Broken Relationships – #FirstSundays Prayer Call

A metallic chain with an explosed link.

Tonight (Sunday, October 5th) at 9pm CST/10pm EST, we will have the first of the First Sundays prayer calls. It’s scheduled to be a 20 minute call with a brief testimony on a specific topic followed by prayer over those struggling in the area addressed. Tonight’s testimony and prayer topic is BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS. The dial-in information is on the flyer above, but I will also type it below. If you can’t make the prayer call in time, know that it will be recorded and playback/replay information is below, as well. I hope you can make it on and share the information with others who would be blessed!

DIAL: (605) 562-0020

ID # : 667-470-577

PLAYBACK # : (605) 562-0029

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God Restores: Video Testimony

restore to you the years

I will restore the years… ~Joel 2:25

Today I’m sharing a videoed testimony of God’s all-encompassing grace throughout my life (begins after a 3-minute intro). When I didn’t care to live, God was determined to save. In my hatred and rejection, He pursued, and in my open rebellion, He forgave. He continues to prove to me, over and over, that He is able to bring such beauty from such pain and bring such glory to His name. God is still redeeming, still delivering, still restoring. Even in the ugliest circumstances of your life and even with the worst choices you can make, know that God Restores!

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restoreth my soul

God Restores!

Related BLOG POST: Gone In 60 Seconds

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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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!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“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

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Garment of Praise for the Spirit of Heaviness

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I thought this is how it would look, but see the pic below.

I remember waking up one Thursday morning and feeling like the air around me was a thick, heavy, fog. It felt dark, despite the sunshine; I felt fatigued, despite a good night’s sleep. Before I could even rise completely out of the bed, it’s as if someone threw a cloak of unhappiness on me that shrouded me from head to toe. My brain is always thinking, and today, my thoughts were centered on only negativity.

“You’ll never get over your past.”

“You’ll never be good enough.”

“Your prayers haven’t changed a thing.”

“You talk of God’s promises, but look at how you’re still struggling, hoping for restoration.”

The accusation and condemnation couldn’t come fast enough. Admittedly, I listened to that voice for far too long, that day, and as I listened, I sunk even further into a pit of despair. But then I remembered my Father’s voice. I recalled how He speaks to me, how He takes great delight in me, quiets me with His love, and rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). Instantly, I knew: this was not Him! I sat at the edge of my bed and began to worship God and rebuke every negative thought that reared its head. I opened my mouth and said, “I WILL bless the lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear thereof and be glad.” As I said that aloud, I was impressed to read further from His Word, so I opened my bible to Psalm 34 and continued along to verse 3: “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” I stopped there and immediately recognized this as a call to corporate worship. I sent some text messages off to a few friends who called me back and worshiped God WITH me (praise God for His obedient servants). In no time, that heavy spirit was lifted and I was sharing with others how God picked me up out of the darkness. By the time I had recited verses 1-2 then read and obeyed verse 3, verse 4 was manifested in my life: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Isaiah 61:1-4 is one of my favorite passages, for it encapsulates much of the vision I believe God has placed within me. One exchange offered there, is a “garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness,” and I believe it is up to us to make that exchange. When you’re feeling down, when that spirit of heaviness is cloaked about you, make the exchange. Don a spirit of praise, instead. You will have no choice but to feel God’s presence, for His Word declares that He inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3 KJV). He’s daring us to praise Him and see if He won’t show up and dwell among us. I’ve proven His Word to be true. I put on that garment of praise and the heavy spirit had to flee, for there was no room for darkness in His light! I’ll leave you with this prayer a friend recently shared with me:

“May His still, small voice become the loudest voice you hear.”

Wear your praise! This is how it looks!

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Broken for His Purpose

I was in a chat app with a few brilliant, beautiful souls with whom I shared what God has again been reminding me of lately: It probably seemed like forever between the time Joseph proclaimed the truths of his dream and when it finally came to pass. He found himself in a pit, was sold into slavery, and no doubt praised God for his time in Potiphar’s house. Maybe he even thought he was on the heels of realizing that dream, but then found himself wrongfully accused and imprisoned. He even had to watch as others were freed before him. But ultimately, God’s vision is for HIS appointed time, and if GOD says it, it WILL come to pass (Habakkuk 2:3)!

One awesome chat member questioned how we “Josephs” of today can avoid such perilous lessons and why God can’t just trust us without such hefty trials. My response was this: I don’t believe there’s ONE human being so trustworthy. God’s Word warns us that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it (Jeremiah 17:9)? To address our heart condition, the Word declares that silver is refined in the fire, but God uses the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10). However, assuming some of us are so upright that we would remain chaste without chastening, have we considered that our trials may be solely for the purpose of meeting someone else in the depth of their pain, used solely for the purpose of bringing someone else to Christ, solely for the purpose of bringing HIM glory? Maybe some things we go through JUST so that we can comfort others with the same comfort with which we ourselves have been comforted (2 Corinthians 1:4). As Pastor Burden recently illuminated for me, God cares more about His eternal purposes than your immediate deliverance. Sometimes what you’re going through is because God is looking for an occasion with someone (as He was with the Philistines through Samson; Judges 14:1-4).

Later I received a Words with Friends game board from a wonderful lady who thought I was someone who helped her after a life-changing car accident 7 years ago. The accident left her with numerous broken bones, bionic prostheses, and enduring pain from traumatic nerve damage. At the end of the day, her testimony is that she’s had an opportunity to be a witness of God’s sustaining power in places she’d have never been if God didn’t see fit to break her for His purpose. Her hospital roommate accepted Christ into her life before dying, and while she wishes she were still able to ski, but can’t because of the accident, she swims instead and has worshiped and prayed poolside with Christians, Jews, Muslims, you name it! How would they have known, if she had not been sent, if God had not seen fit to break her for His purposes (Romans 10:14)?

To sum things up, when you find yourself wondering, “Why me?” or “Why this?” Consider the beauty of being broken for His glory! I don’t know what my new friend’s body must be like, given the crushed bones and mangled nerves, but I do know others are grateful for her beautiful feet, which are precious because she’s carrying the gospel wherever she goes.

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

~Romans 10:15

HIS purpose for your life may bring pain, but will remove stain.

HIS purpose for your life may bring pain, but will remove stain.