Worship in the Waiting

IMG_5489

It’s been awhile. 😀 There have been times I have been moved to write but let the urging go dormant. I am 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant. The above picture was taken at 29 weeks and 3 days. My belly is a LOT bigger needless to say.

I’ve never been so happy to greet August again. It’s the birth month of my precious Babe, my rainbow baby—the promise after the storm. It’s 9 days until my due date, and I am finding it difficult to be patient. I’m so anxious to meet my Little One, yet I know that it’s all in the Lord’s hands, and I must continue to worship while I am waiting. I am praying for a natural birth without any intervention, but I am trusting the Lord with the process. Healthy mama and baby are key.

hello-august-image

I am overjoyed because the Lord has really been doing a work in me throughout this pregnancy. Initially I was gripped with fear of how I will care for a child without the support system most people have, on top of my disability, Casey’s work schedule, etc. Then I began worrying about having the birth I desire in the hospital after running my questions through several of the doctors that may be on call when I go into labor. I broke down in tears three times with one of them . . . Insurance won’t cover an at home water birth or birth at a birthing center. So, I hired a doula who will help me to labor as long as I can at home before heading into the hospital.

Then it hit me . . .

I wasn’t trusting the Lord with all of this. I was frantically trying to have everything in my control, and the thought of it not being in my control sent me into a spiral of fear and anxiety (which of course would hinder any chance of a natural birth). With each day that passes, each day that I choose to worship Him during this period of waiting, I can feel the fear chipping away and peace like a river washing over me. He is faithful. He has brought me through SO much, and He will see me through this. That is key to breakthrough—remembering what He has already accomplished in your life.

The fear has turned to sheer excitement for what is to come! I no longer focus on what I am losing by becoming a parent (sleep, freedom, etc.) but on all of the JOY to come! I can’t wait to see life through the eyes of a child (and play with toys without looking like a weirdo, particularly Calico Critters)! 😀 The best truly is yet to come!

20264958_10159214522390531_8939098028456227045_n

So, what is it that you are waiting for? Perhaps it’s financial breakthrough. Perhaps it’s a restored marriage. A marriage period. Perhaps you are waiting for a child of your own after many miscarriages or years of infertility. Perhaps it’s a new job opportunity, or a loved one coming to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Perhaps you are in the process of adopting a Little One in need of a loving home. Perhaps it’s physical healing . . . Whatever the case may be, know that you are not alone, and that the more you worship in the waiting, as difficult as it may be, the more peace you will receive, and the easier the waiting will become. Trust. It all comes down to trusting the good, good Father that we have. He loves you, hears your every prayer, and hasn’t forgotten you. Worship while you are waiting my friend. That’s all we can do. ❤

 

Hiding Place

psalm-32-7

Do you ever feel like you need a hiding place? A temporary escape from the word? Let’s face it, at some point in our lives (maybe several points), we may find the refrain from Ray Price’s “Make the World go Away” playing through our heads.

I’ll be the first to admit that there are times I need a hiding place. Often times I will just get in the car and drive to no place in particular, tears streaking my face, asking God questions I need answers to. Yesterday was one of those days. It was my “first” Mother’s Day, as I am carrying life in my womb at 27 weeks and 4 days, yet it was the first day fear began to grip hold of me. Will I be a good mom? Will I have meltdowns in front of my child? Will I have the help I need raising this child with Casey’s work schedule and family relationships that aren’t as close as they once were? What about mom’s care and all I do for her?

IMG_4762

The truth of the matter is that yes, I have my faith, but none of us have “arrived” yet. I am a lot better than I once was, but there is always progress to be made. I understand that being human isn’t an excuse to act fleshly, but it takes the pressure off of expectations that we so often place on ourselves. Do I trust the Lord, yes. Am I constantly being given more opportunities to trust Him, you bet.

