Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

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It's been a great year! A busy one. So much that I should have written about (so much!), but didn't. There we so many moved moments that my pen (or fingers) failed to paint (by typing) in hopes to capture and hold to later vividly remember. I suppose it's because I had less quiet time, less by myself time, less down time, less time to get into the zone and spill out in black & white typed verbiage all that the day had filled me with. I look back on the empty pages for day.. after day.. after day.. until after month after month....... and my lack, my failure to, it seriously saddens me.

I'm tired. It's less than an hour left in this 2012 year, but I knew that I had to stop if even long enough just to say something (anything) to acknowledge and to end this year with before laying this head of mine down on its bed.

But.. I am so sleepy. I don't think my eyes will stay open very long, and my brain is already in its slo-mo mode and shutting down without my will or my wanting it to....

I just wanted to end my year by thanking God! By praising Him for the goodness of all of His blessings! I am blessed beyond measure! I'll never be able to thank Him enough. He's always always there. And He always provides. Always protects. Always grants and gives......................

Always... so many always!

Hopefully by tomorrow there is more to come... but tonight I can no longer hold these eyes of mine open... I'm exhausted! But a good exhaustion.... And now, "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake........................."
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

He continues to speak!

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I suppose in my lack to blog very much lately, every once and a while something is still so massively profound in my moment that I feel that I have to find a way to type words to share the evidence to someone of its happening. Instead of posting here at the time, I texted my best friend of its woe-ness.

I am post-dating this post to its actual date of November 28, 2012. Yet, I am actually typing this recording on January 6, 2013. Reason being, I have been reading the past posts of 2012 and just came across my post on January 8 ("Who are You? Show me more of Your "Who"-ness"). Woe! Might I just say "WOE!" to what I'd just read?! I had forgotten all that. But upon my reading it again and it refreshing my memory, it reminded me of a very similar happening all over again exactly ten months and twenty days later.

Here is it is just as I had captured it in a few texts between my friend and I on this date (Nov 28) in my 2012 year..


Me (11:42 a.m.): This is where I am today... preparing our Wednesday night meal for our Tutwiler ladies. I'm overwhelmed!! It's so much! It's so good! How do you capsule the wow-ness and wonder of something God has said? I can hardly sit still here as I read it. I keep getting up and shaking my head as I attempt to consume one morsel right after another. I am woe-ed in a magnified sense!!!! Prayers are greatly appreciated!!


Her (11:45 a.m.): I see a "but"...


Me (11:45 a.m.): Yes, you do!!!!!... and many more!!!! But's can change the world!!!


Her (5:14 p.m.):  Father, as Sharon speaks tonight allow Your Spirit to FLOW & FILL!!

Use her reverence to Your glory!

May those who hear be CHANGED! Wanting evermore of YOUR Presence!!!

Thank You for granting, giving & bountifully blessing our lives! You are lavish, Lord!

I praise You in advance for Your working / hovering tonight!

We adore You, Lord! And praise You through Your precious Son's Name! Amen


Me (5:15 p.m.): Woe!!! I was painting my face and talking to God. In my conversation I brought up Mikayla, asking Him about her again, but not expecting Him to say anything about it. I "amen"ed and turn my Pandora on. And the first song that came on was a song I'd never heard of before. WOE!! Look up the lyrics, I was blown away: What Life Would Be Like, by Big Daddy Weave. Added even to the importance of the words, is the artists God has singing it. Big Daddy Weave always reminds me of God (our Ultimate 'Big Daddy' weaving the story)!


Her (5:37 p.m.):  The song...
 
I wish I was more of a man.
Have you ever felt that way?
And if I had to tell you the truth,
I'm afraid I'd have to say
That after all I've done and failed to do
I feel like less than I was meant to be.
 
And what if I could fix myself?
Maybe then I could get free.
I could try to be some body else
Who's much better off than me.
But I need to remember this
That it's when I'm at my weakest
I can clearly see.
 
[Chorus]
He made the lame to walk,
and the dumb to talk
And He opened blinded eyes to see
That the sun rises on His time,
Yet He knows our deepest desperate need.
And the world waits, while His heart aches,
To realize the dream.
I wonder what life would be like
if we let Jesus live through you and me...
Yeah.
 
What if you could see yourself
through another pair of eyes?
What if you could hear the truth
instead of old familiar lies?
And what if you could feel inside
The power of the Hand that made the Universe
You'd realize...
 
[Chorus]
He made the lame to walk,
and the dumb to talk
And He opened blinded eyes to see
That the sun rises on His time,
Yet He knows our deepest desperate need.
And the world waits, while His heart aches,
To realize the dream.
I wonder what life would be like
if we let Jesus live through you and me...
Yeah
 
All our hearts, they burn within us.
All our lives, we've longed for more.
So let us lay our lives before
The One who gave His life for us.
 
[Chorus]
He made the lame to walk, and the dumb to talk
And He opened blinded eyes to see
That the sun rises on His time,
Yet He knows our deepest desperate need
And the world waits, while His heart aches,
To realize the dream.
I wonder what life would be like
if we let Jesus live through you and me..
Yeah
 
Let Him live through you and me... yeah
 



Me (9:26 p.m.): Thank you for sending me that. It's the "He made the lame walk, and the dumb talk. And He opened blinded eyes to see.." that got me. It reminded me of the verse that God once gave me after asking Him specifically if He was going to heal her. The verse targeted her lameness, her speechlessness, and her blindness. (Matt 15:30-31, "Great crowds came to Him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at His feet; and He healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.") Why do I ever doubt?

By the way, we had the best, best, best, best, best night in prison tonight!!!! Thanks for praying. I love God!!!!!
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Inquiring minds want to know...

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I was thinking this morning.... Here is my question, my query, my ponder, my wonder: Who is it that really asks the questions? Is it me? Or maybe, just maybe, could it be, I wonder,.. could it be Somebody else?

Here's why I'm asking...


