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music monday: strong enough to save by tenth avenue north

Tiffany NicoleComment

We sat playing inside the house listening to thunder and the patter of rain drops falling on the roof, until we heard the loud taps come. We raced to grab our shoes and rain coats and quickly opened the door. I did not want Penny to miss it. She had never before experienced hail, that I could recall. We walked out the back door and starred just as the last of the hail fell and the rain subsided. We turned our eyes to the ground to pick up some pieces and marvel at God's handiwork. 

Hearing thunder and seeing lightening and watching hail fall from the sky always reminds me of how big God is. The unknown timing of the thunder takes me by surprise and the sheer volume startles from time to time. A lot like God's nature. He's intense and surprises and is something to marvel and stand in awe about.

Jesus and his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee when they were caught up in a big storm. The waves were sweeping over the boat, which was nearly swamped, all the while Jesus was sleeping. His disciples on the other hand were in panic mode and woke him up saying they are going to drown. Jesus asked why they were afraid and if they still had no faith and immediately got up and rebuked the wind and waves. At once, everything became calm. The disciples then asked:

"What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!" (Matthew 8:27)

This moment is explained in three of the gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke - all of which are very similar. It is interesting that in Mark's gospel, he adds that Jesus was sleeping on a cushion (Mark 4:38). Jesus must have been pretty comfortable sleeping in the boat, despite the circumstances around him. God had provided a place to lay his head and get rest, which he was taking advantage of, whereas the disciples were in caught up in fear and worry, unable to rest or remain calm. But despite their panic, they knew where to run for help during the storm - to Jesus.

The ability to be calm in the store requires faith and trust in God. Truly knowing that nothing will happen outside of God's control.

Strong Enough to Save by Tenth Avenue North is a perfect fit here. Have a listen.

And he'll break
Open the skies to save
Those who cry out his name
The One the wind and waves obey
Is strong enough to save you

Praying that you would run to Jesus with whatever storms you have in life. Praying that you would be so comfortable and firm in your faith that you are able to go through them without the panic. Praying that his guidance would startle your life in a thundering-good-wakeup-call kind of way, and you would marvel at his works throughout it. Praying that you would stand firm in the faith and know that God is for you. 

Praying that your fear and worry would be transformed in to pure, unfailing faith. Praying you would cry out his name knowing full well he will save you. 

Here's to calm during the storms. 

music monday: i am not alone by kari jobe

Tiffany NicoleComment

It has been interesting to see the progression of Penny's favorite songs. What in the song does a three year old resonate with? The beat or the singer's voice or the lyrics or numerous radio plays? I have no clue. Recently, Kari Jobe's I am Not Alone has made its way to the top of her list. Each time its tune plays over her speakers, she stops what she is doing to sing. In the car. Laying in bed to fall asleep. During quiet time. She stops to sing it out. Every word. The lyrics are beautiful and I pray that they echo throughout each of her years to come. If you have not had chance to hear it, have a listen. 

I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

God is always with you. He sees you. He knows you better than you know yourself. He thought of you before the world was made (Ephesians 1:4). He will never leave you. Recognizing that you are never truly alone allows you to turn your focus from the lack of people to the awe of God. It forces you to change the trajectory of your thoughts from yourself to God.

While community is extremely important - having a group of people who pray for you and give wisdom and bounce ideas off of and give you things to smile about is - sometimes it is not found in your daily proximity, which can give way to isolation. A place that will wear you out and have you questioning and has bits of hope seeping through the cracks. The perfect spot for the enemy to come to steal and kill and destroy and make you feel sorry for yourself, unless you keep your eyes on God and keep refocusing and pressing in to him, which in turn will mold you in to his likeness.

There are seasons were God gives time to spend with people and time to spend with mainly him. To purify you and give you compassion for others who will go through similar struggles. You can sympathize with someone on a matter but unless you have experienced it first hand, it is impossible to truly know the dynamics in its entirety.

During our brief stint in Washington state, it was surreal not to have a job or social circle or my immediate family nearby. It was the first time I prayed for friends, which seemed really odd at the time but God provided them in his time and I learned more about him than I had ever known and he used those sweet friends to teach me more than they probably realized.

Basking in the quietness of a tiny social circle allows for more time with God, if you allow it. And opens your eyes to how the new person in the group feels.