During my devotional time this morning I was reading Psalm 32 and verse 7 stopped me in my tracks:

“You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” —Psalm 32:7

My eyes scanned the verse several more times. Hiding place. Protection. Songs of deliverance. The Free Dictionary defines deliverance as “rescue from bondage or danger.” So first the Lord will be a hiding place for us. I think back to when he hid Moses in the cleft of the rock with His hand. In Him we will find protection, and He will proceed to sing songs of freedom over us. Freedom from addiction. Freedom from depression. Freedom from fear. Freedom from guilt and shame. Freedom from whatever it is that is keeping us in bondage. The song “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music comes to mind. I know I have shared it in the past (It’s one of my FAVES), but I feel like it needs to be shared again.

“I am surrounded, by the arms of the Father. I am surrounded, with songs of deliverance. We’ve been liberated from our bondage. We’re the sons and the daughters. Let us sing our freedom.”

We have a Father. We have a hiding place. We have FREEDOM. Thank you Jesus. And thank you Mical for sharing this song with me way back when. ❤

Take Courage

FullSizeRender 14

Photo I took Wednesday at Pass-a-Grille beach in St. Petersburg, Florida. The water was so still, so calm . . .

It’s been about and hour and half since my phone rang at 4:20am. Since I have it set to “do not disturb” where only certain numbers come through, I knew who it was: Mom’s nurse at her assisted living facility. She went to the hospital last week after laying on the floor most of the night after a fall. This morning the nurse said she had a laceration on her arm and her knee but was confused and didn’t recall falling. She also told me there was blood in her room on one of her figurines . . . (Mom had called the nurse from the bathroom).

She asked mom if she wanted to go to the hospital and she said no. So, she asked what I wanted to do. I advised her to keep an eye on her and I’d call in the morning (later on in the morning) to check in. I had just talked to mom last night and while she has been having issues remembering little things and I knew she is still sick and weak, she seemed “okay”.

I laid there in bed attempting to fall back asleep, holding my belly, feeling Little One move about, and my mind started going a million miles a minute. I thought about mom and all that is going on with her. I thought about my ankle and the pain I have been experiencing from day-to-day activities. I thought about my baby and the troubles he or she would experience in this life.

Then the Lord took hold of me. (Really, He never let me go.) I kept hearing the chorus of a Bethel Music song run through my mind, “Take courage my soul. Stay steadfast my soul. He’s in the waiting.”

Wait-on-the-lord-495x490

I began to recite Psalm 23 in my mind. I began to meditate on the hope believers have in Him. Life is but a test for what is to come in eternity and how we navigate through this life will determine how eternity is spent even as believers, as we will stand before the judgement seat and give account for all we did good and bad (1 Corinthians 4:5; Revelation 22:12). Oh how I long to hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant!”

But I must take courage. You must take courage. Mom must take courage. We ALL must take courage in this life.

And with that, I hear the first bird singing morning salutations. It’s as if he or she is shouting, “Take courage!” May you find the courage you need in the One who is above all things and worthy to be trusted. Enjoy this song, and this day!

Save

Promise After the Storm

img_1810

Rainbow over my neighbors house. She recently lost her husband and I texted this to her.

“Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” -Genesis 9:14-15

It’s been awhile! I thought I should pop on for a quick post to update my follower’s on what is going on with me. I am back in school another semester but this will be my last . . .

My promise after the storm is on its way . . . I am 14 weeks pregnant! Casey and I saw the heartbeat at 7 weeks on December 22nd, and at 11 weeks and 2 days I heard baby’s heartbeat through a fetal Doppler! We are super excited and trusting the Lord completely as we know that we aren’t in the “clear” until that baby is in our arms.

img_3580

Our announcement on New Year’s Eve!

The Lord has really been working on me lately as I did a 23 day fast from FB and have been practicing spiritual disciplines from classes I am taking in school (Old Testament Survey, Theology 2, Evangelism & Mission, Christian Spirituality, and Isaiah). I’ve had so many “God moments” that it’s overwhelming at times. I want those moments to become so commonplace for me that to not have them is cause for concern.

God is good. And He is faithful.

