Archive of ‘life’ category

Chasing after the heart of God

Chase Study2

DC METRO AREA LADIES: whether you go to DC Metro Church, another church in the area, or you’re just at a place in your life where you’re wanting “more” but you have no idea what that “more” is or how to get it — I want to invite you to join me these next 6 weeks.

I’m leading a group with the amazing Kiki called Chasing After the Heart of God. Here’s the premise:

We’re all chasing after something that we think will make us happy — comfort, success, a bigger house, or someone’s approval. But if we are all honest, it feels like trying to catch the wind.

God has carved out a space in each of us that only He can fill. God is invisible, and yet He is the only thing we can chase that won’t leave us feeling more empty.

Our study of “Chase” by Jennie Allen will look at David’s life as it weaves throughout the pages of Scripture to reveal that David was a man who spent his life chasing after God. Through David’s example we’ll discover what God really wants from us.

So whether you have a relationship with God and are ready to take it to the next level, or you can’t even fathom what a relationship with God looks like but you’re tired of sitting asking yourself what’s the point of… everything — join us for a life-changing, friendship-building, amazing 6 weeks!

You can sign-up here https://dcmcva.infellowship.com/Group/Show/1841424 or check out other available groups using the “Find A Group” tab at the top of the page.

5 months and hopeful

Jeremiah_29_11

Up until “that day” I thought, ‘my life was finally, perfectly, on track.’  I had bought a house 5 months prior, because I was so confident in the “steadiness” of my life. I was getting ready to step into the next exciting chapter of my career after working for amazing Godly man (alongside an incredible team) for the past 2 years. I was thriving in the Jr League and DAR moving up in leadership all the while working alongside inspirational women and giving back to the community. I had even just gone into my second year of remission. Everything seemed to be so perfectly in place, and only getting better.

Then, 5 months ago today, in but a few fleeting seconds, I changed my life forever.

In the days and weeks that followed I lived wallowing in a regret and despair that you couldn’t possibly imagine. Every day I felt like I was drowning. I could barely breathe through the never-ending tears. I couldn’t eat, or drink — I don’t even think I thought to until after the 9th day. I tried to sleep every waking moment. It was the most miserably alone and desperate I’ve ever felt.

There are a lot more details about the 8 days that followed “that day”… perhaps I’ll recount them some day. Not now. Even 5 months later the wounds are too fresh to want to dive into the details. 

For little did I realize that in putting together the picture perfect life in 2014, I had let one area of my life wane without even realizing it… my relationship with God. Despite all the horrible fallout that happened in my life that first week (and the months since) something miraculous happened — I connected with God on a level I didn’t even think was possible.

In that, there was a divine humility — realizing that it’s taken me getting to the lowest of lows to stop to prioritize my relationship with God again. To stop and offer up a broken, defeated girl to the maker of the universe and realize that he KNOWS I choose everything in life over Him throughout 2014. But also to know He doesn’t care — He would literally do anything to conquer and save me yet again, simply because He loves me. That much.

And you wouldn’t begin to believe all the “God things” (those serendipitous events that you can’t explain any other way than acknowledging the hand of God is at work in your life) that have happened these past 5 months. The finite attention to detail God’s given the little things in my life to SHOW me He’s there, and that He loves me.

In moments of extreme panic and anxiety, He’s steadied and calmed me. In moments where I thought I would literally die of heartache, He’d taken my heart in His hands and given me comfort. When I’ve wanted to fight back against lies, He’s made me still reminding me that in my stillness He will fight for me and speak truth over the lies.

He’s taken the time to speak to me more deeply, more directly than ever before assuring me of His promise in the most detailed, undeniable ways — everything’s going to be okay. And in doing so, has made tears of sadness turn into tears of joy and hope for what the future will bring. #5MonthsAndHopeful

Jeremiah_29_11

Drive In the Morning

Be merciful_Psalm 31:9

This one of those you have to be willing to go with me on this journey kind of posts… so about two weeks ago I was driving down to Norfolk before dawn for the VA DAR State Conference. If you know me, you know I’m not a morning person, but I’m a huge “drive in the morning” person because it avoids traffic. So there I am, driving by myself at an hour too early to even think about calling anyone else to help pass the time… And there it went… that moment my spirit just lost it. Being THAT alone with myself. Without the ability to sleep or do anything else but drive to distract myself.

That’s when the brokenness came through. As only it does in the still, small moments.