Praying that you would not give up on God when you feel lonely but would press in to him instead. Praying that you see the lessons being taught through this season and that the truth is constantly ringing in your ears: you are not alone. Praying that you would see God going before you and never leaving your side. 

Praying that God would put someone on your heart to connect with, whether you feel your social circle is too full or not full enough. Praying that you would see the beauty in the quietness and that you would always remember how it feels to be new in town or at work or church or group. 

Here's to loneliness and God's ever present presence. 

music monday: did not have a home by bethany dillon

Tiffany NicoleComment

Throughout high school I loved Jones Soda. The tasty flavors along with random pictures on the label and fun little fortunes on the bottoms of the recaps won my little heart. One lunch, during my gypsy-esque days, my fortune read: good luck will knock on your door. A well meaning friend optimistically responded that it meant I would soon have home with a door to knock on.

I have moved more times than I have toes and fingers to count. The longest residence in the past 15 years was at our previous address where we resided for two and a half years, which we are approaching at our current. When we first moved here, I remember speaking with my husband about the lack of that homey feeling. Since the celebrating of holidays and birthdays and adding another baby, the homey feeling has made its way here, too. Like it eventually does.

Residency and longevity and stability that an address provides is a unique thing. It gives a place to put your earthly treasures and display photos of memories past and makes a gathering spot for friends and family to congregate to make more. 

Jesus responds to a man who says he will follow him wherever he goes with:
Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has no place to lay his head (Luke 9:58).

Once Jesus began his ministry, he did not have a home. He took the stance of a homeless man. He walked and taught and trusted God for a place to sleep. There is a lot of beauty in this aspect of his ministry. He did not need to rely on an address or possessions because he was involved in God's work and will for his life. His trust in God was so much so that he did not need to know where he would lay his head at the end of each day - God would provide.

Perhaps this person valued their comfy, safe life with their things and address. Perhaps Jesus was challenging the very thing that was a stumbling block for him, like he did with the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-30). Following Jesus is never how we picture it. We would never imagine the good things that he has planned for us accompanied by the hard things we face, which are for our benefit - used to refine us.

Here's a little song about Jesus' lack of a home redone by Bethany Dillon. Fun lyrics - the wife part is interesting since he did not come for that - but fun none the less. Have a listen.

Birds have nests, foxes have dens
But the hope of the whole world rests
On the shoulders of a homeless man

Praying that comfort would subside and that trusting and following Jesus would be your main focus. Praying that you would not grow so comfy that you forget to look outside of your home to those of your neighbors. Praying that love and compassion and hospitality would reside in your home.

Praying that thanksgiving and gratitude for your home would dwell constantly in your heart and that you would follow God's leading in how to use it for his glory. Praying that your eyes would be opened to any stumbling blocks that are in view and that you would have victory over them through Jesus.

Here's to homes and comfort. 

music monday: while i'm waiting by john waller

Tiffany NicoleComment
The waiting period.  

Someone shared with me recently that she did not have enough to pay her rent. She has been learning to trust God but said he was taking too long, so she went out and bought lottery tickets, instead of waiting for him to fill her need. She admitted she was wrong and had not waited and of course, her tickets did not hold the winning numbers. I thanked her for her transparency because it was a big thing to share and not often does a person see the wrongs of her ways so quickly but God had showed her and she is continuing to learn and trust and wait.

Waiting is such a fickle thing. Something you cannot quite gauge that pops up at the most inopportune times and seems to smirk as it goes along. Waiting erupts in to questions and what ifs and soon you find yourself up the creek before you ever even got in the boat. 

It can drive you to do things you would not normally do or ever think of doing. Like Sarah, who after desperately waiting for the child God promised, gives Abraham permission to take another wife to have a child (Genesis 16:2).  

Waiting can also create idols. The longer you wait for something, the more that you want it, the tighter you tend to grasp it once you have it. The bible does not mention that Abraham made an idol out of Isaac, but God does instruct Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, which God may call you to do with something you hold near and dear (Genesis 22:2). This obedient act returns Isaac back to Abraham with fresh eyes, a deeper faith and trust in God and many blessings.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Paul tells us in Galations not to become weary in doing good, which can be hard when waiting is required. Not to become weary when we are waiting for test results or the diagnosis. Not to become weary in disciplining our child for hundredth time. Not to become weary in our marriage or ministry or position because we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. God will provide throughout the waiting and lead us graciously in to the next step.