No matter where you find yourself, no matter what storm you are going through right now, don’t forget the promises of God. He loves you. He is for you. Keep your eyes to the sky and watch for the slightest glimpse of your rainbow. It’s there just beyond the clouds. I’m looking to the sky intently until my rainbow appears (around) August 10th. Be blessed! ❤

img_4517

Save

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

oct-15th

Today is the day we remember our babies that were gone too soon. My heart goes out to all of the women out there who have had to endure the kind of pain this brings. I would like to share an uplifting story.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to buy a necklace for a friend who lost her baby too soon. She was further along than me, and we were due around the same time. I went to Etsy and ordered her a necklace that said, “And if not, He is still good.” She had encouraged me after my miscarriage and said (regarding her pregnancy):

“…whatever the outcome may be, the best or the worst, He is still God and deserves glory regardless; whether that glory comes in the form of new life, or in a powerful testimony like the one you now have to share.”

I was able to remind her of these words after she had to release her daughter into the arms of Jesus, and she was so very thankful I did. So, I ordered the necklace, and shared with the seller why I was buying it. I told her I recently miscarried, and that my friend and I were due around the same time. She then told me she wanted to send me the same necklace! I was overcome with gratitude, and shared the blog post about my miscarriage with her. This was her reply:

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-10-05-53-pm

The title of my blog was, “Thy Will,” and in it, I shared the Hillary Scott song that got me through that difficult time in my life. How sweet was that??? So, all because I wanted to bless my sweet friend, I in turn was blessed DOUBLE. Isn’t that how our awesome God works? I want to encourage you to check out Lara’s shop on Etsy. She has so many encouraging pieces of beautiful jewelry, and you know that you are supporting an amazing woman with a heart of gold. Here is the link to her shop, Redeemed Jewelry.

icm_fullxfull-99222552_lfoaacw859sogskc480c

Today, on Pregnancy & Infant Loss awareness day, I encourage you to light a candle at 7:00pm in remembrance our little ones. Also, I encourage you to reach out to someone you know who has miscarried or lost an infant. We aren’t statistics, we are real people who suffered great loss, no matter how far along in the pregnancy we were, or how long our infant had breath in his or her lungs, and sadly, many suffer alone in silence. But thank you Lord for the hope we find in you! You feel our pain, and hold our hearts all the more tighter. May we feel your love not only today, but every day. Thank you Jesus!

cd90599c61b83afa27cdfa3cc8214c19

 

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)

Atonement_iHarv_header.png

I decided to pick up my Life Journal after not having used it in awhile (I have been using a different Bible reading plan) and used it for my Bible study this morning. I flipped to the assigned reading for today: Nehemiah 7 and 8, and Acts 1. It wasn’t long before I found the verse I would journal on:

“All the people went away to eat, to drink, to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been made known to them.” Nehemiah 8:12

You see, Ezra brought the book of the law before the people and translated it from Hebrew to Aramaic so they could understand it. The people wept (v.9) because they had not obeyed the law, but Nehemiah said, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (v. 10).

Conviction of sin brings sorrow, but true repentance brings joy and celebration! We should live in a constant state of humility and openness to correction, just as these people did. What stood out to me was the commentary in my Bible. It says, “Conviction of sin caused the people to weep, appropriate to the Day of Atonement but not to the Feast of Trumpets and the celebration of the completion of the wall.”

In Theology class yesterday I did a presentation on the Christus Victor theory of atonement, and it recalled to mind a classmate telling me a few weeks ago that the Day of Atonement was around the day of our presentation. So, as I read the notes in my Bible today, I decided to look it up. Today is the Day of Atonement. How appropriate that I “happened” to read what I did today? I almost skipped my devotional time today as I got a late start to the day and have class at 12:00pm. However, I didn’t, and decided to open up my Life Journal and do the recommended reading for the day (The Day of Atonement falls on different days each year so the Life Journal didn’t know this would happen). It wasn’t by chance, but by Design.

If you aren’t familiar with this Biblical Holy Day, it is the day forgiveness of sins is asked of God, and is usually accompanied with 24 hours of prayer and fasting. You can find out more here: Yom Kippur.

