Sunday, August 23, 2009

The voice

Church this morning was amazing! A group was there from Teen Challenge in New Orleans and they shared some testimonies and songs. The first song they did gave me chills....well everything they did gave me chills, but bare with me. Its called "Top of my Lungs" by Phillips, Craig, and Dean. The chorus is so amazing...
At the top of my lungs I will sing Hallelujah! You're the one who saved me, the one who gave me this life I live, forevermore forevermore. At the top of my lungs I will sing Hallelujah! I'm not ashamed, I'll praise your name. Let the whole world know I love you Lord. I love you Lord.
Just hearing the group of men sing these words overfilled me with joy! Knowing that the Lord has brought them out of a lifestyle of addiction, and now they are able to sing praises to Jesus Christ for saving them!

I always get so moved in services like this-you know, hearing about how God has made such a huge change in somebody's life, and hearing of their drastic change. I mean, it's wonderful hearing about God's grace and him saving ANYBODY, but things like this just show how much he far he goes to bring people to his grace has no end! Chilling......because he does this for me everyday! I may not have a deep addiction but I still have sin that separates me from him!
They talked about how it was the power of GOD that brought them out of the addictions, not some rehab program. The leader talked about how a rehab program is meant to take you back to what you once were. Addicts don't need that....they were trying to fill a God-shaped whole with drugs/alcohol and what they need is GOD! They don't need to go back to an old lifestyle....they need a completely new life!
He later spoke about some of his background, and said that at one point in his life he was homeless and addicted to drugs. I think several of these people had probably been homeless at one point in their life or another. THIS is what touched me the most....and then I heard that still, small voice.......

Let me back up.....

SEVERAL years ago during my teenage days in the youth group at Mt. Vernon. Steve Chambleewas the youth pastor then and he took a group of students on several occasions to downtown Bham to feed the homeless. One time we went and just helped pass out the food and drinks, and talk to the people, tell them about the love of Jesus and just listen to their story sometimes.
Another time we went, we helped pass out the food again and then I remember going back to a HUGE warehouse and help divide up food into paper bags that this guy would distribute once a month. That's about all I remember.....couldn't tell you where we were or who that guy was, I just remember having a part in feeding the homeless those few times.
Moving forward into my college days, I had an opportunity to go out and give jackets, coats, and blankets to some of the homeless in Bham one again. I loved doing this too...they were just so appreciative, and couldn't understand why we were doing that.
And there was that still small voice..........

Moving forward....

Summer of 2007 in Savannah, GA (this is where I spent 6 weeks doing mission work...another story, another day) I heard of this restaurant that all the employees there were once homeless. The owner or whatever had a job-training program where he would train these people to cook and clean and do everything you would need to know to run a restaurant. They even did catering events. This man TAUGHT the homeless how to get on their feet and work. The lady I worked with all summer said that when these people finished the program, restaurants would almost fight to give the people a job. They were well trained and hard workers.
He was speaking............

Moving forward a little more.....

At a Social Work Conference just last year, a man from DC came and spoke about how he is the founder of this place that takes in homeless people and teaches them all kinds of job skills. I think I remember him saying that he would give them a small business loan and one of those cart things that are everywhere in DC and teach them to have a small business. He also had some sort of restaurant/catering thing where he taught job skills and helped them get on their feet. I was so entrigued by this, and so intersted.
He was still speaking, in that still small voice........

So here we are today. August 23, 2009. What I thought was just an ordinary day of church. We even debated going......but I'm glad we did! I've already told you what the service was about, but what I didn't tell you was that He was speaking the WHOLE time! I couldn't help but think that I work with drug/alcohol addicted people everyday with my job now. I would say more than half of the families we work with have some type of addiction. All I could think about was how I needed to tell them about the love of Christ. Yes, my employer says this is ethically wrong, but WHO CARES?!?!?!?!?! If I lose my job for sharing the gospel of Christ, will HE not provide??

Anyways.....that's really not what I sat down to write about. I wanted to share with you all that His still small voice is still speaking to me. I know he has called me to work with the homeless in some way. My desire is to help those who are hopeless. So many (myself included) just think about all homeless people as being adicts who don't want to change. And the answer to that is probably , yes this is true for most of them. But let me ask they not need Jesus too?? Maybe they are there because they don't know where else to be? Or because the drugs are the only thing they have? Maybe they're searching (which I feel MOST are) for the one thing they've been missing their whole lives??
What if I'm the one who can tell them?
HE is the only ONE who loves them....even in their current condition. (Even in my current condition!)

In the midst of him speaking all of the above to me during the service, and even now...I'm saying "But God, why me? How? Where? When? But God..... but God......"

I don't know how.......but HE does
I don't know when........but He does
I don't know where..........but HE does
But I know why......because HE wants me to!!!!

