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!

Loving Those Who Struggle With Faith

The days I doubt God are days that start out like any other-I wake up to the pitter patter of little feet and little voices demanding food. I toss and turn, and I beg for more silence.

Sleepy eyed- I prepare breakfast, I pour coffee, I wipe faces and tables. And then I sit. I wait for clearer thoughts while tiny hands and loud voices require attention. Days demand action! Wake up Ro, they need you.

But then the lie comes as a soft question and I entertain it longer than I should:

“What if those tender whispers are really my own?”

Anxiety builds.

The days I pursue this thought without a solid battle plan, I end down a path that leaves me feeling empty and scared: Without actually seeking God, I talk at him….

“Why did this happen to __? Where were you when___? Why haven’t you answered __ ? Are you listening? Are you even there? ”

The questions get worse, but you get the point.

And yes, this happens to me. The girl who has seen and experienced miraculous healings, countless answered prayers, daily victories. The girl who reads her bible and clings to Jesus with all her heart. God is SO good and his word is always true.

But.

It happens.

You see my friend? We all enter into battles of Faith Vs. Circumstance. Faith is confidence in what we hope for, the evidence of things unseen.

But.

Sometimes circumstances still win.

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There are beautiful hearts out there who were fighting for the faith but the loss left deep scars. The heart was not placed in intensive care so beautifully made available by the body of Christ. It was not surrounded by relentless love mixed with timely and pure words of God.

And then what happens? A new reconstructed idea of God forms to cope with the loss.

And we say,

“They should have _____. They didn’t do _____.  If only they______.”

I want to stop placing judgement on those who have lost their faith, and I want to start fiercely loving them instead. I want to chalk up the loss and blame it on the devil. Because that’s where the blame goes.

I want to reach out and watch Jesus lift that person out of their wheelchair.

I want to listen while someone word vomits all over me. And then instead of getting scared or judgmental, I want to hug them.  I want to ask them over for a cup of coffee. I want to live the life of Christ in me, reach out, and with Gods beautiful word, begin to mend wounds.

That’s what someone did for me. They listened. They loved. They cared. They saw me through the eyes of Jesus when I was struggling with faith.

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Jesus never gave up. Ever. He dealt with sin, carnality, and unbelief his entire life. When he was on the cross, he never said, “That’s it, I’VE HAD ENOUGH”

He loved them until the end.

Yes, I agree we shouldn’t yolk with those who deny Christ. We need to yolk with fellow lovers of light.

But I’m not asking for us to yolk, I’m asking for us to love. And too often, we separate ourselves completely… and we appear as self righteous haters. No, this is not our intention. But we live with heads in the ground if we are not willing to admit our own frailty.

Love involves time spent in the trenches with beautiful hearts who have been hurt by the enemy. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not self seeking. And love covers a multitude of sins.

And instead of focusing on the mote in their eye, I want to take out my beam. I want to build my faith, the only way I know how.

By hearing the word of God.

By walking out on the word of God

By spending time with the one who wrote the word of God.

And.

By looking at the glory of Jesus, who is continually transforming me to his image

 

2 Timothy 2:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.

Trusting God In The Midst Of Job Loss (Part 1)

I’d like to start out this post with acknowledging my over privileged life! I recognize that because I have change in my pocket, our family financially ranks in the top 8% of the world. Wow.

Jesus, come soon.

Ben and I have been on a financial ride for the six years we’ve been married. At our worst, we scoured craigslist couches to collect change for cigarettes!  It was fun back then because we were young, without kids, and definitely reckless. Our marriage began with mounds of credit card debt, student loans, and an old beat up Pontiac.156637_562328823357_4342794_n

We lived off butterfly love.

My husband began his career with a psychology degree selling cemetery plots. (It was a dying business and yes, I’ve heard that a million times)

Yet in six years, we went from barely making rent to demolishing credit card debt. Ben advanced in his career at a rapid pace and we began purchasing fancy cars, stainless steal appliances, and vacations. We were tackling student debt and were on our way to purchasing a bigger home. We gave out of abundance because we had more than we needed.

(Side note, it’s easy to give when you have ‘enough’! Mark 12:44)

Then on a regular Friday afternoon, my husband came home early.

“Honey, I got laid off”

And just like that, my ugliness exposed.

