Life Soundtrack

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Many of our most powerful life experiences are inextricably tied to healing melodies that have both stirred our souls and lifted our spirits, music that will forever have an emotional impact on us and be indelibly etched into the fabric of our lives. Here’s a compilation of what was shared with me along with my own #lifesoundtrack. I thank each of you for sharing and blessing my life!

#ThisSongWasOnRepeat when I wanted to give up on any hopes of healing…but God…TUH #butGod

“When [my sister] Lystra died. “I’m going to be ready” by Yolanda Adams was on Serious REPEAT!”

#ThisSongWasOnRepeat for much of my senior year of high school when the pain of my past threatened to eclipse God’s plan for my life.”

[FOR THE SAME SONG, DIFFERENT TESTIMONY BELOW:]

“I sang this song outside the office of the professor that took my full scholarship away because I couldn’t sign up for a class she wanted me to take. I was sitting in a desk in the hallway outside her office, singing, when SWAT showed up. She called them because I “intimidated” her. Well, maybe but, I got my scholarship back. #goodtimes

“After my abortion. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.”

“When I was pregnant and terribly anxious because of my heart condition I would listen to “He Has His Hands On You”. I also continually return to Keeping My Mind, Promise Keeper, Draw Nigh, and Breathe Into Me O Lord, from the Spirit of David album.”

 

#ThisSongWasOnRepeat for a number of days my freshman year in college. Some days I couldn’t even muster a prayer. What. a. GOD!”

“Speechless by Israel. Mannnnn”

#ThisSongWasOnRepeat when my water broke after just 25 weeks of pregnancy with the twins and the neonatologist came by to tell me what I can expect for them (bleeding on the brain, seizures, death, nothing good!) [they’re 4, now, btw, alive and completely healthy].”

“When I was tied up and gang raped, not supported, feeling worthless.”

“When reflecting on the miscarriage of my first child…”

#ThisSongWasOnRepeat for the four days between my doctor finding a lump and the negative mammogram results.”

“…this was on repeat when my life was completely broken…spiritually, mentally and emotionally and I just couldn’t turn anywhere else.” [1/3]

“But…AFTER THIS….” [2/3]

“And my favorite Andrae Crouch” [3/3]

This I’ve been meditating on for the last month. It’s completely repetitive (lol) but it was exactly what I needed.” [below is the version sent to me and a shorter version; both are great!]

“When I started to fight back against depression on a spiritual&practical aspect when the enemy tried to convince me it was too dark to pray Already Getting Better by William Murphy got me through those rough counseling sessions”

“When God gave me the strength to let go of the guilt of my past Daryl Coley “He’s Preparing Me” helped me understand that the assignment never changed ! God was preparing me the entire time”

“When I thought that because of my depression God finally gave up on me and stop speaking to me Marvin Sapp’s Speak to my heart and his rendition of “I Come to the Garden Alone” became my daily prayers”

“Reflecting on my last suicide attempt, i look back and remember the pain that had brought me to that point. now diminished greatly on most days, that pain almost rendered me unavailable, incapable, feeling unworthy to worship my creator. i truly could see no other way, no hope, no love, rejection , scorn, contempt, guilt……..i just simply could not have morning come one more day. And as my body fell to the ground, i looked into my husband’s eyes. he was afraid. i’ve never seen that look on his face again and i pray i never will. the vomiting, the ambulance ride, the hospital band that read my name but reminded me that i failed yet again. the anger for having to pick myself up and try to live one more time. i didn’t have a song then. didn’t have much of anything come to think of it. But i did have God’s love. Today, i am still amazed by just how much he loves ME.”

“‘Withholding nothing Melody’ more recently has been blessing me EARLY in the morning”

[FOR THE SAME SONG, DIFFERENT TESTIMONY BELOW:]

“The day before I was to share a very personal testimony, I had the thought, ‘I feel that urge to withhold some things,’ and within a few seconds, I saw a friend tweet, ‘Withholding Nothing.’ I felt God’s peace as I honored Him by speaking truth.”

“Can this be on the life soundtrack list? It’s just… so…relevant. to like, everything.”

I was truly, truly honored to share this day reflecting and worshiping with those who shared. I heard familiar echoes of overwhelming Love telling of a God who reaches into impossibly bleak situations and makes all things new. I hope you’re blessed by this playlist! All of the songs are compiled into a single Youtube playlist HERE.