"For I KNOW the plans I have for you"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

10 people

A fellow blogger posted her response to a prompt and I decided to give my own response.

The prompt:

In this weeks assignment one of the prompts is to list 10 things you would say to ten different people in your life if you had the hutzpah.Don't assume to know who is who. You might be surprised. The point is to say whatever it is you feel you need to say. It might be something you tell this person all the time, or it might be something you don't have the guts to tell them. You can be insanely obvious or mysteriously vague.

1. Thanks so much for raising me the way y'all did. You never pressured me to do anything, but encouraged me to make my own decisions. Thanks for all your prayers and support. I am who I am today because of you. Thank you for providing financially for me throughout college-I could have never have made it without you. You both made so many sacrifices to make my wedding perfect-I owe you the world! I love you with all I am, and I pray our marriage is half of what yours is.

2. You have shown me what love is all about. You're all I have ever wanted plus more! You truly swept me off my feet and continue to do so DAILY! I'm so excited we have a lifetime together!

3. I'm not too sure what happened between us. I mean, we were always close and then it just seemed like we all of a sudden were on 2 separate paths. I've been hurt a lot by your actions, but that's ok.....I've moved on.

4. I wish we could be closer. I hardly ever tell you, but I love you. I have been praying for you for so many years, that you would just come back to the Lord. I can see Him using you in so many wonderful ways, with all your amazing talents! I have written tons of letters to you expressing my feelings, but never delivered them. I pray we will one day be close--I'm always here for you if you ever need me.

5. Thank you for your faithfulness towards the Lord. You have made such an impact in my life and have taught me so many things you just do not know! I miss you so much! I'm so glad I'm a part of your family now-which means you can never run away from me! lol

6. You make me proud. It's ok to make mistakes in your life...just pick up and move on. Keep Christ FIRST! I pray that you will stay strong through these next years. Go to college!! Don't give up. Move in with me if you want to! =)

7. I have always looked up to you and wanted to be able to play the piano just like you! I'm so glad you've come around more over the past several years and we've all gotten closer! You need to hurry up and move back to Alabama! I always keep my eye open for jobs for you!

8. I do not understand the pain you have been through, and I'm so sorry. The things we have all been through have been very difficult, and I can see especially on you. I hope I never have to experience the pain of losing a child. I pray you can heal and move on. I pray for strength to get out of the bed each day and to love your family that is still here. I can't imagine....but I know HE is with you.

9. I wish you weren't so concerned with work all the time. That's all you've ever known, and that's all I've ever known you to do. I wish you both would travel and ENJOY your own money instead of saving it all. I love you so much, and I thank you for your support throughout my college years! I can't imagine losing you, but I know that day will eventually come. When it does, I have no doubt you will be walking those streets of gold, praising our Lord. Thank you for your leadership and Godly guidance in our family.

10. I'm so happy you have worked everything out with your dad. I know we both prayed for that for so many years. I pray you will continue to get back in church and raise your little boy in a Godly home. I pray your husband will be made into your spiritual leader and serve Him. You're so special to me, and have given me so much advice and support throughout everything. I ove you!

What a day!

So I woke up this morning at 8:30 ready to get up and conquer the world! Showered, spent some time in the word, got ready....the usual. Then I left around 10 drove to Jeff State Community College to take my Social Work License Test!!! Got a Happy Meal, ate it in the parking lot, went in and began my 170 question test!!! Took a restroom break at question 100....and I still had almost 3 hours left. (The test is 4 hours long) I was freaking a little, thinking I was going too fast, so I tried to slow my pace. I finished all 170 questions with still an hour and a half left, went and reviewed the ones I had flagged....changed a few answers and hit that dreaded button "Quit Test."
Then I had to hit it again.... "Quit Test"...yes I'm SURE!!
Well I THOUGHT my results would just pop right up, but NOOOOO, I had to do a stupid 10 question survey! So at this point, I'm already shaking, my hearts pounding, and I'm beginning to break a sweat, for real!
So I finished the survey....and BOOM....there it was.....
My gosh, I don't remember the last time I have felt such relief!! So I left the testing room to get my results. I scored a 72!! Now let me remind you, passing score is a 70, but I didn't care...I passed! This test had some much hanging on it, and it was OVER! And of course it was the LAST test I'll ever have to least for about a year till I start on my Masters.

Let me just tell you....I laughed, smiled, screamed, and even had a slight tear or two just from the relief!!! Thanks to all those who said a prayer for me over these 2 months of studying. I know it is only by the Grace of God i got through it all! He gave me the wisdom, and I give Him all the praise, honor, and glory!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

God-given Saturday!