There are a lot of things that can happen in the mind of a stay at home mom when those words come out of a bread winning husband. So for 8 weeks (and counting), I have come face to face with anxiety and confusion. I have battled with fear, anger, and just plain ol’ sadness. I’ve been introduced to greediness that I didn’t even know existed! Hi greediness, my name is Rosie. NOT nice to meet you.

Savings have dwindled and bills have piled.

Trusting God becomes a lot more real…. when your only choice is to trust in him.

Psalm 143:8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.

And so I have learned that it’s ok to admit you’re failing in front of God. Grace loves the admission of failure because it turns our minds to his unfailing love rather than our hard earning work.

And.

It’s a day by day and moment by moment decision to put away the ugliness of fear and speak the truth of Gods grace into the hearts and minds of my family.

And so today, I choose to trust God. I choose to trust him despite what I see. (2 Cor 5:7)

I choose to see that I have food and shelter today and that God has promised to take care of tomorrow. (Matthew 6:34)

I choose to tell un-thankfulness to leave and I choose to allow praise fill up my heart in its place. (James 1:2-4)

I choose to speak grace into my husbands life and I choose to stay by his side.

And when I fail, I will rejoice because it’s not about how good I am at trusting him, it’s about how good he is in his promise to me. He is teaching me. I don’t have it all right.

I choose to admit that I am weak, but he is strong.

It’s OK to be honest with yourself and say….” wow, I have a lot of ugliness in my heart right now”. Take off the mask! The cross of Christ allows us to be completely open before God. He won’t scorch us and he promises to help us in our time of need. He loves us despite our sin!

Psalm 34:6

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him; he saved him from all his troubles.

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With the mounds of advice the world gives to those in financial trouble (I’ve heard a lot), it is easy to get lost in its wisdom and miss the still small voice of God. Do you want to join me in REST and quietness? This is God’s chance to shine. Like the heart of Jehosephat, let’s cry.

2 Chronicles 20:12b

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Here are some additional links if this hits home more true than you would like:

Promises To Those Struggling with Unemployment

Weathering The Storm Of Job Loss

Unemployed Faith

 

 

 

I Want To Minister, But I Don’t Know How. (3 Minute Read)

How often have I let someone who needs love and attention pass me by because I’m uncomfortable or unsure of what to say?

Whether a church meeting or a grocery store, I often see people who need help. And yet the uncertainty of how to minister holds me back more often than I care to admit.

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Sadly, many times I have decided that since I didn’t really know how to minister God’s love, it wasn’t for me.  I’d much rather watch the well established and outspoken leaders reach out and take care of others while I sit back and cheer them on quietly, wouldn’t you?

But the more I have been experiencing the genuine love that Jesus has for me regardless of what I do for him, the more I have wanted to serve him.  God’s grace is just SO good,  that it compels and controls us! (2 Cor 5:14)

If you really haven’t felt and experienced his amazing grace, I would ask God for that first! Trust me, it will make you want to partake in the work!! (2 Tim 2:1-6) 

Can I please tell you 4 more amazing and simple truths about how you and grace work together on this thing?

1.) God is already working in you to do and to will of his good pleasure. (Phl 2:13)

2.) It doesn’t matter what “brand” of Christian you are, or even where you are at in your “spiritually”, because it’s in weakness that his name is exalted. (2 Cor 12, 1 Cor 2:3)

3) Your qualification was met when you accepted Jesus as Lord and Christ over your life. (2 Tim 1:9)

4.) You have the equipment and your spiritual nature desires to use it! (Gal 5:17)

Most of the time, we just don’t know how!

Let me share a little more grace into this area of our lives, OK? (Remember…this IS a blog about Grace, not works 😉 )

When we don’t know how to do something, what is usually the best thing we can do?

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Gosh it’s so simple, but it’s true.

Your prayer doesn’t have to be beautiful to be answered. It only needs to be honest. By his grace, God moves mountains because of stumbled and muttered words of prayer.

If you desire to minister and need help with asking, get into the quietness of your heart and pray with me. God loves you so much and he is so excited that you are even desiring to show others his great love! I have prayed this in the honesty of my heart and already God has been working miraculous things inside of me to want to live my faith out loud!

Father,

Right now, in this moment, my heart yearns to feel en-captured by your arms, and I invite it to be completely open before you. I pray for you to search inside of me and move into the deepest waters of my thoughts. Pull out anything other than a desire to bring glory to your name….because I have experienced and I have known what it means to be intimately loved by you, regardless of my sin.

