Wednesday, July 20, 2016

He Did Not Just Wear His Badge.....He Gave His Life.




I don't recall a time in my life where my faith has ever wavered, I trust God. I believe in Him and His promises.   However in the recent events I am finding it's not my lack of  trust that has me on my knees, it's my lack of understanding . The grief that has consumed my community and our nation is smothering the very essence of my heart.
So much death.....
So much violence.....
So much brokenness.....
Division at it's worse.

As a nation we grieved for Dallas and the loss of the fallen officers. Today as a community we grieve for our own. The three hero's, Montrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald and Brad Garafola, who lost their lives in a purposely orchestrated attack. A senseless act which has now placed Baton Rouge on the map of sorrow with others across the US. And one question that screams at us all............
WHY?

I do not have the answer nor will I pretend to.  I wish I did. I pray my words of comfort do not sound  cliche' or hollow. I pray the words from my heart will give comfort in a time of despair. I pray the world will see these three men as the hero's that they are as well as all those who have fallen in the line of duty across the nation.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.

I believe our daddy God will direct the paths of those grieving the loss of their husband, father, son, brother and friend during their time of sorrow. He will forever hold them within the bosom of his love, never to let them go.  Though I may have unanswered questions, I still stand on the promises of God with the knowledge He is still on the throne.

What I have witnessed in the days following is a city that is uniting together where the world has attempted to divide. Where darkness has lurked, the unconditional light of love is pouring into the hearts of men, women and children alike. Where there is no black/white but brother and sisters coming together for the greater cause. A united front of hand shakes, hugs that are held longer, tears and heart felt emotions that echo healing and not despair. This will not define us as a city, a state nor a nation.

As for my city and surrounding communities this I know without a shred of doubt.....

We will honor the "badge"; we will support the men and women who wear it; those who without any regard run to the danger and not away; those who make the ultimate sacrifice and lay down their lives for those they know and for those they do not. Their sense of honor, duty and courage spared many lives and they heroic acts will never be forgotten.

John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.

And they did.

Montrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald , and Brad Garafola......

He did not just wear his badge..............He gave his life.


God bless them all~


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

My Tears Have Purpose

 
 
 

In lieu of my nations recent tragic events and those that have hit my hometown, I find myself in a place of bewilderment. A place where words do no justice to the pain and grief that seems to have swallowed cities, coummities and the nation as a whole in a place of grief that is larger than I could have ever imagined in my lifetime.

I do not cry from a place of fear.  Gods words promise me he did not give me a spirit of fear but of love, peace and sound mind. ( 2 Timothy 1:7) My tears come from a place that shelters my hearts deepest emotions for those I know, those I don't and those whose pain is more than they can bare. It is my secret place where my walls fall and my weeping is earth shattering.
Where I have no words, my tear stained face is deafening to my soul.

My tears have purpose.

Psalm 56:8-9
" You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me. "

King David wrote this in the book of Psalms as his prayer of relief for those who were tormenting him. We as a nation are being tormented by the enemy of our souls. He comes to divide and conquer. He will use us all , if allowed, as a tool to bring about strife and devastation amongst ourselves. His ultimate purpose is to devour all of Gods children and has no concern how this goal is accomplished. The hatered he has hurled over our nation and around the world has truly brought me to my knees.  On bended knees I see how easy the weakness of my flesh would have me to raise my battle sword from a place of anger. It is when I see the fight before me through the eyes of God I see it in truth and with wisdom.

Ephesians 6:12
" For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spirtual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

I have being thinking a great deal about Jesus and His time praying in the garden before He was captured and the unimaginable agony He felt.

Luke 22:44
And being in agony , He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.

He knew the cup He was about to drink from, the cup in which He drank for us all. I have often wondered does he feel the agunish in my own tears, in the tears of our nation and those who surround us.  I ask Him with a hope filled whisper and the words that come softly back.....

" This I know, because God is for me."

Society paints a picture of a God who has abandoned His children. A God they deem to be the author of the brokenness and turmoil the nations face today.  Modern technology has become a key device for the enemy to destroy the vitality of  the body of Christ.  However time and time again my daddy God, our God, has proven what the enemy has meant for evil, He ( God) has turned to good for those who love Him.