God so often asked questions to those we read of in the Bible. He asked it to those in sin, to those in hiding, to those running away from home, to those in distress, to those in trouble, to those in despair, to those in doubt, to those being tempted, to those being critiqued, to those in tears,... etc.

For example:

  • "Where are you?"
  • "What is this you have done?"
  • "Why are you angry? Why has your countenance fallen?"
  • "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and don't do what I say?"
  • "Where have you come from? And where are going?"
  • "Why are you troubled?"
  • "What do you want?"
  • "Do you want to get well?"
  • "Why are you crying?"
  • "Who is it that you are looking for?"
  • "Why do you doubt?"
  • "Why are you fearful?"
  • "Do you believe that I am able to do this?"
  • "Is My arm too short to save?"
  • "Is anything too hard for the Lord?"

I am curious today about our questions to Him. When we ask God a question, is it really us that has asked it, or is it God that has put the question inside our hearts and minds to ask Him?? Has He given us the question to ask because He knows our need and our wants, and He knows that we have need for Him to answer it?

Even though (with those questions) some times (many times!) we feel the answers seem a long time in coming, He still says, "Seek, and you will find." "Ask, and you will receive." .... My wonder today is 'who/Who' is really doing the asking? And with that Who, no doubt it is His desire to give us the answer? Or to at least give us His peace in just knowing He knows even when we don't... and knowing He cares even when we don't like what is (or isn't) going on around us? 

Hmmm... today I have a whole new vision of our asking God questions... especially the hard ones that are so raw and real and gut-retching that cries our heart's hurts and our heart's bleeds and our life's disappointments.

I wonder (as I ask this question today) if HE is really the One that gave it to me to ask Him? :)
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

When shalt nots... still do!

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Okay. So I've blogged about it before. It's not new. But, on some days, the line looms over me. And though it doesn't laugh, nor does it mock or make fun, it doesn't beat over the head or badger, it doesn't reprimand or yell in frustration...  No! Instead, it whispers, it reminds, it tries to convict and convince!

The line?

"The Lord is my Shepherd I shall NOT  w.a.n.t...." (emphasis mine!!!!)

The LORD is my Shepherd...... 

I. 

shall. 

NOT

w-a-n-t!! 

Ugh! I might have a problem! Because right now, my wanter's wanting!

It wanted a month ago. It wanted again a couple of weeks after. And it's wanting again for tomorrow and this weekend.

It wanted in Illinois. Then it wanted in Tennessee. Now it's wanting in South Carolina. In about two weeks, it'll be wanting in Pennsylvania! 

Ow!!

I ache with want-itis! And then, I'm horrified and overcome with the guilt for wanting... when we are NOT to! My 'shalt not' shalts when it's told that it shouldn't!

What do you do then... when your wanter wants? You try to stifle it. You whine about it. You complain about it. You pity yourself. You wrap yourself in sorrow. You sulk. Your brows furrow. Your mouth frowns. Your whole demeanor becomes downcasted. You grab your laptop and start typing. In your despair, you blog about it.

"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want." 

What is it I'm wanting, you wonder?

Short and simple: Him! The Lord! My Shepherd!!! The Great I Am! His word! His voice! His wonder! What He says! A message from the Great God Almighty! My Father in Heaven! The overwhelming feeling / knowing / filling / wrapping / wearing of His Presence!

There's a Living Proof Live with Beth Moore tomorrow in Charleston, South Carolina! There was one in Moline, Illinois that I had tickets to back at the end of July that I missed due to other circumstances. There was one in Knoxville, Tennessee two weeks after that. There will be one in Reading, Pennsylvania on September 15th.................... I so wanted to be there! I so want to go! To experience the wonder! To share in the worship! To praise Him with the multitude! To break the Bread with a whole host of sisters! To bask in His pleasure with synced awe in our hearts and our voices with so many soaring the same soar all around me! To...................................

Oh Lord, see me long and desire and seek to see You! Show up and show me all that You want me to hear and to see all alone here in the quiet and the loneness all by myself here in my room! It's You I want.. and You I crave to hear... You can speak with Your voice.. in Your Word... without using the mouth of one of Your teachers. That's what I'm seeking. That's what I'm craving. That's what I'm wanting... not her, not them, not all of that, not what they can give, but YOU!

So, yes, indeed, it truly is true! "The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want" ... because You alone (as my Shepherd) knows and can satisfy all of my need! For it's not the other sheep that I'm longing for. It is the Shepherd Himself that my heart hungers after!

And the best part of it is, even more than I want to see and hear You, no doubt, You want me to hear and to see You even more than I do! Come Lord Jesus, Your servant is here... Your servant is looking, Your servant is listening! This sheep baaas and cries out in need and in want to her Shepherd that longs for Him to draw her near, to hear His whispered words, and for Him to hold her......
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Oh my goodness! He's so cute!!!

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I HAVE MADE A NEW FRIEND!! 

Oh my goodness, I mean, I've recently had the sweetest encounter with a bullfrog! A "first" encounter that has quickly turned into a nightly one!

It was a week ago. I was outside with my dogs (all three of them!). Every night for the previous several I had seen a huge bullfrog sitting on the sidewalk right next to my front door. That particular night I was trying to make one of my dogs see him, but the dog was blind to the frog because of his color and his stillness (without any movement, he carried a close resemblance to a rock). So (in my effort to help my dog see) I got a small stick in order to poke him and to force from him some movement. Only the poke didn't do that. The poke failed its purpose. The poke evoked a whole different reaction than the one that I was expecting. The nudge from the stick didn't budge him! Instead, he just leaned into it as if he invited it! He leaned in such a way that it lead me to believe that he wanted me to continue! 

And so, that's just what a did! I didn't necessarily poke anymore, I rubbed. I scratched. He squinted his eyes like it felt so good! He leaned to whichever side I scratched him on. When I went to scratch him under his neck, he closed his eyes and literally LAID on the sidewalk so that he could rub into the stick all that much harder! It was priceless! Adorable! I thought he was going to turn upside down! I stayed out there talking to that silly thing forever. I came back in and texted my kids, letting them know of my new-found wonder! I immediately named him! I didn't ponder but a minute before I dubbed him "Jeremiah"! Surely (though my kids don't!) you remember the song and can sing the line with me: "Jeremiah was a bullfrog, a good good friend of mine...."