While I'm waiting by John Waller tells of how to wait. Have a listen. 

I'm waiting, I'm waiting on You Lord
And I am hopeful, I'm waiting on You Lord

Though it is painful, but patiently I will wait

Praying that as you wait, you would worship and find peace in knowing that God is in control. Praying that your waiting would produce patience and perseverance and more trust than you have ever known. Praying that you would see the benefits of not having your request answered immediately and the work that God is doing in and around you because of it.

Praying that you would enjoy the waiting period. Praying that you would not get ahead of the plans or jump through hoops that God has intended on giving doors to walk through. Praying that you would not hold your child or job or spouse or possessions so tight that you feel them less. 

Here's to waiting and trusting. 

music monday: our god by chris tomlin

Tiffany NicoleComment

While cutting an apple, one summer day, the knife slipped. It was a serrated butter knife, so it was a little sharper than normal but not so sharp as a steak knife. It slipped through the apple down to my little, nine year old, right pinky. I did not know what to do. It hardly bled but it was deep. I walked to my mom in the living room, cradling it in with my left hand and told her I cut my finger. She told me to grab a band aid. I stood there and knew it was more than a band aid kind of fix and repeated I had cut my finger. She took my hand and looked down at my pinky, straight to the bone. We proceeded to the doctors.

As we sat in the little room, I was terrified. I did not want stitches. My mom asked the doctor if there was any way I could forego them, and the doctor agreed - fixing it with simply three small pieces of surgical tape, holding it all together. Stitches were probably the best fix but the doctor's grace gave me another option. It took weeks to heal. The bandage could not get wet, so I spent the summer floating in an inner tube with my hand wrapped in bags, so I could still enjoy our backyard pool. Eventually it healed and but there is still the scar on the bottom of my right pinky to prove it.

When Jesus rose from the grave after three days in the tomb, he had scars to show, too. The holes from the nails that were driven in to his hands and feet were visible for all to see. They told a story. They told his story of defeating death and triumphing over sin for all of humanity. They showed more proof of his status as God's son. Proof to doubting Thomas, who said he would not believe unless he saw the nail marks in his hands and put his finger where the nails were, and put his hand into his side, he would not believe (John 20:25). And of course, Jesus shows up. He shows him his scars and lets him touch his side, so he would stop doubting and believe (John 20:27).

Jesus shows up to everyone differently at different times and places in life - ready to heal wounds and scars. Scars from past hurts - physical or emotional, if you let him. You may be a skeptic or a doubter. And. That. Is. Okay. That is a place to start. Without doubting you may never ask questions or ponder meaning or search for answers. Without skepticism you may never find the truth and be able to dive in to the healing of God.

God is a healer. He is bigger than any scar that you will ever face. There is no one like him. No one like Jesus. The lyrics of Chris Tomlin's Our God ring out these truths. Have a listen.  

Our God is Healer,
Awesome in Power, 
Our God!

Praying that you would show your scars to someone this week and share the healing that you have received. Praying that if you have unhealed scars, that you would share them, as well because in order to start the healing process, you have to recognize that they exist. Praying that you would take the precautions that come with the injury and journey on accordingly, knowing that in due time, you will be fully healed - either in this life or the next. 

Praying that you would seek and question and get answers if you find yourself doubting. Praying that you would find the truth in Jesus and join in the worship of the King of Kings. Praying that nothing would stand against you as you go along your journey. Praying that someone who has shared similar scars would be put in your life to guide you as you travel through it, encouraging you and praising the Lord along the way. 

Here's to scars and sutures. 

music monday: beneath the waters by hillsong

Tiffany NicoleComment
Growing up, my little brothers loved Winnie the Pooh. I spent lots of time reading Winnie the Pooh books and watching the movies that accompanied. In Pooh's Most Grand Adventure: The Search For Christopher Robin, Christopher Robin prepares Winnie the Pooh for a tomorrow without him, which is hard for Winnie the Pooh to understand. Christopher tells Pooh to remember that he's braver than he believes, and stronger than he seems, and smarter than he thinks. And of course Winnie the Pooh gets it all mixed up and Christopher tells him again and assures him that even if they are apart that he is always with him. 

