The Heart & Vision Behind “Kingdom Parenting”

If you haven’t already heard, I am launching a new website/blog that will be geared towards parents and caregivers of children who have a heart to raise the next generation under the Lordship of Jesus.

If this doesn’t sound like you, this is your chance to stop reading! My NeedingGrace Blog will stay committed to writing articles centered around the gospel centered life. 

For the rest of you, I would like to introduce myself,  and share with you my heart and vision towards the new website and Facebook page.

So, Hi! My name is Rosie (call me Ro! It makes me feel loved) I am 30 years old, and I have 3 beautiful children. They are ages 4, 3, and 2 months. I live in the beautiful state of Tennessee in a wonderful suburb of Nashville.

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My family. My sweet 3 year old needed an attitude adjustment here!

When I first became a mom, my whole world flipped upside down. I “lost” my identity and purpose within the countless hours of motherhood.

Becoming a stay at home mom was very hard for me. Did God really call me to dishes, laundry, and toys? Did God call me into seclusion and lonely midnight hours? How insulting, I thought. I didn’t know HOW TO DEAL. Maintaining my life, friends, marriage or church felt impossible and I spiraled into a mild depression.

When I became pregnant AGAIN 6 months after my first baby, I panicked. I could barely handle one,  how was I supposed to take care of another? Where was MY life going? (oh, how fooled I was!)

Sadly, although I loved my babies SO MUCH, this way of thinking continued for about 2 years.*** Does this sound familiar to any of you? If so, there is hope.

Why?

God has shown me these last two years that I am not just raising babies, I am raising PEOPLE. Believers. Kingdom giants. Little souls that have not yet had bad religion taint their thinking or unbelief block their breakthroughs. Hearts that are so moldable and fragile and ready to experience Jesus.

And they have been entrusted to us.

Wow.

So my heart behind this upcoming website is to:

1.) Encourage other caregivers by revealing how valuable this calling of ours is.

2.) Gather the online community to provide a platform for others to share their experiences, wisdom, mistakes, and questions.

3.) Provide resources to help equip and mobilize caregivers to raise our children under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

My vision:

1.) Caregivers who feel value and purpose in their work with children.

2.) Preschoolers and School aged children who are SO confident in knowing they are unconditionally loved by our Father regardless of actions. I see our children experiencing how GOOD God is, how much he loves us, and how Jesus is a beautiful, glorious, Lord.

(Without these truths embedded into our children souls, any “works” will become  religion and will only be done for approval or through obligation. Please, PLEASE don’t teach your children about the kingdom without first knowing the king.)  

3.) Children displaying the kingdom of God in such a powerful and profound way. I envision the body of Christ getting ministered to through the hands of a 3 year old! Babies growing up and surpassing us in faith and in love. Preschoolers laying hands on the sick. Middleschoolers confident in their identity. Teenagers changing the culture of high school. College Students who don’t need to “find themselves”. Future adults clearing out hospitals, raising the dead, and releasing entire cities from poverty!

Is it a big vision? Absolutely. Can the upcoming website accomplish this task in it’s entirety? No way.

But we can start somewhere.

If you are reading this article and you feel called to participate in this community, please contact me. I am looking for researchers, writers, and even vloggers! I am looking for empty nesters (Hi Mom!), parents of high schoolers, parents of small children!

I can not do this alone (I am pretty busy raising children in my little corner of the world, and also still writing for NeedingGrace!) and need your help!

 

 

 

***My identity at this time was rooted in what I was or wasn’t doing, not in who God made me. If you are currently experiencing an identity crisis, I encourage you to reach out to your heavenly father for help, and also to a local church!

 

It’s Ok To Fail

You know all those cheesy cliché one liners that are supposed to motivate you past your fear of failure?

They really do motivate me for a moment.  Sadly, a moment isn’t enough.

I don’t think I realized how afraid of failure I was until recently…Ben and I were driving through the hills of Tennessee on one of our famous highways, talking about some recent failures. We want to get better at hearing from God, but we’ve made some mistakes and we were talking through them. We’ve made a lot of them through the years. Eventually I blurted out in tears:

“I don’t want to get it wrong. I HATE getting it wrong. It’s easier just not to try, because then I know I WON’T get it wrong.”

Right there in the passenger seat, I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to try anymore.

Ben gave me the saddest face ever. And he had the right. There it was, another one of my ugly truths.

