For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken .How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 7 On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah
9 Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath. 10 Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
11 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, 12 and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.
Psalm 62 ESV
God alone and no else is the ONLY reliable hope or confidence that I have.
God ALONE and nothing else is my
* Mighty rock
I WILL NOT be greatly shaken because if my trust truly is in God and he is my rock—rocks don’t get shaken. 😂
Any human effort that does not come from true faith will fail to achieve lasting good. (8-10)
How should I express my trust? 8,10
* Pour out my heart before God (earnest prayer)
* Refusing to have any part of:
In the balances they go up; people are together lighter that breath (verse 9)
God’s Word is certain and true. (Say it once, but twice)
To God alone and no one else:11,12
* Belongs power-by which He can carry out his will
* Steadfast love-in which God has pledged himself to the faithful that we can safely trust in Him and him alone
Therefore in God and only in God do I put my trust
I have a tendency to say I am putting my trust in God, yet I turn around and continue to hold onto worry, fear. I get GREATLY shaken. My trust is to be ONLY in God and nothing else. I try to figure out the finances, my children’s problems, my own physical problems...yet if my trust is ONLY in God, I should be able to say: YOU are my Rock. YOU are my Refuge. YOU are my salvation. YOU are my fortress.
I truly do not always pour out my heart to God and claim him as my ONLY REFUGE. That phrase…Pour my heart out before God—I love that
I can trust God and God ALONE to be power and my steadfast love.
Today I WILL wait in silence and claim my trust in God and only God.
I WILL NOT be greatly shaken because if my trust truly is in God and he is my rock—rocks don’t get shaken. 😂
I will pour out my heart to the Lord on a daily basis, I NEED to pour out my heart to the Lord. I need to be desperate for God…
Have you ever looked at that lady on social media or the one speaking at a retreat or ladies conference and thought that they must truly have “it all together"?
I had gone to a ladies retreat 5 years ago. The speaker was sharing how she studied the Bible. She had all these books lined up. She talked about spending hours studying; she had notebooks organized that she had kept for years...everything was color coded by promise and truths of God. It was truly incredible and she really did that...I know that dear lady personally.
However, I walked out to the woods and cried. Everything she said was so overwhelming. I wanted that kind of quietness spent with God; a relationship with Him like she seemed to have...real time spent with Jesus. I was overwhelmed, because if that was what I had to do, then it was impossible: at the time, I had 9 children, 6 months to 17 years old and I was homeschooling 8 of them. I walked away defeated...
"The beauty of Jesus's amazing saving grace is magnified
As ministry wives or any woman in ministry, we have an interesting place in the church...we don’t have a position, but we do. Many times in ministry we feel like we are to look strong for people or maybe even show perfection…when in reality, we should show our weaknesses because doing so shows how truly strong our Savior is and how great HIS grace is. I have been very burdened recently to be careful that I do not teach or put up a facade as if I have the perfect home, the perfect marriage, or the perfect family.
If any of us is to be accepted by God, it will be because of HIS Grace—not because of anything we have done. Many times in the Bible, God chose people who were undeserving. Most were obvious sinners in need of God’s Grace, yet God chose to use them for His glory.
If Christ is in me, (the Gospel) God has made me perfect positionally in His sight. Because of that position in Christ, I can be justified (just as if I had never sinned).
Because the Bible does not teach us how to clean ourselves up to be good, I have to be careful to remember that the gospel is not a message of how to improve myself. In fact, it tells me the opposite: “no one is good, no, not one.” Actually, God’s Word tells us there is only one way to God and it has nothing to do with my attempts at goodness. Only Jesus alone can rescue me from my sin.
If I truly believe that “Jesus’s power is made perfect in my weakness” then out of my failures and my weaknesses the beauty of Jesus amazing rescuing grace is magnified when I model my obvious weaknesses.
We have a “Good News” message of weak people with a strong God. I need to model that complete dependence on Jesus in the midst of my weaknesses, struggles, and unanswered questions. When I am real and allow the good news of Jesus Christ to be seen through my life...Jesus’ grace and power in seen in and through me.
