Grace in Action

I wanted to share a story that unfolded this past Sunday that has touched my heart in the deepest of ways as I’ve processed it.

As the pastor’s wife of a small community church, I’ve gotten the privilege to wear many hats in ministry. Last summer when an almost immediate need for a van driver came up, I took on the responsibility to take the 15 passenger van every Sunday morning to pick up the children from the city because there was no one else at the time to fill the role. I was happy to do so, but was also so nervous and a bit overwhelmed because it felt like such a huge responsibility to take on solo along with my other Sunday morning duties and responsibilities, and I really didn’t know my way around the city of Springfield very well at all. (It’s been the best way to combat that problem though ;))

I could tell you story after story of the most insane things I’ve experienced since being the  van driver to our Childrens Outreach Ministry to Springfield. One being two boys smuggling a drone on the van and proceeding to start flying it around the van while I was en route.  I caught it with my hand at a stop light and the little boy then decided it would be funny to press the go button so the little blades were cutting my hand up. Oh boy was I upset! I wanted to chuck that thing out of the window right then!!! Needless to say the drone was confiscated for the rest of the morning, and those two little guys got sent right to Pastor Joe’s office for a stern talking to when we got to the church that morning. Seriously, it can get a leeeeeeetle crazy on that route with 10-15 kids from the inner city! We are so thankful to have had some volunteers  since then be able ride along on some Sundays to help control the kids so I can focus on just driving safe, and I am ever so grateful on those days when I have a helper!

As the weeks have turned into months, I’ve come to love those kids with a love that could only come from God, no matter how messy, hard and sacrificial it can feel and be. It’s been eye opening seeing the homes that a lot of them come from. Abuse, hunger, neglect, and brokenness. So much brokenness. The list goes on on and on. Last week the temperatures were in the single digits. It was SO cold, and I was SO excited about this beautiful, new, WARM winter coat my employer gave me for Christmas that I was debuting for the first time that day at church. As I jumped in the van to go on my route snug as a bug in a rug, my heart nearly broke when I realized that most of the kids were getting on the van in that frigid weather with only a hoodie or sweater on. And I wondered to myself, why me and not them? Why was I the one born to loving, MARRIED parents who saw to it that I was never hungry or cold and gave me real chance at life just by providing me with a safe, secure, home and childhood. Why me and not them?

But these are the kids we have been called to minister to. They are hurting, needy, chronic liars for nothing more than a ploy for someone to pay them attention and care, sometimes disrespectful, sometimes ungrateful, and they come to us each week hungry; physically, emotionally and spiritually. They come with baggage, they test our patience and sometimes in the midst of the crazy, I wonder if we are doing any good and if they are grasping anything we are trying to teach them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ because sometimes it can just feel like a crazy merry-go-round that doesn’t end! Now, I don’t want to come across like they are little heathens only, at times they can be quite lovable, funny and oh so very sweet, like melt your heart in a puddle, its just that sadly for most of them the innocence of childhood has been stolen prematurely by  the cruel, harsh and broken world they were born in not by choice.

With out going into detail we had some pretty significant incidents happen that resulted in the suspension of some young boys from riding on the van. We had given warning after warning and finally it came to a point where we had to tell them that while we love them and want them there, coming church is a privilege . I don’t have to go pick these kids up. I want to and choose to, but when their bad behavior is distracting and keeping other children who actually really want to be there and learn about Jesus there HAS to be a limit….

Ugh. It’s really difficult to have to be that person to tell them and their parents that they can’t come to church anymore because of ______(insert situation) and it was SO hard to deal with because one, how crazy is it to actually have to suspend someone from coming to church? It goes against your every grain and I hated it!!! And two, I had siblings and friends calling and texting me multiple times a week pleading with me to please let them come back and then you wonder and think, man, what if we are the only place they ever see and feel the love of Jesus?! Was suspending them for the foreseeable future really the right thing to do?? But then you think of all the other kids whose experiences are being taunted by one or two kids behavior, and you just cry, “Lord, help me! Please give me wisdom and discernment to handle these difficult situations correctly.” The struggle of no easy answers in leadership is so very real! Do you let one or two kids disrupt the experience of other children by letting them keep coming and dis-behaving, or do you make the hard decision to say absolutely no more nonsense and stop casting your pearls before swine all the while wondering if you were the only Jesus in flesh they would ever see? So, So SO hard!

