You Are Every Reason Why I Sing, Every Reason I Worship

A few days ago as I was on my way to work I was riding down Main Street, listening to the radio, and for the past two years or more, it stays on K Love or New Life, and my drive time has become another opportunity to worship and praise. As I was driving and singing, and I do this very loudly and boldly in my car, I lifted my hand in praise, there was no stopping it, and no desire to, and I happen to notice there was a police officer sitting on the side apparently waiting to pull someone for speeding through this 35 mph zone. I also couldn’t help to notice that he was looking at me, probably wondering if this crazy woman was doing anything that deserved a ticket or at least be pulled over. I can recall a time when I felt very shy about my praise and worship, where if someone was around who didn’t praise the same way I wouldn’t, if I was driving down the road even I felt the spirit moving in me, I would hesitate. I can honestly say that those days have passed me by, Thank You Jesus for that one! I no longer hesitate, not even when I’m at the Y walking upstairs around the track with my MP3 singing and praising with hands raised high. My Father doesn’t hesitate to say He knows me, I won’t hesitate to let the world know that I know Him! He deserves my praise no matter where I am, no matter what I’m doing, He is worthy and deserves all glory & praise!

I am a very music oriented person by nature. I love to listen to music no matter what I may find myself doing. In the last couple of years I have listened to nothing but my praise & worship music, in the car, at home, while I clean, while I get ready each day, while I workout, everywhere! It has made such a difference in my life. It’s positive, uplifting, encouraging, and it’s so worth my time. It’s filling my heart and mind with those things that my mind and heart should be focused on, not things of this world. If I am encouraged and uplifted, then I can uplift and encourage others, if I am positive, then I can help others to be positive. If I am focused on how awesome God is, and what He has done, then I can help others who need to be reminded of that during what could be a very trying day for them.

I have a lot to praise God for in my life, and in song is one of my favorite ways to do so. I can remember the day that I walked in to my church, and heard the music playing, the songs being lifted up, and I can remember feeling the spirit all around me and in me, and I could tell that the voices that were lifting him up, are voices that have witnessed His love and grace. Although I sat towards the back, I sat behind the orchestra, and the music filled up my soul and moved within me in tune with God’s presence. I was drawn into worship like I had never been before. It was through this worship that I was experiencing week after week that every hard piece of my heart was breaking off, that every ounce of hurt was being removed. God knows me because He created me, and He knew that music was a way to speak to my heart in a way that words can not, and He used this music and these songs, this time of worship to break through the walls that had been built up around my heart for some time now. It’s like every song that was sang spoke directly to me, and even though I was new there, I was no longer concerned about what anyone around me might think about how I worship and how I praise! I lifted my hands up, I cried, I clapped, I even shouted a few times, Lord knows that was out of my normalcy. There was no denying the fact that God’s presence was there and it was very real, and He was moving in my heart, removing all that didn’t need to be there, all that hindered me from being who He wanted me to be, and building back up what did need to be there. A lot of healing took place in my life through worship. I even found myself having a desire to be the one up there praising and worshipping. I really felt like that was out of my character, but God said “No it’s not Angie, you were out of your character before, but now you are getting back into it!” It took me some time to take that step, but I can remember God telling me, “Go my child, it doesn’t matter whether or not you think you are good enough, I love your voice because it sings praises to Me, it is a witness to those around you to what I have done in your life, Go and sing your song!”
I took that step one Wednesday night, and I walked into the choir room for practice…..

Since that night, I can’t tell you how much I love singing in the choir! I thought my nerves would get the best of me being in front of 500-600+ people each week, but honestly, it doesn’t affect me like I thought it would. I have a story to tell, a story of what God has done in my life, a story that tells how awesome and amazing my God is, where He has brought me from, to where I am now, and I can do that through my worship. I don’t have to be the one singing a solo, I can do that through my worship no matter what song we are singing. I have shared with many how I feel, my personal experience up there, it’s as if I feel I’m on a cloud floating, and God is sitting there on His throne right in front of me, and I can close my eyes in that intimate worship and I can feel as if I can reach out and touch him, and I feel that direct line of connection to Him, it’s as if there is nothing or no one else in the room, it’s just me & Him. This is my time to tell Him how much I Love Him, how much I appreciate Him, how thankful I am for all that He’s done, doing and going to do, how grateful I am! That’s what that time is about to me. My prayer is that while I worship, so is everyone else, focusing on who God is, what He’s done, and How much He loves them, and let’s Him freely move within their hearts, forgetting everything else, just being in tune with God, not thinking about what anyone else might think while you praise & worship, just freely let Him move in you.

Worship is intimate to me, it’s a moment that I am focused on God, it’s me and Him engaged in a conversation, taking time to honor our relationship, and for me to just love Him like I never have before. I want my life to be an on going worship, He’s the reason that I live, He’s the reason that I sing every word of every song, the reason that I lift my hands, the reason that I lift my voices to places it may not even be capable of going, He’s the reason that every time I worship rather from the choir, or in the congregation, I sing with all that I have and all that I am, He is so worthy of my praise and worship! My voice is to bring honor and glory to Him! He’s the reason that I sing today, without Him, I would have no reason to sing any word, and if I did it would have no meaning or purpose!

I have a song in my heart always Lord, a song that you put there! I love to worship you because I know who you are, I have seen you in all your mighty ways, I have felt your undying, unconditional love, I have received your mercy,grace,forgiveness, I have seen your faithfulness. I worship you because I love you, because of who you are, and because I truly know who you are!! Thank you Lord for this heart of worship you have given me! I never want to fail in using it for your honor & glory! I will worship you, you are every reason I have to sing!!

