Tag Archives: God’s heart

A Movie, A Band, And A Necklace

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A Movie, A Band, And A Necklace

October 16, 2016. This movie. This band. That necklace. Life changing. Life giving. Life saving.

Every time I try to convince words to take a journey from my brain to the paper, tears threaten to make seeing the words impossible. In an attempt to share even a fraction of the significance of this event, I will break down the event and all the moving parts into little bite-sized pieces. 

Priceless the Movie. 

I’m not going to tell a tall tale. I hadn’t  heard of this movie prior to this text from a very dear friend: 

you…me…Sunday evening ‘Priceless’ at Ronnie’s 20?

So, this being a friend who I love and trust, I basically blindly said yes. She knows me. She gets me. What’s more, though?  She allows me the honor returning the favor. I’m grateful. Alas, I accepted her invitation, and nearly canceled several times. But I didn’t. As this day approached, the excitement and even anticipation grew. 

It made me happy to learn that the band would be in the theater live, playing  a few songs for us. Their flight was a bit delayed, so the acoustic set was after the movie. 

So, this movie is incredible. This is part in fairly certain I can’t get through without my tears going on mass exodus. Again. So, instead, I’ll ask you to click on the following link, and watch the trailer for Priceless

I will say this though. This movie and it’s storyline broke my heart. Mostly because it’s no joke. People, this stuff happens. It’s real, and it’s in our backyards. Don’t get me wrong. I loved the movie, those that produced it, and all who came together to make it happen. It was tremendously well done. I found a surge of emotions at varied times throughout the entire thing. It was beautifully painful. It hurt, and it healed. Most of all, it was God’s heart in a movie. God’s hand holding my shattered heart. The fact that God can use a movie to touch some very deep and dark places is testament to the fact that the whole experience (more to come on that) acted as a healing salve applied to some wounded places. 

After the movie concluded, the band took the stage for a few minutes. They sang/played a handful of songs. Again, the heart of God, in human form, stood before us on that theater stage. The words of their songs grabbed my heart, and didn’t let go. I can’t begin to count the number of times I wiped tears from my eyes. At one point, Joel, from 4 King And Country, looked directly at me. He smiled as if to say, I see you. You matter. Your pain matters. In truth, he probably thought nothing of the sort, but in that moment – God’s grace, His love, just held me. 

At one point, they polled the audience to see if anyone was confused as to who they were, and why a band was live on stage in a movie theater. One person responded. They welcomed her, and asked us all to say hello. 

What happened next floored me. 

Joel picked up a necklace – the one you can see me wearing in the picture above. He spoke about its meaning and significance. The words “She’s worth fighting for” just melted my heart. As he spoke, he looked at me again and reached down and handed it to me. Yes, of course, tears streamed down my cheeks. 

I’m nothing special, but in that moment, God’s love and grace swallowed me whole. It was as if God Himself was giving me a much needed hug. Joel doesn’t know my story, but something (that small voice, like in the movie perhaps?) urged him to share it with me. To give me a gift. A necklace. 

It was more priceless than any gift could have been in that moment. You see, it showered me with God’s love. I felt important, and as if my life has meaning. God used that moment to hold me. To help me see glimpses beyond the pain. It helped me feel hope in tangible ways. It helped me just breathe, and know I’m loved.

I wanted to share this for a multitude of reasons.Mostly to share my own gratitude. To my friend for inviting me. To Joy FM for whatever part you played behind the scenes to help this event happen. To 4 King and Country for the hearts you had in creating this film, delivering it to the public, and the life-giving mini concerts you  allowed His heart and presence to touch others with. And especially to God, for not giving up on me, and for allowing your love to penetrate some shattered and somewhat dark places. Please don’t ever throw up your hands and realize I’m just too much. 

And to all reading, if you might be in pain, know that you are not alone. I do not have to walk your journey to understand that you hurt. I think we all do in some way, shape, or form. I see you, but more importantly, God also sees you – exactly where you are if I could say one more thing, it would just be to not give up. I want to see that your life has value and worth, and you still have purpose here. 
I needed these same reminders yesterday, and they flooded my heart with love and healing. If you need similar reminders, here they are. Someone, please just point me back to this page, and my own words when you see or feel the need.

Know that you’re not alone. It’s okay to not be okay, and it’s okay to reach out. Just don’t give up. There is still time for good things to happen. There is time for hope to surprise you. You are not out of time, and neither am I. If you’re hurting, just take my hand, and allow me to sit with you – even virtually – in this pain. It may be real, but it will not be forever. You will come to know more than the pain that tortures you. You matter. Your story matters. You’re worth so much more than you can comprehend. 