Jesus, you have washed my feet, you have held me, and you have shown me the father. You have wrapped me in your love and you have taken away the ugliness of my sin. I can dance before you without shame because you have cleansed me in your blood. You have took off my mask and called me beautiful. Can you continue to reach out your hand and meddle with my heart to be fashioned like yours?

Father, my heart wants nothing more than to exalt you and lift up your mighty name. God, you have sparked a desire inside of me to reach out to others and sometimes, actually…most of the time, I don’t know how. But I want those who need your love to feel your love, just like I have. And through me, I want you to reach them in their brokenness and hold them up to see your glorious face, your splendor, your majesty. Your name brings healing.

So Father, show me. Use me. Give me boldness. Give me clarity. Give me wisdom. Show me grace. What can I do for you? I am so little before you, and yet you call  me worthy. Take my hand and lead me in baby steps. (Or big steps, whatever you think is best, really) But today father, do this… today. Father, teach me how because I desire you. And when I don’t desire you, will you help me and cover me with your limitless mercy?  You are doing your work inside of me, thank you.

In Jesus- In the Power of The Cross-

Get ready, you are about to experience his grace AGAIN!

Brittnee’s Testimony- Loved And Accepted.

When I read Britnee’s Testimony, I was amazed by how much the Lord had been chasing after her in love for her entire life.

Do you know you have been loved for your entire life? God wants you in his arms, and he is working in your life right now.

-Rosie

 

Guest post by Britnee Heron

Growing up I had a pretty normal childhood from what I remember, until I was 8 years old. I was sexually molested for several months. Thankfully I have blocked out the actual attacks, but it affected me for years. I was defiant, trusted no one, and I stayed depressed constantly. One day when I was 18 years old, something stirred in my heart.

Until this day I had not spoken to the person who had molested me. I called him and I told him that I forgave him for what he did. He didn’t say much, but what could he have said? I told him to have a good day, and that I loved him, then I hung up.

I was a different person after that phone call but I never stopped to think about what stirred in me and changed me.

britnee and chris

I had several failed relationships because I had zero trust for men until the fall of 2009. I met my husband Chris, and things just felt right. We met and got married 3 months later. Been side by side for nearly 7 years. We have a beautiful 4 year old boy who is our world. My husband was an Army soldier until he became medically retired in 2014.

 

We then found Christian Life Church, and it changed our lives.

We felt at home instantly and hearing our Pastor speak was so comforting, and it still is today. He brings the book to life. I got involved with their Journey Discipleship Experience and wow… I thought life had meaning before. The girls in the group, and the many lessons we covered, have made a huge impact in my life.

I was determined to turn my life from one full of disobedience and sin, to one dedicated to please God. As a step of devotion, my husband and I got baptized on August 16, 2015.

 

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We went to a Christian retreat held by my church on August 21, 2015.  I was a tad skeptical that I would gain anything from the weekend but oh boy I WAS SO WRONG! The second day, we were in the middle of our lessons and at that time we were talking about forgiveness.

I zoned out and I heard the Lord speak for the first time in my life.

He said ” My child, don’t you see what I have done in your heart? I softened your heart and gave you the ability to move on with your life. Tell your story and be proud.”

So I listened even though I was TERRIFIED, because I had never spoken in front of a crowd! My heart was racing and I felt like I had a fire in my chest. I interrupted a woman who was speaking and apologized, but I had something I needed to share. First I grabbed a handful of tissues and the waterworks started!

I thought I could share my story and be strong through it all. (Oh my that was so far from what happened.)  I managed to tell my story but I did it through the tears.

They were happy tears because until I heard the Lord speak to me, I had never realized he is what changed me all those years ago.

He loved me when I had no desire to know him. He has been there for me every step of the way, I just never gave him the praise and devotion he deserved in return.

I was in shock that I managed to mutter any words that you could understand because I was overwhelmed with emotions.

The Lord and his constant love and acceptance has made me a new person. I am now a proud follower of the Lord and I spread his glorious word as often as the opportunity arises. His word can change your mood so quickly with his understanding and unshakable love!

He has changed my entire life, and I will follow him until I am called home.

Letting Go Of Shame- When Dark Secrets Come Out

I would like to start this post out by saying I do not have all the answers on the subject of secrecy and shame. There is more to be said and considered. I encourage you to seek counsel from a grace filled Christian if you need help in this area of your life.