I am astounded at his seeming this-feels-so-good-oh-please-don't stopness...I told one of my kids, "Maybe it's Prince Charming coming on a mission to look for one of my daughters???" I've warned Mr. Charming that I'm already married! And yet, with his sleepy squinting eyes, he already appears to be smitten. Entranced. In-love forever!

video
After massaging the critter that first night, I came in boasting about him to my husband. I went back after a little bit to look for him again, but upon not finding him, I guessed he'd gone back into the bushes for the night. That didn't stop me from squatting down to look for him. It didn't stop me from calling him. "Jeremiah! Jeremiah! Hey you, where'd you go?" I whistled. I clicked-clicked (that thing that you do when you're calling an animal with your tongue). He didn't answer. Didn't appear. Didn't come back. But hey, I tried again the next night. And I'll be, I found him almost instantly! I had my stick ready... and he was ready for it! He was there to enjoy the moment again! It was a Kodak moment!

So cute!! I told God that, "I am so impressed with all that You've made!" I told Him, "I love Your creation! I love Your creatures! I love their uniqueness! I love their surprises! I love their differences!"

I've seen him every night since! I go out multiple times just to scratch and massage on him a minute. And to think... it all started with a poke! That poke that soon developed into a friendship!

You know... we can learn some deep lessons from that small thing. Our reactions to a poke doesn't always have to be what the norm is. A poke (even if done in meanness or madness or aggravatedness or provokeness), if reacted abnormally, it might could actually turn into something beautiful!

My girls in prison get "poked" a lot in order to provoke a negative reaction! To start a fight. To prove a point. To show seniority. But woe, what if we did what the frog did?!! What if we leaned in toward the person that poked us? What if we didn't get so defensive? What if we didn't get so mad? What if we attempted instead to start a friendship? What if we stunned the person with our sweetness despite the poke? Despite the hit? Despite the harsh words meant to start a fight?

Don't you just love what God will use to teach us? I think He sent him to me! I think He smiles at us (me and Jeremiah) when we sit outside for a few minutes each night and play with each other! I think that He likes that we enjoy each other! :) Can you only imagine even more what He'd think if we did the same toward a pokey-person!
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I didn't swoon!

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 I went to my ex-boyfriend's (like... a zillion years ago's ex) dad's funeral's visitation with a high school friend a couple of weeks ago... AND... I... didn't... even.... swoon! 

I didn't get butterflies! I didn't ache! Didn't yearn! Didn't hurt! Didn't wallow. Didn't waver. Didn't lose my head and get all caught up in a yesterday's year. I didn't lose myself. Or get weirded out or nervous. I didn't miss what we had and thus mourn for it. Our no-longer-"us" didn't sadden me sorrowfully as it so often used to... Seriously, I barely even thought about it! 

I thanked God a thousand times over for healing what I (at one time) thought would never stop bleeding! I LOVED seeing his mom!!!! She grabbed me tight and hugged me twice!!! She said she had just been talking about me to somebody the other day and wondering whatever had happened to me. It was exciting, too, to see his brothers! It was a sweet time. I loved seeing them all again! I noted his wife was beautiful! In a different season (had I first known her without him), I'm sure, I would have automatically liked her. It was a sad occasion (I LOVED his daddy!!!!!!), but he'd been sick for 16 years, so in reality, it was truly considered by all (for him) to be a blessing!! I was so glad I went.


In my excitement to my failed "swoon" reaction, I texted a friend (who just might be as surprised as I was that I didn't!) to tell her. She texted me back. "I'm glad that God "made all things new" at the funeral for you!!! How good! how God!!!".

And yes, indeed, it was! It was good! It was God! I was glad! It WAS "all made new"! It was incredible! I really (as I've earlier said) couldn't thank God enough!

I. Didn't. Swoon! 

Did you get that?! 

I didn't swoon!!! 

I (ME!!!)... 

Did... 

NOT... 

Swoon

That, my friend, was a biggie! A miracle! A phenomenon! A gift of the sweetest kind from my Savior!

And then...

I still was not swooning, but (after a whole week and a half had gone by) my mind was still thinking about it! I kept picturing the moment. Kept seeing us standing there. Kept visualizing it. Kept reliving it. Kept playing it back. He wasn't who he used to be, but he was still so him! I couldn't help but hope that he thought that I looked pretty (exceptionally so!). My mind kept wondering what he must have been thinking? My mind kept wondering what his mind still thinks? My mind kept wondering if his mind kept wondering? My mind kept wondering if he had wished he could have talked more to me?

Is that silly or what?! Stupid! Crazy! Irrelevant! Ridiculous! Embarrassing! Why did I wonder really? What does it matter? What difference does it make? 


I can't tell you how much that I had hoped that he'd call me, text me, email me, FB message me.  I didn't really, yet kind of did(!), think he'd do something! Say something! Find me! Make his presence known! Speak some sort of way! Acknowledge the happening. Thank me for coming. Not just leave it there, do some kind of thing! 

But!

He didn't!

And I wasn't surprised...but I WAS! In reality, I really was! Not knowing I'd expect it, I expected something!

But he didn't!

Crazily, I wasn't sad. It didn't hurt me that he didn't. And though I wanted to hear from him, I didn't at all want it to get something started. Just a quick "hi, glad you came" and "you're welcome, how could I not?" would have sufficed. OR, at least my mind told me it would! But with all the obsessing, wondering, thinking.... I realize now that it wouldn't have. I'm afraid that after he'd spoken that just a quick speak wouldn't be enough. I probably would have expected him to say something again after I responded to what he said.

And now? Realizing all of that. I'm so glad that he didn't! I'm so glad that he didn't open a door that would have been havoc and so hard and so painful again to close! I can't tell you how much I have thanked God for that door not being opened! I went through that several years back... and it took a fierce fight to shut that once-opened-again door back again!