Fast forward to 3 years later. We had added the 10th baby into our home. I was at my lowest point physically and spiritually. Because I was in such a dark place physically, I faced a silent battle that I shared with no one. Why? Well, I was not sure who to turn too. Of course, I did not want to be seen as less than spiritual (I really thought that) and in need...I was the wife of the Pastor.
I hit a wall. I did not leave my room and I cried a lot, My girls took care of my baby and the rest of my children. I felt so alone and defeated. I did not go to church (my excuse was I had just had a baby). My husband would come into my room and tell me that I had to just trust the Lord. I had no idea what that even looked like, so I confessed to my poor husband, “What does that even mean?” Jesus looked and felt very far away...
In the mean time, I was somehow accidentally invited to a ministry wives retreat not far from my home. I guess you could say that this group was not in my “circle”. :)
The Lord orchestrated me to go. I cried most of the way there, but somehow my husband knew I needed to be at this retreat, so he sent me. It was a 3 day event and I was quiet during the first two days, just watching and listening. Several times throughout the 3 days, there was a sharing/testimony/prayer time. I listened to those ladies share their failures, hopes, struggles...there was not any condemnation. As the needs were shared, two other ladies would take those needs to Jesus in prayer, right then. I had never been to such a prayer meeting. The modeling of their faith, dependence, transparency, hurts, and struggles soothed my empty heart.
I was the last one to try to share. As I opened my mouth to speak, the only thing that came out were silent sobs. I truly had nothing to share but two dear Godly ladies stood, touched my shoulder, and prayed for me. That day, my broken heart began to slowly heal. WHY? I saw that I was not alone in my struggles as a ministry wife. God brought me to a point of complete and utter dependance on Him and Him only. I saw the Grace of Jesus reflected in the life of those ladies.
Those ladies modeled their weakness and as they did, Jesus and His Grace was magnified.
Listen to what Jesus said again...“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power (might, marvelous works) is made perfect (accomplished) in (Your) weakness. (want of strength, weakness, illness, suffering, calamity, frailty.”
Because Jesus told Paul that His power is accomplished in Paul's weakness, Paul says “I will lift up all the more gladly of my weaknesses (want of strength, weakness, illness, suffering, calamity, frailty) , so that the marvelous works of Jesus Christ may rest upon Him. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
We have a Gospel message of weak people with a strong God. I can model a dependence on Jesus in the middle of my weaknesses, struggles, and unanswered questions.The beauty of Jesus amazing saving grace is magnified when I model my weakness to those around me.
When I am real and transparent with my needs, I allow the gospel of God's grace to be seen through my life. Jesus' grace and power in seen in and through me.
I am trying to become that kind of woman...It is a process, but my prayer is that I will always model the Grace of Jesus.That’s why when I fall, when I blow it, when I get discouraged, I can (through the power of the Spirit), get up and continue on by God’s grace.
Look at what this Proverb says about getting up and continuing on after I fail so miserably: for the righteous falls seven times and rises again” (Prov. 24:16).
There’s growth involved here, and that’s okay. That’s true for Every. Single. Godly. Honest. Woman. You think of the most Godly woman you know, and if she is honest, she considers herself still very much growing everyday in God’s grace. She is still learning, still developing, still falling, and still getting back up.
"...He who began a good work in you will perform (will bring it to completion) until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6)
Six months past. My physical and spiritual life began to return to a new normal. Because everything in my life at that time was so overwhelming, I was encouraged to read just one verse of scripture or sentence, put it into my own words, and write down an “I will statement." That was small...I could do that.
Everyday I would go to the Word verse by verse, sentence by sentence. Every. Day. Three years have past. I have slowly read I Peter, II Peter, I Timothy, II Timothy, I John and have taken them apart verse by verse….Oh how the Words of God have literally been living water infusing new life into my heart!
My enthusiasm for Jesus and His Word AND my utter failure in spending a close fellowship with Jesus on a consistent daily basis throughout the years has become my message to the ladies around me. Jesus slowly healed my body and heart...but as Jesus was healing by heart...He was revealing His power to the ladies around me.
I started to realize that my weaknesses and failures and God’s Grace in my life was the way to live out Jesus and His Grace or I could say, live out the “Beauty of the Gospel”. This truly is the reality of the beauty of Jesus and His amazing power to rescue me from my sin, so I can live in that Grace.