Please, keep giving hope a chance to surprise you. You are loved. 

We Hurt Because We Love

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I think this title is self explanatory. I also believe that it needs explaining. To make this very real and expose a few more of my own emotions, I’d like to share a bit about our personal journey – about the pain, loss and love.

As yesterday’s post made it painfully evident, my daughter has passed away. I can barely utter these words, let alone write them. That said, I want to concentrate on an idea that resonates deep within me.

Our pain wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t first loved.  Where there is great pain, there is a great volume of love.

It’s true. I loved my daughter with more words than are in existence. As such, I grieve her passing with more pain and hurting than words as well. The life she lived – though short – was incredible. And full of love. If you were to ask 100 people who knew Janet what the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of her, at least 90 of them would say her smile. This child loved and breathed happy.  No matter what she faced. This was made possible, in large part, due to love. She was surrounded by love, and made it her life’s mission to also love others. It is that love that makes her absence in physical form that much more painful. We love her, and we miss her. However, her love yet remains. It always will.

At what became her final moments of life here on Earth, she had many very profound things to share. She knew that people would be sad, but didn’t want them to stay in that sadness forever. Instead, she requested that everyone Remember The Love. And, though it is also etched with pain, remembering that love is our life’s mission. Love others. Be loved. Be the love our world needs. Yes, there will be pain – but it will be matched with love. Allow that love to lead and guide you instead of the pain alone.

365 Moments Of Gratitude – Thankful For Changing Mindset

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The topic today is pretty personal, but one I would imagine many people deal, even struggle with. It is with that thought process that I would like to share a pretty neat experience I had today.

Let me back up for a moment. As I have been sharing, our church is doing a series that talks about loving recklessly – learning to love as Jesus loved. It conquers the idea of an us vs. them complex. In said scenario, no one is perfect – with the only exception being Jesus. So, with that said, it is His commandment that we love one another.

I’ll be the first to tell you – this is NOT always an easy feat.

I will now fast forward to today, with a brief background. The objective – show God’s love. To everyone. Yes, everyone – even those not easy to love. Check.

If you are anything like me, there are probably a few different “kinds” of people you probably find yourself with disdain, as opposed to love for. Yes? I will be the first to raise my hand. But, thank God, this mindset of mine is changing. Through God working in my heart, I’m learning to see people and situations differently – through His eyes.

Let’s explore this for a second. Love how Jesus loves. How do we know how Jesus loves? It’s simple. He does. Period. He loves people simply because they are people. He has a crazy unconditional love for us. As human beings, will we always be able to love like this? Not highly likely. Should we try? Absolutely, without a doubt.

Okay, so today.

As I was out and about running errands, the individual behind the cash register was some I would have once been very inclined to say something (in my head) like, “it’s another [insert stereotypical, and likely judgmental classification here]– gosh, they’re everywhere!” I’d probably have some other mental thought process going on, and it wouldn’t have been nice. Like I said, God’s working on my heart in this (and many) area(s).

Today, however, was different. I saw this individual and had compassion. I smiled and was friendly. I had that initial “it’s another [PERSON TO LOVE]” thought. I did not see them as a negative member of society. Instead, I saw them as another person to love. I didn’t do anything super spiritual. I didn’t go above and beyond. I just carried on pleasant conversation, and I allowed walls in my own heart to crumble. I was kind to this person (not that I’d ever have been mean) and I did what I could in a short amount of time to just not judge and to show love.

I hope you’ll join me on this mission of loving people recklessly – even those who are hard to love. It isn’t always going to be easy, but it IS always going to be worth it.

That, my friends, is what I am grateful for today. I’m grateful to see these small, yet huge, changes going on inside me.

365 Moments Of Gratitude – Thankful For Words

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Words. They make the world go ’round. I’d like to encourage you on something that has been impressed on my heart. Your words are important. They have huge amounts of power. Your words have the power to build up, or the power to tear down.

Always strive to allow your words to be authored by God, and His breath to breathe life into dead situations. Sometimes you may be inclined to think that words are just words. And, they are – to a degree. What may mean absolutely nothing to you, may be the difference of life in death to another person. That’s just the thing. You ALWAYS need to be mindful of what you are saying.

Before reacting, choose your words carefully. Allow yourself time to think about how you would feel, should the conversation be reversed. Always put yourself in someone else’s shoes. If you were down, or for whatever reason, hurting – think of the kinds of words you would like to hear. Never hesitate to spread those words. Those are words filled with life, and filled with love.