You are my Shield, Oh Lord! My Provider! My Protector! My Very Great Reward! Thank You for Your love! Thank You much for protecting me! Thank You for knowing what I need! And thank You especially, Lord, for knowing what I do not! And too, as silly as it sounds, thank You, Lord, for times when old girls after a whole lot of years don't swoon anymore over very old yesterday's boys.....
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

A rant and a rave and a convicted "I'm sorry"

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I have been readying myself for travel! For a visit with a very special friend... one that I've not seen in eons... one that I've missed a lot (a lot! a lot! a lOt! a LoT! A LOT!)! And during our visit, our plans included our attending a Beth Moore Living Proof Live event that she bought tickets to while we're at it. 


I've been readying for months. I (against everything in my nature) had even begun packing my luggage. I've shopped for new mascara, more hair spray, more of the hygiene items that I am almost out of. I've been watching what I eat, hoping to whittle away a little extra. I just recently started tanning. I had scheduled a hair appointment for the day before my planned departure. I've found a place to house my 3 dogs while I'm gone. I've made arrangements to rent a vehicle because mine doesn't seem so reliable. I've picked out the outfits that I'll be wearing and am thrilled that I don't have to do any shopping. I've got the shoes! I've got her a gift. I've cleared my calendar. I'm prepared! I had begun the countdown.


And then...


Life sometimes has an unkind way of changing your already-ready-made-really-want-to plans. Something else came up (my mama's coming to town)... and it fell-ed all the plans that I have made down.

I emailed my friend last week:


"Bridget, I know this may sound silly... but I so very much am wanting this trip. I have bowed out of meetings and conferences and appointments of all sorts trying to rearrange my schedule and clear my calendar so that I can make this thing happen at the end of the month. Wildly, everything under the sun seems to be happening at that particular moment! The latest thing thrown at me seems so radically far-fetched and out of my radar... I wouldn't have expected it. With all of the craziness in my mama's world, if she wants to come here I cannot even being to try to talk her into going some place else. But I am wanting God to do something so Him that it works out without me having to shoo her away. I'd rather it be her idea and not mine.. but it will take an act of God for that to happen. Pray!!! Please pray that He will do something... that He Himself will work it out! I am still preparing... still trying to get things ready... still anticipating, and even in my disappointment still not giving up. Crazily, Ta (my son) will be in Florida, Tim (my husband) in Georgia, Sabrina (my daughter) in Gulf Shores... and supposedly me in Illinois so I already even had the dogs (all 3!) lined up for their spend-over nights some place else... and if you know me very well, I don't do that! It truly doesn't look doable right now, but I am so very much sitting at God's feet asking for a miracle! I need it!!! And even more selfishly, I just plain out want it badly! For it to happen, I am asking that you fervently team up with me as I go to Him in prayer about it."


She told me, "Teaming with ouY!!!"


In my pitiful desperation I emailed again: "Thank you... I don't know when I've been so serious! Oh Lord, I beg Your grace, Your mercy, Your kindness, Your compassion, Your favor... please hear, please consider, please answer, please grant my plea. I feel in such need! I need a Word, I need a friend, I need an absence for a few days, I need a refreshing, a refueling, a renewing, a re-firing, some iron sharpening iron..... I need so much! Your will, dear Lord, please work things out so that I can visit my friend at this month's end. In Your Sweet Son's Name, Jesus, my heart pleads............



It's been a whole week, so yesterday my friend texted me, "How does it look?!!!"


I (very lengthily) responded, "I hate to "write" my answer in print. My heart's still hopeful, my desire longs more than ever... but I emailed my sister on Tuesday to tell her my situation... and basically it didn't much change anything. She didn't acknowledge that portion of the email at all when she responded. And I talked to mama right after that and she told me that she had just told her that I was getting her room ready... which would be my room really because it's the only bed we have downstairs.


:(


I got online after talking to her to see if Knoxville is sold out in August. Thus far it is not... but I didn't know if I could twist your arm to go if I offered to buy you a ticket??? I'm sad... and feel horrid... and I've not yet been willing to accept it... thus my reason for not saying so before now. But I guess realistically I'm not going to get to come... I guess you should start looking for someone else to go with you. I'll pay for her ticket!!.. and wish it were me!!


And hey, if you're up for Knoxville, I am serious about that!


:(


And then, later that night in my continual ponder, I emailed her... "I am a bit in Stun-Mode. Or maybe it would better be worded as: Stuck on 'Repeat'. My mind is looping over and over and over again around the fact that my next week isn't working out as I had hoped and planned it. Even thinking it might not work out, something inside kept thinking that in the end it would. I guess technically it isn't "the end" yet. But bar my mom getting sick and unable to travel, I can't see it ending any differently. And I feel too guilty to hope for that. I am excited to see her! BUT, any other weekend, but then!!! Maybe God has His reasons?????????????????? Yet inside it seriously doesn't feel like it. Prepared doesn't even begin to give the true visual of all that I've done to get ready to head your direction. I mean truly! Seriously! Really! I'm not kidding!


I can't help myself, I find myself very down about it. Ugh.. but even typing that just now, I am reminded of when you drove to Chicago to hop on a plane for Disney World and got sent home instead and had to wait a couple of extra days (WITHOUT YOUR LUGGAGE) because of plane problems and full flights. I didn't hear you complaining then... while here I go off about it when it in turn happens to me. I'm sorry for that! I suddenly (just now!) feel rightly convicted!


Shall I hush now and go tell God that I am sorry? I should be excited to see my mama! (I am!) She's been gone for a month and a half now! And who knows in her life-span (or mine) how much longer she'll be left here?


I went to two funerals in two days. It's reminded me that our Heavenly Home beckons us and our earthly toil here is such a short one. Shall we not trust God with every day?!!?! Shall we not trust in Him to plan it regardless of how we've planned it ourselves and for Him to change the course of our paths if He sees fit to? For after all, "EVERY DAY ordained for us was written in His book before even one of them came to be"! So doesn't that mean the days of July 26th through July 29th of 2012 has been planned for He Himself as well.. and that He knows what He wants, where He wants, and why He wants it... even if we don't? Wow... I feel like He's preaching to me as He uses my hands to type these words that I didn't think to think before I found myself typing them.