Well, after about a month of praying about and discussing it, Joe and I both felt like extending an olive branch to these two young boys was the right thing to do. Basically the analogy of extending an olive branch means to make an offer of peace and reconciliation. A second chance of sorts. Grace. Whatever you want to call it. So I called these boys up and told them just that. Among other things, like boundaries and what was expected of them behavior wise from here on out, but I made sure I told them we loved and cared about them enough to give them a second chance and that I would be happy to pick them up that following Sunday. They both said, ok and thanks and hung up. I wondered if we made a mistake…..

Yesterday for the first time since July, some one else stepped up to the plate and was able to drive the van and run the route for me since we were having a delayed Christmas meal after church, and I really needed to be at the church preparing for that. I was in the kitchen working and like a stampede of buffalo I heard them coming down the stairs. All 15 of them. I took a deep breath and called out “hey, guys, so glad you’re here! ” from the kitchen and was going about my work when all a sudden I felt a tap on my shoulder, I looked up and it was one of the young boys I had suspended and then extended grace,  and with a tears he looked me straight in the eye and said, ” I just wanted to say thanks for giving me a second chance.”(insert heart throb right here!)

This boy lives in a run down house, in a run down neighborhood with some of the windows boarded shut with at least 9 siblings and 5 adults. I don’t even think they have adequate heating in their home.  What chance does the world say he actually has of succeeding? But God! You guys, God! I am blown away at how God draws his children to humility and repentance. I was so moved that all I could say was “you’re welcome” and “I love you.”

This same boy went to the alter after the sermon for the first time, repented of his sin and gave his heart and life to Jesus! My husband, not knowing what had taken place just moments earlier in the basement, used this same young boy to lay hands and minister and pray for another young boy that was at the alter asking for salvation.

I guess all that to say is, I’m just really thankful we were given the wisdom to be sensitive to the leading of God in this situation and were able to see the effects that grace in action can actually have on someones life. Pray for this boy, pray for his heart to continue to be softened and drawn to the Lord. He so much going against him in the natural, but I believe with all my heart that God is championing him to be a winner regardless of his circumstances. Pray for us to lead out with wisdom, discernment, and most of all with love and grace as it was so freely given to us through The Cross.

Grace. Have you given it recently?

– Polly

A few of the children we have the privilege of ministering and loving each week! 🙂img_2038

Advertisements

The Cake Lady

I heard a story once. It was about a lady who made cakes.

She was known as the “cake lady” in the community because anytime someone was going through a hard time in their lives, she dropped what she was doing and would bake a cake, tell them to come over and talk about it over coffee and cake. And sometimes she made a cake for someone, just because.

IMG_4564

She listened. She cared. She loved. She served. She truly was Jesus in sweet tangible form to her community.

After I heard that story last Fall, I was so moved that it brought tears to my eyes. I said to the Lord, “I want to be the cake lady in my community.” Known not just for creating sweet, yummy desserts, but for being a woman who truly cares about others enough to take the time to stop what she is doing, invite them into her home and just spend time with them.

Listen, care, love.

To be someone who listens, cares and loves. Someone who carries the presence of a tangible, loving Jesus and changes lives for eternity, even if its just through one cake at a time.

Two months ago, I married the love of my life and country girl here met city. (!!) It has been two of the most wonderful months of my life, amid all the crazy life changes. But I must be honest, I’ve had a few hard moments where simply put, I just miss familiar things. Everything is new. A new home, a brand new community, a new church, a new job, even a new family (whom I love dearly and am so thankful for) and none of it is bad, its just different. There have been moments where I’ve wondered who I even am anymore because I feel like everyone just knows me as Joes wife, but I feel like they don’t really know me. They don’t know the things that I love and what makes me who I really am. Trust me though when I say being Joes wife is definitely not a bad thing! 🙂 I am actually quite proud to stand beside that amazing man of God and support him. Life with him is the best!!! But sometimes I just wish I could spend time with a girl friend that really understands and gets me without saying anything.

IMG_4584

(Me and my Boo at a Reds game last month:))

Anyway, back to cakes.