In contrast, if you don’t ponder how your words will impact someone, imagine the damage that can be done when you speak words in anger, or out of hatred and/or hurt. Take time to think about your reaction.

The way you react may make an immense difference — but not just in the life of the person you are speaking to — it often will make a bigger impact on yourself.

I encourage you to always strive to speak with love behind your words. Allow God’s heart, and His love to spread like wildfire.

I’m grateful today to be able to choose words that build up, and bring life instead of tearing down and bringing the exact opposite.

365 Moments Of Gratitude – Thankful For Honest Conversation

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In the same thought process of yesterday’s post, I’m grateful for honest conversation. Sometimes it isn’t easy to say what needs saying. It can be very difficult to reach deep inside yourself and pull out the courage it will take to do the right thing. Having a meaningful, honest conversation won’t always be easy, but it should always produce results. The results that come as a result of said conversation might or might not be easy to deal with. However, living in the shadows, in a shell of who you really are – all because you are afraid of what the truth looks like – is no life at all.

Take time today for yourself. Take time today to search deep within. Take time today for some honest conversation. It’s time. It’s refreshing. It’s life-changing.

I’m thankful today (and always) for honest conversation – no matter how much it hurts, or how much it heals. Sometimes the hurt is what turns into the healing.

A little public service announcement — I’m not talking about having honest conversation that hurts someone’s feelings because you’re rude, disrespectful or not speaking in love. I’m talking about the kind of conversation where you share God’s heart, in love. As I said yesterday, sometimes His will isn’t easy, but it is always worth it.

365 Moments Of Gratitude – Thankful That Somebody Is Praying Me Through

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Yesterday, I wrote an open and honest account of how I was feeling – and just the emotions that surrounded that. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to read – but more than that, for taking the time to pray. Please know you have my gratitude. I have received words of support and encouragement from many of you – and I am grateful more than there are words. This is the beginning to a beautiful new day. In fact, I already shared one blog post that talks about a song that means a great deal to me. It’s referenced in this title as well. Knowing that you are not alone – and that you have people to lean on when you don’t feel the strength to stand firm on your own — that, my friends, is what the body of Christ is all about.

So, it is with gratitude that I say thank you for being part of the many “somebody’s” who are praying me through. Our God is good. He is faithful 100% of the time. His hands are not small that they cannot reach me. All of the things from yesterday are still real, and still there. However, with God – and the beautiful people He’s blessed me to do life together with – I am still standing. All these things are in His hands.

Thank you for your friendship and support – but especially for your prayers. Please connect and let me know how I can be praying with you as well! It’s an honor to do life with you.

Spotlight On 33 Miles – Let It Be Glory

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This new CD “Let It Be Glory” from 33 Miles has, literally, a message for anyone – any living breathing human being. I cannot tell you how many times I have sat listening, tears in my eyes, as God touches me and blesses my heart – exactly where I am, exactly when I need to hear the words. When this CD is released, you need to get your hands on a copy. If you, or if someone you know is hurting, your heart will give thanks for playing this CD. I can speak from a personal place when I say this is God’s heart poured out right here.

This song, also entitled “Let It Be Glory” is so very powerful. It speaks volumes to the hurting heart. It contains a powerful reminder to those who are struggling – who are walking through life, dealing with what may seem to be a sequence of unbearable trials. In a way hard to put in words (yet they did so beautifully) this song brings peace by explaining that you are not alone. No matter what burden you bear, there IS hope. Things may be hard, and you may not be able to see the light at the end of the virtual tunnel. You are not, however, alone. What you are going through right now will not last forever.

The biggest thing I walk away from this song knowing is that I am not alone in my struggles. In the midst of those, there is – and always will be – HOPE. No matter what I am, or will go through, God’s hand is in the midst of it. There is a reason for every tear, for every moment, for everything that is a part of my story.

God is God, no matter what. He is in control.

If this speaks to you as much as it has to me, I urge you to pick up a copy of this CD when it comes out in a few months. In the mean time, if you would like to talk about it, please don’t hesitate to post below, or send a message via my “contact me” page. I look forward to connecting with you.

Smile. You are not alone. Hope is real. Don’t ever forget how very loved you are.

To 33 Miles, you have my gratitude (again) for following after the heart of God continuously with such passion. You may never know the impact your music has on people, but never doubt the difference it makes. Your hearts and love of God and people touch and bless so many countless people, myself included. Also, never doubt how loved and appreciated you are.