I'll get off here now. I'll hush. I'll go tell God that I'm sorry and that I trust Him. I'll apologize and repent for complaining, for whining, for grumbling and groaning (I've done so very much of that!!!) I'll tell Him (as I remind myself) that my days are in His hands! May He use them how and where and when and why as He wants to until the day He snatches me from this life and takes me Home for eternity.


I love you! And miss you dearly!"


She responded: "I'm saddened!"

And you know... I truly am too. But I also feel better now. I feel better being reminded that we make the plans, but that regardless of the plans we've made, our God directs our path. Father, please forgive me when I whine. If I trust You, then I have complete confidence in how my days are planned and played out regardless of how I first tried to arrange it! Your will, dear Lord, EVERY-DAY rather than mine!
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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Again, awaiting the verdict...

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I found myself sitting yet again in another court room waiting room. On the defendants' side, of course, where faces are plagued with hopeful pleading. An anguished begging inside shows in their every demeanor. A silent plea exuberates from their very presence. They want their loved one set free. They're praying for favor and for their release.


I wonder though what sits in the opposing waiting area? Where the victims' families are waiting. What do their faces show? What do their bodies exude?


If what I've seen in the hearings that I've attended in the past are any evidence of indication of what might sit there... I can only imagine and envision the steam of their wrath rising from the heat that still seethes and simmers and burns within them.


Being "for" is perhaps free-er in some ways than being "against." And yet, I know that that's not always as it is. Even "for"s sometimes seethe. They, too, in their still stale anger, can burn their own blame and their own hatred toward the thing that's happened and the people involved in it. In other words, there's lots of feeling felt in both holding rooms. There's lots of hurt hurting again (or still)! There's lots of blame and shame and pain on both sides of the fence. It's stressful, it's hard, it's tormenting, it's treacherous for everybody... the offender and the offended. The families of both, the friends, and those awaiting the verdict too with them in the prison camp, the teachers, and counselors, and volunteers that have come in to help them.... One person and their actions ripple and reverberate and affect a whole mass of people.


I've been to several hearings hoping for parole in the last couple of weeks. Who knew, but God, that I'd one day find myself here? And in all those cases just recently, everyone has been devastated with saddening news and all their requests have been denied. Already this morning one of our girls, one of my favorites, was put off 3 years. Well, yea, only three, compared to some of the others being put off for five.... but I had so hoped she'd get to go home!


And yet, after her hearing I circled and came back to sit again for another girl. One who isn't in our class. One I don't know well, but Lord God, please hear my cry, please let them today grant her a "Yes!" This girl, at least, Lord! After so many "No"s... please help this one to get "Yes"ed today and get to go home. Please, Lord! Oh please!


I wonder at all the pleas of "please" that are being begged right this very minute as I write and are bombarding in unison the ears right now of my Father in Heaven? So many "please"s, Lord, but only You know! You know what's best. You know who needs to go home and you doesn't need to leave yet. I trust Your "know," Lord, You know what we don't. You hear and see and know our will.... but not our will, Lord God, but Your will alone.
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Friday, May 4, 2012

A hodge-podge of quick catch-up

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Well... it's been a minute since I've been on here. No? It's been almost a month since I've voiced something on this reserved space on the Internet of mine. I'd like to write an excuse to tell why I've been absent. Why I've been gone. Why I've been silent. But I don't really have one. I haven't died. Nothing sadly seriously horrible has happened. I've not been sick. No deaths in the family. I've not slept through the last 29 days. I've still gotten up every morning. I've been busy, but I've not been more busy than normal. I've still gone about the normalcy of my everyday stuff. Honestly? I don't know why I've not written.


I've often had lots to say. Too much to say perhaps. But as I find often, sometimes somethings and feelings and events and findings are too big for words. I've simply failed at knowing how to verbalize them. It's been too hard to capsule my thinking and stuff them into a few black words typed upon the stage of a white canvased page on a computer screen. 


I've been studying a lot. I can't tell you how often in Scripture the words that I've read have jumped into the very depths of my soul and stirred my mind's thinking. How they've moved me to wonder. How they've pierced me to ponder. How they've caused me to plead in prayer the things that they've said and have been saying to me. I wonder at why I've heard them? I wonder at why my Father has said them?


The words that woe (whoa!) me are more times than not the same words that woed / whoaed me the last time that I passed by their stayed place on the pages of Holy Writ and read them. I suppose that God wanted me to see them again. He not only wanted me to remember, He wanted to remind me. He wanted to emphasize the seriousness again. He simply needed to tell me again in case I'd forgotten them. And I have no doubt, I know that with that again telling, that God has reason and purpose in His plan to tell me. It makes me want to get-it deeper this time! It makes me wonder what He's got ahead for me and what He's equipping and preparing me for through His saying in what lies ahead of me on His Divinely Kingdom Prepared Calendar.


I love His voice! I love His Word! I love to hear Him! I love when what He's said hits hard and pierces deep and provokes to thinking to then hopefully move me enough to do and obey them.


Along with basking at the feet of our Great Teacher in the past month, I've sat in a boat load of parole hearings. I've been in and out in the prisons talking more extensively with those people in them. I've picked recently released prisoners up and spent the day with them in their first few breaths of new again felt freedom. I've labored over their hard and have continued to bring so many of them to the Throne of Grace for all the variety of ways that they need Him. I've had the faired share of family crises with my mom and my siblings. And I've both pageant-ed and prom-ed and shared so many fun times with my husband and children. We've had Ups and Downs and All-Arounds... and God is always faithful and GOoD! So GOoD, in fact, that I feel I dare never have reason to complain because even through the trials He's blessed us so greatly!


