Birmingham Alabama, ministry, Worship, worship leader

Derek Crosby; Worship Leader

Derek Crosby. My love. God brought this man into my life and I have never been the same! He makes me laugh, wipes my tears and always sees the best in me! He works hard to provide for his family. He is the most loving husband and father and displays the love and grace of Jesus in every area of his life.

While this may not be a usual blog, I’m using it anyway.

Derek has been leading Worship since he was 16.  He has a heart for God and a passion for leading people into His presence.  It is Derek’s desire to record a worship album that will minister grace and love to the hurting and reach a broken world through the talent God has blessed Him with.

In 2013 God called us to leave our hometown and the church where he was Associate Pastor and had lead worship for for 12 years and move to Birmingham, AL. While it broke our hearts, we followed the voiceof God. Obedience is far better than sacrifice! We love Birmingham and have thanked God daily for bringing us here! Below you will find a few links. One is for his GO FUND ME where you can help him record his album. The others are a couple of songs he recorded a couple of years ago.  We thank you in advance for your giving.
You can click a link below to hear Derek

Adultry, Cast the First Stone, Church, Goodness of God, Judgement, Sinner


judgement free zone_thumb[2]


I joined a gym last week. It’s not a big secret I’ve gained a few dozen pounds ok!

But as I entered the gym, I noticed in bright neon, a sign that read, WELCOME TO THE JUDGEMENT FREE ZONE. Ok, let’s not all act saintified and pretend we haven’t ever passed judgement on an over/under weighted person! It’s so easy to look at someone and say, “Glad  I ain’t that big!” or “Dang!! She needs to eat a hamburger and put some meat on those bones!

It got me to thinking. The very one place where you are probably judged on your height and weight the most is the gym! Larger people looking at the fit people in disgust wishing they looked that good and the fit people looking at the larger people thinking, “yeah, ya’ll need to be here!” But just seeing that sign is inviting. It gives you a sense of, “I fit in here! No-one judging me here- We are all here for the same reason- WE NEED HELP!”

So, what if the church had a “WELCOME TO THE JUDGEMENT FREE ZONE” sign.

What if sinners from all walks of life felt welcome to walk through the doors of any church and not be judged by their appearance- and by appearance, I am not just talking about how they look. It goes deeper than that. People are hurting and looking for something to fill the emptiness in their life. They try to mask the pain with the newest fashion, the hottest guy, the hottest girl, the strongest drink or the wildest life.  When in reality, all they need, (and unknowingly want) is for God to come into their hearts and heal them. But unfortunately, the church has become real good at welcoming people in but judging them from a distance. And that is why a lot of people look down on the church. They work with us, go to school with us, shop with us, and see us on a daily basis. They hear us talking about how rude the girl at Starbucks was this morning, they hear us gossip about our friends and relatives. They see us being underhanded in life to get away with the smallest of things. They see us coveting, judging, and lying- but they need to see us loving, sharing, caring and giving grace!

Let’s look at Jesus’ life for a moment. He loved sinners! He loves the broken, the sick, the weary, the murderer and the holier than thou’s.

One of my very favorite examples of Jesus’ love for the sinner is the woman caught in the act of adultery. (having sex with someone else when you are already married) John 8:1-11

The Scribes and the Pharisees didn’t like Jesus. They wanted to get rid of him! They liked to think they were perfect and didn’t need Jesus because they “kept the law”. So they brought this woman who was caught with another man and basically tested Jesus to see if they could make Jesus look bad. He had two choices in their eyes, stone the woman because of the law and obliterate everything He had ever spoken about God’s goodness and grace and forgiveness or let the woman go free and Jesus would then be guilty of not keeping the law Himself.

But in Jesus’ eyes, there was only one thing to do, redeem the woman from her sin and set her free. He didn’t judge her, condemn her, tell her how sorry she was, point out her sins or stone her. He gave the men who brought her to Him permission to stone her. He said, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” But Jesus’ already knew they wouldn’t be able to stone the woman. He let them examine and judge themselves and each one had to walk away. (Notice He didn’t even judge the men) He didn’t have to. Jesus redeemed the woman by forgiving her. We don’t hear about this woman anymore, but I bet after meeting Jesus and receiving a love like no other from Him, she found it easy to live a sin free life.

When people are brought to us, come to us, or we just run into them, we need to be ready to show them the love of Jesus. Lay aside our judgemental thoughts, because hurting people already know they’re doing something they’re not supposed to, and love them! When we show people kindess we show them Jesus.

Rom 2:1-4 (message) Tells us we cannot hide our sins by judging others! When we judge others we are just as guilty as they are!

No amount of judgement is going to make people want to be good. It will have the opposite effect on them. V4 says- It is the goodness of God that will cause them to change.

Be Jesus this week. Be His light and His love! Love someone deemed unloveable! Give grace to someone who doesn’t deserve it.