Feeling Thankful and Owing It All To You

I am so thankful to you for so many things, I owe it all to you! You have been the one constant in my life always, the one I can count on to never change, to never walk away from me, to always love me unconditionally, to encourage me, to lift me up, to support me, to stand by my side, to help me, to find me when I’m lost, to wipe my tears away and put a smile on my face. I know I’m so undeserving of your love, faithfulness, grace, mercy, andforgiveness, but I thank you with all that I am!!

There have been times in my life where I was so lost, I felt like that little kid lost in a big store, and you Lord, you came and found me, you took me and wrapped your arms around me and told me I was safe. I was so lost I never thought I could be found again, but you did, you found me, and you have loved me, healed me, and made me happy again! I can’t thank you enough for what you have done for me!

When I felt like there was no hope, that things were never going to change, and that I was just stuck in this place in my life, you showed me that there was hope, that there was change coming, even if that meant I had to go through a lot of pain, hurt, disappointment, and be broken down to the point of nothing. It was when I hit that nothing Lord that you lifted me up, and made me something, the something that you created me to be. You took me, this broken and beaten down me, and made me what I am today Lord. I never thought it was possible, I thought I was too far gone, I thought that there wasn’t a way possible to put me back together. The things that had taken place in my life Lord was so overwhelming, and I never thought I would have to face them or go through them, but Lord, you showed me that even out of that brokenness that beautiful things can come from them. I witnessed how you took my life, in the mess that it was in, and made something beautiful out of it, made me beautiful in you again.

Feeling the pain that I was feeling in my heart and in my soul, oh the depths that it had reached Lord, I felt as if that was all I was going to be able to feel, I was afraid I would never feel like this again, like I do today Lord. The tears are falling from my eyes like an ocean in a hurricane Lord, and I’m okay with that, because it’s not from pain it’s from joy and happiness, that you have taken me and restored me to this person. I am so eternally grateful to you for what you have done for me. You never let me go Lord, you’ve been right there with me all along, even when I felt alone Lord, you were there, you were the one there for me. I wasn’t alone when I was frustrated, when I was angry, when I was hurting, when my heart was breaking and shattering into zillions of pieces, when I broke down and hit the floor beating it because of the pain I felt inside, you were there, and I remember that day just like it was now. As I sat there bent over with my heart to my knees and crying out to you, I felt your arms around me like I never have before, I felt your touch, I felt you holding me and telling me it was going to be okay. I had never felt your presence like that before and it was so amazing God. If I haven’t told you enough Thank you! I needed you so bad, and you were there even though I didn’t deserve it!

In every moment that I felt let down by those around me who were suppose to lift me up and encourage me Lord, you were there lifting me up. Every time I felt left out, you were there, every time I felt judged, you were there, every time I felt like I didn’t fit or belong, you were there telling me I belong with you, that I am yours, and that I do fit right where you want me to fit. Thank you Lord for those reminders, for those words that you spoke to me and to my heart, Lord, I couldn’t take anymore and you knew it. You took me and made me who you wanted me to be, where you wanted me, and Lord I thank you!! Thank you so much for being with me through it all! I feel as if my life has been a roller coaster for such a long time and Lord, it wasn’t the kind of roller coaster I liked, the one that I’m on now, the roller coaster of life with you, that’s the one I like, that’s the one I throw my hands up in the air and go with it, because you Lord are in control of my life and my life has never been better!

I am so thankful that you see me for who I really am, you see my heart and you know that my heart is as honest as can be, you see my life and how I live it Lord, and you know that who I say I am, I truly am, that how I share my life, is how I live my life. You see me through the eyes of honesty and love, no conditions, no insecurities, no jealousies, nothing but pure love of this little girl who wants to be more like you everyday because I know you, I really know you, you have revealed yourself to me many times over and my mission in life is to live my life showing how grateful I am to you, how thankful I am for how you took my life, flipped it upside down, inside out, and all around and made it what it is today! You know where my heart is, where it comes from, you know where it has been, and where it came from in the moments of desperation, disappointment, anger, and hurt, and it is now a heart full of love, compassion, forgiveness, and kindness. Lord, you have been so good to me, you never let me go! I know I keep saying that but Lord that’s huge to me, you were always there for me, you never once let me go, even if I tried to walk further away, you never let me do it, you drew me back in saying “No Angie, my beautiful daughter, you are mine, and I will not let you go, I’m holding on to you because I know that right now you are hurting, but I want you to see that I am here.” Lord, oh Lord, I know you were, there’s no denying that, you were there for me every step of the way and you still are. I love what you are doing in my life, I am so thankful! I feel like such a baby sitting here crying my eyes out like there’s no tomorrow Lord, but I look back on what you’ve done in my life, and I just can’t help it. You have been so faithful to me God, you carried me when I couldn’t walk on my own anymore, when I felt so lost and alone, when I felt like my heart would never stop breaking, when I felt as if I had died on the inside and there was nothing left of me, nothing left for me to give, and I just wanted to retreat and exist, Lord you wouldn’t let me. You gave me life again, you picked me up and held me, and rocked me, and rubbed my hair out of my eyes so that I can see you there, you held my hand tightly every time I was scared to take a step, your voice led me in the darkness right back into the light, and I am so very thankful to you God! I can’t imagine my life without you Lord, and I never want to live my life without you, you are forever in my life, that’s where you belong, and I will never try to take you out of it! I went to you that day, and I cried out for you help, and I know that’s what you were waiting on and I never imagined what you were going to do in my heart and in my life, but Lord you took what was broken and ugly and made it beautiful, you made it something I never thought I would see again!