There was this sin I committed as a teenager that was very, very terrible. I didn’t have the courage to confess it to even the closest of friends and instead, I kept it hidden inside the darkest corners of my heart… where it would never become exposed. When friends would jokingly bring up ‘dark secrets’, I would laugh it off and say I didn’t have any. But inside of me, the memory of my action would always creep its way back into my heart and into the forefront of my mind.

Along with the memory came shame. I “knew” God had forgiven me. I really did. I had apologized to him in secret a million times over…. and yet the memory would still show it’s painful face weekly, sometimes daily, and I  would shudder at the mere thought of my mistake and shove it as far back as I possibly could.

This was a burden of mine for 10 years. 10 YEARS people. That’s a long time. What’s even  worse? I got married and KEPT THE SECRET from my husband. Wanna talk about shame? I know the feeling well.

Once I got married, I would justify this “un”confession because I believed God had already considered it gone.(He did by the way, I just didn’t really know it)  I would close my eyes, visualize the sin upon the cross of my savior, and feel temporary relief. I would yell at the accuser and remind him that I was clean in Christ. But no matter what I tried, I still felt the pang of secrecy, and shame had become a regular part of my life.

I also believed the lie that if I ever DID tell my husband, he would no longer love me or see me the way he once did. What would I do if he looked at me in disgust? This scene would replay over and over in my head, and I would recoil with a new found determination to never let that happen.

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And then…

Grace. Can I show you another corner of grace?

I was in a women’s bible study and the topic was on shame. This bible verse was read:

James 5:16a

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

I had confessed my sin in front of God, but I still covered the nakedness of my sin in front of others. In doing so, I wasn’t allowing grace filled Christians to re-iterate the truth of the cross.

That night something clicked. I knew that if I walked out on this scripture, the accuser was no longer going to have this area of my life. Why? Because what happens after confession before grace filled Christians isn’t disgust.  It’s grace that brakes down walls of shame in mere seconds.

I was afraid, but I was ready. I was ready to watch my savior kick the devil in his face while I held his hand.

So that night, I confessed to my grace filled husband.

That same night, the chains of shame fell off.

My husband so gracefully took me in his arms and reminded me of my savior.

He was proud of me, not disgusted. He cuddled me that night a little harder as I cried tears of relief. It was out. The dark secret was out. And as SOON as it was out, it evaporated into thin air.

Thin. Air. It was like the devil had lost his firm grip in an instant. That shame went right where it’s supposed to go, the cross of our savior.

Gone. 10 years of shame, gone.

The devil has since TRIED AND MISERABLY FAILED at bringing up my past sin that it’s almost laughable.

There is freedom in walking out the uncomfortable verses of God’s word. There is grace that shows up when you’re ready to jump off the cliff. There is mercy and love and forgiveness and help when you decide it is finally time to not let the devil have an area of your life anymore.

If you have shame and you have never shared your ‘dark secret’ with the family of God (who understands grace,) I would encourage you to consider that verse in James 5. Read it’s context, pray, and seek counsel. God is ready to show you that your shame doesn’t belong on you, you beautiful child. God is ready to use the cross of Christ as a permanent eraser on whatever dark secret you hold**

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The week after I confessed to my husband, we went on a vacation together! Added bonus.

 

 

 

 

**Friends, if you don’t confess, you aren’t going to hell. When you confessed Christ as Lord and believed God raised him from the dead, he paid for your sins….. past, present and future. (Eph 1:7, Rom 4:25, Rom 5:6, Rom 10:9, Heb 10:12, 1 Jhn 2:2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Boy With Crutches HEALED- Wait Till You See His Mom’s Face! How To See Miracles Every Day.

    Guest Post By Nick Robinson, co-owner of Praise Photography with his beautiful wife, Kayla. They live in Indianapolis with an expectation to see miracles, every day.

 

HOW TO SEE MIRACLES, EVERY DAY

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My wife and I were driving through Venice Beach looking for a place to park. As I pulled into a parking lot, I looked over and saw a boy with crutches. He had one leg elevated and he wasn’t using it at all so as not to put pressure on it. Two adults were walking with him, who I later learned to be his parents.

The parking lot attendant came over to our car and told us there wasn’t any available parking. We were preparing to pull back out of the parking lot, but the thought popped in my head, “Jesus, you can heal this boy!” I felt such a strong impression in my heart to pray for him that in one pinnacle moment, I threw the car in park and jumped out as I said to my wife, “I need to pray for this boy!”

As I approached him, I said, “Hi! My name is Nick! What’s your name!?”

