. Let’s break a few of these words.

1) Create: to bring something into existence. (To create something you must first have an idea of it)
2) Own: emphasizes someone or something that belongs or relates to the person mentioned.
3) Image: a representation of the external form of a person or thing, likeness, resemblance, or representation.

So by this verse and the few definitions I conclude God brought me into existence (I was on His mind) in His own (likeness, resemblance, & representation).

Wow! What an Honor! It’s just an honor to have the Creator of the Universe have me as a thought before the foundations of the earth! But to make me in His image?! To look just like Him!! To bear his resemblance! I look just like my Father! I have His features! When people look at me they know whose I am! To whom I belong to! I walk like Him! I talk like Him!

Ephesians 4:24
” and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.”
Ephesians 2:10
” For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Some of us may have been abandoned by our parent or parents. We may feel a disconnection. A longing for that relationship we have been robbed of. Naturally we wonder, do we favor? What traits do we share. Who did I get my dislike of sausage from but my love for coffee from? It can be quite haunting if you allow it to be. It can open a door for depression. Open a door to long for that missing love and cause you to roam and never be satisfied and cause you to use people as temporary band aids for the hurt but causing emotional pain to yourself and others along the way.

Until you realize you’re adopted by your Heavenly Father and realize  You look like him and have his nature, and realize it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about you and that your Father thinks only good and precious thoughts toward you – you will be pretty miserable. My pastor has a sermon series called “Revelation of Love” and it is absolutely life changing! ( lifeoffaithchurch.org ) Finding out how much the Father loves you will cause you to see His nature and you will realize that nature resides in you!

1 Jn 4:16 God is Love.
1 John 4:17
” This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day— our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s.” (Another version says, “As He is so are we in this world”)

We have our Father’s nature. His nature is Love.  You are the Father’s.

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