We live in an apartment complex that is brimming with little kids. Every time I go outside I usually see one of the neighbor kids riding their bike down the side walks or a couple of them playing ball in the street. Last week I was really in the mood to make some cookies. I knew we didn’t need to eat them all, but I figured I could give some to the neighbor kids. When I saw them playing in the street the next day I told them I had made them something and to come over to my door. As I handed John, Angel and Lucy each their own little bag of homemade chocolate chip cookies, their precious little faces lit up as they thanked me and ran away with their freshly baked cookies. As I walked back to my house, I felt such purpose for being in this city community where my front yard is smaller than most of your gardens.  I shut the door and my husband was standing there and with a smile on his face, he said, “you’re going to be the cake lady, aren’t you?”

The cake lady. I had completely forgotten about that story. But as a smile perched my lips from deep within, I said to him, “yes, yes I am.”

Fast forward to Thursday night. Joe and I had just gotten home after a crazy, busy day and were in the living room chatting when the door bell rang. I jumped (still a bit jumpy these days, lol) because I had no idea who would be knocking at our door at almost 9:00 pm! I opened the door and there stood the cutest little boys. John spoke up wondering if I had anymore cookies for his friend Frank. I melted, but sadly I had only one stale cookie left to give them. I told them to come back soon for fresh cookies and they ran away once again with the biggest smiles on their faces.

Purpose. I felt such purpose in that moment.

Yesterday, I woke up with a million things to do and making cinnamon rolls for church coffee hour this morning was one of them. I was busily rolling out buns as fast as I could when my door bell rang again. It was John and Frank and their friend Angelo wondering if I had a chance to make those cookies I said I was going to make because in the words of John “I should be a cooker because I make good cookies.” (so stinkin’ presh!) I didn’t, but I did have fresh cinnamon rolls. So we sat on the front step and talked about life as they ate their fresh cinnamon rolls and drank their cold milk.

IMG_4683

Purpose. I felt such purpose for being here in this community, in this apartment complex in that moment.

I’m starting to understand that sometimes in order to fulfill the destiny and purposes God has for you, it requires a sacrifice. Being able to minister and pour out into others lives and love on them where they are at is worth the distance away from my family. It’s worth the sacrifice of living in the country and having wide open spaces, a big beautiful lawn and flower beds for such a time as this.

It’s all because of Jesus, be blessed!

Polly

Can I just be honest? A post on change and submission.

Can I just be honest?

It hit me two days ago that I’m going to be a married woman in 50 days. (excuse me while I freak out :)) & it overwhelmed me, in good ways, but also in realistic ways that really made me start thinking.

Pretty soon I’m going to get the privilege of being a married woman, a pastors wife, and take on the role of a youth leader along side of Joe in a brand new community and culture that is very different than any place I’ve ever lived, not bad, just different for me. (I get to try my hand at city livin’ :))

I am 25 years old (gasp!) and while I still had to answer to my parents in a sense, its been different than when I was a little girl. I’ve been on my own for the past 7 years. I answered mainly to God and myself. Miss Independent. No one was there telling me how I had to spend my money, and if I wanted to go on a spontaneous trip with my besties, I did. I did what I wanted, when I wanted. I took care of Polly.

All that is about to change. I will no longer be my own person, doing just what I want, when I want. Joe and I will be one, and I have him to consider in all things important. No longer will I feel like I have the freedom to buy something expensive that I want, just because I can. I’ll need to go through him first. No longer can I up and go on a weekend road trip with friends anytime I want. I am now a pastor’s wife, and we have responsibilities to be at our church every Sunday. And all of a sudden I’m supposed to submit, respect and honor this man that is my husband in all things. And I want to, I truly do, hear my heart in this, please! 🙂 This is not a woe is me post…just being real here. I’m about to embark on a new journey that could feel like I’m giving up my identity; everything I’ve ever known and been in the natural…Praise Jesus! My identity and “home” isn’t in what state and house I live in, the job I work at, or the church I go to. My identity isn’t even going to be in my husband and marriage. Although the Lord uses all those things for His purposes and glory, and our lives are associated with them, I must remember that I am called to Jesus alone. He is my home and resting place, and my identity is in Him.

Your identity is in Him.