Lord, my life is yours, I live my everyday to honor and glorify you. I am going to stand tall, and shout it even when people don’t want to hear it Lord, that you are awesome and amazing, and let people know just how amazing you are. My every word is to be a prayer to you of thanksgiving, my every action is to be an act of my thanksgiving to you! My life isn’t mine at all Lord, none of our lives are, they are yours, our creator. I love to worship Lord, because I know who I am worshipping, I know who I am praising and I know what He’s capable of! Lord when I stand up there on that stage in the choir at church it’s me and you Lord. I praise you, I worship you like I never have before, and I feel as if you are standing right in front of me and I can reach out and touch you Lord, I owe you my everything, all my praise & worship, all my life, everything that I am! You have always been there for me, and I will always be there living my life for you, Lord I have felt your love, I have witnessed your miracles, and I know who you are in every sense of the words, Lord, I thank you! Oh God I thank you from the depths of this soul that you created Lord, I thank you!!! I feel as if I just can’t say that enough for all that you have done for me, for how much you have loved me, for how you have turned my life back into that witness for you! I never want to fail you, I want to always bring you honor, glory, and praise, Lord you and you alone are worthy of that!!

Thank you Lord for being you, for being who you are, for loving me and holding me and never letting me go through it all!!

Thanksgiving Testimony and Reflection

I can recall when I was saved, when I came to accept Jesus as my personal savior, It was Sunday February 4th, 1988 at Eastland Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida where we used to live. I can see it as vivid as it was happening right at this moment in time. It was right after the church service had ended and I had really wanted to go during the altar call and was afraid to, so I told my parents afterwards that I wanted to be saved, and my Sunday School teacher took my hand, prayed with me, and led me to the Lord. I’ll never forget how I felt afterwards, I felt new, revived, refreshed, happy, excited. I didn’t think about what it all meant for my life, just took that moment and enjoyed it. I can remember going to school the next day and telling my 5th grade teacher, Mrs.Fuller, all about what happened to me, and I was telling all of my friends, I had such an excitement in me and I couldn’t contain it! I can even recall when I was baptized, though the exact date has since slipped my mind, I can remember that I wanted to go up one Sunday and tell them I wanted to get baptized, and we had decided to wait on my sisters so that we could all do it together. So I kept waiting, and decided I couldn’t wait anymore, so I went and told them, I’m ready to be baptized! I can remember the dress I wore under my robe, it was a pastel pink and mint green polka dot, well it was in the 80’s 🙂 I remember having my white robe on, being in the baptism, scared because I didn’t like going under the water, and as the Pastor brought me back up, I can still recall as I chuckle, saying “Mama?” I remember hearing the laughs breakout all over the church. I couldn’t wait to get to school the next day and tell one of my 6th grade teachers, Mrs. Mullins, what had happened the day before! She was also the leader of the group I joined “Fellowship of Christian Athletes”. She shared in my excitement and was so thrilled for me!

In the years following, life became challenging. I had christian friends I hung out with, we shared the same interest in music, same interest in church activities, but over time, during those teenage years, between peer pressure, and “friends” who led you in wrong directions, the influence that was around me in all circles, what the popular thing to do was, popular things to say, fitting in, all of these things had took front burner in my life. Somehow I was sucked into the very things I wouldn’t be, that I had taken a strong stand against. I felt as if I was in a whirlwind and I had no idea how this all happened. I had never stopped believing in God, I knew what I was doing and saying was wrong, but that didn’t mean I could keep doing it and be okay with it. My conscience dealt with me each and every day, I felt God telling me, this is wrong, why are you doing this? It came to a point in my life where I had to stop, and try to get back to where I know it was right, the path I knew I should be taking that I really wanted to take. It’s hard to breakaway from those influences sometimes that want to drag you out into the middle of the ocean lost with them. You know the saying we hear a lot, “misery loves company”, yeah that has a lot of truth to it. I found that the turning back around and getting on the right path wasn’t the popular thing to do, but I was okay with it.

Fast forward a few years, when I was 16 years old, I met my husband. One of the reasons I fell for him was he was a good christian guy, it was obvious he loved God, he went to church, read his bible, and he brought out the best in me. God sent him to me at the perfect time in my life, He knew where I was headed, and He sent me David to help me through this life. I have felt such a strong connection with him from the moment I laid my eyes on him, and it’s hard to explain, and even harder for many people to really understand, but when you are with the one that God created you to be with, there’s an intense connection that is stronger than you could ever imagine, and we found out pretty quick that the enemy doesn’t like those connections to stay connected. We made mistakes in our relationship, we didn’t behave always the way God would have had us to, we reacted to situations and circumstances in ways that didn’t please God. We both knew what had happened, and we both were dealing with it on the inside, and talked about it in tears together, and said this all has to stop, this isn’t right. We made commitments to ourselves and more importantly to God that day, and we stood by those promises, and our relationship had became more like God wanted it to be. Our lives had become dedicated together and to God, and we were on the right path, the path that would lead us home, and we were married in September 1996.

Circumstances that take place in our lives can change who we are if we allow it. That is exactly what had happened to us. On January 4th, 2000 tragedy took place in our lives, David lost his brother in a car accident that night, and not only the days ahead, but years ahead had become some of the roughest we had ever known. Anger, hurt, disappointment, bitterness, sadness, and so much more had set in Davids heart, and bless his heart he tried so hard not to let it. It was hard for him, or any of us to understand why his 25 year old brother had been called home that night. He looked up to his big brother, they got each other! They were so much a like, tears come to my eyes even now thinking about it. They both loved to pick around, and make you laugh. But James always made me feel so welcome in the family, he always talked to me, always asked about things in my life, and more than anything I seen how much he loved being around his brother. They didn’t get to spend as much time together as they would have liked to, but I know David treasured every moment. He worked with him, so he was lost at work without him, we live not even a half mile down the road from where he lived, so it was a daily reminder for him. James is who he turned to when things went wrong in his life, and he no longer had him there. Over the next 8 1/2 years, the David I had known, was no longer David. The Angie that I was once was no longer existed. I had let things take root in my heart throughout this time as well as David did. I lost my way, I lost who I was suppose to be anymore, everything I knew about who I was suppose to be, especially to David, was gone. Even more sadly the David & Angie that God created and put together was no longer those people. We lost our way, and we both felt as if there was no return in sight.