Now...I need Jesus. Ever. Single. Day.
It is okay to reveal the weakness we have as people. Nancy Lee DeMoss Wolgemuth said it best, “True mentoring is modeling weakness."
It is in our weaknesses that we are forced to seek God's help. Our weaknesses forces us to trust God in a deeper way than we ever have before or would have if we did not have that "weakness".
I sometimes look at the battles of sin in my own life and think, "How can God use me to make a difference in anyone's life" when I am such a sinner myself. :)
As much as I would love a life free of problems, I should not be craving or wishing for a life free from weakness, but rather I should pursue a God-dependent life within my weakness. A life with problems may not be what I want, but it may be what I truly need.
The great goal and purpose of living in God's grace is “that in everything I will adorn (make compellingly attractive) the doctrine of God our Savior.” I am to make compellingly attractive the gospel, to display the gospel's beauty and to reveal how it makes a difference in my life. This passage tells us very specifically what it looks like to be a Gospel living woman. It also tells us why we must do this: “that the word of God be not blasphemed."
“When older women and younger women support each other in living out God’s transforming love, the entire body of Christ—the bride of Christ—grows more beautiful.” Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth “The more I see my sin, my weakness, my need before Christ...the more I see the beauty of God's amazing Grace. The beauty of the Gospel.”
But I don't always live that way: I can so get tired, frustrated, annoyed, busy, fearful, upset, impatient…I sin. I forget about the beauty of sitting at the feet of Jesus.
What does it look like to Live in God’s Grace?
Again, sometimes I look at my frustration and my personal struggle with sin in my own life and I think, "How can God use me to make a difference in anyone's life when I am such a sinner myself”?
–-Living out God’s Grace when I still struggle with my sin
Recently, I had to text another pastor’s wife and apologize for a sin I had committed against her...it is being humble. Oh, how I cried afterword because yes, it’s embarrassing to admit sin, yet, I also cried because God’s Grace is so evident when forgiveness is freely offered…not only from God, but from that dear lady.
–-Living out God’s Grace when I still get upset with my husband
It is saying to my poor husband when he gets the brunt of my frustrations, "I’m sorry, will you please forgive me? I will try not to do it again. What can I do to make it right?" And it is sharing God’s amazing grace in my response to the conviction of my sin…and how God helped me make it right.
–-Living out God’s Grace when I get so full of anxiety and fear
I so easily lose sight of the Lord and fail to completely trust Him, Am I still willing to share how I learned about Jesus in my journey of learning to trust Him more...?
Let me give you an example of my own weakness: Fear and anxiety has been a real struggle for me these last 7 weeks. I somehow contracted scabies and my world spiraled down in fear. I would pray and put it in God’s hands...and then I would immediately take it back. It was such a battle. On one of the harder days, I went to Psalm 91 and spent time in the comfort of this passage:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday (Psalm 91:1-6).
From my journal, dated 9-24-2017:
“This has real meaning for me today. I am so very very afraid and scared. I'm doing all I can physically not to touch my family and not to spread this. Everyday, I wash or dry every piece of bedding, pillows, towels, clothes,...I bathe in Epsom salts and tea tree oil every night. I've been creamed with the permethrin 5% that's supposed to kill the mites. I will re-treat myself and the entire family with the cream again tomorrow. I am going to the docter to get an oral medication as well.
Yesterday, I cried and told the Lord, "You calmed the storm, you healed people, you had compassion on the crowd…please, please, heal me, help me to trust that you are teaching me through this... but more so that I will put my faith into action." To be honest it's so hard. One moment I am picturing myself trusting Jesus...then fear takes over and I literally am paralyzed with fear that I will not do enough to kill these invisible bugs. The anxiety fills be up and paralyzes my thinking.
Oh, Jesus, "I WILL say of the Lord: He is my refuge, my fortress (protection) MY God. In God WILL I trust. I will not be afraid of the pestilence that walks in the dark. (Bugs I can not see). He will deliver me from the perilous/deadly pestilence (invisible bugs).