I make no promises, but I'll do my best to try and go back and catch up on some of the things that have happened in the last month so as to document and not lose memory of those failed-to-be-voiced days that I've been given. I now regret that my fingers have been on lock-down from their typing, I feel too behind now to catch up. The pondering processes in my mind were obviously too slow with too much of a cycling to be able to release my mind's activity to blogged memory. Oh, that I would take time to write every day to record them! If only for me alone, I LOVE to go back and see the trail of where I've walked on this pilgrimage that I've been  assigned to.


"All the days ordained for me have been written in Your book before one of them came to be".... Oh, to see the written ordained days of mine that my God has written! Oh, to know that He not only knows, but that He takes the time to write them!


I'll close with this. I found myself singing these words today before I had time to think of what my mouth was singing. It was only as I sang them that I thought of the words I was saying. "This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior, all the day long. This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior, all the day... Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of Glory Divine! Heir of salvation, purchased of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior, all the day long............" 


Well, I have a story! And I have a song1 And you have a story and a song, as well. Oh, to be able to tell of it while praising your Savior! For if not for Him, my story would be so horribly different!


I read once that during a particular war in the Transvaal in the late 1800s that when the soldiers going to the front were passing other soldiers of theirs in whom they recognized that their greetings used to be, 'Four-nine-four, boys; four-nine-four'.... and their salute would quickly be answered with, 'Six-further-on, boys; six further on.' The significance of this was that in a song book sent to the front, number 494 was "God Be With You Til We Meet Again;".... and six songs past that one ('six further on', on page 500) was "Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine"... this song of which just now that I quoted from above.


Four-nine-four, reader, four-nine-four!


And too, Six-further-one, reader... six-further-on!


We're in such a battle on this earthly sod! May God be with you till we meet again! And may you have that blessed assurance that Jesus is yours as you let Him write your story and you sing His song!
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Dressing Our Mess

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I read her post several times. And as I commented to her, I loved it anew with every new next time that I read it. I love the statement that she opens her post with, "Every time we get dressed we tell the story of the Fall of humanity"...

Hmmm... EVERY TIME(!!!) we get dressed!!!

EVERY TIME that we get dressed(!!!).. we tell the story of the Fall of humanity! 

How true that is, I told her! How perfectly "fitting" to sum up our dressing! I've realized for years that we do a whole lot of dress-ups, but Carole Chaput put a whole new spin on my mind's thinking of it. Click here: Dressing Our Mess if you'd like to be as blessed as I was! I'm sure you'll find (as I did) that the picture she paints is a profound one! Enjoy! Profoundly said, Carole, thanks so much for sharing! I'd say more... but I don't need to. Why? Because she did. :)
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Thursday, April 5, 2012

That's what they did to my Savior

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Betrayed. Denied. Falsely accused. Tried. Condemned. Convicted. Rejected. Ridiculed. Persecuted. Mocked. Beaten. Bruised. Scourged. Flogged. Whipped. Ripped. Split open. Spit upon. Slapped. Hit. Shamed. Nailed. Hung. Yelled at. Scorned. Despised. Shunned. Scoffed at. Pierced. Plotted against....


That's what they did to my Savior! 


While He... was lead to His death, He was as silent as a lamb before them. And while hanging in agony upon the tree that held Him, He pleaded with His Father, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do"........ 


WHO, but a Savior, does that?!


"They" weren't the only ones that did this. WE did it too! I did! And He died anyway... knowing we would!


I remember a long ago Sunday morning. I was by myself. Driving old winding country roads to the old country church that I grew up in where my parents still attended. I was living a lie, I was ensnared by the enemy, caught in an evil trap, doing things that I knew better to do because a Christian is taught not to do them... And yet, I was doing it anyway, but hiding it. All the while, still wearing the fake facade, the masquerade, still pretending to be what I wasn't, being a full-fledged hypocrite and hating myself for it. On that morning driving toward that church I heard this song below play on my radio... and the agony of the reality while I listened and tears streamed is what started the change in me. I couldn't bear the thought of hurting (again) the Savior Who died to set me free! 


Does He Still Feel the Nails
by Ray Botlz


They tell me Jesus died
For my transgressions
That He paid that price a long, long time ago
When He gave His life for me
On a hill called Calvary
But there's something else I want to know

(Chorus)
Does He still feel the nails
Every time I fail
Can He hear the crowd cry "Crucify" again
Am I causing Him pain
Then I know I've got to change
I just can't bear the thought of hurting Him.

It seems that I'm so good at breaking promises
And I treat His precious grace so carelessly
But each time He forgives
What if He re-lives
The agony He felt on that tree

(Chorus)
Does He still feel the nails
Every time I fail
Can He hear the crowd cry "Crucify" again
Am I causing Him pain
Then I know I've got to change
I just can't bear the thought of hurting Him.

Holy Holy
Holy is the Lord
Holy Holy
Holy is the Lord

Do You still feel the nails
Every time I fail
Have I crucified You, Jesus, with my sins
I really want to change
I never want to hurt you again


Holy Holy
Holy is the Lord
Holy Holy
Holy is the Lord
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Sunday, April 1, 2012

What was it like?

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What was it like for Jesus? What was it like for Him on the week before His crucifixion? What was it like on the days leading up to it? What was it like on Sunday... on Monday... on Tuesday, and Wednesday, and then the morning of Thursday?


What did His mind think? What did His heart feel? What did His prayers pray? I can't imagine... though I wonder.... what was it like?


Often a horror can happen in our life. Something the likes that we've not thought of or prepared ourselves for. Something that devastates, robs, hurts, beats, bleeds, persecutes, excruciates, steals, kills, destroys, and leaves us raw and writhing and desperate. And yet, when that kind of thing happens to us rarely do we know it ahead of time... Rarely do we anticipate it with troubled throbbed heartbeats of fear, or I don't want it to, or I wish it wouldn't, so that we might pray against it ahead of time. What was it like for Jesus... to know in advance? To know what those days were leading Him toward and taking Him to? Each tick and each tock clicked Him closer..... What was it like for Him to feel that?