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

I think Tyler Perry said it best when he stated these words. "To first believe and only then can you truly see."

Even though my tears may fall, my heart may hurt and my soul grieves.....
I believe every tear I cry He places in a bottle. Each one is accounted and tenderly cared for by His grace and unconditional love.
Not one goes unnoticed nor is ignored and He hears my heart with each one that falls.


My tears have a purpose~



XoXo

Stacey



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Digging Up A Bitter Root


 
Ephesians 4:26
"In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry."  (NIV)

" Many times bitterness is the result of unresolved anger; anger with ourselves or with others. . Anger that is not dealt with can easily become a dangerous bitter root in our hearts......"
 

 
My mom has told me time and time again, " Stacey you forgive so easily, that's just who you are."
 
Truth be told, I do forgive fairly easy; I have my moment , express my emotions, shed any needed tears, and move on. Am I perfect? Not hardly. Some situations and circumstances in my life have had me not wanting to forgive, and secretly hoping for God to smite them. Harsh? Yes I know." Lord forgive me."  However over the years I have purposed to do my best to see others with the eyes of my daddy God in spite of my hurting heart. And  there are times, regardless of my hearts desire to forgive, my best will have me fall flat.
 
It seems I have fallen flat.............
 
Proverbs 28:13
" Whoever conceals their sin does not prosper but the one confesses and renounces them finds mercy."
 
My sin in question comes from a former seed of anger I allowed to bury its scraps deep within my heart and sprout a root of bitterness.  I believed I had forgiven. I know I had confessed  as me and my daddy God have had many talks. And for the love of all creation I truly thought in the midst of my past anger I had uprooted all remnants of that one seed.......but I had not.
 
" How can I no longer harbour anger but yet have a bitter root?" I ask myself.  Anger is a feeling of displeasure and is healed through forgiveness. Bitterness is to be full of resentment.  When a person is bitter they have not found a resolution of peace within his or her self. Two different emotions but yet both are destructive forces if not dealt with. I do not believe I am "full" of bitterness, however it seems I was well on my way until my daddy God sent one of His own to speak truth into my soul. Her words of raw honesty and unconditional love snapped me back to the reality of my own doing.
And there I found mercy.
 
Let my digging process commence.....
 
This is not the first root I have had to dig up in my life, however to my knowledge it is the first one of bitterness. Maybe I have had other roots of bitterness through out the years and never really saw the reality of it all. The saying " Trials in life will either make one bitter or better" has presented itself in a thundering profound tone with a choice I have had to make.
 
Bitter or Better??
 
Proverbs 14:10
" Each heart knows its own bitterness and no one can share its joy."
 
" Each of us has a chice to become better or bitter in our lifetime. The better is that God loves, forgives, and makes a way His people to esacpe bitterness. The bitter is a lifetime wasted in regret and anger- burdened and burdening others. We were created for more......"
 
 
 
I choose better!!
 
Digging up a bitter root~
 
XoXo
Stacey


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

When Goliath Refuses To Fall



Goliath....  A Philistine giant who stood over nine feet tall, wearing full armor and came every day for forty days, mocking and challenging the Israelite's to fight. 


His stature was massive with a physical strength no man could match. He put such a vast fear into the army of Israel and King Saul no one was willing to confront him, until David, a boy after God's own heart, stood to face this giant with the colossal power of God standing with him.

Some may ask how does a sling and a stone become such a victorious weapon of war?
My answer...... It was the trust and faith in God alone that gave David and his sling and stone such a victory. All though I may not actually face a nine foot giant in life, I do however have had my own Goliath's to encounter. And the one over the last few years has refused to fall...........

Just when I think peace has finally found it's place in my life, this giant surfaces with its mocking and taunting war cry, challenging me to battle. I have my moments when I feel like the Israelite's did. Frozen in fear......
Overwhelmed with worry.....
Exhausted from the turmoil.....
And ready to run for the hills.

