Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Change My Heart Lord

 Heart......the organ that pumps blood throughout our bodies entirety; supplying oxygen and nutrients to our tissues and removing carbon dioxide and other wastes. Our physical life line; if unable to supply blood to our organs and tissues, they die..... We die.

 We all know the physical purpose of our heart. We are taught what eating habits and physical activity are best to keep our hearts functioning properly. However do we ever really seek how to keep the emotional and spiritual health of our heart at its best as well?   What do we do to guard our hearts  from emotional deaths; a death that causes our once soft, fleshy heart that held compassion, empathy, grace and love to become a cracked jagged and jaded stone? A stone that buries deep within the cracks the brokenness of our self worth and harbors the anger of our hurt others have pierced with their arrow of disdain.
Questions I find myself asking more often.
It's easy to become hard in a world filled with much hate and harmful banter; a defense created, justified and continues to be built upon.  It's difficult to extend grace, to be the one who bears the olive branch of peace, to those who cause  knee bending grief and uncontrollable tears. And yet is is through grace the stoney cracks of  hearts can be filled and healed. I do my best to forgive quickly however after searching my own heart, I too, have cracks that need filling. 
Childhood cracks, teenage ones, and adult cracks that have splintered portions of my heart and turned to stone.
"Defense mechanism? "  I softly whisper.  " But Lord, I have forgiven all who have hurt me."  I speak a little louder this time with a silent question mark on the end of my statement.
 The answer I hear deep within.............
Your heart has areas in need of change.
What changes? I am now talking to myself, literally, in awe of disbelief as I re-evaluate my heart.
He takes me back in time and shows me where I forgave out of obedience but allowed the cracks of stone to remain. I , once again, explain with a passionate tone,  I am guarding my heart ; I am protecting it from further damage. My argument has no solid ground with my daddy God. He has me look at what is flowing from the cracks of my  heart. ( His word does instruct me to guard my heart for everything I do flows from it.)  Proverbs 4:23
 In His infinite wisdom, He knows the fashion in which I am guarding my heart causes it to remain unchanged and it becomes a dying organ that can no longer receive love and grace.
I find myself in a place of spiritual grief and disappoinment. How could I not see this? Did I become so oblivious to the state of my own heart I ignored the cracks?
As I continue to have a one person argument with myself while spouting off what seems like a million and one questions................
 He speaks a promise to me.
Ezekiel 36:26
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you ; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
I am humbled.
The struggle to "protect" is real when guarding my heart. I know to become more of Him and less of me, my heart must remain of flesh and not of stone. To recieve grace in my own life, I must be able to extend it as well. To be loved within my own failures and faults, I must be able to love those in the midst of theirs. And I must forgive with sincerity and compassion not just from obedience.
I am forever grateful he never leaves me as I am.
His work in me continues..............
Change my heart Lord~

His Daughter,



Monday, October 3, 2016

Enduring The Process

I love this picture of McKenna. I have been blessed to know this precious young lady since she was in junior high school. She is now a wife and mommy of two beautiful babies. McKenna started doing cross fit when she was pregnant with her first child( maybe before? ) and has continued her fitness goals to this day. This picture is the first time she ever made it to the top of the rope. What an accomplishment!! It did not happen over night. It was not accomplished the first or even her second try. McKenna had to "endure" the process . She had to fight through the sweat and pain, the burning muscles and the constant desire to meet her goal. And met it she has!!

 I then ask myself.......
How do I press through a growth process?  When the pain is too much to bear and my muscles burn with the intensity of a boiling furnace , how do I endure?

My endurance comes from my daddy God;  a process of growth and strength training in the spirit.  It comes when I turn to the pages of my bible and encourage myself through His words......
His promises.

Colossians 1:11 
 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,

Times when I need to climb a "rope" in my own life, regardless of it's height , every word of the Father is there to push me higher.  Should I be on my knees weary, my face buried in my pillow of tears or simply sitting in the quietness of my own, it is His words that enable me to endure the process.

Make no mistake there are times when I just want to let go, when the task seems too great and my strength has been depleted, I long for rest and completion. I have no desire to continue climbing.
I just want to quit. I look for a easy way out only to find myself circle back again to the "rope" dangling in front me telling me to latch on and climb. I am learning by ignoring the obvious and attempting to skirt around the rope  makes the journey of achievement much longer.  It is when I endure the process and remain steadfast it is then will I make it to the top. 

Our ropes in life can come in many different fashions. Maybe your rope is in the form of caring for a loved one who is ill; could be you are the one who is ill.  Or it may be a financial rope you are having to climb.. Possibly you are in a place of brokenness and in need of healing emotionally. It may be you are having to rebuild a business or home. And maybe you are dealing with a child who has lost their way in life through an addiction of sorts. Whatever the task at hand is that you are facing, I encourage you to keep climbing and don't let go.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 Not by my strength nor by my might but His.

I am enduring the process.

His Daughter,


Philippians 3:14
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of  God in Christ Jesus.

* Photo Credit :  McKenna Campbell Miller*

Thursday, September 15, 2016

"Wash Their Feet"...He Says.

 John 13:12-17
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

To wash the feet of others may not be what society considers serving in the year 2016, however in biblical times it was an act ones servant would do when guest where invited in. Jesus preforms it as a symbolic gesture of serving one humbly and unconditionally. He was setting an example not only for his disciples but for us today. What was considered a lowly human task the son of God himself did so from love.