The thing about submission is that you don’t really get to practice it before hand. It’s easy to submit when you agree, right? But what about the times when you don’t agree, and you feel justified to the core about your opinion and feelings on a matter, but your husband doesn’t feel the same way? The true test of submission is submitting when you disagree. And at the end of the day, my husband is my leader and spiritual authority in our home; and while I know he will listen to my heart and consider my feelings, he still gets the last word whether he is right or wrong, and it is my God given responsibility to submit to him regardless what decision he makes.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, goodness, I’m not even married yet. 🙂 But on the front side of this marriage, I am recognizing the importance of a submissive heart and I am processing what this looks like played out in reality.

Married ladies, I would love to hear your thoughts and advice on submission!

Blessings!

Polly

Home

It’s been a while since I’ve been inspired to write on here. Make that over a year! Honestly, I’m finding it hard to put everything that is in my heart into words. It’s overwhelming!

This past year has been a whirl wind, and has brought so many changes! I have walked through deep waters, wondering if my heart would ever find its way to shore again. I am here to say, God is faithful, and I have found the home to my heart.

IMG_5877

About two or three years ago, The Lord impressed the age 24 on my heart, and I knew that it would be a year of significance. What I didn’t know was how difficult the journey leading up to it would be.

A few months after writing the post entitled ” That Mr. Husband”, I started dating a man I was sure was the husband the Lord had for me. Everything leading up to that relationship seemed to line up with my prayers and it just seemed so of God and I thought this was IT! I was walking in Gods will for my life…until he broke up with me a few months later. I was left completely shaken. All of my dreams down the drain. What was I supposed to do with all the confirmations I had received? Where had I missed it? Why would God allow me to walk into something that seemed so right and so of Him that would only break my heart and cause me to question everything? I still don’t have the answers to some of those things, but I know that for myself I literally had to come to a place where I laid down everything before the Lord. Every prayer, every “confirmation,” every shattered dream, and every feeling I had for this man and release the entire situation to Jesus. Every single day.

Eventually I realized that God had spared me from something good and preserved me for His very best for my life. Something else I learned through that journey is that its very, very easy to spiritualize something you really want to convince yourself that this is God’s will for you. 

Fast forward a year. It was 2014, and I was anticipating a new year and a fresh start with a lot of new goals and motivations! In the back of my mind I wondered what the year held and how it would play out…I had decided to attend a Christian retreat for young adults in February, and I was so excited about a week of soaking up the presence of God and meeting other young adults. I look back on that week with fond memories. I met some really great people, and I met God in a very real and powerful way on the shore of Myrtle Beach.

On the way there I received a message from this mysterious man named Joe Parker. It was a simple, “Hi, I’m Joe, how are you?” message, but I will never forget the feeling that ran through me. (It all makes sense now :)) I had briefly met his sister Emily, at ACE Conventions back in high school, and I knew that she had a brother Joe, but I hadn’t met, much less talked to him. In fact I didn’t really even know Emily. (Later I found out that Emily was browsing her Instagram while sitting beside him one evening, and he saw this picture of me and was like, “WHO IS THAT? :)) I laugh that this picture caught his eye, but whatever it took, right?! 😉

IMG_1144

   He said he knew right away that I was the kind of girl he wanted just from looking at me. He asked Emily what my name was and she said “Polly” and he looked at her, and was like “Emily! Polly Parker! How precious is that?!” (I know now that it wasn’t Emily that liked basically all of my IG photos, but it was him because he stole her phone and stalked me for awhile! haha

  We had a really nice conversation the rest of the trip down, and before I got off, he sent me the link to the song “Come Away With Me” by Jesus Culture to encourage me. Little did we know then how significant that would be later!

We didn’t talk for the week I was at the retreat, but as soon as I was home again we started messaging back and forth. I remember thinking, I really like this guy! We just clicked. He was funny, smart, wise and had a genuine love for Jesus and the Kingdom. He really encouraged and challenged me in my faith, and I remember one conversation in particular where he gave me a list of different jobs in the ministry and asked me to list them in order according to passion and desire. (He gave me a list of five to choose from.) My jaw hit the floor when I realized that as I was typing mine out, he was typing his out and our first three were the same…I remember thinking he was definitely the kind of man I could marry!