 Through tear stained eyes I tell my daddy God I am done. My fight from within has diminished to a place of annihilation and I can not do this anymore. I am tired, I am weary and unable to hold the sword needed to slay this giant in my life. This battle, in my mind set, has  gone on far too long and Goliath refuses to fall.

I.Just.Can't. Do.This..................

 In the darkness of night ,very quietly, I am reminded of Moses; a time when Aaron had to hold Moses' arms up during battle when Moses could no longer. With his extremely fatigued arms ,unable to be lifted on their own, God sends him help in the physical form.
"Where is my help?" I ask.  He takes me back to all the times others have stood in the gap and continue to do so in prayer for me. They are graciously holding my spiritual arms up during my time of extreme weariness.

I search my heart and ask myself  why I have allowed myself to undeniably loose trust in the sling and stone my daddy God has placed in my hand. Where is the unbridled faith of the daughter of the King of Kings? Why have I been relying on my own efforts instead of the strength and power of my daddy God?   Questions that I find myself pondering extensively.

 At the end of the day and many conversations later with my self and my daddy God, I see where my attention has been on the Goliath in my life and not the power behind my sling and stone.
God is always unwavering however it is up to me to remain faithful in His word and He will remain true to His promises.

I. CAN.DO.THIS.................

2 Corinthians 12:8
Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, " My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. 


When Goliath refuses to fall~

XoXo
Stacey

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pray Like Hannah

 
 
1 Samuel 1:10-11
In bitterness of soul Hannah wept and prayed to the Lord. And she made a vow, saying " O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head."
 
 
 
Hannah's story in the book of 1 Samuel details a woman whose desire to have son but yet through her barren years clung mighty to her faith without abandoning her dedication and prayers to the Lord. Hannah is described as a woman of courage who choose not to struggle with Peninnah who bore child after child but instead took her pleas to God. Though during her time of struggle, Hannah could not understand why things were as they were nor see God had a bigger plan which would come from the son He would give her in his timing. Her prayer was not a prayer of defeat; Hannah cried out to God for many years as to why she was childless but through all her frustration she did not give up.  Hannah became a woman of mature faith through her suffering.
And poured out her soul to the Lord..............
 
Though I am not a barren woman where children are concerned, I have seasons where I am in a barren state.
 As I let my frustrations out to my best friend, my soul sister forever, because she is my person, I explain to her this season of silence has me in a discombobulated state of mind. I know right from wrong, I know what his word tells me, I know he has not physically left me, but at this exact moment I want, no wait I NEED to hear his voice. I want him, my daddy God, to speak to me, his daughter, as I would one of my girls. I want to hear, for a lack of better terms, straight from the horses mouth.
 
 
 However what is echoing back to my cries is pure silence..............

God's silence has been disheartening to a fault for me.  My unanswered questions, a place of transition and growing pains, has left me pondering seemingly why so much silence and when will my prayers be fulfilled?  I go back to my study of Hannah and the lessons she brings forth during her time of struggling silence.

~ She never gave up
~She did not engaged in Peninnah's taunting ways. She took her pleas to God instead.
~She was faithful in her prayer life and trusted God to fulfill them in spite of her misery.
~She made a vow to God and kept her vow.
~ Several years of suffering she never allowed her mind to be swayed and remained focused on seeking God's help.
~ She was unselfish in her prayers and felt certain God would use her according to His will.
~ And most importantly after she cried out to the Lord, she came to a place where she  trusted His process.

God did answer Hannah's pray and blessed her with a son, Samuel, who became a prophet of God. And because she remained faithful with her vow to God, she was blessed with three more sons and two daughters.
 
Though I have not heard the audible voice of God I requested to hear; he has graciously spoke to me through Hannah's story.

~I am to trust His process of silence and in turn my faith will mature as He works behinds the scenes for me.
~My struggles will not be in vain nor will they not have a meaning; the blessings will reveal the greatness of God in my life in His time.
~Through my struggles I am led to seek God with more sincerity.
~Prayer is a relationship not an activity; not a formula but a life.
~ Hannah's prayer has shown me to truly open my life to God through prayer , I am surrendering my total dependence on Him.


 

 Are you in a season of silence?  If so, join me and pray like Hannah.