Our lives changed drastically in 2008 thanks to God! He worked in each of us individually first, then both of us together. That connection that God created and that we had lost because of our ways, choices, and decisions, has been restored to it’s full capacity! Although everything that we had to go through that year was extremely painful and hard, it brought us back to where God wanted us, back to where he created us to be, back to a place of intense love and happiness, not just with each other, but within ourselves and in our lives as a whole. We learned a lot through the years together, but I think both of us could sit here and say that we learned that when you are living outside of God’s will for your life, outside of God’s commands, outside of what you know is right, you’re asking for nothing but trouble, heartache, disappointment, depression, discouragement, and misery. But the sweetness of walking back into what is right, what is commanded, what is His will, there’s nothing like it in this world! Our lives are so full of love, happiness, joy, sweetness, bliss, and I could really go on like that for a while. That’s not to say that our lives are easy and without its trouble, because this isn’t heaven, and it’s not going to be that way on this side, but knowing that we are living under God’s umbrella for our lives, knowing we are in His will for our lives that He has given us, everything is just so much better.

When we allow things in this life to change us, no matter what they are, broken relationships, separation, death, divorce, hurt, loss, anger, resentment, jealousy, bitterness, insecurities, whatever it is, we are giving the enemy the key to walk through the door of our lives and wreak havoc like we’ve never seen before. We have to keep our hearts pure and clean so that God can freely work in them. It’s our choices in this life that determine our journey, we all have the same destination choice in the end, but it’s our choices and decisions through our journey that determine our destination, and I know where my destination is! We can walk through this journey with a chip on our shoulders thinking the world owes us everything, that nothing matters, that we’re tough, that we have the right to live any way that we want to and nobody can or should tell us otherwise, or we can walk through it humbly, realizing we do need people who genuinely and honestly love us around us, and realize that we wouldn’t be here today living the life we are if it wasn’t for the one who gave us this life. It’s our choice to make, God doesn’t force us, He’s waiting on each and everyone of us to move in his direction today, to follow his path, nobody said it was an easy path, but I ‘m here to tell you it’s a path worth following! Where are you at today on this journey of life? Have you turned away from the path that leads to life? Have you let things reside in your heart that don’t belong there? It’s not too late to go to your Father and ask Him today to forgive you and to help you! He’s waiting with loving arms wide open! Don’t wait til it’s time to walk through the door of your destination, because it may just be too late!

Dear Lord,
I thank you so much today for all that you have done in my life. Thank you for saving me almost 23 years ago, and for standing there with your arms wide open every time I walked off of your path! Thank you for every single thing that has taken place in my life in order to get me back to where I am today! I don’t want to walk off your path again Lord because there’s no other path that contains the love, forgiveness, mercy, kindness and grace that your path contains, and this is the path I choose. Thank you for all the changes you have made in my life, for every road you had me take, for every decision you had me make, I thank you Lord! Thank you for loving me unconditionally even when I messed up and let this life’s circumstances change me, thank you for forgiving me and telling me it’s okay now! I Love you Lord and I am so thankful for the journey that I have already been on, and I look forward to walking through the rest of it with you! In Jesus Name I Pray, AMEN
!

A Truly Thankful Heart

Since the first hint of fall showed its face I have been reflecting on the upcoming Thanksgiving and what it really means to me. A couple of years ago Thanksgiving took on a completely new meaning to me. I suppose before that I focused on the same types of things that most people do at Thanksgiving, the turkey, the stuffing, the pumpkin pies, being stuffed, whose house we were going to when, and a couple of extra days added to the weekend. But you see I didn’t get it then, I didn’t get what Thanksgiving was really about because I was miserable,unhappy, ungrateful, and not very thankful at all.

My life in those years were very unorganized, chaotic, lonely, and I was feeling discouraged, depressed, beaten down, frustrated, and honestly that list could go on and on. My life wasn’t anything that I thought it would be, the paths that I had taken, the wrong turns, the curves that came along the way, I let them all damage who I was on the inside. From the inside out, that’s where it all happens, that’s where it all takes place, that’s where the truth lies. I was hurting on the inside, living with a broken heart, a broken spirit, I felt more lonely than I ever had before. I was at a place in my life where an attitude had developed inside of me, the attitude of I just don’t care anymore. It’s not that I wanted that attitude, but apparently that’s the one I chose out of all the ones that I could have. I was to a breaking point of peoples judgement, gossip, actions and behaviors towards me, I wasn’t doing anything that I was created to do, felt lost in a wooded forest with no daylight to be found. I had taken life for granted, I had taken relationships for granted. I didn’t think about how I was feeling on the inside was going to affect me on the outside therefore affecting those around me. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, no matter what I did, nothing was ever appreciated,nothing was ever good enough, and nothing I did ever mattered. So I gave up! As I gave up, I developed that bad attitude and it showed. I wasn’t going to let anyone else hurt me, get close to me, talk about me, mistreat me, use me, you name it and I had my shield up and ready, but wait, that’s just it, it wasn’t a shield, it was a wall, a wall that I had built thinking it would protect me from it all. I found that statement to be very true, it did protect me from all including love and happiness because it was a brick wall, one that nobody or nothing could get through and I thought that was what I had wanted. How wrong was I!!