I have now healed and I am on the other side of that extremely difficult 4 weeks. Although I did not handle that situation as “spiritually” as I should have (ask my poor husband)...God’s Grace was so evident. I can not be afraid to share how I struggled with complete trust, yet still saw God fill up my life with His grace despite my lack of faith.
–-Living out God’s Grace when I still lose my patience with my children
I am willing to acknowledge my sin to my children, looking them in the eye and completely taking full responsibly for my sin, and genuinely asking them to forgive me. God’s Grace in that child is magnified in my modeling weakness.
I have had to do this so many times after I lose patience with one of my children. The tears are streaming down their cheeks because of me...how horrible is that! Even when THEY are the ones that may have provoked my impatience, I am the mature one who RESPONDED wrong. So many times, I have had to go to them and humbly ask them to forgive me. How can that child ever be expected to see humility if I don’t model it when I sin?
–-I need to live out God's Grace every single day…in every single thought and action
I can help my children and all those around me by letting them see my weakness: see where I fail, see how I did or did not have a complete trust and dependence on God. My children especially need to see me live in weakness and dependence...so they know what it looks like to live in dependence on God’s power.
When David committed such horrendous sin by murdering, committing adultery, hiding his sin...when he confessed and repented, in his prayer he said this in Psalm 51:13, “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you."
Now the entire world knows about his sin and failures. And the entire world can learn from it...AND see God's Grace in his life. How many sinners have been helped by David’s testimony?
“Whenever God’s word has sustained me in weakness and given me much needed direction and whenever I have consequences of FAILING to Obey His Word ---there is a story to share.” Nancy Lee Wolgemuth .
I should not be be afraid to be transparent and show others what God has taught us when I messed up. I need to remember to teach from the wrong choices I make as well as the right choices.
This is the same with my children. Oh, that I would show them a mama who needs Jesus when I mess up! May I stay humble...be able to admit my sin to my children and ask them to forgive me. If I can't model humility, how can I expect them to do the same?
Some day when I get to heaven, I will receive a new body free from sin...but until then... I model God’s Grace so other women can clearly see Jesus' "power...made perfect in my weakness" and in my weakness the beautiful compelling Grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is modeled.
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. - 1 John 2:28-29
Recently, I sinned against someone. I had to apologize and make it right. I wrestled with myself for one night over my pride. Sometimes making things right can be extremely hard to do because it is humbling.
The next morning I confessed my sin, asked her to forgive me, and pleaded for restoration. Afterward, I was given such sweet forgiveness and grace and the relationship was restored between us. More importantly, however, my relationship was restored between me and Jesus, the one who rescued me from my sin...the one that I truly want to please and serve.
Today, I came to this verse in my Bible reading: And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
Oh, how I need to stay or remain in Jesus, so that when He comes back, I can have confidence and be open, not be ashamed or shrink away from Jesus! Because Jesus is Righteous, everyone that is born of Jesus will practice righteousness.
I must stay as close to Jesus as possible. I urgently need to fill myself up or be completely IN Jesus all the time. I do not want to be afraid to meet Jesus when he returns because I have continued in my sin. Because I am in Jesus family and He bought me and adopted me into his family, I ought to everyday strive to practice righteousness. I need to always make sure there is no sin between my soul and Jesus, the one who rescued me.
If I am righteous, doing what is right toward God and toward people, to my family, to my neighbors, to the world, to Jesus who rescued me, who died for me, then I am a true Christian; and then, no matter how soon Jesus will return, or how scary the end the world will be, I WILL NOT shrink away or be afraid of Jesus return, because I will REJOICE that He rescued me and REJOICE that the time has come that I can go and live with Jesus forever.
As I was wring these thoughts in my Journal, I was reminded of the old Hymn by Charles A. Tindley a Preacher who was said to be the father of African American Hymnody, “Nothing Between” was written around 1906 during a difficult time in Tindley’s life, when the congregation was negotiating to purchase a larger facility.
Nothing Between My Soul and the Savior
Nothing between my soul and the Savior,
Naught of this world’s delusive dream;
I have renounced all sinful pleasure;
Jesus is mine, there’s nothing between.