I know it's what He came for. I know He knew that that was what He came for. Yet even He prayed that if it didn't have to, for it not to happen. What was it like as He sweated those great drops of blood bowing before His Father in pained begging anguish? Splayed in the garden, laid out before Him, telling His Father that He didn't want it, but that He'd do it still if His Father wanted it for Him? What was it like for His Father to hear Him? To see Him? To watch Him? To feel Him? To know Him? To hurt with Him?


And yet.............they Both did it anyway! For me! And for you! Because we would be lost and doomed to Hell without it.


What was it like? The suffering? The anguish? Who did it, did what He both did and didn't want to do..... He did it "'for the joy set before Him"... the joy that was me, and was you, and was all those that He fights for everyday to save in order to one day take to His Kingdom!


What was it like? 


Wow... at the price He paid for me! Knowing my sin. Knowing my wrong. Knowing my rebellion. Knowing I'd hurt Him. He did it anyway.


What was it like? What did He think? It's something that cannot be fathomed. And yet, His focus was on my face, on your face, on the face of your loved ones, on the face of your enemies (who He still seeks to save!)... and the joy of the knowing that He was one day closer to bringing those who love Him Home!
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Saturday, March 31, 2012

His Word that's sent is sent to "do"

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After yesterday's post... it slapped me back into an old yesterday... a moment that I've lived many times with my Lord. I've written about something similar before... like I said, after yesterday's post, I had to re-post this particular old post again....



Wow! I cried all the way home from church (not that its very far, but nevertheless, I cried the whole way of it). Then, I let my dog outside in my backyard (as soon as I walked through the front door I walked out the back) and cried more with my LORD out there under those stars... in total awe of Him....

....because just as He spoke, just as "the word came" to man all those years ago... it STILL COMES. He STILL speaks(!) Just as He did then, He still does so now..... He still sends forth His Word (to accomplish the purpose for which He sent it!), and it still does (exactly what it was sent forth to do!).

I am awed at His voice! I'm amazed at the wonder of Him. He blows my mind. I want to know Him, and hear the words that He has sent forth to me to say. My heart feels just as Samuel answered Him when Samuel finally realized and knew that it was the LORD Himself that was calling his name,... I want to say to the LORD as he said to Him: "Speak, for Your servant is listening."

I want His Word that He has sent forth and spoke so specifically to me, as He this time called my name, to accomplish the work that it was sent forth to do. God told Samuel when He called his name: "And the LORD said to Samuel: "See, I am about to do something...."" And that's it, that's why He called..... and that's the very reason He always calls... He calls to "do something!".... Every time! Every time(!), every time(!), every time(!), every time(!), every time(!) that He calls, He calls, because He's "about to do something!"

That's what it's all about! His Word "doing!" His Word doing something! His Word sent forth to accomplish it's purpose! His Word sent forth to do His will. His Word is alive and active.... and His Word "does!"

Wow!!! ... He's just so wow!!!

Today I was tired-er than tired! I don't know that I've ever felt so bad from being so tired. I felt dizzy, I felt drunk, I felt horrible. I went to bed sometime after 6 this morning, and Boo got me up @ 10. I fully intended to lay back down, because I felt so wretched, sick even... but I started studying and never did lay back down again. I studied one chapter, but had plans on teaching another. I don't know what in the world I was thinking... I was just so into what I was studying. The time went faster than I would have liked, it was soon time to pick the kids up, but before I left I went ahead and printed out the chapter, but still had yet to put the first thing down on paper for our handout. I felt so bad between the hours of picking up kids and the hour for church to start that I seriously thought the whole time that I would not be able to make it for lack of being able to function for it. I was just feeling so sick. Anyway, after the kid pick-up I sat at my computer with my chapter in hand and begin to type questions that we would use for our night. I wasn't thrilled at all with our lesson. I was even less thrilled with what I put on paper.......

............. but after all, it's HIS Word. His Breath. His fire. His Son! - for "in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God!".... He's fully able to make it breathe and feed... for it's "alive and active." And whoa, was His message full of Splendor and Glory tonight!!!! I'm so amazed at Him!!!! Spoke to me He did; and I needed speaking to! I saw a class, too, of little ears turned to hear, and eyes seeking to see, I saw hearts being moved... His lesson (what first did not thrill me) thrilled!!!!

I didn't know tonight's message until He spoke it to me there. I had no idea. You would think I had nothing to do with the planning of it (and I grin as I say that, because I didN'T!).

I got in the car to come home. I told you that I cried with Him there. Usually I have someone riding with me. Tonight I did not. I didn't need to, I needed to speak with Him Alone. And as I talked with Him the verse that talks about "a hope for which we are called" came into my mind. I thought: We're called to a hope! We're called to a hope! We are called.... to a hope! What's the "hope" that I've been called for? What's the "hope" to which I've been "called to"? "The Word" in my care that was sent to me, to "which I was called" as it came forth to accomplish its purpose?

1 Samuel 3 tells us that, "The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of His words fall to the ground."

Do I hold onto each word spoken to me, sent forth directly to me, and keep them from falling to the ground? As the Word is compared to the Sower and His Seed, how am I doing with His Seed? Do I shush the birds away as Satan tries to steal it? Do I feel the thrill of it's joy when I first hear what He's spoken to me, but then let it die in a short while because it had no root to grow? When "trouble or persecution" comes, am I guilty of doing opposite of what Samuel did and let His Words fall to the ground? Do I ignore the things that are put there to distract me (worries, desires, worldly stuff) or do I fall for their distraction? Can I say that I really: "hear the Word"... and "accept it"(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) while it produces its crop (30, 60, or even a 100 fold)?

How am I doing with His Word?? How am I doing with the Seed that He's given me? How am I doing with the "hope" to which I was called.