Feeling God moving in my heart I had reached another breaking point, the point to which I did not want to live like this anymore. I wanted to find out what was going on inside of me. During the course of this journey, so much had taken place in my life, and that brick wall was broken down. The wall fell to the ground in millions of broken chipped pieces, but so was my heart in the process. I had asked God to remove that wall, and He did, not in the way I would have chose, but in the way that He knew would need to take place for the biggest impact of change in my life. As that brick wall fell, the pain that I felt with it was intense, sometimes too intense and I didn’t think I could handle it, but He showed me that standing on the other side of that wall, He was standing there waiting on me. He took my hand and guided me across the rubble that had fell to the ground, and walked hand in hand with me through some of the roughest seasons of my life, and with each passing day I saw Him work His miracles. I believe that it was no coincidence that the time of year that this was taking place was in the fall. In the season of fall, the leaves on the tree turn into beautiful brighter colors before falling to the ground, and the old dies so that in the spring new growth can happen. It was the season of Thanksgiving, and that year Thanksgiving took on a new meaning to me, an awesome meaning!

Thanksgiving is defined as the act of giving thanks; a prayer expressing gratitude; a public acknowledgment of or celebration of divine goodness.

I have to say that 2 years ago Thanksgiving truly became Thanksgiving in my heart and in my life. The way it’s defined is the way that I would define it now. I had so much to give thanks for, I had just witnessed mighty works in my life by the hands of God, the only hands that could do what been done in my life and in my heart!My words have since become a constant prayer of expressing my gratitude to God for the awesome things He has done! I can’t thank him enough for what He has done! I had some pretty big mountains in my life that with His command fell as if they never existed, waves that calmed in an instant, storms that ceased. Even as I sit here and think about all that He did, the tears fill my eyes like puddles from a rainstorm. What he did, I never thought would happen, what he changed, I never thought would change. My life has become an ongoing public acknowledgment and celebration of His divine goodness, and I refuse to let that change. I want to shout it from the mountain tops how good God is! I can’t stop talking about Him and how awesome He is because I have witnessed it!

From that Thanksgiving to the present I recognize Thanksgiving for what it really is, a time to have that attitude of gratitude, a time to betruly thankful for your life and what God has blessed you with, to be thankful for everyday that you have alive and breathing, thankful for those in your life that God has put there. When you have come from the deepest, darkest valley there is and watched as God lifted you up and put you on top of that solid rock, you can’t help but be thankful! I owe my life to him for many reasons and I intend on living it for him! It’s like I can’t even find the words to express how huge the difference is he made in my life, how huge the changes were!

I am so thankful to you My Father! So thankful for giving your son to die for me, for all the sacrifices you have made so that I may live and live abundantly. Thank you for loving me and never letting me go especially in those times in my life where I felt like I had fallen so far that there was no way you could catch me! Thank you Lord for always being there for me, every time I call, and for standing by waiting for me to give up on myself and call! I am so thankful for every hurt, every obstacle, every disappointment, every path in my life that brought me to where I am today. Thank you for always having my best interest at heart in every aspect of my life, the life that you have given me! Thank you for letting me run to you and for always holding out your hands to hold me! I am thankful for the people you have placed in my life very carefully at the right times. I am thankful for my family Lord, you have truly blessed me with my family! Thank you for every storm you have allowed me to stand out in, and for the umbrella that you held over my head when you knew it wasn’t time to calm the storm, but calm me instead, and thank you for calming the raging seas around me when you knew it was time. Thank you for every stumble and every fall because Lord I recognize that if it wasn’t for those storms and those stumbles and falls, I wouldn’t be able to stand today and enjoy the sunshine! I am eternally thankful for your faithfulness Lord, even when and especially when I don’t deserve it! Thank you for what you have done in my life, for what you are doing, and all that you are going to do! I stand here at this very moment in my life Lord and say to you, Thank you for the valleys that I’m going through and the mountains I’m having to climb for the 2nd time because I know Lord with all that I am that you are walking and climbing with me and I know that I will come out stronger in the end, and even more like you and that is my true desire always Lord, to be more like you!! Thank you for seeing my heart, for reading my soul, and calming my mind! I Love you Lord with everything that I am, and I can’t say thank you enough for everything you’ve done in my life, for everything that you have been for me and to me! You amaze me Lord!

“Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His love endures Forever!” Psalm 107:1

Just like the wind, You are there

It’s in my heart and it reaches deep to a place where nothing else can, it lifts me up every time I fall down, it fills me up when I feel empty, it finds me when I feel lost, it wipes the tears away that falls from my cheeks, it puts back the broken pieces. It makes me feel like nothing else can, it gives me hope when I think there is none, it gives me strength when I feel weak, its gives me faith when I seem to doubt, it puts a smile on my face when nothing else will, it gives me a reason to get up each day when I feel like hiding away from the world, it fills me with happiness when everything around me says I should be depressed and discouraged.

I hear it in my soul like an echo in the canyons, I hear it when I’m all alone and not sure which way to go or where to turn, I hear it in the midst of chaos, I hear it in the silence and in the noise, I hear it speak truth to me when there is nothing but lies all around me being planted in my mind. I hear it loud when I need to hear it loudly, and I hear it softly when I need it to be whispered, I hear it telling me that everything is going to be okay, I hear it telling me that I am beautiful, that I am loved, that I am who I should be, that I am doing what I should be doing, that I am living the way I should be living, that I am not perfect and that it’s okay, that it’s okay to fall down as long as I get back up again, that I’m spoken for, I hear it each and every moment of my life, all around me and all through me.