I began to question what are some ways to serve others in my life. How can I "wash" their feet?  And then the thought that spoke swiftly to my heart.... "Do I truly serve those in need with unconditionally love and humble myself ?" 

Serving is..............
* Listening when I'd rather just fix the problem.
* Lending a helping hand when I feel like I am the one who needs help.
* Telling God to use me when I'd rather be rescued.
* Giving when I doubt I have anything left to give.
* Comforting by being a flicker of light in the darkness of others.

Truly serving others can be difficult. It can be painful and uncomfortable as we are moved from our own needs and comfort zone.  Many ,because of our own fleshy desires ,want to be front and center. We want to be on the receiving end instead of the giving side. Giving is work and sometimes the work is grueling labor mixed with blood, sweat and tears. But the ever so sweet side is when the one we are helping, the one who needs us to serve them, the one whose needs are greater than our own, witness the love of Christ through the hands of his children. For as long as I can remember I have asked God to use me as an instrument of his love; for others to see Him in me. 

 However, not once, when I have asked did I realize that in doing so I would have moments, days or even seasons of serving that would be hard in the flesh; a  period of time when the difficulties would out weigh the comforts and the struggles seem to be never unending. When I am called to help others, I find myself looking at my circumstances and realize by helping others, I am helping myself. And the reality proves my situation isn't as bad as I believed it to be.

Serving ( washing feet) has taught me to see the good in every situation; to hope , to believe, and to trust in the plans my daddy God has not only for me but those I am serving. I have been shown time and time again no one is exempt from times of hardship and no one, absolutely no one is greater than the next. We all have our seasons of suffering but it is in those seasons if we choose to look at others and not our selves, we can see the love of  our daddy God working in our own lives.

In the recent events surrounding those I know and love I see many hands of our daddy God reaching out and serving those who have lost all that they have owned. Many have no homes of their own to go to, no beds to lay their weary heads down, no clothes to wear, no shoes to cover their feet and yet in spite of their own losses, they continue to reach out to others in their time of need.  They shed their own tears in the solitude of  God's grace and smile in the noise of chaos.  They each in their own right have shown hope, grace, love and attitudes that echo " We will overcome!!"

I have been blessed to see first hand others "washing feet" in spite of  the hurdles they themselves are enduring.  Each has done so with a precious love, a sweet humbleness and not a word of complaint. Instead of crying over what they have lost in turn their words have been ones of compassion; inquiring what others need from them instead of what they themselves need.( Brings me back to "lending a hand when I feel like I am the one who needs help." )

 As I long to always be His humbled messenger whose heart spills the unconditional love of my daddy God, I pray when I am called to wash the feet of those in need, I am able to listen, lend, be useful, give, comfort and be the example Jesus taught us how to be when He washed the feet of his disciples. 

"Wash their feet"  He says.

 I will Lord...........

His Daughter,

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I Am.....

 The only sound I heard were the engines of the plane humming beneath me as I starred into another world through the tiny window my face was resting against. I did not want to come down from this place of solitude, this beautiful surreal atmosphere of  peace where the sun light penetrated through what appeared to be a city of serenity and a moment in time where I could breathe.
Just breathe............
In the quietness is where I find my daddy God waiting for me; a place I long to return to from all of the noise , from my endless thoughts that run rampant through my mind. It is here I ask, " Lord who am I? "  As a single mother whose children are grown and gone I find the place I have maintained in this world no longer the same and unable to grasp. I do not know how to let go of what was to become what is to be. Once again I hear my heart whisper to Him, " Who am I Lord? "
The sun light is now dancing before me over the clouds in tiny dancer moves, gracefully bouncing from one point to another with a synchronized rhythm of purpose. My gaze is not broken as I wait to hear His voice.
I know I have made my fair share of mistakes in my life. My prayer is my girls will not see me as a failure but a mom who loves them beyond what words can describe and that I did my best, even when my best was not good enough. My failures are trying to creep in and mock me now.  I push them to the side and I continue to wait for Him. The sunlight is brillant now with it's shimmering golden rays streaming in abundance.  
When seasons change it can be hard to see ones self as the woman God created her to be. It's easier to focus on the down falls, the what ifs and the should haves. As my plane continued to soar to it's destination and my longing for answers began to gravitate to a desperate plea, peace comes and holds me tight.
And then ever so softly I hear over the engines of the plane, the woman next to me gently breathing in a cat nap and the beating of my heart......
" Though you did not see your life as it is , I did. I knew what roads you would travel and down falls you would take, However it is I that have spared you in the most trying times of your life and it is I that loves you still. Where you see failure, I see lessons learned. Where you see unworthiness, I see growth and potential. I see you daughter. I hear the tears of your heart. I feel your uncertainties and hold your hope close. Your are mine beloved and my word tells you exactly who you are. "
You are a new creation and the old has passed away. ( 2 Corinthians 5:17)
You are chosen and appointed to go and bear fruit. ( John 15:16)
You are the apple of  my eye. ( Dueteronomy 32:10)
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. ( Psalm 139:14)
By grace you have been saved by faith. ( Eph 2:8-9)
You have been raised up and seated with him in heavenly places in Christ. ( Eph 2:6)
You have been set free. ( Romans 6:18)
My plane is getting ready for its descent, however I take one last look and snap a quick picture of the magnificent place high above the clouds, the place where my daddy God met me and answered the heart of his daughter.
I Am~
His Daughter,


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............

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~



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~