Jesus does the same thing for us. He tells us that we are strong in him and that he is with us until the end of the ages (Matthew 28:20) and will never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6) in good times or in bad. Even when we get it all mixed up with relationships and people and trials. Trials are vital in life. They show us how much braver we are than we think. How much we can really handle. They test our faith and affirm God's presence in it all.

Jesus tells Simon Peter that Satan wants to sift him like wheat.

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. Luke 22:31

Satan wants to break Peter down. He wants him to turn from following Jesus. He wants him to fall and fail and revel in guilt. Satan also asks to test Job - to see if Job will curse God (Job 1:11). God does not test us or put us through trials but they will happen. If Satan wanted to sift Peter and get Job to curse God, why would anyone be spared? The enemy came to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) and wants to sift us like wheat, too. This sifting comes in all forms and sizes and temperaments. It comes in the form of a bad marriage, health issues, a prodigal child, insecurity, self hatred, loneliness and anything else that is not from God.  It comes for days or months or years with more issues piling up as we go.

How long can you handle suffering? At what point do you praise God or throw in the towel?

Jesus reassured Peter that he prayed for him and that his faith would not fail. Jesus prayed for Peter assured him that once he turned back that he would be able to strengthen others. Not only does Peter endure his trail but he goes on to build up others, as well because of it. He is able to rise from what seems like a failure - denying knowing Jesus, not one but three times - to a great leader in the first church because Jesus. Jesus also prayed for us (John 17 20-23) and we are able to rise from our challenges, too.

Beneath the Waters by Hillsong is a great reminder of this. It was written about baptism but fits perfectly on the topic of rising above trials because of the power of Jesus. Have a listen.

I rise as You are risen
Declare Your rule and reign
My life confess Your Lordship
And glorify Your Name

Praying that you would see the benefits of your trials and the little blessings that are found in them. Praying that you stand firm in your trials, whether they last days or years, and that you would truly seek what the Lord is teaching you through it.

Praying that you would understand the importance of trials and the beauty that comes out of them - ever increasing trust in God, better understanding of yourself and others, and learning how to share that information with others. Praying that you would not be sifted like wheat but be like a rock, as was Peter, standing firm in the faith and leading others it to. 

Here's to sifting and rising. 

music monday: go tell it on the mountain by tenth avenue north

Tiffany NicoleComment

My most favoritest Christmas song is Go Tell it on the Mountain. It is fun how many different versions there are to choose from but there is nothing like singing alongside others live. My favorite recorded version to date is by Tenth Avenue North. Have a listen.

Go, Tell It On The Mountain, Over the hills and everywhere

After the shepherds saw Jesus, they went to tell everyone about his birth and what they saw. The people on the low scale of society were witnesses to the birth of the savior. Following their example, we also have things to tell about Jesus, as well, as he commanded (Mark 16:15). Although we do not have to literally tell it on the mountain or hold up signs on corners or billboards - unless God directs you that way but that is another story. But we do get the privilege to live it out. To tell the good news of the life of Jesus with our actions and speech each day we are given breath. We get to proclaim the good news of Jesus and what he has done in our lives. About how he saved us from the sin that so easily entangled us and how we are victorious because of him.

About how he has restored us to better than we have ever been and continues to guide our steps in hope and joy.

There is so much truth in the little saying: share the gospel, use words when necessary.

Our lives speak volumes for themselves. Our actions and demeanor. How we respond to others. How situations are handled. How we interact with the barista or sales associate or co-worker or husband or friend. They are all indicators of where our heart is resting - with God or otherwise.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16

Peter tells us to always be prepared to give an answer when someone asks why we do what we do. Why we act the way we act. Why we have hope in hopeless situations. Why we have joy through financial hardships or illnesses or job loss. Why we have peace when others speak maliciously against us and try to tear us down. 

Be prepared because people will be able to see the difference in you, whether or not they comment on it. You are different. You are chosen. You are God's beloved. 

Praying that you would seek God for direction in your actions and conduct. Praying that God would open your eyes to what you are telling on the mountain about him with your life and that it would glorifying to him. Praying that you would think about what you post on Facebook or Instagram before you hit post. Praying that you would consider your activities and current events and how they relate to your telling of God's story in your life. Praying that the words you use would be ones of encouragement, not only to others but to yourself.