But really, it is easier not to try. If I don’t try, I don’t fail. And when I don’t fail,  I won’t disappoint anybody. I can stay in my little corner and watch others step up in my place.

But isn’t that just so sad?

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The other day, it took my daughter an HOUR to put on her shirt. AN HOUR.

90 percent of that time was spent telling me why SHE JUST CAN’T .

on and on and on it went.

1 of those minutes included her actually trying (and failing.)

In the last minute? She succeeded.

I wonder how much of our time is spent thinking of reasons why we can’t do something.

can’t write in a blog because I don’t want to fail. I could list a million reasons.

I didn’t want Ben to pursue his dreams in starting his business because… what if he fails? What will happen to us financially? Again, I could go on.

But us not trying is ultimately saying we don’t believe in God and his endless mercy. HIS grace. Or his resources, encouragement, or promises. We could even go as far as saying

“God doesn’t believe in us”.

And as Christians, we know that simply isn’t true.

Once we get solid in our beauty before him, our value and worth won’t be the sum of our failures. It will stay displayed through his ultimate sacrifice (the cross).

We will feel free to try and fail and get back up to…. fail again! Eventually, we will get it right because:

God.

He is the one holding our hand and cheering us on. He is the one who will shape and refine us, reveal our insecurities and replace them with his truth. He is the ultimate teacher.

Failure doesn’t seem so bad anymore.

Try. Fail. Repeat.

Succeed.

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Paul disobeyed God and decided he would go to Jerusalem to preach the gospel. A worthy endeavor, but it was a wrong one. God told him not to go, and the prophets eventually stopped trying to persuade him.

He went and ended up in prison.

You know what happened afterwards? He wrote some pretty famous books of the bible.

Let’ s put our faith in God.

He is able to make us stand and succeed. He can steer us in the right path when we trust in his ways and make his word our path!

Jude 1:24 (NLT)

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearing God’s Voice and Knowing His Presence

\John 17:3

This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. 

One of my biggest and most current desires right now is to practice the presence of God and to actively hear from him.  To know him in an experiential, real-time way.

How often am I unsure or afraid, and I don’t seek out and know the Lord’s presence? In theory, I quickly affirm he is there. But his real presence? His voice? His guidance? His help?

His active and real assurance?

Until recently, this concept was vague and too hard to grasp. We are to actively seek him… but finding him? What did that mean?

Growing up, I thought the voice and face of God were reserved for only special or momentous occasions… given only to those who were extra spiritual and extra faithful….and really only for someone else’s benefit. I called it revelation. Not for me.

Revelation was a BIG mountain to climb…Who knew if I could ever attain it.

Has anybody ever read 2 Peter 1:19?

This verse showed me that God’s voice is God’s word. It’s more sure than any experience anyone could ever attain.

Although this is true, I translated this to mean that God rarely speaks outside of his written word and that I should be content with never (or rarely) hearing from this God I called ‘Dad’. My Dad only spoke to me in notes. In a note. A note I called the bible.

Here I am, a good little Christian girl, evangelizing and telling people that God wants a relationship with them (this is a core message of the gospel after all) and yet my relationship was only that of studying, memorizing, and applying scripture.  Even though these are all really really good things, my relationship with God was very one sided.

I’m ending that chapter in this season of my life.

God wants to speak. He wants to walk and talk. God lives in Jesus, who LIVES inside of me. He wants to COMFORT.

Jesus, wasn’t he the king of scripture?

And yet he did crazy things that didn’t make any sense to anyone, all the time. (Especially the religious leaders)

Were they ever out of bounds from the scripture? Absolutely not. But walking on water never happened until Jesus did it. God’s written word didn’t tell Jesus which disciples to choose, or tell Jesus to wait two days in the city after hearing his best friend died.

Now they are written down, because of experience.

God wants a relationship. A real, two way, active, relationship. The Holy Spirit is a comforter, a companion, an affirmer and guider of the truth. God is seeking to show his glory, his presence, his power, his might in the face of Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

I’m hungry for his voice. His presence. I want to wake up and feel him. I want to go about my day and have the Spirit guide me into all truth.

John 5:19-20

19 Jesus said to the Jews, “I can guarantee this truth: The Son cannot do anything on his own. He can do only what he sees the Father doing. Indeed, the Son does exactly what the Father does. 20 The Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. The Father will show him even greater things to do than these things so that you will be amazed. 

3 Tips To Consider While Waiting on the Lord

Like every single person that has ever lived, Ben and I have had our fair share of challenges since we’ve been together.