XoXo

Stacey


Linking With; My Daily Walk In His Grace


 
 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Her Mother's Daughter


It's time Mom......
Time to watch her go. Time to witness all the tender loving care, molding and shaping in your baby girls life take root as she walks into the next chapter of her life.

Her name is Jordan, best known to her family as their JuJu. Jordan is the youngest of two girls whose smile, charm and personality is larger than life.  And now her time has come to cast off the images of the little girl she once was and embrace the strong young lady her mom has so graciously raised her to be; to be all her daddy God has created her to be.



Growing up Jordan , like many in this world, was raised by a single mom. A mom that dug deep, loved with out conditions, and persevered through every obstacle life threw their way. While Jordan had and continues to have many who love and support her (sister, grandmother, aunt and uncle) and though we have never met, the common denominator she and I share......the daddy that was never there. For a little girl the absence of her daddy can be brutal on the heart and wreak havoc on our emotions. But where there is lack in life  our daddy God provides 10 fold. Jordan's provision came in abundance with  her mom and her sister. 

A three cord strand not easily broken...........
Ecclesiastes 4:12
Though one may be empowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.



 And He didn't stop there.
With the enormous love from her aunt, her uncle and her grandmother......
Her cup runneth over!!

Jordan steps into the world with the  voices of her family cheering her on, the support of a mom that is bound to eternity and the provisions from her daddy God that will never return void. For all that he has promised in her life will come forth. The light she shines will never be dim by the noises of life, the joy she holds will spill into the life's of many and the love from within will reflect the strong roots planted by a mom that has walked this journey with her filled with dignity and strength.
 
 

She exits this chapter in her life and enters her new one with beauty and grace; pages filled of endless possibilities and a multitude of victories that can not be counted. So mom as she grabs the last of her things and walks to the door, look deep within your heart and know...........

She is her mother's daughter~



 



Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Provision In The Unknown






In reading the book of Isaiah I have been fixated on  Isaiah 60:1-22. Here it speaks of the prophetic promises of restoration and the hope for Israel while in captivity.  I began to think about the promised restorations for my life and what has held me captive.

 One in particular has been my financial struggles over the years, robbing Peter to pay Paul maneuvers , but then again who hasn't had a struggle such as that from time to time? As a single parent I became good  surviving from pay check to pay check  and accepted my captivity of  financial stress as a never ending norm of life.  It was not the lack that held me captive, I knew my daddy God would provide,  it was the stress of the unknown as to how and where all would work together in my favor.

Stress has its own special way of showing up out of no where.  It is famous for sneaking in on me during the midnight hour. I wake up to find sub consciously I have been grinding my teeth while sleeping. Captivity while sleeping? Apparently so.

I began to search for freedom from this particular hold on me and came upon this verse.

2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

The footnotes read......

* All, always, and every are the emphases in this verse. God can meet  their own needs ( financial, spiritual etc.. and increase their resources to meet the various needs of others. * (NKJV)

I took a look back to those times in my life when I have fallen short. I saw where juggling  had become a mastered skill for me, however  I was not the one doing the catching. My daddy God in all his abundance had been the one providing for me each time I tossed a lack into the air. And in return there have been times, by His grace,  I have been able to meet the needs of others.

He never provides in the way I think He should ( what a relief)  but provides in the way He knows is best. He promises to provide for me. I am to trust in His provision and how He will have it manifest.
Never once does my daddy God's words tell me to panic, stress, doubt or fear until I see the provision. His words (promises) tell me to trust, believe, hope and stand in the knowledge that He is meeting every area of lack in my life.

 So why do I have moments of shear panic?  I am human, a woman of flesh who falls short daily.
I get caught up in the moment of chaos, the noise of the world and the emotions of my natural making. However I never remain in that position. Because of  His love, His grace and mercy, I am drawn out and into His dwelling place.  A position of peace and serenity, a place where love knows no bounds.

The world will look to  my lack and deem me unsuccessful, however my daddy God looks to my heart and calls me blessed.
And so are you...........

Deuteronomy 31:8
And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.




Provision In The UnKnown~

Linking With: My Daily Walk In His Grace
 

XoXo

Stacey