Aren’t you glad that we have a loving, forgiving God who casts our sins to the bottom of the sea? My prayer is that as we study His word we receive more and more revelation and understanding so that we can walk of the life of abundance He has planned for us. ❤

 

 

 

A New Season

185577_10150730317680531_1082864_n

Andy Horner, Premier Designs’ CSO, July of 2011

There comes a time in our lives when we have to let go of something in order to fully enter into that which the Lord has planned for us. The letting go can be painful, difficult, and down right scary. After all, it does require change, and change is often uncomfortable.

Casey and I transitioned from our last church back to The Crossing in March after much prayer. We knew God was bringing us into a new season. In April we found out we were pregnant, and in May we miscarried. I had applied to Southeastern university for church music after prompting from my husband to go back to school for what I loved to do—lead worship. This was before I was pregnant and I wondered how I would manage the two. Then I miscarried. God’s plans are so much bigger than we could ever imagine.

995106_10153033277195531_1568360324_n

National Rally 2011

The past couple of months there have been so many God ordained things that have happened that I am in complete awe of my Father. They began with me finding out I didn’t need to do scales for my video audition for the music department and the chair of the music department telling me earlier this month what I needed to study for my upcoming music theory placement exam (see more about this here).

These God winks continued with me singing for the first time at The Crossing’s SouthShore campus and knowing without a doubt while on stage that I was smack dab in the middle of God’s will for my life. The doors began opening  after that. I went to noon prayer at church last Wednesday and was asked by someone on the worship team if I could sing for the upcoming women’s conference. I was placed on the schedule to sing later in September as well. I really began to feel that I was doing what I was created to do, even though I have sang on the worship team at my last church for three years.

14034979_10209859723720574_2554234187410166644_n

Singing for the first time at The Crossing’s SouthShore campus

While all of this was happening, there was also a struggle going on inside. I was working my Premier Designs jewelry business, but finding myself overwhelmed with my schedule and all that I was trying to balance. I was also (and still am) studying for my music theory placement exam which is of utmost importance. I started to find that which once brought me great joy seemed to cause me stress. A lot of it had to do with my physical limitations as well. I had a jewelry show the Friday before I sang at The Crossing for the first time (again) and it took a huge toll on my ankle. It was then that I knew I had to really choose carefully what I put my time and energy towards, and really re-evaluate my goals.

I attended training Monday and brought a friend with me. Again, I struggled. I didn’t want to go because I felt God had made it clear what I was to do. However, the friend I was bringing was looking forward to it, so I went. While there I felt different, because I knew this season was coming to an end. My dear friend India Hopper opened us up in prayer and proceeded to read a devotional entry that was straight from the Father to me. I listened as tears streaked my face. This moment was not by chance, but by His design.

IMG_0442 2

For months I had struggled with what to do. I can’t count on two hands how many times I cried out to the Lord for direction on His will for my life. Premier has been such a huge part of my life for almost 6 years. The friendships formed through the business have been the biggest blessing. What would I do without Premier? What about the Haven of Hope retreat I am scheduled to attend next week and I have already bought airfare for? But then confirmation after confirmation came.

I began clearing my schedule of things that I didn’t feel lined up with God’s will for me at the time. I need to focus on school and the worship team at the moment. I planned to message Jennifer Pelham, a friend of mine, to cancel my Thirty-One party I had scheduled with her. Before doing so I received an email from one of the worship leaders at church putting me on the schedule for the women’s conference as well as the rehearsal for the conference which happened to be the same day and 30 minutes before my Thirty-One party.

13754255_10157195716645531_8186279805737969193_n

Some of my sisters at Rally this year!

This morning I emailed Cheryl Johnston of Brandon Christian Writer’s to tell her that I wouldn’t be making the monthly meeting tomorrow night as I need to cut things out of my schedule that aren’t related to what I feel God is calling me to right now. Today at noon prayer the worship leader that emailed me came up to me and asked if I could sing this Sunday because a gal that was supposed to had something last minute come up. The rehearsal is tomorrow night—the night I was supposed to have my BCW meeting. (Not by chance, but by design.)