He said, “Timmy.” Very timidly…lol. I began to ask him about his ankle and what had happened. He began to tell me how he had hurt his ankle real bad. It was completely black and blue. I could see part of a large wound with stitches on it coming from the dressing wrap. I asked how bad it hurt on a scale of 1-10 and he said an 8 or a 9!

I began to tell him about a man named Jesus who loves him and a God who heals. His parents were very open and engaged to what I was sharing. I asked him and his parents if I could pray for Jesus to heal his ankle. They said yes.

I put my hand on his leg and said, “God, I thank you Father for your great love for Timmy. Right now, in the name of Jesus, I command all the pain to leave His ankle! Right now! In Jesus name!”

Then I asked him to move his ankle to see how it felt.

A look of shock and amazement came to his face! He was amazed! He said the pain was completely gone! I told him how he could do the same thing for other people who were hurting and needing Gods loving touch!

HE WALKED AWAY CARRYING HIS CRUTCHES IN HIS HANDS!!!

In Matthew 10:7-8, Jesus gave a blueprint for the attitude his disciples were to have in their daily lives. He said these three amazing powerful words… Jesus said, “AS YOU GO, proclaim this message. The Kingdom of Heaven has come near to you.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have diseases, and drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”

So here’s the thing, I was on my way to go walk Venice Beach for the first time ever. I was NOT intentionally on my way to pray for healing for a little boy with a bad ankle. But AS I WAS GOING, God highlighted a need.

My desire daily is to stay in worship and friendship with God. I want to be aware of The Holy Spirit EVERYWHERE I GO! Because Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is with us everywhere we go!

If this is true, then how can WE GO about our daily lives and NOT see miracles? How can WE GO into the grocery store and NOT love the broken-hearted. How can we see the sick, the lost, and the hurting on the streets and NOT do something about it!? All of us are GOING places EVERY DAY!

BUT

Are we OPEN to being used by God? Jesus lives inside us and He’s just dying to get out. Will we let him out? Will we co-operate with Him? Will we co-labor with Him? I want to challenge all of you to pray this prayer every morning for the rest of your life.

 

“God, AS I GO about my day today, will you interrupt me as often as you want to use me for your glory. I want to feel your heart for the people I see today. I want YOUR hand and YOUR Kingdom to be at work in my life today! Father, AS I GO about my day today, I give you permission to use me to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with diseases, and to cast out demons. I know that the same power that raised you from the dead is living inside me. Jesus, your inside me. Give me a revelation of what “AS I GO” can look like with you working in it. Let me carry your presence in such a way that people’s lives will be changed forever AS I GO! In Jesus name!”

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And the Blame Goes To…….

The past few weeks many of us have been hit with adversity…..and whether it’s been personal or twice removed, you have been affected.

Let me tell you friends, it’s ok to be affected. It really is. Situations get real and times get hard, but I want us to place the blame where the blame is RIGHTFULLY due.

There is only ONE to blame. ONE. Let me say that again, THERE IS ONLY ONE TO BLAME.

Let’s expose him for who he is.  He’s called the accuser, the thief, the enemy, the father of lies, the tempter, the ruler of this world,  the roaring lion and the prince of the power of the air. A murderer, a serpent, and a spirit that continually works in the sons of disobedience.

And the blame goes to……typorama (5).jpg

That’s right folks, the devil.

Not people. NOT people. People are loved. they are wanted. They are desired above all treasure. Can we be used as a tactic? Absolutely. But the war is spiritual friends, not carnal.

Fear is not to blame. Fear is something to be exposed and than smashed and trodden upon….and than extinguished. Can fear be a tool? Absolutely. But fear relates back to people, and people are not to blame.

Let me tell you something that you might not know. We are in a war against SPIRITUAL forces. And the devil LOVES it when he sees people running around trying to place the blame on everything else EXCEPT HIM. What a tiny, disgusting, little thief. He will meet his end. But until that day comes,

Ephesians 6:10-18

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

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13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

 

So let’s be affected by what’s going on. Let’s not pretend it’s not happening. But let’s put on our armor. Let’s weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Let’s stand against the real enemy TOGETHER and stop blaming people, emotions, things, or ANYTHING else but the devil.

We may have lost a few battles, but Jesus has won this thing- and we can carry it out as the brotherhood is fully equipped.

Colossians 2:15

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I “forgot” to put the last part of John 10:10 on here, so let’s end with a powerful statement.

JOHN 10:10b

But I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.