At about the same time, another young man started showing interest in me, and I remember the battle that raged in my heart because I really liked what I saw in Joe and I felt like our personality’s clicked and our callings lined up, but at the same time, I had never met him and I had no idea how it would even work out. After a few weeks Joe stopped messaging me and I thought, well that’s my answer, I’m definitely not going to chase him, and I starting pursuing the other friendship thinking it was a closed door with Joe. When in reality, (although I didn’t know it at the time) Joe was at the same place I was. It seemed too far fetched to think it could work out. Long story short, we both dated other people for a few months. I wrestled pretty much the entirety of that relationship. Joe would occasionally pop up in my heart, and I would wonder where he was but I never allowed myself to dwell on those thoughts. But I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t find the peace I knew God was able to give, and I finally ended that relationship because I knew it wasn’t fair to him or to me. It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done because it was never my intention to hurt him. But afterwards, I felt so free, like a million chains had been lifted and I knew in my spirit I had done the right thing.

Joe and I started talking again shortly after that. We talked for HOURS via FB, phone calls and eventually Skype. I couldn’t get enough of him. I found myself falling for him VERY QUICKLY! He was everything I had ever dreamed of and prayed for. He was calm, genuine, wise and so funny, not to mention tall, dark and handsome! 🙂 We got to know each other in a very deep, intimate, spiritual way those first two months. We say that we got to know each other better in two months than most couples get to know each other in six because we weren’t around each other and we had no other choice but to go deep. Finally we decided we needed to meet in real life. We decided to meet halfway in the middle of Ohio and Virginia and spend the day in Charleston, WV together. I was so excited, but also scared because of past relationships and what if I didn’t actually like who he was or he didn’t like me in real life?? But the moment we met, it was like coming home. I had such a peace wash over me, and it was even better than I imagined. We spent most of the day at a park talking about our dreams and goals in life. For dinner he took me to a very fancy restaurant and I remember muttering something about getting a salad because of how expensive everything was. Joe looked at me and, “Polly, what if this is your last first date? Order what you want!!!” 🙂 I still look back at that memory and smile.(& no I didn’t order salad!) We had a wonderful meal together and as he walked me to my car, he got all serious and asked me to be his girlfriend. I was thrilled to say yes! And I drove home knowing in my heart, THIS WAS IT!

The months since then have been amazing! I made a move to Indiana in October, something God had started laying on my heart even before Joe and I started talking the second time. It hasn’t always been easy being so far from family and home, but I know it has absolutely been the right thing for this season in my life! Our relationship isn’t perfect. We have hard things to work through just like any couple, but there isn’t anyone else I would rather go through the good, bad, hard and ugly with. And that’s a fact! 🙂

In January, Joe surprised me with a trip to Chicago and had all kinds of fun and fancy things planned for the day. He proposed to me at the end of the day under the Bean at Millennium Park. Of course I said yes! I would have said yes yesterday! 🙂 We are looking forward to a May wedding, and are SO excited about building a life and legacy together for the glory of God! Let it be said of us that our hearts belong to Jesus.

541623_10153118283954254_3892474126697769177_n

(Maybe someday I’ll write a post just on the engagement. He did such a great job at making it special, it deserves a post all its own! ;)).

IMG_5949[1]

IMG_6061[1]

They say home is where the heart is. I say home is wherever I am with you! 

IMG_6023[1]

Hope you enjoyed our little love story!

Be blessed!

Polly

Old Book Party

We hosted a dinner for my aunts and their daughters. Something I definitely suggest to help brighten February blues. The only requirement was to bring a dish that you had never made before, and an old book, an idea my creative mother concocted. The plan was to have dinner, do crafts with the old books, and have a foot soaking party with rose petals, salts and lavender. Unfortunately, the latter never did happen as the crafts took up the majority of the evening, but we were too busy having fun to remember.

IMG_0422

My sis-in-Ruby had the grand idea to make a table runner out of old book pages. We took a paper roll and made the runner and glued old pages to it. It turned out great, and went perfect with the theme.

IMG_0431

I made edible Pecan Parmesan salad bowls as my contribution, and my sister Kyra made a super yummy pear salad with a vinaigrette. SO GOOD.

IMG_1815

Simple beauty. I love beautiful things.

25690608

Only a portion of the entrées and desserts we had. Everything was phenomenal! From honey mustard chicken, French shrimp chowder, pear salad, fried pickles, stuffed mushrooms, spinach cheese ball, puddings, cakes, macaroons, brownies, tiramisu, mennonite wine, you name it, it was probably on the table. I felt like I should only have eaten one bite of everything, but I didn’t.