Praying that you would be bold to tell others of what God has done in your life and not be ashamed of where God took you from because someone may still be where you once were.

Praying that you would follow the guidance of the holy spirit as you go about your day and enjoy your daily encounters with family and friends and neighbors and co-workers and managers and each person God places in your path. 

Here's to words to speak and actions to accompany them. Here's to telling it on the mountain. 

music monday: you're here by francesca battistelli

Tiffany NicoleComment

As I sat listening to the telling of the Christmas story during my first pregnancy, my perspective on it was forever changed. And the Christmas following the birth of my daughter changed it even more. Seeing things from a mama's point of view tends to do that.

Perspective on logistical things, like traveling on a donkey during the third trimester of pregnancy. A donkey. I had issues traveling via car. And what about potty breaks?

Sleeping on the ground while nine months pregnant. No pillows?

The smell of the animals in the stable. I could hardly stand the smell of a fridge.

Giving birth in a stable. A. Stable. With. Animals. With your first child. Not knowing what to expect.

Mary was a champ. I know this is all silly but part of Mary's life and things I cannot even envision.

Then there is the emotional side of it. Giving birth to the Savior of the world was a pretty big deal. And the responsibility of raising him was, too. 

The love that Mary had for Jesus was different than that of anyone else.

One of a mama. A chosen mama, who was with child before she was married. The love of Mary for Jesus is unimaginable.

There is nothing like the feeling of your baby being placed on your chest after birth and the first looks. The first official meeting of the one who has been wiggling and moving and poking around for months. But meeting the Savior of the world after carrying him for months and looking in to his little eyes and touching his little hands, that I cannot fathom.

You're Here by Francesca Battistelli really conveys this aspect of Mary as a mama. Have listen.

I don't know how long I'm going to have you for

But I'll be watching when you change the world

Look at your hands, they're still so small

Someday you're going to stretch them out and save us all

Having a child is like having a little piece of God with you. God has given you his creation as a special gift. Whether through birth or otherwise. A gift none the less. A gift to raise and teach and mold. To give laughter and life. You do not know the length of the duration or what he or she will grow up to do but you have him none the less. You get a front row view to watch as he changes the world, little by little, with whatever God has made him to do. It can be daunting to think of the outcome of decisions you have to make while raising and all the what ifs or if you mess him up. But God has grace to give and wisdom to guide. And Mary was already in charge of raising the Savior of the world, so no pressure on you. 

Praying that this Christmas season you will look at the Christmas story a little differently, as well as your children. Praying that you would see the gift in each smile and laugh and all the learning and discipline. Praying that you would see the humanity of Jesus, our Emmanuel, God with us, as well as his glory. Praying you would truly enjoy mamahood this Christmas with gratitude and love. 

Here's to mamahood and Mary. Here's to the birth of Jesus. 

And just in case you missed the past few Music Monday Christmas edition and looking for some Christmas tunes, here they are:

A Hallelujah Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone

music monday: a hallelujah christmas by cloverton

Tiffany NicoleComment

The past week has been a little blurry. Trips to the ER and text updates and preschool volunteering and of course the care of two littles and their activities and has filled my days. It was a trying week but God has been so faithful. No matter how physically exhausted or tired, he always blesses. He blesses the conversations and keeps it going a bit more and allows rest and keeps giving peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). He constantly leaves little blessings and reassurance throughout the day. One of the verses on my phone this week was Ecclesiastes 11:5:

As you do not know the path of the wind, 

or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, 

so you cannot understand the work of God, 

the Maker of all things.

It was such a beautiful reminder and made me laugh. I never understand God's plans but I know he works for the good of those who love him and that is enough for me to know (Romans 8:28). It is one thing to say we trust him but another to get the opportunity to live it out. To see it played out as you trust him to do good. To do good in the health of loved ones. To do good in work relationships. In children's decisions. In your life.

He is doing good.

Can you see it?

Can you see him weaving his goodness in to your moments and hours and days? Can you see it this Christmas season?

Can you see it in the humble birth and teachings of Jesus who died to save humanity?

To save you. Cloverton's song, A Hallelujah Christmas, is a beautiful rendition of this. Have a listen. 