Nothing between my soul and the Savior,
So that His blessed face may be seen;
Nothing preventing the least of His favor,
Keep the way clear! Let nothing between.
Nothing between, like worldly pleasure;
Habits of life, though harmless they seem,
Must not my heart from Him e’er sever;
He is my all, there’s nothing between.
Nothing between, like pride or station;
Self-life or friends shall not intervene;
Though it may cost me much tribulation,
I am resolved; there’s nothing between.
Nothing between, e’en many hard trials,
Though the whole world against me convene;
Watching with prayer and much self-denial,
I’ll triumph at last, with nothing between.
Do you have anything between you and Jesus? It's a beautiful thing to wake up in the morning and know that all is well between Jesus and me!
Wednesday morning August 30th was the day we were supposed to leave to take my children to college. As of 7:00 am, we still did not have the funds for the trip and my daughter Autumn and I were still in Nationwide Children’s hospital.
My sister-in-law Michelle shared Psalms 77 on her Facebook page. I wrote this passage down in my journal and meditated on it all day. I was brought to tears, as God reminded me of the Great works He has done in the past and how He had a plan for this delay.
I would like to share with you how Great MY GOD is in the present.
"I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember Your wonders of old.
I will ponder all Your work, and meditate on Your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is GREAT LIKE OUR GOD?
You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your might among the peoples."
Look at all those I will statements from the Psalmist!
I WILL remember and I WILL ponder and I WILL meditate.
Thursday, August 31st, we dropped off 4 children at Bible College…Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior. When I had 4 children in 5 years, I never thought about the fact that they would all go to college at the same time. I bawled my eyes out as we gathered in a circle after chapel to pray together. I prayed that God would use them; I prayed that if they had any sin that each child would turn from that sin, make it right, and go forward in God’s power and strength; and I prayed that God would provide all their needs and that they would have a great year!
I have given them back to God. They are growing up. I WILL remember how God has provided for them in the past and I will meditated on how God IS going to provide for them in the future.
Three days before the girls were to be in school, Autumn was put in the hospital for a possible partial bowel obstruction/ileus. It was NOT our way or our plans. Because of this, my three girls who were anticipating going to college on Wednesday, were delayed.
"Who is like my God?"
A week before we had prayed, "Please provide the financing for this trip to college and our physical needs."
We were down in the bank, peanut butter and jelly was on the menu, and Michael's paycheck wasn't in until after we were to leave for Wisconsin. I thought I was going to get a paycheck from my work, but the paycheck I was anticipating would not be coming until September 15th.
"He is the God that does wonders!"
As I slept in the not so comfortable bed/couch provided by hospital, I meditated on our circumstances and cried. I will not lie. I was discouraged and very tired. I would like to say that in that moment, I was joyful, and rejoicing in God’s plan, but instead I was just tired and wondered how this was all going to pan out. Remembering what I had written in my Bible journal that morning, I took our my journal and I re-read Psalm 33:1-4.
“Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits (is lovely, fitting) the upright. (Praise should be what I do)
Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. (Sing, praise Him)
(Why is it lovely, or fitting for me to shout for Joy? Why should I Praise my Lord?)
For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. - Psalm 33:1-4
"ALL my Lord's action or deeds are steady, true, firm. Therefore, I CAN trust the One who knows what's best.
I WILL shout for Joy because God's word is straight and right AND my Lord's Character IS steady and firm.
These are comforting words when my strength is gone and I am tired.
So we will walk the path of His plans and trust the One who who is in charge. 🙃"
With these words in mind, I encouraged myself in the Lord and I listed our needs on the notes section of my phone:
Gas, food for the trip, a place to stay, a trailer to haul all the girl's college belongings to Wisconsin, Joshua's school bill (he needed $250 to stay in school), God to heal Autumn completely and quickly.
He WILL pay for and provide for each child, each school bill, each spiritual need each physical need.
He is the God that does wonders!
I can trust that he will continue to do those mighty deeds.
These circumstances were not my way. They were God's way. I HAVE SEEN God provide so many many times in the past...
Tuesday, Autumn and I sat in the hospital with her pain slowly dissipating, the 2nd X-ray showed the obstruction improving and slowing resolving itself.