But since the beginning of 2016, we have lived in a whirlwind of change and forward momentum. It’s been exciting, and it hasn’t showed many signs of slowing down! To say we have had challenges during this time sounds like an understatement. Hello, eye twitching. I see that you are back.

Since it has been a year and a half….I would like to tell you that I have perfected the art of waiting, but alas, I have not.

There have been nights I have cried myself to sleep.  There have been days of extreme anxiousness and irritability. There have been weeks where I’ve been tempted to seclude myself from friends so I can hide my unbelief and doubt in a loving and heavenly father.

So waiting on the Lord, what does it look like? This is something God has been working on in me, and I’m starting to grasp the practicality of it and I would like to share 3 of the things I have learned…. I plan to be an expert on this subject by the end of my life, ok? But right now I’m in the process of  learning, (never fully attaining.)

1.) Surrender to HIS plan

This statement used to bother me a lot because I have ALWAYS taken it to mean that his plan means letting go of the idea of a joyful life….that God WANTS me to live in dirt holes, eating worms and forgetting all about desires and dreams.

But to surrender to his plan first means believing that he is GOOD. If I don’t believe that he is good, than of course I won’t want to go his way. But he is good. SO SO good. He is better than we will EVER know, and it will take AGES to show us his kindness.

HE  knows what is best for us.

His perspective, his ways, his thoughts and resources are bigger and higher than I can ever know.

So even if I don’t really know what his plan IS, I can trust in HIM, always.

This has meant letting go of my need to control and manipulate the situation to my benefit. This does absolutely nothing for me, because I’m terrible at it, AND because it is too big of a burden to bear.

Surrendering to his plan does not mean giving up on your desires and dreams. It means giving them to God in your secret place and letting him work in your life and show you what HIS dreams and desires are for you.

2.) TRUST in his timing

Oh time. My LEAST favorite part in waiting. If only answers could be given in a day, I would think my stress levels wouldn’t look like mount Everest. (Or would they?)

But I’ve noticed that when I am NOT trusting in his timing, than my faith isn’t really faith…. It’s more of a shaky hope that is totally dependent on the outlook of current circumstances.

God LOVES showing off in impossible situations!! He loves coming through and showing off his glory right when circumstances say “you’re really screwed”.

God knows our tendency to want to start trusting in circumstance and really in anything else other than him. So trusting in his timing is saying

“I’m a believer and I believe God will come through for me, like he has every other time I have believed in him”.

3.) Praise him PRAISE him PRAISE HIM AT ALL TIMES

I named my third son Jude, which means praise. I could write a book on praise. I could be a salesperson and sell the idea of praise to an atheist…. That’s how much I believe in the power of praise.

This does SO much for my soul, my body, and my faith.

Why? We are extoling HIM and HIS attributes. We are taking our eyes off of ourselves and on to him. We are opening the doors of heaven and shattering the schemes of the enemy.

We are not allowing ourselves to wallow in circumstances and we are singing the word of Christ and allowing those words to sink deep into our minds, which in turn builds our faith.

So it’s easy to praise him when things are going well, but it is an action of faith when we praise him in the seasons of desert. So even when it is the LAST thing we want to do (and I’ve been there, I was there this morning) we say and we commit to extoling him at all times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Open Love Letter To My Husband

Ben,

This morning we woke up to a screaming, door slamming, and crying household. You were running late to work, and the kids were freaking out (about what? I still don’t really know).

You had to run out the door and I sat on the couch and cried. Not long though, the kids have demands and the laundry is just sitting there, you know?

Not our usual morning, but I wouldn’t want my mornings any other way if it were without you.

In the middle of this political upheaval, women from all over are crying out to feel loved, equal, respected, and heard in this society.

It has made me take a step back and become introspective, and I have come to the conclusion that I have it really good it in my little corner of the world.

Because of you.

You texted me this morning, “Our marriage is the most important thing to me outside of Jesus”

and because of that mindset you have, our marriage has given me every opportunity to feel loved, equal, respected, and heard.

Because you respected my body before marriage, we didn’t even have to think about ending an unplanned pregnancy.

Because you asked if I wanted to stay home and raise our children, I didn’t even have to think about fighting my way for an equal wage.

Because you respect me, our children will grow up knowing how to respect and love others.

Because you love me unconditionally, (and I know that beyond a doubt), I don’t hesitate to submit to your authority.