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The Usual Suspects

devil's lies

The Usual Suspects

At the end of the movie, “The Usual Suspects,” Kevin Spacey’s character states, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” I think that just as insidious, though, are the tricks he still pulls on those who do believe he exists. This post isn’t to give credit to the devil, but it is to address the common tactics he employs against us. We’re engaged in spiritual warfare, not wrestling against flesh and blood, and our enemy is not being passive; he’s like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (Ephesians 6:12; 1 Peter 5:8). That’s why we have to put on the whole armor of God to withstand the enemy’s schemes (Ephesians 6:11).

We are in battle and we can’t afford to listen to our enemy’s intel. He won’t give us accurate information; he’ll craft lies to combat every truth that would otherwise set us free (John 8:44) When I examine the common voices vying for attention, I can come up with a few “usual suspects,” a few common lies used to attack our faith. I believe the most common lie is that God’s promises are not for you. This lie comes in many forms and threatens to eclipse the many truths found in God’s Word ― that His grace is not for you, that you’ve gone too far, done too much, strayed too long, that you’re too broken, too damaged, too dirty, that too much has happened, you’ll never be okay, you’ll never recover, never fully be restored. Your enemy knows that if you instead believe the precious promises in God’s Word, you’ll know the Truth, you’ll be completely devoted to the cause of Christ, completely set free (John 8:32; John 17:17).

Another “usual suspect” is when the enemy tells you to look at yourself, look at your situation, look at how long you’ve been waiting for change. All of these ideas are antithetical to the Word of God and the exact opposite of where we find victory. We’re constantly reminded to look to God, look to the completed work of Jesus Christ, crucified, never to look to ourselves. Our enemy wants to keep us from looking to the God from where our help comes, keep us focused on our trials, not on the Truth. Recognize the usual, suspect voice that tells you you’re alone, tells you it’s useless to keep trying, or any of the other usual lies. Partner with a friend and confront each lie with God’s Word of Truth; lies have no power where Truth is spoken and embraced.

lies we believe

by all means paint

Truth will silence the loudest lies.

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Gone in 60 Seconds

Girl Face Woman Carved Fig Madonna Pretty Wood

I turned 33 this month. I began experiencing life’s brokenness at 3 years old, and ever since then, I’d always felt exactly that. Broken. About three weeks ago, I reread the story of the woman with the issue of blood in Matthew 9:20-22. I remember reading that “instantly” she was healed, and I paused my reading to say, “Lord, Jesus! I want that! I want to be instantly healed! I want this pain to be gone! I know You CAN do it. Why don’t You?” I kind of forgot about that prayer and continued along with life (Update: I found the YouVersion note I wrote about it: Immediate Healing). The next week, I went to worship in the quiet sanctuary of my childhood church. As I left, a beautiful sister in Christ who was cleaning the church stopped me and said God told her to tell me that whatever it is, He’s bringing me out of it, to just keep doing what I’m doing, keep worshiping, keep praising, and know that He’s bringing me out.

The very next day, I had a moment of absolute protest. I was so emotionally drained and didn’t want anything else to do with this healing journey God had me on. I adamantly told my husband, “I quit. I’ll heal more, later.” I couldn’t even look him in the eye because I knew that I hadn’t consulted God, and further, I didn’t want to. I was done, and that was that. Thankfully, we had friends over that evening, so there was no room for my pity party. By the time I reflected on that afternoon, I recalled the life-giving words God spoke through His servant the preceding day: “He’s bringing you out; whatever it is, He’s bringing you out of it!”

Fast forward to two weeks later, last Thursday night, when I again found myself reading about the woman with the issue of blood, but this time, from the gospel of Mark. That detailed account indicated the woman had sought many physicians “and was no better but rather grew worse.” I exclaimed, “No, Jesus! She went to all the doctors and got WORSE? No thank you, Lord! Don’t let that be my story!” The very next day, Friday, God realized His promise to bring me out of that lingering emotional pain. God answered the prayers I’d forgotten I prayed, prayers to be instantly healed.

I wish I could more clearly articulate what happened last Friday. But I simply felt myself changing. The hollow feeling in my chest began to fill and just didn’t feel so heavy, the vibration inside of me became calm without me having to take deep, soothing breaths. Fear was gone; sorrow was gone; pain was gone. By the time I could even second-guess this new feeling of peace, the sting was completely gone. Just as Jesus knew that power had gone out from Him, I knew, without a doubt, that God’s power had come into me and made me whole.