I'm beginning to realize how much Saturdays are a blessing from God! This week has been extremely amazing, but I've been really busy at work! I opened FOUR new cases...that's right, I went from having juts 1 open, to 5!!! So that means I have all the inial paperwork/treatment plans/ Intake reports to do over the next two weeks times four! It's part of the job, so I'm not complaining...I'm actually a little bit excited. At least I can't say I had a boring day a work anymore!
I also scheduled my Social Work License Exam last week. I'll be taking it this week..... I would say exactly when, but I really don't want everybody calling me that day asking about it. Therefore...just PRAY for me now!! Pray that I will be taking in the last few things I have to study, and this week, that I will remember those things, and be calm during the test. I'll get my results back as soon as I hit the button "Finish Test" so I'll be posting afterwards I'm sure! I feel pretty confident, I'm just really nervous! I trust the Lord will give me wisdom, and it's all in His hands! I've done my part of studying for the past 2 months, and will be reviewing stuff over these next several days, now I just have to take the 170 question test, and make a score of at least 70%!!

I guess that's about all for now.
I'm about to spend my Saturday cleaning my house (which is very much needed) and studying! =)
There will probably be a nap in there somewhere, and several periods of screaming at PennyLane for an array of things. And the best part.....tonight, Michael and I are just hanging out here together! I didn't get home till 8 on Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday...and I had a girls night Wednesday, so we really haven't spent much time together this week. =(
I'm going to rent us a few movies and cook supper (which I haven't done all week) and just RELAX!!

Church day is tomorrow, that's always exciting! I think we're getting ready to join soon, but we want to get to know some of the people some more. Then tomorrow afternoon, Michael is going to the movies with his guys, and I'll probably study! fun fun!

Ok, off to enjoy my God given Saturday! Hope you do the same!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Emotional rollercoaster

Get ready......

So I started my day off today in the most horrible of moods. I woke up mad at Michael to begin with and didn't know why, was getting ready for church all while being just mad at the world. Went downstairs to spend some much needed time in the word to prepare my heart for church, and I just broke down crying. My heart was so bitter, so hard....I read some of Psalms and prayed "Create in me a clean heart, Oh Lord, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." I felt a little better, but I still didn't let go of things to the Lord.
The whole time, my sweet sweet husband is trying to figure out what's wrong with me and "fix" what it was that he must have done wrong for me to be so upset with him. (There really was nothing)
So we head to church, I break down crying again on the way (after Michael asking what was wrong again) and I just said "I don't know....I'm just confused and I feel so lost....I don't know exactly what's wrong!" That was that. During church, I still had this sour attitude, and was on the verge of breaking down crying the whole time. I felt better, being in the presence of so many believers singing praises to our God, and even hearing a great message about how we as a church, a body of believers should be. But as soon as all that was over, and I stepped foot out of those doors, there it was attitude. UGH!!!
So we headed home. When we got home, I told Michael I wanted to go lay down and talk (which is what we do when we have deep conversations) bc I just couldn't hold in anything else. So as soon as we layed down- the faucet broke loose! I broke down crying like I haven't done in a LONG time! He just held me, like he does so wonderfully. I expressed to him an array of emotions I was feeling....and he listened. Without getting into too much details about my crazy head, I'll just abbrieviate everything by saying that I have just been feeling like I don't belong. I'm not in college anymore-I have a "real" job and that's a big adjustment in itself. While most of my old friends are getting ready to start another semester, I'm just working week after week. I feel like I can't relate to them in that area.
Another thing was that with being married and all I just feel like I have to be that perfect come home, cook, clean and always be happy. I didn't even realize I was doing that until today. Michael reassured me that I was already perfect to him, and that I didn't ALWAYS have to do those things to make him happy. I just thought thats what wives are supposed to do, so I had to do it. (in other words....marriage is an adjustment for me!)
And the last thing was that being married and all, I just really want us to find Godly married couples that we can hang out with. The problem in my head with that is our age difference. I'm 22...he's 28. Most of his friends are already married with kids, mine are still in college as I've already mentioned.
I was just letting all of this get to me, and bring me down.
I don't ever EVER remember being so caught up in emotions like that before in my life. I'm so glad I have a husband who will listen.

So on the flip side of things....Michael listened and told me he loved me and that I was wonderful...blah blah blah. He turned my whole day around. I felt so much better with just him listening. I told him I needed to do laundry, and he said "No, I'm going to do it all...even put the clothes up!" and then a little later he was like... "You want me to go get you some ice cream later today and make you a sundae?" (If you know me at all, you know my answer to this!)

So I sat on the couch, almost finished reading "Eclipse", fell asleep, woke up to the washer and dryer going, and my husband gone to the store....then he came back and fixed me my sundae! What a perfect man! Couldn't ask for more! I'm so thankful God placed him in my life! I'm off to cook buffalo chicken pizza- not because I have to in order to be a good wife-- but because I WANT to!! =)

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heart my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

Psalm 40: 1-3