IMG_0433

One of my dearest friends JoAnn. She got to come just because I love her. 🙂

IMG_0435

Aunties and cousins checking out the new babies and such.

IMG_0437

Love me some Kyra Annette. So proud of my little sis!

IMG_0442

About to get our craft on!

IMG_0447

Making wreaths!

IMG_0448

IMG_0451

Two beautiful women of God.

IMG_0450

My beloved Murmie, who is ultimately to thank for the lovely evening!

IMG_0453

And some of the finished products. A tree, bird cage and flowers. I am bummed I didn’t get  a picture of the wreaths, those were my favorite!

I am a sucker for all things lovely and beautiful. And I am very glad to be a woman that appreciates it. 😉

Be blessed!

Polly

 

 

 

 

 

Courage Embraced

She had the world in her hands and she gave it up to run after Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but that gets me at a heart and soul level. That statement reminds me of Queen Esther and Joan of Arc, who are such heroes of the faith to me because they were willing to forsake everything; even their very lives for the sake of fulfilling Gods will. Talk about a beautiful outrageous courage.

————————————–

I also found three accounts of men of God in the Bible that were called out of their comfort zone to do the will of the Lord and the underlying message is the same EVERY SINGLE TIME. Stunningly beautiful.

* Solomon is called to build the House of the Lord.

And David said to Solomon, his son, be strong and of a good courage, and DO IT! Fear not, nor be dismayed; for the Lord God will be with thee, He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord. 1 Chronicles 28:20

*Joshua is commissioned by God

Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou  goest.                                                                                                                                   Joshua 1:9

* Gideon is called to save Israel

And the Lord said unto him, “surely I will be with thee.” And thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.                                                                                             Judges 6:1

Courage. I think it took some courage to do what the Lord had called these guys to do. And I find it so intriguing and comforting that The Lord’s words were “I will be with you,” to all of them. Those words give me courage. I recently read a book called Outrageous Courage that tipped my world upside down and made me start really thinking about my life and what I know the Lord is calling me too.

I quote in personalized fashion excerts from the book ;

In this season I am learning how to live in the freedom of being a daughter, who, like Christ, is responsible to simply see and hear what the Father God is doing and join Him at His invitation. No more, no less. The more I trust Him, the freer I am, regardless of the circumstances. Everything about God is supernatural, so walking with Him inevitably launches me into a supernatural lifestyle. I know that if I go where He sends me and do what He asks of me, it is always going to be ok, whether I live or whether I die. For to live is Christ and to die is gain.

The most challenging thing about following Christ is that His greatest concern is not for my comfort. Jesus so loves me that He wants me to trust Him more than anyone else or anything else. He is the ultimate expert at identifying my objects of trust, particularly things I rely on to protect me from my greatest fears and to fulfill my deepest desires.

He is a master at confronting me with choices that encourage me to break my attachments with those things and put my trust in Him instead. If He allowed me to stay within my boundaries of fear, I would never reach my full potential in Christ. And it is scary to let go of tangibles to embrace the invisible. But I must continually remind myself that when I let go of the worlds security, I get to embrace Him and the supernatural.

Thankfully Jesus promises me abundant blessing for this exchange. * Mark 10:29-30 *

——————————————————————————————–

She had the world in her hands and she gave it up to run after Jesus.

That is so beautiful.

That is going to be me – that is what I want people to say about me. I don’t even care if they say it while shaking their heads thinking, I must be crazy! Or if they say it with tears in their eyes knowing the cost of giving it all up for Jesus, but also knowing the sacrifice is WORTH IT ALL to follow Him with abandon.

That is me. It’s who I am; what I was made for. For HIM, HIS glory, HIS Kingdom and HIS Heavenly Cause. That’s why I will do what I do.

Its that simple. Not to the world or even most people, but to me and to Jesus it is. And that’s enough.

 And the Lord said, “I will be with thee.”

Those 5 words are my security when God invites me to take step after step with nothing more than His promise that He will show up and do the impossible. It will be frightening, messy, controversial, and mind blowing. But God wants to teach me, His daughter, to live in that reality. He wants His normal to be my normal. (from Outrageous Courage)

HE WILL BE WITH ME. HE WILL BE WITH YOU. THATS THE REALITY.