You have to understand that at 33 years of age, I had never been able to utter the words, “I am whole.” I didn’t even have a framework for what experiencing wholeness would be like, and yet, as I type this, I assure you I am whole! Think about the lame man in Acts 3. He was lame from birth, so he had no neural networks for what experiencing walking actually felt like, yet, he left jumping and leaping with praise. I immediately began walking in wholeness exactly two weeks after I was ready to give up! I’m convinced the enemy senses the finish line long before we do. I believe he sees the angels coming alongside us to bear us up in their arms, and THAT is when he increases attacks to discourage our faith. When you feel like giving up, know that the words God has spoken over your life will NOT return to Him void. See the warfare for what it is! Never give up, never despair; though the vision may seem slow in coming, it will not be delayed. The brokenness is gone, and I am whole. If Jesus would do this wondrous thing for the woman with the issue of blood, if He’d do it for me, if He’s risen with ALL power in His hand, won’t He do it for you? He WILL do it; just persevere!

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“God is more powerful than anybody’s past, no matter how wretched. He can make us forget – not by erasing the memory but by taking the sting and paralyzing effect out of it”
~Jim Cymbala

“The nature of the enemy’s warfare in your life is to cause you to become discouraged and to cast away your confidence. Not that you would necessarily discard your salvation, but you could give up your hope of God’s deliverance. The enemy wants to numb you into a coping kind of Christianity that has given up hope of seeing God’s resurrection power.”
~Bob Sorge, Glory: When Heaven Invades Earth

Video Testimony Blog ((click))

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Blown Out, But On the Road

Blown Out, But on the Road

I saw this picture this evening. It’s of a church bus in Moore, Oklahoma, which was devastated by the recent tornadoes. MSNBC retweeted it with the caption, “Church bus in Moore with windows blown out but they’re on the road.” If that doesn’t have spiritual implications, I don’t know what does! I know some of you are like that bus, you may be tattered and worn by life’s circumstances; you may be bruised and battered, but you’re still here! Thanks be to GOD, you’re still on the road! Let me quit playing, I saw that bus and immediately thought, “That’s me. Still on the road.” I pray everyone reading this and others who see that picture are inspired with the hope that things don’t have to be restored to perfection before getting back on the road. I know my God restores, and until we see His restoration in full, stay on the road!

“He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”

“I’m Here. I’m Free Now.”

Amanda Berry’s words, “I’m here. I’m free now..” will probably echo into eternity. Louder than the dispatcher’s brash tone, louder than the trembling in her voice, those words speak volumes. I thank God for keeping her through such an ordeal and giving her those words to speak hope into the millions of women who will hear them and repeat the same. “I’m here. I’m free now.”

UPDATE: I recently shared this with my sister. I can say this in some ways, right now, but one day, I will say it and mean it from the depths of my being. “I’m Here. I’m free now.”

LATEST UPDATE: I can now say this! I’m here. I’m free now. I am whole! See my post: Gone in 60 Seconds

If you or anyone you know needs help, I pray the following resources can assist you:

  • National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733)
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)

Websites to help end sexual slavery – Not For Sale: http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/ and End it Now (worldwide slavery): http://enditmovement.com/

I’m here. I’m free now.

Cast Down, But Not Destroyed

This is how I saw myself, broken. But below is more accurate, just not yet assembled.

“It is in the quiet crucible of your personal private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born, and God’s greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you’ve been through.”
~Wintley Phipps

I so wanted to blog next about either #Godisnotable or #Jesusthesmuggler, but if you click either of these links anytime soon, you’ll get the gist. For now, I not so randomly remembered the above Wintley Phipps quote and just had to share. I shared elsewhere that in the midst of feeling shattered, God spoke through someone else to remind me I’m not broken, but I am in pieces, and God will have to put me together, maybe for the first time.

I know some of you may feel bruised by life circumstances, but just because a puzzle is in pieces, doesn’t mean it’s broken. I may have been cast down, but I am not utterly destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). In fact, that same passage reminds us that through our sufferings, we share in the suffering of Christ so that HIS life may be seen through ours! Come to God with your personal, private sufferings so He can put you together in compensation for your pain. What a great exchange!

3-D Vase Puzzle – Not broken, just not assembled, yet.

God Delivered Me From…

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i’m sure this is  my shortest and least formal blog post, and that’s a good thing! shortest in words, at least, and least formal regarding punctuation n whatnot. but catch either or both of the videos (above or below). the one below is a slightly more sensual version, but true to life. the other night on twitter, the hashtag, #GodDeliveredMeFrom was trending, thanks, in part, to @nosexmovement. i IMMEDIATELY recalled this video i’d recently watched and could only worship. at any rate, my “God Delivered Me From” tweets are below and the video follows. i included the “Ex-…” tweets, too. God delivers. Redemption is real. Where sin abounds, His grace MUCH MORE abounds (Romans 5:20)!

God Delivered Me From...

"Ex-..."

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