You listen to me. You trust me. I trust you.

You raise our children alongside of me. You ask for my opinion. And if we disagree, it never puts a permanent wedge between us.

You work incredibly hard to provide for our financial needs. You sacrifice hobbies, friendships, and sleep to keep our family together.

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You bring anybody (and I mean anybody) inside of our household if they are in need of love and some food. What is this teaching our children? That every. body. matters.

You admit to fault when a mistake has been made, something that very few people learn how to do.

You show me how to stand up for myself. You teach me and guide me in prayers when we lack wisdom in a situation.

You forgive me.

You never seek out praise for yourself- you do this all behind closed doors.

You ask for wisdom, constantly.

I hope you know that I will love you every day of my life. I hope you know that because of your commitment and because of your faith in a loving and good God, our family shines as a light in the midst of a confused and hurting nation.

Thank you love; Not for being my everything, but for respecting, cherishing, and loving a woman as God commands you to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus still heals, today.

I understand that there are a lot of us out there who have trouble when it comes to seeing miraculous physical healing.

Can I preempt this post with saying that I totally understand?  That if you struggle with this concept, I am not expecting this post to dramatically change your beliefs?

I struggled with this concept for years.  I changed my beliefs on the matter several times.

This is my personal story, and I hope it brings encouragement.

Has anyone seen the book of Mormon? It follows two Mormon missionaries to Uganda who are ready to convert a tribe to their religion.

There is a scene where an African sings out in the midst of endless’gospel’ talk, that he still has maggots in his scrotum. That 80% of his tribe were dealing with aids. What was a Mormon going to do to change it?

That wasn’t the worst of their problems. The ‘gospel’ didn’t help their situation, at all.

This was basically the whole premise of the show, and while I laughed until I cried, it still hit a soft spot.

I don’t want a God that doesn’t care. I don’t want a God that doesn’t help. I don’t want a God who doesn’t come with power.

Do you?

The past year I’ve been on a quest to understand, claim, and practice physical healing.

I’ve been so thankful because not only have I seen countless miracles, I’ve experienced them many times in my own family home.

Today was no exception.

This morning we attended a birthday party at Bounce U with my 4 and 2 year old. They had the time of their life, until one of them got hurt.

At first, I didn’t think much of it. It appeared that my oldest boy had somehow scraped the inside of his eye. It didn’t seem serious, and I thought a prayer and some ice would make the pain go away.

But it didn’t.

He didn’t enjoy his cake, 30 minutes later. (What 4 year old doesn’t enjoy cake?)

He barely ate his lunch.

He cried and kept asking me to pray again for his eye. This is unlike my son.

It was bloodshot and he could barely keep it open.

I prayed. Nothing happened.

I thought maybe a nap would fix the problem.

But when he woke up, he wouldn’t open his eye at all, and he was starting to scream in pain.

I prayed again. While it calmed him down some, it wasn’t taking away the pain. I was getting concerned, and I was about to rush to urgent care.

For my child to suddenly need urgent care for an eye that only seemed to be getting worse, was terrifying to me.

It’s not that I have ANYTHING against doctors (I am SO thankful for them!!) it’s just that I wanted to go God’s route, like we have successfully done so many times before.

My son was hurting. That crushes a mother’s soul faster than anything else on the planet.

I asked Ben to bring our neighbor over to pray for our son before we decided on any further action.

(For those of you who don’t know, God put these backyard neighbors in our life right when we needed it most. Our neighbors are on a very similar journey to us and are always more than happy to pray and fellowship at any given moment.)

A few short moments later, my son was instantaneously healed after our neighbor lovingly prayed over my sons eye.

I believe that while he prayed, Jesus came and kissed my sons eye.

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Two minutes after his healing, we were outside playing and enjoying the beautiful day. 

Can you imagine what that did to my heart?  I wish I could replay the scene right here for you all to witness, just to see the love and compassion that was happening in that room, on that couch, in that moment.

It doesn’t take much for Jesus. It was never hard for him, and it still isn’t hard for him today.

It is my wish for all of God’s people to start claiming what is rightfully theirs because of what the scriptures say.

Jesus loves us so much, and he hasn’t changed since he ascended. He is still very much a healer and a lover to all souls, regardless if saved or not. He is in the business of dong good and healing all that are oppressed of the devil.

Jesus is a friend, a healer, and a very present help in trouble. He is not far away and is ready to comfort and to restore what was lost.