The Lord is counting on US, His children, to fulfill His call; the great commission. We are the answer the world is screaming for because of Christ in us. It’s up to us and I don’t know about you, but I am compelled to do something and I am pushing this thing out to the ends of the earth, and so be it if its bloody. Real ministry is a real bloody mess. And the truth is, we aren’t called to battle to lose, we are called to battle to WIN and we are to go out as little lambs with the faces of lions! For greater is HE that is in us than he that is in the world. Be strong, embrace courage, fight the good fight and know, just know, that ULTIMATE VICTORY is ours because of the Cross! We are winners.   [The Lord is with us.]

Glory to Jesus.

The beautiful struggle of surrender.

Aside

“Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” Isaiah 62:3

About a month ago I was in prayer and I had a vision. It was a real simple picture. I was kneeling before the cross of King Jesus and taking a crown off of my head and laying it down at the foot of the cross.

It came to me twice. At two different times.

It wasn’t until a few days later though, that the Lord revealed the meaning to me in fullness.

The crown symbolized my desires, dreams, emotions, feelings, plans and the “right” to rule and control my kingdom; my life.

The Lord was literally asking me to “de-crown and de-throne” myself of that ‘beautiful and appealing crown.’ (Because lets be honest, in the flesh there is something fiercely powerful and appealing about being in control.) He was asking me to lay it down, so He could pick up it up, polish it off, put it on and rightly rule and reign in my life in complete fullness, dominion, glory and power.

Whoa. Powerful stuff…

God wants us. All of us. Every single desire, dream and plan of ours, He wants. He deserves it. He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Everlasting, the Beginning and the End, the Prince of Peace. He is MIGHTY in power, strength and grace and LOVE. He is Wisdom, Discernment, Patience, Joy. He is THE TRUTH, THE LIFE, THE WAY.

When I am ruled by selfishness all I can think about is me. In my flesh I’m always thinking about “me”, how that made “me” feel, taking care of “me,” and for goodness sakes even all caught up in praying for “me.” And I act out according to ALL of those things….

When I am ruled by God, He gives me the power, through CHRIST, to lay “me” down and crucify that stinkin’ flesh and all of a sudden I start seeing the dishes that are piled up in the sink when I get home from a long day at work and the laundry that needs to be folded…and HE gives me a desire to bless my mom by washing and folding them for her, even though I’m tired. When I am ruled by God, I am able to turn and walk away when someone accuses and criticizes me instead of lashing back. When I am ruled by God, I listen to the voices around me and actually hear them out and God speaks encouraging words through me to them. When I am ruled by God, I actually notice a world around me that is blind, deaf, and lame and people are literally dying with out JESUS. When I am ruled by God, I do not compromise, I am true to who I am IN HIM and I recognize the beauty of a surrendered heart. Surrender comes with a cost. Surrender is sacrifice. A laying down of and literally dying to what you want in order to fulfill God’s perfect will. And it’s not always convenient and comfortable. But there is a beautiful, liberating freedom in surrender, I’m learning.

I found this in one of my old journals. I don’t think I was inspired by these words on my own and I’m not sure where I read it…but in any case, they are words that beat to the rhythm of my heart and who I desire to be.

“I am a woman on a journey of learning how to make sure my reactions don’t deny Christ’s presence in me. I am a woman who will say yes to God not because my emotions and reactions are always perfect. No, I will say yes to God and His ways because He is perfectly able to forgive me, love me, remind me, challenge me and show me (by having complete rule and authority) how to weather trials in ways that prove His Spirit resides in me. I will remind myself often that people don’t care to meet MY JESUS until they see the reality of JESUS IN MY LIFE!”

…wow! Did you catch that? People don’t care to meet my Jesus until they see the reality of Jesus in my life….people don’t care to meet your Jesus until they see the reality of Jesus in your life. Think about it!

The truth of the matter is this, we are ruled either by our flesh .aka. ‘selfishness’ or God. Why in the world would we not want Him to have complete rule and reign in our lives?! Why do we fight Him over this?! Our lives are not our own. They are ultimately Gods. But the way He washes His hands clean, ridding Him of any guilt for our decisions, is by giving us a choice; free will.

So by all means, humble yourself, kneel before the Lord of Lords and surrender your crown to it’s rightful King. Lets face it, we were never very good at ruling anyway.