I found myself sobbing. An emotional disaster. As if God wanted to say, ‘my heart breaks for you,’ the heaven’s opened up and it began to pour outside my car. Not exactly a safe combo, crazy rain and crazy tears, but compelled by some inexplicable force I turned to the local Christian radio station in WGTS 91.9​ and the song began… “He Knows” by Jeremy Camp… (you can scroll to the bottom and listen to the playlist while you read within this post — definitely makes much more sense listening to the songs than just reading snippets of lyrics)

All the bitter weary ways
endless striving day by day
you barely have the strength to pray
in the valley low

how hard your fight has been
how deep the pain within
wounds that no one else has seen
hurts too much to show

all the doubt you’re standing in between
And all the weight that brings you to your knees

Once again God found me through the radio and started reaching a place in a my heart I had all but forgotten… but one song wasn’t enough. Next up “I Will Praise You In This Storm.” It was though the Lord wanted me declare He’s my God in the midst of my tears and the  thunder that was taking place outside…

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And the car ride became a clear message from God… every song acknowledged the rain outside my car and the very thoughts living in my head. Some that I’ve said aloud for months, others that I’ve felt too broken to say out loud. The perfect series of songs just wouldn’t stop.

How long must I pray
Must I pray to You
How long must I wait
Must I wait for You
How long till I see Your face
See You shining through

I’m on my knees
Begging You to notice me
I’m on my knees
Father, will You turn to me

One tear in the dropping rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart
One light, that’s all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Won’t You come close and hold my heart

And continued…

want you as you are, not as you ought to be
Won’t you lay down your guard and come to me
The shame that grips you now is crippling
It breaks my heart to see you suffering

Cause I am for you
I’m not against you

If you want to know
How far my love can go
Just how deep, just how wide
If want to see
How much you mean to me
Look at my hands, look at my side
If you could count the times I say you are forgiven
It’s more than the drops in the ocean

It’s worth mentioning the connection this song had to me… so while “everything” was happening, I described myself as drowning. I wondered if those who hated me wanted to silence me… to death. Certainly the death threats echoed such a sentiment, but what was the end-game for everyone else? How long could you want to hold one person under? I felt as thought I couldn’t come up for air without being immediately pushed back under, and held there. And I knew I deserved wrath, but death? Literal or not. I cried so much those days. Broken, grasping for just a few minutes of air before it all started in on me again.

I still can’t imagine what those around me who I explained that feeling to felt… I had a few reporters in tears realizing just how bad it was. How my stupid action ignited a hatred of epic proportions that no one wanted to put an end to. Folks either thought I deserved it or it was like a train-wreck they couldn’t help but watch. Either way, I’m still not sure how I made it through those days… but hearing this song made me feel as though God was acknowledging those bleak moments and feelings.

And the music kept getting more real. Which is where I admit to you, that I’ve had God speak to me through the radio before but NEVER in a way such a this. Never song after song like it was happening that morning…

No shadow comes without the light making a way
No raging storm can ever defy one word of faith
My heart remains sure in the wind, sure in the waves

You are the anchor for my soul
You won’t let go
You won’t let go
No matter what may come I know
You won’t let go

And again…

was lost
I was in chains
The world had a hold of me…

I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His presence
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His arms

He so clearly knew I was stuck in the car with Him and I literally couldn’t have run from His presence that morning. And let’s face I couldn’t make up this series of songs if I tried…

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

The whole “drowning” analogy was something I  talked through daily the first few weeks of December. And with thoughts of drowning, all I ever wanted was the chance to “breathe.”

Every time that you wake up breathing
Every night when you close your eyes
Every day that your heart keeps beating
There’s purpose for your life
So don’t give up
Don’t lay down
Just hold on
Don’t quit now
Every breath that you take has meaning
You are here for a reason

At this point I had stopped crying. I think I had run out of tears. My breathing steadied, but still needed reassurance that I believe in a God who loves me far more than I could ever deserve. How fitting this song came on next…

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son
Stop fighting a fight it’s already been won”
I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I’m redeemed
And because I’m so flaw-filled and human God clearly knew hearing I’m redeemed once, especially in my situation wasn’t enough. Thus He took another moment to reassure me with yet another perfect song.

I’ve been hiding
Afraid I’ve let you down, inside I doubt
That You still love me
But in Your eyes there’s only grace now
You plead my cause
You right my wrongs

You brake my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

Though I fall, You can make me new
From this death I will rise with You
Oh the grace reaching out for me

And because my God has the BEST sense of humor of anyone, “Shake” came on. Like the song that was sent to tell me to get up off my crying butt (when I stopped driving of course) and start to live again. To remember He sent His son to pay the ultimate price because we’re all sinners. To stop living in a self-hating past and to move on and praise Him.

