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,
Stacey





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,
Stacey
 
 

 

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


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