This morning I discovered that there is a mandatory orientation for music majors that is followed with the music theory placement exam next Sunday. That is the day I am to return from Haven of Hope, so clearly can’t make it to the retreat.

At noon prayer Pastor Stan had everyone who was able to get on their knees in the posture of prayer and began to pray over us. He said the Lord was wanting us to let go of the thing we are holding onto so tightly so that He can take us deeper into His will for us. He spoke of no longer striving, but instead surrendering, and not letting the fear of “what if’s” plague us. He said that God has a plan for our lives and a purpose we are to fulfill. I stayed on my knees, face to the cold floor, tears forming a puddle beneath me. I began to sob and could hear others sobbing and praying in agreement. I couldn’t believe it. What he said was pretty much the same as what the devotional India read Monday said. WOW. How great is our God?

12006146_10156089715425531_2282396349060236191_n

Making dream boards with my Premier sisters at a beach retreat last fall

After prayer I drove to see a dear friend and counselor of mine, Phyllis Tarbox, of Above & Beyond Counseling Ministries, and she assured me that I am stepping into a new season and God has great things in store for me. However, I need to be obedient, trust Him, and move forward without looking back. (After all, I don’t want to become a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife.)

I left feeling so much peace. I no longer had the fear of, “what will people think of me if I don’t renew with Premier?” Because honestly, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am doing what I believe God wants me to do. He wants to free up my schedule so that I can do the things that I love and that bring me joy. And in doing so, it would bring Him joy. So, here I am, deciding not to renew with Premier next month after 6 years of being a part of the company. I know this will be a huge shock to most because I have been successful in my business, have been attending training’s, holding shows (I just had one Friday), attending Rally, promoting to Builder, etc. But this should prove all the more that this is something I am doing because I am being obedient to God, not simply throwing in the towel because it wasn’t working out for me. It was working out. It’s just time to move into a new season.

IMG_0504 2

Penny Marshall, my Premier “Glamma”

Premier Designs is an AMAZING company built on Biblical principles that truly has a heart for the Lord and for people. I have too many testimonies of times when fellow jeweler’s were there for me when family and even church family were not. Mike Glenn of Premier’s prayer team has been praying for me since my accident in 2009. My sister who was a jeweler, called Mike and he put her in contact with a jeweler in SC where my accident was. She opened up her home to my sisters and my mom for a week and even packed them lunches each day for the hospital. I had the blessing of meeting her years later at National Rally when I got back into the company. I even had jeweler’s I didn’t know mail me inspirational jewelry.

13709781_10157195718265531_5107853715327897582_n

Mike Glenn AKA “Dad”

It has been such a blessing to be a part of this company. I believe they have the most generous hostess plan and marketing plan available. A little research will prove this. So if you are looking for a sisterhood, a ministry, a biblical based business, or some awesome free bling, Premier is the one for you. I will cherish the many memories made over the years, but even more so I will cherish the friendships.

I find the most joy and fulfillment when I am singing on the worship team, helping others enter into the presence of Holy Spirit through the worship experience. That is what I feel God has created me to do. I must be obedient in that without looking back or having a back up plan. Obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). After all, that is what true surrender and trust look like.

13770352_10157195716870531_2452931698547580643_n

My dear friend Kelly Spezzano and I

 

Thank you for all of your love and support the past 6 years. If you have ever hosted a show for me or purchased a piece of jewelry from me, THANK YOU. You were such a big part in my business and success. I am forever thankful for you. Stay tuned for a going out of business sale! 🙂

To my Premier family (especially Penny Marshall, Jalene Browning, and Kelly Spezzano), THANK YOU for all of your love and support through all of my surgeries, the death of my dad, my mom’s health issues, and my miscarriage. You ladies know who you are and I appreciate you more than you know. May God bless your businesses and make all of your dreams come true. Love you to the moon and back. ❤

UPDATE: I have since changed my major to a BA in Multidisciplinary Studies with a minor in Church Music and a minor in Creative Writing (because you can’t have too many writing degrees, lol).

 “There are no ‘if’s’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety – let us pray that we may always know it!”
Corrie ten Boom

Save

Save

Save