As he would say,

“Be not afraid, only believe”

 

Today, I’m Claiming What’s Mine: Peace

The last two days my eyes have been twitching.

Ben says I’m stressed.

Besides still facing the hardship of unemployment, we are preparing to sell our home and move to the other side of town. (I know, those two statements don’t usually go together… Right? But we’re crazy and we like to live on the wild side.)

Ben’s brother is moving in with us, and for a while, he will sleeping on our couch.

why?

because my mom moved in with us last month, and she’s in our third bedroom.

(PS: I love family, and am SOO happy to have them with us. My mom is nothing but an absolute gem, and my kids are going to PEE their pants when they realize uncle d will be here to stay. They are kind of obsessed.)

School started up again and one of my courses is titled business law. The first day kind of made my head spin.

In addition to planning some upcoming trips,

there have been two other MAJOR  life changes that have happened within the last month.

oh and also, I’m raising two young children.

Ben says I’m stressed.

I know for a fact that many of you are going through a lot right now, too.

Um, because, NO ONE is immune to life…. And life involves like, stuff. You know?

But it wasn’t until bible study the other night where I realized I needed more peace in my life.

The kind of peace that stills your heart in the midst of change .

The kind of peace that is founded on faith that God is already on the other side of the hill and he sees the green pastures.

The kind of peace that stills twitching eyes.

I wouldn’t change any of this “stuff” for the world. Not even the loss of Ben’s job, because it has refined our faith. I’m pretty sure we are completely different people than who we were just 3 months ago .

But I’ve realized that recently that after I pray, I start dissecting on how everything is hopefully going to work out, and our bodies are just not meant to carry that kind of burden.

My dear self, don’t you know God promises peace, and it doesn’t depend on circumstances?

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the best part about that is,

It’s already ours.

It is a peace that passes all human understanding.

Like literally, all human understanding.

That’s ours to claim.

A peace that stills troubled waters.  A peace that digs in to all the corners of your heart and allows your body to breathe.

I’m claiming that today, because God sees the end view, and I choose to rest in that hope.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NLT)

Now may the Lord of peace himself, give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

 

 

 

Honesty’s Hardship-Letting Go Of Pride

*What you are about to read are common hardships I face when it comes to getting honest with others (or myself). This happens when:

  • I need help               OR
  • I know I will not like honesty’s end result.

Ephesians 4:25

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

I like showing up with a cheerful demeanor. It is so much easier than making an appearance with a broken heart mixed in with a cry for help. Smiles lead to conversations about sunshine and coffee and good deals, and that makes me feel good! For the moment.

Is that wrong?

Let me tell you. Superficial conversations allow me to forget the mountain standing in front of me, blocking me from moving forward. It gives me permission to feel temporarily content.

I like people to think I am strong, capable of life, and in need of little help.

(Oh you need help? Could you move out of the way please?  You’re making me uncomfortable.)

I want fun conversations and promised friendships.

I love happiness.  I love the laughter and joy that hurts so hard because I can’t stop smiling. The kind that keeps me up at night because I’m having such. a. good. time.

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So when things ARE NOT OK, or if I’m seeing things a little different than the rest, honesty feels like a big struggle. A trap. A place to go if I want wounds to surface or feelings to get hurt.

Why? Because if I stay honest,  I am afraid I will experience hurt and rejection …like I have, so many times already in the past. I’ve lost friendships. Friendships I really didn’t want to lose.

I’ve experienced the empty stares and the concerned silence. I’ve made people feel incredibly uncomfortable and it. gets. AWKWARD.

That sucks.

So pass the coffee, please, I’d rather get back to riding the surface.

 

BUT. Where am I going? Please someone tell me, where am I going?

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You know what I’ve also realized?

Honesty’s path (mixed with humility) may have been rocky, but it led me to Jesus…and Jesus met me, right where I wasI stood in front of him with brokenness, doubt, sin, fear. He saw it all. And he didn’t run away. He wiped it away, in love.

Honesty led me to the right people, with the right words, leading me to the right savior.

And.

The savior accepted me just as I was,  he showed me the father, he called me, and he continues to teach me his voice, just like he promised. (John 10)

He healed wounds. (Isaiah 53)

He became my truth (John 14)

He showered me with unconditional and authentic love. (8 hundred million verses..seriously)

He led me to the place where I really am ok when someone ‘hurts’ me. BECAUSE

I found that true acceptance comes from Jesus, and our Father. (John 14:23)

Can we let them in, or will we keep allowing our pride to stand in their way?

