Beauty from Ashes…

Short, sweet and to the point…….

A few months ago I was asked to share my testimony at the Angie Smith conference the SBCV just had. I initially was going to say no as I was honestly a bit ‘scared.’ It was a seemingly daunting thought to stand up in front of 800+ women and ‘speak’ this testimony of mine…..to speak it is much much different than simply writing it. However, I came to the decision that how dare I squash an opportunity to point to the hope and unfailing love of our Savior. So, I did it. And can I tell you that when you are obedient to the Lord and do something that solely honors and glorifies Him, He will indeed give you an unexplainable peace in the midst of what could be an overwhelming moment. He will give you an opportunity that seems so undeserved.
IMG_6424This was a moment where I completely stepped aside and allowed the Lord to use me and speak through me. #lifechanging My hearts prayer in this opportunity was no one would see me or hear my story but instead hear a love story of Jesus Christ.
I share this to say, if you are in the midst of something that seems unbearable…hold fast my friend. He is there. He is faithful.
A time will come in your journey that causes you to realize that when you wept uncontrollably, when it didn’t seem light was at the end of the tunnel, when all else seemed to fail: The One you know remained, He did indeed remain. Because He is faithful and He does redeem and He does in fact use you for His glory. Even when you think it’s impossible, hope peeks thru.
Don’t give up friend, no matter where you are in the storm; you are loved and thought of…even in that moment you don’t think you can breathe….He is there. He is there waiting to breathe new life into the place that looks like it is beyond repair.
He loves you. He will mend you. He will make you whole. He is a good God. He is a faithful God.
He is a Redeemer, a Rescuer, a Mighty Fortress.
He is our God.

If you’d like to hear my testimony here is the video:

2016…..you were a good teacher.

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The sun has set on 2016.  It has been a wonderful year beginning with moving into our beautiful new home.  Throughout the year many doors have opened, opportunities have been given and blessings have been felt.  And in the midst of it all, I have learned….A LOT.

I’ve learned a lot of about focus.  It’s very important to focus on the big picture.  The big picture being your relationship with the Lord and His will for you.  So often it’s easy to get tripped up on the little things or even the big messes.  These things we fixate on is where the enemy is waiting in the wings to grab hold of you.  When our focus sways, so does everything else.  Even when we are in the midst of trials, stress, messes or whatever it is –  God is there.  Our precious Lord is in the midst of that mess with you.  Don’t miss Him.  While in the midst of this trial you’re facing right now, it may be hard to even breathe sometimes yet we must not miss the fact the He merely wants us to turn to Him, focus on Him and cry out His name.   Focus on Him – never lose sight.  Seek Him with all your heart!

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13

-I’ve learned that there are a lot of hurting hearts out there and many times they are quietly suffering.  Oh how that makes my own heart hurt.   If you just bend your ear a little, you can hear the hurt and quite possibly be a voice of hope.  You see, when we live out grace and tender mercy our attitudes change and our understanding broadens.  It’s so easy to just give an answer of “I’m great” or “fine” when we are passing each other in the hallway or the grocery store aisle and so often that’s a lie.  And It’s even easier to keep walking and not truly dig in and say “no really, how are you?”   Why can’t we be more transparent?  Why do we feel like we have to act a certain way or pretend all is well?   In learning the magnitude of hurt out there, I’ve began to pray that the Lord will allow me to be a beacon of hope wherever He takes me.  I’ve began to pray that the Lord will stop me in my tracks of busyness if necessary to hear a heartache of a friend, a neighbor or whomever crosses my path so that I can come to the Throne of Grace with them and maybe just maybe they can experience that same peace, joy and freedom I do.  Let others see Jesus in you.

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.  1 Corinthians 11:1

-I’ve learned a lot about friendship or rather I should say I have gained a renewed perspective.   Friendship is a sacred precious gift from the Lord that should be treasured.  It is something to invest in and something to not give up on. My circle of friends is a very small one but I am very okay with that.  It is about quality not quantity.  2016 was a year I spent praying specifically about and for friendship.  Can I share a sweet story about one of my dear friends and how the Lord used her to speak to me this year?   A few months ago I received a text from this precious friend that lives many many states away.   We don’t get to talk very much or see each other a lot but we often send text messages of prayer requests we have or just sweet notes of love and encouragement to each other.  Well this particular day she sent me a text that was totally out of the blue but totally perfect timing.  You see, for several days I’d been quietly hurting over a particular past friendship that I’d lost. I had been desperately praying for the Lord to help me see Him in this ugly mess that was made.  It was then that the Holy Spirit led my sweet friend to send this beautiful message that you may not quite understand all of but I just wanted you to understand that magnitude of it.