Marriage Is Worth Fighting For, Part 4: Prayer For The Standing Husband

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Marriage is something I find myself passionate about. Being united in such a strong bond of faith and love is one of God’s many gifts to humanity. He created marriage to be a lasting, lifelong experience together – not as something to escape from when times get rough.

I do want to mention something I have said before in this marriage series. If you are divorced, or going through a divorce, I do not judge. Instead, I love. Divorce is something that sometimes happens, and is unavoidable in certain circumstances. I understand that. I do not look down on you for any decisions you have made, are going through, or have gone through in the past. Our experiences in life can either break us down, or strengthen us. I pray for your strength in the midst of this, or any other trial you may face.

Men, thank you for taking the time to read this. If you serve and have a faith in a God larger than life, I urge you to continue doing all you know to do – serve the Lord, and lead your family in His ways. If you find that your spouse is not on the same page of music you are with regards to faith, I pray you will not give up. God’s got this. I urge you to continue seeking the face and heart of God. He is faithful, 100% of the time. Even though His timing is not always our timing, it is perfect.

If you would like to share your story, or ask for prayer – please feel free to post in comments below or send me a message via my “contact me” page. I’ll look forward to connecting.

Very similar to yesterday’s prayer for the standing wife, I’d like to share the prayer for the standing husband:

Prayers For Standing Husbands

Dear Lord, You know my heart is broken, that I have a troubled spirit, and a longing for Your comfort and the answers I seek during this time of despair. So I thank You for Your Word assuring me that from the very beginning You created my marriage as a one flesh covenant relationship, saying that what You joined together, no one should separate, and that You hate divorce. And thank You for Your promise to heal my broken heart, and bind up my wounds, that You will comfort me as I mourn, and that You will bestow on me a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Thank You, Lord, that instead of shame or disgrace, I will rejoice in my inheritance, that I will inherit a double portion in my life, and that everlasting joy will be mine, as You restore my marriage, which Satan came to destroy. I thank You that in accordance with Your Word, I can approach Your throne of grace with confidence, and receive mercy and grace to help me in my time of need.

Thank You for Your promise that all things are possible with You Lord Jesus, and that You, and You alone, will give me peace that transcends all understanding. Thank You for the assurance that no wisdom, no insight and no plan can succeed against You. And thank You for having ________’s heart in Your hand, and for directing her heart like a watercourse wherever You please. Thank You for assuring me that she can not plan or understand her own way, because You are the one who determines and directs her steps.

Please teach me how to express my faith in love, because Your Word tells us that unfailing love is what everyone desires. And I ask You, Lord, to work in me to will and act according to Your good purpose, to make me the husband You want me to be. I believe You and I am Your disciple. I want to understand and live according to Your teachings, because then I will know the truth and the truth will set me free. Thank You for Your Word, because it is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. You are my refuge and my shield, so I put my hope in Your Word.

Since faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, please show me how to live by faith and not shrink back so You will be pleased with me, because I know it’s impossible to please You without faith. And thank You for Your promise that whatever I ask for in prayer, and believe, I will receive. Please teach me to walk by faith and not by sight, because Jesus said that according to my faith it would be done to me. So, Lord, I ask You to please give me the faith and patience necessary to inherit what You have promised.

Father, always remind me that I’m not to live by the standards of this world. And even though I live in the world, I can’t wage war as the world does. The weapons You give me to fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. They are mighty weapons that demolish the arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of You, my God, and the covenant of my marriage, so please help me take captive every thought and make it obedient to You, Christ Jesus. I will not be afraid, for You are with me. I will not be dismayed, for You are my God. Thank You for strengthening me. Thank You for helping me. Thank You for upholding me and the covenant of my marriage with Your righteous right hand. Thank You for making anyone who is incensed against me and the sanctity of my marriage as nothing; that they will be ashamed and disgraced. Thank You that anyone who contends with me or wars with me and comes to destroy or put asunder my marriage, is as nothing, as a nonexistent thing, for You, the Lord my God, hold my right hand, telling me to “Fear not, I will help You.”

Teach me to ALWAYS rest in the confidence I have in You, because Your Word tells me that it will be richly rewarded. Help me persevere so that when I have done Your will, I will receive what You have promised. And help me keep Your commandments and do the things that are pleasing in Your sight, so I’ll receive whatever I ask from You, including the restoration of my marriage.