James 4:10

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

What if true happiness happens after we hit our rock bottom, and honesty becomes our only choice? What if we realize the need for a living savior, not a historical one?

What if we decide that Jesus really is the answer and that he really will show us what it means to know true acceptance? (John 6:37)

What if we lose friendships, but we gain ones that we were meant to have in the first place?

Because God supplies our needs (Phil 4:19)

and he knows that we need people, too. (Prov 14:4)

What if the end result of honesty, is breakthrough?

 

John 6:29

29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

Will you be honest alongside me this week? It’s hard. It’s rocky. But in the end, you just might find that there are people out there who really do care, and they will help lead you to the one who handles all healing. The one who IS THE answer. We don’t have to be weary in doing good, for we WILL reap in due season, if we faint not.

“If We’re Honest”

by Francesca Battistelli

Listen to this, now.

My Journey To Grace- Taking Off The Mask Of Religion

Hi! My name is Rosie. I actually really do love you, and I mean that now.

Before, this wasn’t true. Why?

I lived a life seeped in religion.  In other words, bondage, at it’s finest.

I grew up in church and by the time I was 18, I was a perfectionist at slipping on a “believers mask”.

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For a long time, I thought that mask was the real me. I did and said all the right things, I turned up my nose to sin, and worked really hard at controlling my flesh.

I had a pathetic relationship with God, but I could tell you all about him. Oh could I tell you about him.

I read my bible faithfully and prayed every morning. And when I didn’t, I felt guilty. I would wake up wondering how to live my Christian life every. single. day.

I listened to hours of teachings. I took classes, went to weekends, held leadership positions.

I was ‘happy’.

I led a comfortable life with lots of friends, and thought God was VERY pleased with all of my efforts.

But, on the inside, I still struggled with sin and mounds of unbelief.

I hated the way I looked. I hated my weight. I hated my voice. I hated my failed efforts.

I hated that I didn’t pray enough. I was afraid, I was incredibly judgmental,

and worst of all,

I was a know-it-all elitist.

Pride was my weapon and I was really good at calling it “the word of God”.

This is not a bash on my Church. I believe this happens in EVERY CHURCH. In simple terms:

I looked in my bible and saw what was right. I tried to line up my life to be right…. With my own efforts.

So what changed?

I was tired. I was SO tired. I was tired of thinking I knew it all- because it wasn’t working. I was tired of “trying to believe”. I was tired of singing empty praises. I was tired of putting up a front. I was tired of studying my bible and getting excited about ‘new knowledge’ only to end up angry with myself and other people.

 I envied people who were outside of my box, and I envied their freedom.

So what did I do?

In my room, with no one around, I asked God for help. To this day I can close my eyes and remember the exact moment.

“HELP GOD, PLEASE. HELP. I’M TIRED. I’M SO TIRED. GOD. IF YOU ARE THERE, PLEASE HELP ME.”

I had prayed this before and God would start to answer my prayers…. but pride would get in my way and I would close him up. God was intense.

This time,

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October 2015

 

The next day, I did the same thing I always did. I tried controlling my flesh.

But I browsed Amazon’s Christian parenting books and I ended up buying

Parenting The Whole Hearted Child  by Jeannie Cunnion.

When it came in the mail, I put my daughter down for an early nap, curled up on my couch with some coffee, and started to read.

I thought I was reading a book on parenting. BUT.

Grace spoke to me within the pages of this book, and that’s all I needed to get started.

One of Jeannie’s many quotes spoke loud and clear to me:

“On most days I acted like Jesus’ final three words on the cross were “make me proud” instead of the actual three words he exhaled, “it is finished.”

This was October 22nd, 2015.

I cried and cried and cried. I called my husband and practically yelled “THIS IS WHAT WE’VE BEEN MISSING.” I frantically texted all of my friends. I posted on FaceBook. I wanted the WORLD TO KNOW.

This was only the beginning.

So many more prayers and questions sprung from that book and God put countless people and situations into my life that shouted

“AMAZING GRACE, HOW SWEET THE SOUND, THAT SAVED A WRETCH LIKE ME”.

I met Jesus. I MET JESUS. I met his grace. I finally stopped trying and started looking at his glory. At 28 and 29 years old, I finally started to understand how grace worked.

This is why I started my blog. To help other Christians find grace, too.  