She sent me this text after a nudge from the Holy Spirit not knowing how I’d take it nor that I was struggling with this very subject at that very moment.  I sat in my car just weeping at the tenderness of it, the perfectness of it and the beauty of it.  She simply obeyed a nudging from the Holy Spirit to 1) pray for me and 2) send me a beautiful note of love and encouragement on the very subject that my heart was aching for.  In this very moment everything about friendship made sense to me.  When we allow the Lord to be the center of our friendships it is such a beautiful thing.  He used my precious friend to speak to me and send me a little love note that yes – He heard my cries and He is at work.  When we allow the Lord to be the center of our friendships it is such a valuable tool.  We can pray for each other, we can build each other up, we can sense the Holy Spirit telling us to reach out when our friends need and we can even pray over other broken friendships because we love each other.  ~~Friendship is incredible when we allow the Lord to be a part of it.~~

…….a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Proverbs 27:9

I’ve learned that the Lord’s not looking for extraordinary ultra-talented squeaky clean people.  But instead, simply lovers of Him who lay down their own broken selves in order to point others towards Him.  Simply those who will bring glory only to Him not taking it for themselves.

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.  1 Peter 4:11

More than anything I know that I will never be perfect, but Jesus is.  I will never be strong enough, but Jesus is.  I will never be enough, but He absolutely is.

Two and a half years ago I looked at myself in the mirror with disgust and said “How did I get here?”  Today, as I look back over 2016, looking forward to 2017; I can look in the mirror and say with freedom and JOY “How did I get here?”  The answer to the first question was selfish, awful, evil motives where my focus had turned from Jesus Christ to Dawn Spicer.  The answer now is hard work, obedience, and more than anything a fierce, relentless, redeeming love of a gracious, life-breathing God.  It’s like looking in the mirror at the transformation and realizing that nothing I’ve done or am doing is changing me but instead everything He is doing is changing me.

And with that, as the sun rises on 2017, I say hello with great anticipation.

 

I’d Rather Have Jesus

Well, it’s been a little while since I have blogged anything.  I hate that this has happened as life has been rather busy these last few months.  School has been kicking my butt this semester and taken away from my time to write…..but I have set aside today to complete at least one blog that’s been churning in my heart for a few weeks now.  Hoping it stirs in your heart as well….

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A few weeks ago I had the privilege of being a part of the Lifeway Women’s Forum in Nashville, TN.  What a huge blessing to sit under the teaching of so many incredible leaders in Women’s Ministry today.  While in one of the sessions, one of the women actually sang an old hymn to end her session. The hymn she sang was “I’d Rather Have Jesus.”  I sat there and simply listened to the words and it overwhelmed me.  Over the next few days I was there, I just couldn’t get that song out of my mind.  I began to ask myself – would I rather have Him than anything.  Anything at all?  Does my life reflect that I’d rather have Jesus than anything?  Do I realize the greatness of all that He is?

I had to really start evaluating my priorities.  As my life has become overwhelmingly busy again – I had to evaluate where I was invested the most.  Do I give Him as much time as I do everything else?  Do I run to Jesus in times of heartache, confusion or anger?  Or do I seek the wisdom of man?  Do I praise Him in the goodness that happens and honor Him in everything I do – even in the mundane of everyday life?  Would I truly rather have Jesus than silver and gold?  Would I truly rather have Jesus than houses or lands?  Would I rather be led by His nail pierced hands or led by the approval and accolades of others?

I want to say and boldly believe the answer is YES!  But is it really?  Is it yes every minute of every hour, every second of every minute?

Friends-in order to truly say “I’d rather have Jesus,” we have to truly understand why we’d rather have Him.  We need to understand that He is better than anything.  Anything we feel, anything we want, anything we think is great.   We would rather have Him when we “consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord..…consider everything rubbish, that you may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8 paraphrased)

When we would rather have Him, our lives reflect that.

We have to let Him lead our lives no matter what that means.

When He asks us to do something we really don’t want to do – we do it because:

I’d Rather Have Jesus.

When He asks us to let go of something we really want to cling to – we do it because:

I’d Rather Have Jesus.

When we are in the depths of heartache and confusion – we praise Him still because:

I’d Rather Have Jesus.

When we are so busy we can’t find the time to spend in His Word, we find time because:

I’d Rather Have Jesus.

Sometimes it’s hard.  Sometimes it’s uncomfortable. I get it.  But when we choose Him – He provides what we need to get through that moment.   Nothing is better – even if in the moment something may feel better.  It’s not.  I promise.  And yes – He requires much of us.  We have to put in effort – we have to work hard but I’d say He’s worth it.  He put himself up on the cross for me – for all my awful junk – I want to be willing to do anything for Him….but am I?  I want to always say “I’d Rather Have Jesus….but would I?

Oh the greatness of contentment, joy and peace we receive when we choose Him.  When we decide we’d rather have Him than anything. When we decide we’d rather be “true to His Holy Name.”

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“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” Philippians 3:8

 

I’d Rather Have Jesus by Rhea Miller  MUSIC WRITTEN BY: George Beverly Shea

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;

I’d rather be His than have riches untold;

I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,

I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand.

Than to be a king of a vast domain

Or be held in sin’s dread sway,


I’d rather have Jesus than anything

This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause

 I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;

I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame,

I’d rather be true to His holy name.

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;

He’s sweeter than honey from out of the comb;

He’s all that my hungering spirit needs,

I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.