I boldly ask for faith enabling me to speak to mountains and make them move, and the confidence and assurance that nothing is impossible for me. Thank You, Lord, that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and That with You, nothing is impossible, including living my life full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, even during this time of trouble, which You promise to turn into a gateway of hope. And thank You that Your Spirit intercedes for me, Your saint, in accordance with Your will, and that You are working all things together for my good, because I love You, and am called according to Your purpose. I thank You and praise You, Lord, that Your thoughts and plans for me and my family are thoughts and plans for our welfare and peace and not for evil, that give me hope in our final outcome. And I thank You, Lord, that I can be still and know that You are God and that You will be exalted in all the earth, and in heaven, and in the restoration of my marriage.

And thank You for the comfort of knowing that even though my wife may have other plans in her heart, from You comes the reply of the tongue, and that the Words that come out of Your mouth do not return to You empty; that they will accomplish what You desire and the purpose for which You sent them! And thank You for the assurance that You honor and uphold the covenant of our marriage that was made when You witnessed our marriage vows, and that YOU will defend it against the treachery of unfaithfulness, divorce and remarriage.

For all this I ask and give thanks in the most precious and powerful name and authority of Jesus Christ, my Lord and savior. Amen.

Marriage Is Worth Fighting For, Part 2

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Marriage is not guaranteed to be easy. I am a living breathing testimony of this. What marriage is, however, is a union (built on love) of a man and a woman who [should] enter with the acknowledgement that they are binding two lives together as one, for better or worse, until death do they part. The truth of the matter is that we, as human beings, have a habit of allowing life to take over, and not always prioritizing the things in life that matter the most. We allow ourselves to become busy, distracted, and at times overwhelmed. In any relationship, but especially a marriage, this can be detrimental.

Another challenge in a marriage (and the primary topic of today’s post) is when a couple does not share the same faith. Maybe I should have said the same level of faith. I’m not talking when one spouse is Baptist, and the other Methodist. I’m more talking about when one spouse has faith, and puts their trust in God – and relies on His guidance for their life and their family — all the while the other spouse has not come to know the same faith in God. As you may imagine, this can put stress or strain on a relationship. When one half of the equation does not equal the other half, confusion will occur. Things may be very clear to the believing spouse, and the non-believing spouse may just not get it. (Whatever the “it” is in the equation.) In such cases, frustration ensues.

If a person is not grounded in faith, it may be difficult for them to maintain the same morals and values their believing spouse has. What may be especially difficult in the relationship if both go into the marriage as being non-actively believing and then one spouse comes to know Jesus. The one non-believing spouse may now feel alienated, wondering why things have to change. They may liken a new faith in Christ to a negative connotation because it is something they do not understand.

As is with anything unsure or not understood, they may even resort to abusive behavior – physical or mental. This is not okay, and should not be tolerated. If you are ever, or know anyone in this situation, please seek help. At a bare minimum, seek marriage counseling, and if warranted, seek emergency services. Your physical health and your life are more important. Even in the midst of these extreme situations, God is capable of bringing healing and restoration. God’s healing hand reaches out, and can touch even the hardest of hearts.

The entire thought process I’m trying to explain in further detail is that it’s imperative that two people in any relationship, especially a marriage be on the same page. Two lives form as one. If on different wavelengths, things will not work well. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus, and Jesus at the center of your relationship.

If you are in a marriage where your spouse does not share the same (or any) faith as you, not all hope is lost. Again, for the sake of this blog post, I will continue with part 3 soon.

Know this, friends – if you are reading this and can identify with any part of it, you have my prayers and encouragement. Do not hesitate to contact me by leaving a comment or my “contact me” page. I will be happy to listen, talk and pray with you. This is not something you need or have to walk through alone. Be blessed, and know that hope is real…and it is for you!

Chris Habermehl – All Things New CD Release Concert – January 6, 2013

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Last night was a phenomenal CD release concert from Chris Habermehl – Skyline Church’s worship pastor. He leads Skyline in worship Sunday mornings. In time, I will be doing separate posts about the songs on Chris’s new CD. Please know I speak the truth when I mention what an amazing heart Chris has – for God and for people. What a blessing it is to be able to hear his heart through music on such a regular basis as well. I know God will use the music from Chris’s new CD to touch and share His love in the lives of countless people.

I’d like to personally say thank you to Chris for following after the heart of God with the passion that you do. It is an honor to call you and your beautiful family my friends and to do life together with you guys. Thank you for making this concert possible, and for sharing the talents God has given you. You are very much a blessing.