Wednesday morning was the day we were supposed for school.
As Autumn went in for the scopes late Wednesday morning, God was already providing the funds for gas, food, lodging, and a trailer: no one knew of our need, but God. I received a text from a sweet couple telling us they were providing the entire trip! Only God could do that.
Wednesday's upper and lower endoscopy showed infection in the pouch, but nothing serious. By Wednesday afternoon, we were able to leave the hospital, her pain was down, and her the obstruction was resolved. Time was a blur as we rushed home, packed up the girls belongings in the trailer and drove off that night for the trip to Wisconsin. We were on our way! God was paying for this trip!
I WILL remember…You are the God who works wonders;
And not only that, but Joshua received an offering from his internship several days later that paid his debt and his first month of school! Praise!
"I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your wonders of old.
I will ponder all Your work, and meditate on Your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is GREAT LIKE OUR GOD?
You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your might among the peoples."
As I meditate on this passage in Psalms 77, I'm excited as I remember God's power, and meditate on God's great deeds. I'm anticipating God WILL continue to meet my children's physical and spiritual needs.
Joshua, Autumn, Melody, and Carissa are safely at school. I am at home, excited about a new school year starting, new church theme, new opportunities for the Gospel, and new little people in my home to pour out my life.
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
* 2 Timothy 2:4-7
In this context, Paul gives Timothy a number of illustrations and analogies, according to all of which self-denial and persistent work are important.
Paul encouraged Timothy to continue on, pursue, be strengthened by Jesus our Captain. He enlisted us. My captain is Jesus. I will suffer-endure hardships-if I am a soldier for Jesus. It's a given. As my trials increase: I need to grow stronger, my faith stronger, my love for God stronger, my trust stronger. None of these do I do in my own strength (2Timothy 2:1,2) but by the Grace given by Jesus!
Last night we visited a couple nestled in a valley of the hills of Ohio on the end of long country road about 25 min from our church. From the door an older looking man with a slight limp greeted us. Upon entering M. his wife 15 years younger, warmly greeted us surrounded by his 4 grandchildren.
With a slow southern drawl, E. talked about how much he enjoyed our little church on the hill. M. quickly agreed. I listened as she shared with me her story of childlessness, her hysterectomy gone wrong, chronic back pain and knee pain. She was taking care of her ailing father and her mother... she is only 41. My heart went out to her. Life is so hard and it hurts.
The conversation turned to Jesus. How Jesus changed my heart. How Jesus completely filled up Michael's heart at the age of 13. Living in broken home filled with insecurities...God reached down and rescued him from his sin, wrapped His arms around Michael and filled Him up with a new hope, a new purpose, new life, all because of Jesus.
We asked, "How would you describe your relationship with God? What do you think God requires to have a relationship with God”?
They both answered the typical church, giving myself, bringing others to church...but M. said something telling, “But my sin bothers me."
Michael preceded to tell the old old story of how our God is Holy, He does not and cannot tolerate sin. God is just, and cannot overlook our sin. At the end of those two points, both agreed that we were all in trouble including them. Which brought us to the best point of all...
God is loving and has reached out to us. Jesus completed the perfect exchange: Our substitute, His righteousness, our payment in full.
Both E and M looked at us in disbelief and said, “No one has ever told it to us like that!”
No one? Has told them? They had gone to church here and there, they have been taught Christian beliefs, but had never been sat down and told the simple, glorious, powerful, life changing Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus and only Jesus is the Gospel Theme. Simple, yet we feel as if we have to DO SOMETHING.
I wish I could say that they were gloriously saved. I cannot. Because they knew the religious terms of Christianity, but not Christ's transforming power of salvation. They have eagerly agreed to the exchange Bible study and will be in church again on Sunday.
Why do I tell that story? I need to continue on in Walking worthy of the calling God has called us to: One of which is reaching others with the Powerful Gospel of Jesus Christ. The days that feel hard, without purpose, a struggle to get through, if I remember that I am a soldier in Jesus army…He’s my Captain…my purpose, then I can identify with Timothy and be encouraged by Paul’s admonition.