I see it everyday when I awake, I see it when I watch my family step out the door to go about their day, I see it in my marriage, in my relationships, I see it in my daily routine. I see it in every circumstance that comes my way, in every obstacle that presents itself, in every challenge that makes its way to me and my path. I see it heal broken hearts, broken spirits, broken minds, broken relationships, broken and beaten souls. I see it when I witness a mountain falling, a wall breaking down, a restored relationship, a changed life, a smile on someones face, a friendly gesture, a compliment at the very moment that it’s needed. I see it through the sunshine and the cloudy rain days, I see it through the rainbows, I see it through the snowfall, I see it every time a beautiful fall leaf falls to the ground, I see it with the new growth of a flower in the spring, I see with every rain drop, and every time I see the wind blowing through the trees or my hair.

I have witnessed your love and your hand at work in so many ways in my life and the lives around me. I’ve felt you, I’ve heard you, I’ve seen you, and even though I don’t see you in the flesh the way I see everyone else, there’s no doubt you are there, just like the wind blowing through those beautiful fall leaves that I can’t see, I can’t see you but I see you at work, and I feel you all around me. In every moment of my life I have known that you were always there, and if I hadn’t recognized you it’s because I closed off my own heart, my own ears, my own eyes, because If I’m alive and breathing, I recognize you all around me. I could never live in denial of the fact that you exist if I honestly looked at my life, and Lord, I have! I need you to love me in ways that I feel it, hear it, and see it, and I do everyday of my walk on this side of heaven. You have never hidden yourself from me, you have always been there where you have always been out in the open for me to discover. I can’t imagine living my life without you being a part of every aspect of it. I’ve been as close to that as I care to come, and never again will I allow myself to be that close again. When I started walking in the opposite direction of you, Lord, I was such a miserable person with such a broken spirit inside of me. I wasn’t who you created me to be. Thank you for waiting so patiently for me to turn around and start walking back toward you, for allowing me to make my way back. I am so unworthy of that patience and of that allowance, but yet you still waited on me, you still loved me, and you still welcomed me back onto your path. I never want to be so lost inlife’s circumstances again Lord, I want to be lost in you always. I will forever look back to Spring of 2008 as not only just another spring and new growth of the beautiful flowers around me, but the new growth of the beauty inside of me that you brought back to life. I was dead on the inside, it was the season of winter in my life for quite some time, and you brought me into a new season of Spring, and you recreated the beauty that you had always seen in me, you opened my eyes to the beauty of life in you once again, and for that I am so thankful Lord! I owe everything to you, I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you and I want everyone around me to see that, I want them to see that I live for you, that I am your daughter, I want that family resemblance to always be seen in my life!

Thank you for your love, for your voice of truth, for your open loving arms. Thank you for bringing me back to life, for pruning off the deadness so that new growth can occur, for the heart surgery you performed on me. You gave meCPR, Christ Pure Restoration! Thank you for saving my life and breathing life into me again Father! I am alive today because of you Lord! My heart can’t keep from singing your praises, from shouting how awesome you are because I have seen, felt, heard and witnessed what you are capable of, and my chains are gone because of you! You have always been my God with me, you revived me! I am grateful for the love you show me that I can’t even afford, I am so unworthy, but I promise to live my life everyday Lord showing and telling the world that it was you that revived me, and because I have such a happiness in my heart, I will forever sing your praises and let that happiness shine through, and shine for you!! That is such a small thing to do in comparison to what you have done for me! I Love you Father, thank you!!

Finding the words is sometimes challenging

My heart is so full of love for you, and it has so much it wants to say, but finding the words to describe what it feels is sometimes so challenging, because it’s almost explainable, but here I am to try….

I am so totally head over heels incredibly in love with you! There is no love like yours, and I have never been happier in my entire life than I am right now at this moment in time. You have changed my life, and I know that we have been in a relationship for many many years, but our relationship changed over the years, and I know that it was me who allowed it to change, it was me who allowed distance to come in between us. I let pressure around me get to me, I let words that people said take deep root in my heart, I allowed circumstances in my life to bring me down and change who I am, and you tried so many times to remind me that you were here for me, and if I am completely honest I have to say that many of those times I didn’t listen to you. I went through this stage where I thought I was suppose to take care of things by myself, all on my own, forgetting that I had someone right beside me all the time to help me through everything. You never failed me, but I know that I failed you, and for that I am so sorry. I look back and wish that I wouldn’t have allowed life’s roller coaster ride change me on the inside, and let it cause me to feel in ways that I never thought I would. So many times I listened to what others had to say rather than what you were telling me and I know that was a huge mistake because I know that you will always tell me the truth, honesty is all that you know, and I can count on you always to be real with me, and because of that I will always be real with you!

There was a day when I came to you with tears strolling down my cheeks with questions in my mind if they would ever stop, and I can remember how I fell to the floor with this pain in my heart, a pain that I had never felt before, my heart was broken into millions of tiny little shattered pieces all around me, and with every piece that broke I could feel the deep cut that it made, and I felt so alone and lost, not knowing which way to turn, but then I asked you for help, when I looked to you and asked you, you were already there arms wide open, and I remember feeling your arms wrapped so tightly around me, you just held me tightly, my head to your chest, and I felt safer than I ever have before. I knew from that moment on that I was going to be okay,that everything was going to work out and get better.

Even in the midst of the chaos of my life, you were there for me,you never left me, you stood by waiting on me, and while I may never have walked that far from you, I was still further than I ever want to be again. There is nothing like walking through this life journey holding your hand and knowing you are on my side, looking out for me, and taking care of me. You took this broken heart of mine,put it back together,and made more out of it than I ever thought possible. From that day forward I felt like I haven’t in such a long time because I held onto the promises you made me, and I know that your promises are those that will never be broken, one that I can hold onto with all that I have within me.

