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, 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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