My captain is Jesus. I will suffer -endure hardships-if I am a soldier for Jesus. It's a given. As my trials increase: I need to grow stronger, my faith stronger, my love for God stronger, my trust stronger. None of these do I do in my own strength (2Timothy 2;1,2) but in strength from the GRACE that is in Jesus.
My purpose as a soldier is to please and serve my captain Jesus-the one who enlisted me.
”You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” 2 Timothy 2:1
However, my strength comes from the GRACE that is in Christ Jesus, my Captain.
Getting out of the house and giving the gospel is a wonderful encouragement in the Lord.
We soldier on following our Captain, the best, most blessed job in the world.
At the request of my sister (the one in college) I have come to update:). About a month ago (maybe more...I can't remember) my family went on a trip to COSI, a children's science museum that is super awesome. Above are Serenity and Mercy in front of the pendulum. I'm technically supposed to be doing school right now. Ahem. So I shall post the rest of the pictures and continue on:)
Ok onto South Carolina! Last week my mom, Melody, and Amarisa went down to South Carolina to help out Aunt Sarah with Owen (who is adorably cute!!!) Sadly, I have no pictures, but I'm sure you can just imagine the green leaves and warm weather down there:).
Edit: my college sister (which is Autumn:)) just emailed me some pictures!! So here they are!
Now to birthdays. I'm pretty I've already written about Timothy's birthday, but in case I didn't, he turned 14 in November. My mom turned 35 (not really; she's going backwards now;)) a couple of weeks ago, and Serenity turned 11 two days later. I don't think I have pictures of that either....But the cakes were good!!
Amarisa is now 17-almost-18 months old. She finally started walking a couple weeks ago and is soooo cute. But sadly she has a bad cold right now:( Now I really must get back to school, so I'll just dump some random pics I have in:) Enjoy and HAPPY SPRING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I break this blog-silence to tell y'all a real-to-life true story that happened actually today. Please excuse the quality of the pictures because I took them all with my iPod:) And now, without further ado, I bring you "The Tale of Two Tires" . Enjoy.
Once upon a time, I was driving home from church with my dad and sister when the tire blew.
Being the smart driver I am, I pulled over and turned on the hazards (actually my dad told me too:)). We decided it would be a great teaching lesson on how to change a tire! We got the spare, the jack, and the metal thing (I'm sure it has a name, but I can't think of what it might be at the moment) to take the tire off. One of the families from church graciously stopped to help, and we got the front part off after much pulling, tugging, and turning on the lug nuts.
The jack went right on and we took turns turning it to slowly lift the car up. Well, it lifted fine, but then (as I was taking a turn) the jack bent and the car fell.
We called another person from church and they brought their jack. The tire was leaning toward the left, so it wouldn't come off very easily. All the guys took turns kicking it, but without a hammer, we weren't going anywhere. Also, the jack we were using started bending, so we decided it was better to be safe and once again brought the car back down. We called yet another person from church who brought this super awesome jack.
The jack worked beautifully, but the tire wasn't very cooperative. But after kicking it/hitting it multiple times with a hammer, it came right off:). We got the spare on and the car down, but, then we realized the spare was flat. My dad went with another person to get the tire filled, and finally, without any other problems, we got the tire changed.
And there you have it!! A Tale of Two Tires. Or I debated calling it, "How Many People Does It Take to Change a Tire" :). I counted eight. Thus ending my first lesson in changing tires!
Hi! Wow, time sure flies! I feel like I say that a lot, but it really true. I think as I get older (16.....sooooo old;)) life goes by faster. My dad says it has to do with doing the same things over, and over, and over, and over, and over. Well, I've been keeping pretty busy lately, as have the rest of the clan. What with three-soon-to-be-five birthdays going by, school, learning to drive (!!!!!), and other random things, it's been pretty crazy. I also resurrected my camera after a couple months of rest (I brought it to camp but never took any pictures...something I very greatly regret).
On Sunday we were invited to a surprise anniversary party and we passed an amazing sunflower field!!! Dad stopped and let me take a couple pictures. Just 'cause sometimes, you've got to stop and smell (or take pictures) of sunflowers:)
So, now for birthdays. Amarisa turned 1 year old on September 6. She had a little trouble getting into her cupcake, but once we gave her a lick of the frosting, she dove right in!