I know You came to rescue me

This baby boy would grow to be

A man and one day die for me and you

Praying that your eyes will continued to be opened to see glimpses of God's mysteries in your life. Praying that whatever you are going through that you will be able to trust God. Truly trusting in His word and what he promises. They are not empty or void but full of life. Praying that you would be able to see the development of your faith as you cling to them and that you would come out with more than you knew you had.

Praying that you would focus on Jesus and all that he has done in your life as you celebrate Christmas. Praying that you would find hallelujahs throughout your day and praise God.

Here's to more hallelujahs and trusting. 

music monday: merry christmas everyone by rend collective

Tiffany NicoleComment

Happy December. Happy last month of the year. Happy almost Christmas and New Year. Oh happy day. This month commemorates the first year of our little man and we are excited to celebrate that, along with the birth of Jesus, of course.

The weekend after Thanksgiving we start hanging Christmas decorations and put up the tree. We drink warm apple cider and eat yummy, homemade sugar cookies and listen to Christmas music. Just a simple tradition but one that we love none the less. This year Rend Collective came out with their own Christmas album, which is fabulous and perfect for Christmas decorating dance parties.

This song, Merry Christmas Everyone, is so fun. How can you not get in the Christmas mood and spread some cheer? Have a listen.

Time for parties and celebration. And people dancing all night long.

Christmas is fun, right? But what about Christianity? When you hear the word Christianity do you think fun? When you think of the savior of the world coming down, living with man and dying for the sins of humanity? For you. For me. Does that convey fun? Is following Jesus fun to you?

When you move out of hearing the word of God to living it out and doing it (James 1:22), the party starts. Comfort zones start to lessen. Random conversations with strangers begin and Jesus fills the time. The adventure begins. And the fun. The fun of sharing life altering news with others you never dreamed of sharing with. And doing things you never thought were possible. New experiences are sure to abound.

In Acts, after being persecuted for believing in Jesus, Peter and John rejoiced for being found worthy of suffering disgrace for the name of Jesus (Acts 5:41). They are rejoicing because of persecution. Fun? Definitely not to my standards.

But they were excited to be found worthy to suffer for Jesus.

They understood the extent of what Jesus did for them and they were able to rejoice accordingly.

In Mark Batterson's book, Wild Goose Chase, he talks about how ancient Celtics referred to following the holy spirit as just that - a wild goose chase. You cannot fathom the direction it will go. Just where it will turn. What terrain it will run to. Where it will lead you is an unknown. When you follow the holy spirit, you will be lead to places you cannot imagine. You will have unexpected conversations and friends you never thought possible. Healing that nothing can compare to. And you will find yourself having fun along the way.

Praying that among the shopping and wrapping and baking and embracing our Emmanuel, Christ with us, that you have fun. That you would enjoy the ability to purchase items for loved ones and have fun. That it would not be burdensome or out of obligation but of loved. 

Praying that you see the fun and joy in Christ and that your spectrum would be broadened this season to see God with an increasing clarity.

Here's to fun and Christmas and Christianity. 

music monday: here for you by matt redman

Tiffany NicoleComment

Someone one once brought up the thought, though I cannot recall the source or person, if God were to come down and interrupt you at some point in worship - midway through a song during service - what would your response be? Are you focusing on worshiping God or something else? Is the tune catchy? What are the next words of the next verse? Is your heart in your worship? Is the person next you off key? Or is the fact the person next you is raising her hand distracting you more important than worshiping God? Is your mind racing or are you meeting with God?

Here for you by Matt Redman is a great example to be present both physically and mentally for worship. Have a listen. 

Let our praise be Your welcome
Let our songs be a sign
We are here for You.

Worship can happen anywhere, though for many a church service can be a sort of focal point for it to occur. Worship is a time of devoting yourself to God and praising him for his goodness. It does not have to do with any circumstance or anything that is going on around you. Just praising him for who he is. That is what we are meant to do. That is what we were made to do; if we do not, even the rocks will cry out (Luke 19:40).

Getting caught up in the atmosphere or people or thoughts takes your focus from God to yourself or others. It is these insecurities that prohibit true worship.

King David danced with total abandon (2 Samuel 6:14) . He knew the God he was worshiping. He knew what it meant to be in the presence of God and his greatness. He danced with all his might, all while practically naked. He did not care what others thought because he worshiping God, while his wife despised him in her heart (2 Samuel 6:16).