To me, grace is summed up in these two verses:

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 New Living Translation (NLT)

17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image

No joke, looking at the glory of the Lord has radically changed me and is he is still continually changing me into his image.

I. STOPPED. TRYING.

I. STARTED. BEHOLDING.

We do not have to change ourselves. I am not joking.

That’s it. No more controlling the flesh. No more failed efforts. No more fake relationship. No more setting up comfortable circumstances to keep me happy.

Amazing grace comes by looking at his glory.

 

Do you struggle with living the Christian life? Are you tired yet?

Start looking at him. He is beautiful. He is so beautiful.

Start beholding the Lord’s glory. He will change your life, I promise.

How Far Will God Go To Show You His Love? Guest Post By Daniel Cimino

God goes great lengths to show you his unfathomable love. He introduced his love to us by shedding the blood of his only begotten son. But he doesn’t stop there-This story shows just how far God will go! Watch Daniel’s heart get wrecked by God’s love. He loves YOU that much too!

Daniel lives in Albany NY and works at Harold Finkle “Your Jeweler” . He’s also coming to visit my family this week, so….total bonus!!

Amongst my Christian siblings, there’s an interesting trend I noticed where when someone wants a Taylor guitar to use for ministering music to the saints, and they ask God for it, God gives it to them. The testimonies to back this trend are all very unique and very awesome, and each worthy of their own story. This one is mine.

In the past few years or so, I’ve had the opportunity to play some music in different spots on the east coast, but I’ve always used someone else’s instrument. I would play if someone asked me to, but otherwise, I avoided the stage. People began to ask me why I didn’t play more, or write more, and that was my convenient excuse: “I don’t have a guitar.” I wanted a good guitar, but the financial means to acquire something that frivolous were beyond me.

Finally, someone suggested I ask God for one. What a novel idea- instead of complaining about how I don’t have the money to get the instrument to play the music to minister to God’s people, why not ask the creator and provider of everything in existence (including every single guitar ever made) to give me one?

I remembered the testimonies of the Taylor trend, and a friend (who has one such testimony) encouraged, “Dude, if you ask God for a Taylor, He’s gonna give you a Taylor.”

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So I decided to do just that. In July of 2014,  I told God I would play music for Him when He got me my guitar. I thanked Him in advance, and then went on my way, believing- or so I thought. As the months passed, people were still asking me if I was playing or writing, and every time, it seemed as though God was saying, “Don’t you want to play for Me?” In my frustration, I snapped, “I would…but YOU haven’t given me my guitar yet!”, to which He responded, “YOU haven’t told me which one you want.”

I was delightfully humbled. I had gone to that same God I described earlier, to ask Him for something, and my expectation was so low that I had never even bothered to pick a guitar. I sat down to pray and apologize, spent a little time online to do some research, and finally made my selection:

A Taylor 814ce, a beautiful guitar with a sound very suitable to my playing style, and with a price tag so ridiculous, it would be impossible without God. ( See price here!)

It couldn’t have been more than a few weeks later that I found myself celebrating the impending new year at a friend’s place, when she non-chalantly mentioned that she had a surprise for me. She excitedly ran from the room, leaving me sitting on the couch in amused anticipation, and then returned a moment later carrying a guitar case. Setting it on my lap, she said,

“This is from God. He told me to get it for you.”

I stared at the case for what I’m sure was an annoyingly extended period of time, taking note of the shining riveted plate on the side that flashed “Taylor Guitar Cases”. I looked up at my friend, and said with a dry throat, “I don’t know if I want to open this.” She smiled a Mona Lisa smile, and said, “You should.” I did.

Lifting the lid, I surprised myself with the shock of seeing exactly what I knew was going to be in that case. I leaned over to smell the sound hole (because that’s just what you do with a new guitar!), and caught sight between the strings of the small sticker inside, which read, “814ce”.

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Then I cried. I sobbed into that beautiful plush velvet-lined guitar case, because God loves me that much. In that guitar, I saw years of deliverance, I saw inexplicable provision, I saw the seamless mending of a broken heart, the shattered chains of spiritual bondage, the more-than-abundant life…I saw the blood of Christ.

It is my token to remember the extent to which God will go to take care of the needs of His children, AND to bless them. I lifted the guitar out of the case, and plucked out the harmonics for Amazing Grace, which seemed appropriate. Remembering the purpose for this instrument, I’m excited to play for Him, and with that same rapt excitement, I look forward to the next impossible thing He does. You should, as well! God bless you!