I had to look up that verse when I got home, the one about the "hope to which you were called." I didn't have it quoted just right for the versions that I usually use, so I'm not sure if I've got it mis-quoted some or couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. But it's meaning to me sent me on a treasure hunt. For I felt (after Him saying some of the things that He said in class tonight), that we've each been "called" for a specific thing; we each have our "word" that He's called us "for" and "to" to accomplish the thing that He's about to "do." ["And the LORD said to Samuel: "See, I am about to do something...."" - 1 Sam 3:11]. After finding the verses in Ephesians 4, I saw them differently than I've ever seen them before. It was so huge, and too huge to attempt and to try to write here. I'm just blown away with God & His whole everything!!! I'm just 'wowed' beyond words...... And I guess I just wanted to sing to someone and give Him praise tonight, for all the wonderful things that He does do!

Again I shall quote what He said, He said: "...to Samuel: "See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. At that time I will carry out....." [1 Sam. 3:11,12]. I absolutely LOVE those words!!! "See, I am about to do something!!!!!", He said! "See".... I'm about "to do something!".... I'm about to do something that "will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle! At that time I will carry out (dot, dot, dot).................." He sends forth His Word... He tells what His Word will do, His Word tells of it's accomplishment, He sends it forth as He speaks it to the one that will hear... it's sent "to do" His "something" that He's sent it to do. He sends forth His Word... then, when the time comes for His Word to accomplish its Work. then, "at that time [He] will carry [it] out!" He's just so HUGE!

I don't know if all this makes sense, but if able I could write volumes more... but on top of it just being too big of a God-thing to write, I'm incredibly tired... and morning comes early!

night!... i just felt the need to tell of His Glory,
His Light doth Shine!




Friday, March 30, 2012

He's prepared in advance the work He's called me to do.

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Wow, glancing back over my blog, I realize that there's so much that I have not posted about. The last couple of weeks have held one whoa-ing wonder after another. I hate that I didn't make myself stop long enough to record it. It's way too much to attempt to gather into a cup to serve now. But wow, I so wish I had.. I so wish I could!


I feel like I've been around the world and back. But that's a great exaggeration. I've stayed within the limits of my own state, yet let me say, we've put some miles on some wheels in the last 14 days. We've been in lots of prisons. And oh at the people that I've had the opportunity to be touched by! I LOVE my "job"... even if I don't get paid. :) The rewards I'm blessed with far exceed what silver and gold have to offer me.


Back in Tutwiler for another Wednesday night service was such fun! Who knew that prison would feel so much like "home"? I've said it a thousand times and will say it thousands of times more, I love those girls that God has graced me the opportunity to serve!


I took a young girl (22 yrs old) with me on Wednesday. It was her first visit. Her first experience. She got in the vehicle afterward wildly ecstatic! She said, "Oh my goodness, you were all over the place in the lesson, but I can't believe how every next thing, every next verse, every next example, every next story so perfectly intertwined and fit and tied together!" She said, "They loved you!" She said, "My heart was burning!!! I mean, it was burning!! It literally hurt!! My heart has never burned like that before!!"


I reminded her of the two men that Luke 24 tells us of on their walk to Emmaus after Jesus had been crucified. I reminded her of how at first they didn't recognize Jesus when He appeared and walked with them. I reminded her of how we're told that Jesus started with Moses and all the Prophets and explained to them all of what was said concerning Him in all the Scriptures. And then I reminded her of when their eyes were opened and they recognized Him and He disappeared from their sight what they said to each other: "Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"! That's the kind of burning in our hearts that only Jesus can give! That's the kind of burning inside that I long for, and constantly long for more of!


She loved it! She loved the ladies! She could so relate. Her mom had spent some time in prison. So had other members of her family. So when she had the opportunity to pray with any of those girls that asked her to, she was all over it! She was beckoning the power of Heaven to come down on them. Let me tell you something, that girl can pray!


It was awesome! We had a tremendous time together! She was like me, when it was time to go, neither one of us was ready to leave.


One particular girl came up to me afterward. Her name was Sabrina, the same name as my youngest child. She said to me, "I want to do what you do!! I know that it's what God is calling me to!"


Wow! Powerful! I told her then to take advantage of every minute of time that she was given here! To keep her face in God's Word, to stay seated (like Mary) at the feet of Jesus! To not only serve her time here until her sentence was done, but to serve her Savior in the place that He's got her! I prayed that God would mold her unto a mighty warrior and that He would use her in ways her mind cannot even begin to fathom.


I left there thanking God a zillion times. I've said it ["Thank YOU"] over and over and over again to Him since Wednesday night's service. I go to bed thanking Him. I wake up thanking Him. And thanked Him thousands of times all throughout my day... even when I wake throughout the night. I can't tell you how awed I am of Him and all that He does! I get so scared beforehand every time! Although I have all the want-to in the world to do it, when it comes time to, I always hope that someone else will step in and take over. Fear swallowed me again so fiercely on Wednesday afternoon. I was so afraid that I could hardly stand the thickness of the fear. I was a basket case. I texted and beckoned prayers from my best-ever-out-of-state friend. On top of all else that she prayed for, she prayed for my peace. And literally within minutes I felt peace wash over me. So much so, that I put all of my notes away and refused to look at the lesson or study or prepare anymore. My trust was in God to do HIS thang... and not for me to do what I hoped He would! And wildly, HE DID!!! He DID! HE did it again!! Just like all the other times!!!!!!! And yesterday, I figured it out. I figured out why I get so afraid. It's always SO GOOD! So incredibly GOOD! So beyond me GOOD! That I think that it surely it can't be that GOOD again! And yet, of course it is! It's HIS WORD! It's ALL GOOD! Why in the world would I think any less??? I'm blown away by it still! And thrilled that my God would let me be a part!!!!


I again say what I so often do, God is raising an army within the prisons! He's lighting a fire! He's growing a passion! He's teaching them, equipping them, empowering them, and sending them out! Oh, that they are still faithful when they get beyond those barred gates that right now keep them fenced in! I am more exposed to the women prisons than the men's... And yet, I realized last week that He is perhaps doing even greater things in the men's. I grin as I type this because of the memory, but woe, last week I saw the multitudes praising and hailing our Savior... awed by the wonder of His love, amazed at His grace, and loving the Son that God has sent them! I watched the captives that are truly set free worship Him freely in prison this week!
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