I just can’t believe
Where my life was at
All that I know is that my heart was broken
And I don’t ever wanna go back

Ain’t no explanation
How I saw the light
He found me and set me free
And it brought me back to life

I had Shazam’d all these songs at the time and just now, nearly a month later stopped to listen to them all again in order and write this. Boy did I need it tonight.

And meant for an ENTIRELY different post (that will one day come), it’s worth noting God truly does have a history of reaching me through the radio. Check out the date of this one (November 28, 2012). Read what I wrote and then consider the fact my life just fell to pieces November 28, 2014. It’s safe to say God works in mysterious ways…

I put together all of these songs in a playlist you can listen to here or below:

Officially horrible

I’m officially a horrible blogger. How I’ve not made the time to write here more often… I have no excuses. I’ve been keeping busy over at AskMissA.com managing both the Entertainment section and Washington, D.C., as well as running PR. I guess that keeps a girl pretty tied down. But truth be told, I’ve given so much of myself there and at church as of late, I’ve just not had a whole lot of me left to put anywhere else.

Does that make sense?

That said, today marks the beginning of sequestration going into effect. Don’t worry, I’m not about to talk politics, but I wanted to bring a message over here from my facebook page:

Prayers for everyone being effected/about to be effected by the implementation of sequestration today. I know it’s such a scary time, feeling as though your future is resting in the balances of our crazy government… but know that God is faithful.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

John 16:33 
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Have faith my dears. As troubling as joblessness is, He’s going to stand by your side and provide for you. ♥

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Jesus’ one-on-one with my heart

Tonight I was driving home from my book club (love my GPBC gals!) and Jesus just decided it was time to have a one-on-one with my heart. I was listening to Laura Story’s song Blessings and boy did it speak volumes to me.

As per the usual, when Jesus is speaking that loudly and that directly — I’m was in tears. But it was the good kind of tears. The cleansing kind. The fortifying kind.

Lately I’ve been dealing with a lot. I feel like I’m always dealing with a lot, and more often than not I’m convinced my lot in life is so much harder than those around me. And maybe in some ways it is. But geez, am not extraordinarily blessed? How much good is in my life despite the trials? SO much I tell you. But oh how I forget.

But tonight Jesus reminded me –

what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know Your near?

Is that why I’m not sleeping God? Is it because I so easily forget what’s really important. I so easily rely on the things of this world when I really ought to be relying on you because I’m so quick to forget You are here for me? Always.

What if trials of this night, are Your mercies in disguise?
How often that has been that case… It’s not a lie when I say I’ve always felt like on the other side of my hard times comes great things. That almost tit-for-tat I can run through the bad things and find the good that comes on the other side. That doesn’t make going through the bad any easier. Any less painful.

Below is the song Jesus found a way into my heart tonight through. You don’t need to be a Christian to listen to it. So I ask of you — please take a moment to listen. Maybe Jesus is looking for a way to speak to your heart tonight too. xxoo.

If nothing else, skip to the very bottom for something else.

And for those who’d like to see the lyrics:

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace.
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep.
We pray for healing, prosperity.
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering.

All the while, You hear each spoken need.
Your love is too way too much to give us lesser things.

Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
What ifa thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if trials of this night, are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear.
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near.
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love.
As if every promise from Your word is not enough.

All, the while, You hear each desperate plea.
And long that we’d have faith to believe.

Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if trials of this night, are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win;
We know that pain reminds this heart, that this is not, this is not our home.
It’s not our home.

Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if my greatest disappointments, or the aching of this life;
Is a revealing of greater thirst that a world can’t satisfy?

Start reading again here:
All of this said — if you’re in the DC metro area this holiday season and you don’t have a church home… you’ve not found your place in this world and you’re desperate for something better…. you can’t even fathom who God is, and it seems like the most unrealistic thing in the world to think that there’s a God who would give his son Christ Jesus to die on a cross for YOU — for your sins… then please accept my humble invitation to come to church with me. I belong to a great church family at DC Metro Church. I know it’s not the place for everyone, but the people and the experience is amazing.

You don’t need to be a believer. You don’t even need to think you have a chance of ever believing. You just need a pause in your heart to be willing to give something a try because you’re so ready for something better.  I promise you, if you’re going through a bunch of crappy things right now (like me) — there’s something better to come. Even if you don’t believe there’s a God out there who can help make things better.

I may just be talking to myself right now, but know this is a personal invitation to YOU. I feel so compelled to write this right now, that I know it’s for YOU even if you’re still not sure.

Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

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