Goodness of God, homosexuality, Hope for the hurting, Jesus, Love, Nature of Jesus Christ

Why I Love Homosexuals

I love homosexuals.
I also love liars, thieves, murderers, people who have children out of wedlock, people who “shack up” together, cheaters (in card games and on their spouses),  gamblers, drug dealers and users, prostitutes, drunks, child predators (and that’s a hard one for me), porn addicts and the actors inside the flick, Obama, spouse abusers, gossipers, back biters, gluttoners, the list could go on and on and on, but I think you’ve gotten my point. I love sinners.
James 2:8-11
If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
I guess my question is why do we make such a huge deal out of homosexuality but when our teenagers get pregnant it’s easier to look over because, well, “what’s done is done. May as well accept it now.” When someone gossips to us we listen and even participate at times. We will tear the buffet up until we have to unbutton our pants so that we can waddle home and fall out into a food coma for a few hours, we cheat on our taxes to save a few dollars, keep the extra pizza that was accidently given to us, but at the mention of a homosexual, we act as if a diseased leper had walked up to us and wrapped their stinking arms around us and infected us!! We start thrashing around and yelling curses at them, wanting them to change because they are disgusting human beings.  WOW!  And I once was guilty of this. Snarling my nose at their sinful stench. Why do we elevate things like homosexuality and murderers and child molesters above stealing and gossiping? When James 2 said that if we fail in one point we are guilty of all? Isn’t a sin a sin? Doesn’t the stench of fornication smell the same as those “big named sins” ? Or have we sugar coated the sins we are comfortable with so that we can throw our righteous stones at people who sin bigger and differently than us so that the fragrance of our sins would be covered up?
I used to spray febreze on my sins. I didn’t act as badly as some people I knew so it made me feel more righteous than others. But then, I met Jesus. He came to live in me and completely remodeled my brain and my heart! Showing me a love like no other. And when you begin to know the love of the father and begin to realize his nature is in you you begin to look at things differently. I put on a new nature and gained the mind of Christ! (Col 3:10, 1Co 2:16, 2 Cor 2:16, all tell me that I, as a child of God have the mind of Christ.  (We haven’t just had a portion of Christ’s wisdom transferred to us; we have the mind of Christ! We know everything that Jesus knows! #andrewwommack) and my personal favorite I Jn  4:17-21.  Verse 17 says that as He is so are we in this world! Jesus is LOVE and COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS and SELFLESS and SACRIFICING and HOLY and GOOD! How can I knowing all that I am in HIM pass judgement on someone who doesn’t understand who they are in God? And how will they ever know as long as we are passing judgement on them and hating them and condemning them?? Verse 20-21 says, “If anyone says I love God, but hate my brother, he is a liar; and then commands us to LOVE our brother if we love God!”
For a moment reflect on Jesus’ life. He was pretty scandalous in his time! He ate with sinners and prostitutes. He redeemed the woman at the well who had been married numerous times and the man she was with currently wasn’t her husband! He redeemed the woman caught in the very act of adultry! He told her accusers, He who is without sin cast the first stone. And they all turned away because none of them were righteous. They all had faults and sins. The same is true today, If the very ones screaming condemnation at the homesexuals and the sinners were asked, He who is without sin cast the first stone, I have to wonder how many would have to drop their rocks and turn away?
Romans 2:1-4   Verse 4 asks the question, ” are you unaware of his rich kindness, forbearance, and patience, that it is God’s kindness that is leading you to repent?   I can’t help but believe that if we spoke the truth in love (Eph 4:15) and showed the goodness of God to people they would repent of their sins! If we would take as much time to tell people who they are in God and how God wants to redeem them and love them instead of picketing homosexual marriages with signs that read, “REPENT OR BURN IN HELL YOU SINNER”, that we would see a change! When someone knows how much you care about them they would be more willing to receive what you have to say! But when give someone the truth in poison form it’s no wonder they spit it out and avoid Christians at all cost. Its no wonder they avoid churches. They know they’re not accepted into the “Holier than Thou” club. They’re met at the door with you are not welcome here attitude. And while a sinner won’t admit to searching for a bandaid to cover their wounds, they are. And it’s our job to meet them with a first aid kit & kiss their boo-boos!
People are hurting!! They need us to get off our high horse, to quit looking down on them, quit passing judgement on them, quit determining their worth by their actions and LOVE the hell out of them! I am convinced love will keep more people out of hell than hate ever will.  That is why I choose to the love the homosexual. The sinner and the Christian. I don’t want to just pretend to love others. I choose to REALLY love them, hate what is wrong and hold tightly to what is good!  (Rom 12:9)
On a side note, I do realize some people do not want to hear the truth, but when you show them love anyway, you’ve shown them Jesus in a way they might have never seen him, and that could make all the difference.
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.


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



I Choose Forgiveness – Walking in {HIS LOVE}


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.

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! ) 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.