What you have done in my life is huge, you have taken this broken down,beaten down girl and made me into this person that I have become today, and even though there are times I feel broken, I know I am not broken down, just a little broken apart, but I know that out of the brokenness that I feel comes beauty, and I have seen what you can do with brokenness, I welcome it and very thankful for it. Out of the brokenness of my life has come so many great things, I still stand amazed at everything that has changed in my life and in my heart because of you,what you have done, and how you worked in me. I know that I am still a work in progress, I know that I still have a long way to go but I am okay with that. You have brought me a long way, and I know you will take me farther. Your love is amazing and what your love can do is even more amazing.

Over 2 1/2 years ago I would have never thought that I would be where I am today, not just physically but emotionally, and more importantly spiritually. I have watched you move mountain after mountain, prune away the deadness so that beautiful growth can take place, chip away what don’t need to be a part of me. I have watch you work some serious miracles in my life, and I just don’t even know how to say thank you to you. I feel as if the words coming out of mouth isn’t enough, I feel as though nothing I do is enough to say thank you for what you have done in my life, the miracles I have watched you perform, the change that has taken place in my life. You took what was dead and brought it back to life, you took what was drowning and rescued it, you took what was colorless and filled with gorgeous colors, you took what was lost and made it found. You made your presence known in my life, you allowed me to see your hands at work all around me, things that I thought didn’t have any hope, you showed me there was hope. I watched you take this mess of a picture and turn it into a beautiful painting with the most beautiful picture I have ever seen. My life has been turned upside down, inside out, flipped all around, and I am forever thankful to you for that. You rescued me, you saved me from the mess that had become my life, and placed me back onto the right path. I will never forget what you have done for me, how you changed me, how you have made me what I am today, and I don’t ever want you to stop making me more like you!

On the days I fall short, I know you are there ready to pick me back up, dust me off, and help me get on my way again. When the moments come upon me where I feel off the path, broken, hurt, disappointed, discouraged, lost, it is in those moments where I will find you standing right in front of me, arms wide open, saying “I Love you Angie, come rest your head on my chest and let me love on you!” You’ve done it so many times and I know you will do it many more. There’s no where else that I feel that comfort, that peace, that love, that hope!

In this season of Thanksgiving, I just wanted to tell you some of the things I am thankful for, I am thankful for you, for what you have done and for what you are doing, and all that you are going to do! I am thankful for the restoration you have placed in my life, in relationships, in my heart.

I Love you Lord, comforter and owner of my heart and soul. You are everything to me! I am so thankful that you never move and for your eternal faithfulness! Just saying the words I Love You doesn’t seem like nearly enough, so not only do I say the words Lord, but I strive to live my life to say it Lord!

Get Up and Get Uncomfortable

As I picked up my daughter from school, and she got into the car and got all settled in and buckled up, she started talking to me about her day. This isn’t unusual by any means, she’s pretty open about everything that happens at school during the course of her day in great detail many times, from the time I pick her up until the time we get home and sometimes even after that, but I absolutely love it! So as she started giving me the play by play of her day in 5Th grade, she said with no excitement in her voice at all, “We got a new kid in our class today.” I said we’ll that’s good, and she gives me this look like Mom, really? I said why does that seem to bother you? She said, “We’ll I really don’t like when we get new people in our class, I like it the way it is because I know everybody and I’m comfortable with them, and when somebody new comes in that I don’t know, I get uncomfortable again and I don’t like feeling that way. I don’t know them.” I said we’ll this is a really good chance for you to get to know them, you may really like them, and the funny part is she looks at me and says, “Mom, it’s a boy!!” Just have to love her!

So I continued to talk to her and tell her that it’s okay that it’s a boy and that you may end up being friends with him, you may find out that you have something in common. She just really seemed not to like the fact that something was changing in her classroom and that she had to get to know someone else and have someone new around.I began thinking later about our conversation and wondered how many of us feel that way in our social gatherings, whether it be at work, at school, at church, or in our families?

Comfort – (n)consolation in time of worry or trouble;contented well being;a satisfying or enjoyable experience; one that gives or brings comfort; (v) to give hope & strength to;to ease the grief or trouble of

Zone – a region or area set off as distinct from surrounding or adjoining areas;(v) to surround or encircle; to arrange or mark off in zones; to partition

As I thought about the conversation that I had with my daughter that day, I began thinking about how often we get into our very own “comfort zones” and how we tend to respond the same way my daughter did. We sometimes react in such a way that it’s apparent we don’t want anything or anyone new coming into our lives and changing anything whether it be the dynamics of a relationship, an environment, or even how we feel from the inside out. I looked up the meaning of each of those two words individually and began studying them. I then went a step further just to test the waters and to my amazement found a definition of those two words together.

Comfort Zone – the temperature range within which one is comfortable; the level at which one functions with ease and familiarity.

I was completely stunned by the fact that a definition was listed for those two words together, that says something to me, that says that comfort zones have become a huge part of our lives and much like a normal state of being. I am not shocked that it exists, I see it all around me each and everyday not only in my own life but the lives of those who I observe on a normal routine or basis, just shocked that it had become so normal that they defined it! Comfort zones feel really nice, we know what to expect, we know how to handle everything, we know all those around us, but can growth happen in a comfort zone? Can our spiritual character really grow and develop in a comfort zone? I have found in my life the answer would be no.

We all have our reasons for liking our comfort zones, we click with those that are around us, we get along great just the way things are, we feel at ease about opening up about what may be going on in our life, we feel safe, we like the dynamics of each relationship or the overall feel of the environment, things run smoothly, it becomes easy to function within that zone, and we find it easier to be who we are and who we should be. All good reasons right? Sure, that’s why it’s comfortable. I have known many people, including myself, who is sailing through enjoying myself, and loving the way things are going, and then there it is, the inevitable happens, CHANGE. “Ugh!”, is always our first thought, we let out our sighs, and immediately we begin this dialogue in our minds with ourselves of what all is going to happen now because of this change. The change doesn’t always have to be a new person, it can be a new way of doing things as well along with many other factors. Change comes in many different forms, yet it seems to affect many in the exact same way.

