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.

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.

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!

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.

 

 

 

 

How I Battled Fear As I Watched My Son Struggle To Breathe

It was an exciting Saturday in the Allen household as my family and I were preparing for friends from Georgia to come and stay the evening with us. That morning, we were doing all of the usual ‘nonchalant’ things that hosts do to help guests feel comfortable….

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The kids were running around half naked fending for themselves but happy as clams. The music was on. The weather was beautiful. The race was on to get everything ready.

My son Luke, was 100% healthy and as rambunctious as ever. Climbing on things, pushing his sister, stealing chocolates from the treat drawer, you name it. He’s an extremely obedient boy….but a boy nonetheless.

Our guests come and we had an awesome time drinking beer and reconnecting and laughing. Our kids were bonding and playing with each other so happily. It was just one of those days where you think nothing possibly could go wrong on a day like today.

Our guests clock out for the night, children are all safely tucked in, and Ben and I begin our usual clean up after the days mess.

My mind was supercharged while I praised God as I swept the kitchen floor. On top of the awesome day, Ben and I had been getting excited as we felt we were on the verge of experiencing the miracles and healings that Christians can have on a daily basis. I’ve been ready to stretch out and to minister, share Christ’s love in a radical way, and just grace the shit out of everybody.

And than my son woke up.

At first, I didn’t think much of it. My husband whisked him away to not wake the guests and took him into the bathroom. I figured he was just doing the “normal” calm him down routine that usually works like clockwork.

Until all of the sudden I hear,

“Ro, Come check Luke out. Come listen to his breathing”

You know that sudden burst of panic you feel when you sense someone you love is in danger?

In .2 seconds I was by his side checking out the situation and immediately  I felt that something was terribly, terribly, wrong.

He could barely breathe. My son, my healthy 3 year old, could barely breathe. It sounded like he was breathing through a coffee stirrer and every time he inhaled or exhaled, he wheezed. He looked terrified. My heart sank and fear shot into every ounce of my bones.

In that moment, I managed to remember what I had been getting so excited about (the healing thing, remember?) and immediately and firmly declared.

“You will NOT die and you WILL breathe again in the powerful name of Jesus Christ”

Than I looked up at Ben and said,

“We need to get to the hospital, now”

I ran into the guests room, woke them up and told them they were now in charge of taking care of Josephine (My 2 year old). They didn’t have time to think or to even know what time it was.

We blasted out of there with no shoes or a wallet or anything important really, and sped to the nearest hospital about 10 minutes away.

During this time, I was in the back of our van with Luke. He seemed to be getting worse and I layed my hands on him while singing a popular worship song softly to calm him down (and to build my faith)

“There is power in the name of Jesus”

In those 10 minutes I had a constant, ongoing choice. I had a choice to let that fear and panic overwhelm and consume me. I had every right. He was my child, and the thought of losing something so precious would give anybody a right to become absolute jello.

So in each second, I chose to remain calm, to firmly declare Gods protection over my sons life, and determine that the day was going to end with my son smiling and healthy again, as though nothing ever happened.

It was a battle. We are in a battle, friends. The devil wants to win in those situations and decide the victory is his. He doesn’t. have. the. right. typorama (1)

 

2 hours later, Lukey was completely back to normal. I have the doctor, the nurses, the cops, and the rest of the hospital team to thank. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I wish I could remember his “diagnosis”, I really do, but it was a sudden onset of something terrifying. Medicine and love helped my son breathe again. God had his hand on him the entire time,  and I still firmly believe in the power of Jesus to miraculously heal. Gosh, if I could have my readers for another ten minutes, this is where I would ‘preach’. Another day, another time.

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The next day, Luke was PERFECT. Like nothing ever happened. Did I mention the doctor said he would have cold like symptoms? Yeah, NOPE. He was my healthy happy rambunctious 3 year old, once again.

So in the moment friends, you have a choice. God is right there, ready to extend his hand. He is SO ready. Fear has no place when perfect love is known. Darkness has no right when light comes to take its’ rightful stand.

Forget about the lost battles….let’s move on. Let’s build our relationship on the one who has already SLAMMED DUNKED the victory.