Mercy turned either 7 or 8 (I honestly cannot remember at the moment) on September 8.
My amazing daddy had a birthday on September 25, but I won't say how old he is just because I'm his favorite daughter:)
Autumn turns 19 today!!!!!!! We sent her a whole bunch of gifts so she'll have a lot of things to open!! Charity turns 4 on the 19th and she's super excited. Timothy has the last birthday of the year in November, but that's a while away. Well, sort of.
Melody and I have been keeping busy with our on-line college classes. We're taking Fundamentals of Speech, which I do not like all that much, but I have to take, and Comp 1 which is awesome;). So far we've given two speeches and written two five-page papers. Such fun....
Also up in the amazing state of Wisconsin (and I can say that because I was born there;)) is the Cola Clash + !! We're taking a group up to Falls Baptist Church for the Cola Clash +. It's basically like an extended Cola Clash, but it costs money, and is more awesome.
Also, to whoever ate half the bowl of cookie dough that was in the freezer.....well, beware. :)
So anyway, that's pretty much all that's going on. Until next time!
Wow! It's been a long time hasn't it? All summer to be exact. My sisters and I had the most amazing summer ever! Maybe I'll get them to say something about it, but for now I'll just tell ya'll about my summer:) As I said, my sister's and I had the awesome opportunity of working at Camp Joy in Whitewater WI this summer. My mom posted a couple updates throughout the months we were gone, but I'll give some more detail. And throw in a couple random pictures too:)
I (Carissa) worked in the Housekeeping department. Basically, we cleaned everything. By everything I mean bathrooms (at least most of them which was a lot!), the chapel, the Lodge (which included the Fireside Room and Dining Hall), the Heritage Room, the Office, the Gym, the Nurse's Station, etc. We also serviced the Driftwood Cabins and Deluxe Rooms where families stay during family camps and sponsors stay during teen or junior weeks. Every afternoon we stocked the Gym Snack Shop and Snack Shack (try saying that five times fast! "Stocking the Snack Shop."). In the afternoons and evenings we worked in the different shops: the Bookstore, General Store, Gym Snack Shop, and the Snack Shack in the Lodge.
Because I wasn't able to be at Camp Joy during training week, I was definitely baptized by fire! I honestly had no idea what I was doing the first week, but thankfully, the other girls and both my supervisors taught me well:) I may or may not have exploded a blender during Junior Camp 1, dump hot chocolate mix all over me, and cut my thumb open two days before I left, but I survived! During Teen 3, a lot of us Housekeeping girls were able to help out in the kitchen because the Kitchen staff had lost a few people. We didn't really have any idea what we were doing in there, but the Kitchen staff graciously taught us. We waitress-ed, worked in the dish room (we REALLY didn't know what we were doing in there ;)) and helped clean up as much as we could before doing our own jobs.
I made a lot of friends over the summer as well! I had my own little cleaning buddy (the nurse's three-year-old son) who helped me clean every morning. He called me Cleaning Carissa:). And then all the other op-staff people. We had so many inside jokes that no one would ever get and would probably think we're crazy. But we had tons of fun. I was able to go to most of the evening chapel services. There were so many great messages and God was definitely working in every one of the camps. I had an amazing time this summer and hope to be able to do it again next year!!
But, moving on from Camp; now to life lately. Josh and Autumn leave for college in exactly one week, Josh as a sophomore and Autumn as a freshman. Melody and I are both high school seniors. We're taking a couple college classes on-line for dual-credit, plus some other random classes we need to graduate. Timothy (13) is a freshman this year, Stephen (12) is in 6th grade, Serenity (10) is in 5th grade, Mercy (7-soon-to-be-8) is in second grade, and Charity (almost 4) is sort of but not really doing Kindergarten. Amarisa is almost 1 (when did that happen??) and, even though she's still pretty tiny, she's pulling herself up on everything, "talking" all the time, and waving (and saying) "hi" and "bye".
Well, that's all for now! Thanks so much for everyone's prayers for us this summer!
God reached down in love and rescued Cassandra from her sin at the age of 21: changing her life, purpose, and focus forever.