When change takes place, which I hate to tell you but that’s the only thing you can count on not changing, we begin to feel uneasy and uncomfortable. But how many times in our lives has change brought about good things, new beginnings, new friendships, new opportunities, yet we don’t seem to focus on those, we tend to focus on the negative things that change has brought into our lives. Unfortunately, that’s natural, we would all love change if we could connect it with all good and positive things, but those are the things that seem to disappear from our minds quickly, not the negative, those negatives seem to float to the surface at the first hint of change.

I can say in my own personal life, I have had some change that has brought nothing but positive & good things in my life! Change that if I am honest with you I would have to say, scared me more than anything. Whether it was because of something I was just way too familiar with although I was miserable in it, or whether it was uncharted territory that I have only dreamed of charting on, it still scared me. God has changed a huge part of my life in the last 2 1/2 years, I mean I’m talking so much change here that I honestly feel like if you looked that word up in the dictionary, you would see my picture, my name, and a description of my life lately. I am a creature of habit, like most of us are, it’s human nature, and I don’t really care for change, but I have seen way too many good things come from it to say that I don’t want it anymore, and I find myself becoming less afraid of it. I have seen that stepping out and stepping up to the plate that God sets before us can only bring good things in our lives. I think now, why as I so afraid? This is God I’m talking about, the same God that created heaven & earth, the same God that protected Daniel in the lions den, that gave David the strength to defeat Goliath, I mean who am I kidding? The same God they served is the same God I serve, and just as many of those in the bible had to go through changes to get to where they were, so do we. The bible tells us in Ezra 10:4, “Rise up, this matter is in your hands, We will support you, so take courage and do it!”

We can’t expect to sail through life always with the same people around us, in the same places, same environments and expect to grow or become anything more than we already are. I know you’re thinking right now, Hey, actually I’m fine with who I am right now, we’ll you shouldn’t be! We are a constant work in progress while we are on this land, when we are complete, we will enter into our new life in heaven, so we should constantly strive to grow and become more while we are here, never be satisfied with what we are, God can always do more with us if we are willing and open.

I know there is a flip side here, the “What Ifs”, I can hear those coming from the many who are reading this. “What if that job don’t work for me?” “What if I do this and it’s the wrong thing to do?” “What if this person betrays me or lets me down?” First of all you can’t sit and torture yourself with the What Ifs! That’s a dangerous game to play, I know. If you are trusting God to lead you and direct you in all your steps as the bible tells us to then you have no worries and the only What if you should be asking yourself is “What if I don’t do what God is telling me to do, what blessing am I going to miss?”

When you don’t follow Gods nudge, God’s gentle small still voice that you are hearing, and do what He is telling you to do, you could miss huge blessings! You can find yourself stuck in a situation that you keep praying for God to take you out, but if you’re not listening to Him, you can’t be removed or placed where He wants you. We must trust God with our lives, our lives should be in His hands, not our own. We have no control over our lives as much as we like to think that we do. We can make mistakes by not listening to Him, we can make bad choices that lead us down paths that will hurt us and bring discouragement, but God is still in control and you can turn back and surrender. If your concern is a difficult person that has entered in to your world, don’t be so concerned, because you should also trust God in this area as well as any other. God calls us to love, that is our greatest commandment, and if we are only around the easy to love and not the hard to love, would we truly learn how to love? No.

We learn how to love the way God wants us to by really putting love into practice. If the situation is harmful, dangerous, or destructive, pray about it and ask God to help you and to reveal to you anything that you need to know. You can rest assure that if it’s a situation God doesn’t want you to be a part of, He will tell you, we must always follow His lead in every area of our lives, even those areas we want to remain in control of, the areas we think we can handle on our own, the areas that we have confined our self to, like a cozy couch on a cold winter day wrapped up in our blanket, we must trust God to work freely and get up out of that nice little warm area that we restricted our self to and tried to hide away from the rest of the world in.

Although we may be comfortable and not want to move, we must realize that in order for God to work freely in our lives and in our hearts, we have to get up, step out, and step up, and say Here I am Lord, I am all yours, do with me what you will, send me where you need to send me, bring me who you need to bring me, surround me with what I need to be surrounded with. Give me the strength and the positive attitude that I need to endure it all, help me to be the clay in the potters hands, ready to be worked with, shaped, and molded, never to be stubborn or unwilling! Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and He will establish your plans!”

We have to remember that being comfortable can sometimes become a road block for us, it can cause us to become weak and dependent upon the securities in this life rather than dependent on God. God is more concerned with His work & His will being done, about our growth & development, and our character rather than our comfort. So the next time you feel God nudging you out of your comfort zone, and calling you to get up off that warm cozy couch and come out of your blanket and put down the Hot Cocoa, listen to Him, follow His lead, step out the door and up to the plate of whatever it is He’s calling you to do, it can be trusting Him more in your finances & relationships, it can be a ministry He’s calling you to be a part of in your church or out of it, it could be a new job opportunity, a new friendship, and sometimes it can even be a situation, circumstance or environment He’s calling you to break away from so that you become more of what He’s wanting you to be, and be more free for Him to work with. Step up today and be open to whatever it is that He’s calling you away from your comfort zone for! Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Trust God today completely with your life, don’t stay in the comfort zone, there’s no room for growth there, there’s no room to spread your wings that God has given you and fly! Surrender everything to him today, your fears, your hesitations, your doubts, your concerns, hand it all over and know that He knows all and sees all, He knows exactly what you need, how much you need, when you need it, how to give it to you, how to supply you, how to equip you in order for you to do what He is calling you to do. When you are following Him, you can’t go wrong, He will not lead you where He is not!

“Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord.With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:5-8