She did not see his dance as one of praise but as undignified and dishonoring. She sat up in a window looking down instead of joining in on the  worship and rejoicing, which is sad to think she did not indulge in praising the Lord at such an exciting time in Israel, as the Ark of the Covenant was returned.

Praying that you show up for worship with your heart ready to meet with God and not worrying about what someone is going to think of you if you raise your hand or do not raise it or if you clap or sing too loud. Praying you come to praise the Lord, your God and enjoy being in his presence and in the presence of other believers who are there to do the same thing.

Praying that where ever you find yourself worshiping, that it would be done with total abandon for God. That you would praise him for the God he is - for his sovereignty and mercy and love. That your heart would be in the right place and that you would be transformed through it.

Here's to cancelling out the distractions and truly worshiping and praising God for who he is. 

music monday: hold us together by matt maher

Tiffany NicoleComment

When melted butter is needed in baking, it is usually recommended to cut up the stick in to smaller cubes before putting it in to the heat source. This makes it melt faster and who wants to wait when they are in the middle of making some gooey, chocolate brownies? Not this girl. Although while baking the other day, I placed my half stick of butter hastily in to toaster oven without cutting it. As I took it out to cut up because it was taking longer than anticipated, God reminded me that united we stand, divided we fall.

The division of the church and marriage and families and relationships cause the Christian community to falter. It is separation from God  and each other. This is true spiritual warfare. This is the melting of the church.

Dividing makes the church melt faster. Partitions in denominations. Separation of husband and wife. Dissecting economic status. Division is so easy. It is easy to put up walls with a single comment that does not meet your criteria. It is easy to push someone way when they do not meet your standards or leave the church when it does not fit your life style. It is easy to tear down instead of build up.

But ultimately, it is not about who follows Paul or who follows Apollo (1 Corinthians 3:5-9) or whether worship is modern or contemporary or whether your spouse really just did that again. It is about love.

Love makes a shelter. Love brings us together and reunifies. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Love means you are never alone. Love makes life worth living and memories worth sharing. There is something so comforting in knowing the gospel and having a relationship with Jesus and seeing the purest form of love (1 John 3:16).

This is the love that Matt Maher is referring to in his song, Hold Us Together. Have a listen. 

And love will hold us together
Make us a shelter to weather the storm
And I'll be my brother's keeper
So the whole world would know
that we're not alone

It is in this love that unity is made. It is the glue. People from all walks of life are bound together and rooted in the love of Christ.. United we stand. United as the body of Christ. United we are able to change the world for his glory and set the captives free. United we stand in lines at check out and greet the checker with a smile. United we love our neighborhood churches, not decimating because of denomination. United we keep loving our spouse or family or friend not because of anything they have done but because what has been done for us (Titus 3:5). 

Praying that you would be united, first with Christ, and then with you spouse and family and other believers around you. Praying that you would not be divided because of denominations or manmade rituals but would stand united because you know the power of the saving grace that was freely given to you and those around you.

Praying that you would disregard those issues that lead to the separation of Christ and others - malice, anger, gossip - and focus on building up the beautiful, imperfect people who are so intricately placed in your life. Praying that we would be brought to complete unity to let the world know about Jesus (John 17:23).

Here's to grouping and building and growing in unity. Here's to keeping the body together and increasing in the strength and power of Christ. 

music monday: shake the world by finding favour

Tiffany NicoleComment

New stages are inevitable with children. The only constant with children is change. Change in height and weight and speech and understanding. My daughter is at the independent stage. She likes to dress and pour and snap herself. She also likes to walk by herself, without my hand naturally. This has been an ever increasing battle of safety and obedience all in one, accompanied with my ability to allow her some freedom. She is learning to hold on to the cart or stroller and walk in step with me and I am learning how to let go and give her freedom.

When you accept Jesus in your life, you are given a new found freedom from sin. You have been set free. Sin no longer has a hold on you because Jesus took it away (Romans 3:23). 

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:18

Do you believe that you were set free from sin? When you accept the freedom that comes from accepting Christ, you are lifted out of the pit of sin. Your perspective changes and you can see the other side. Whatever entangles you, addictions or malice or anger or guilt, becomes a victory in Christ. You are able to grow and develop the righteousness that comes with following Jesus.

Sin no longer has a stronghold over you when you accept Jesus. Jesus came to set the captives free (Luke 4:18). He came to set you free from whatever holds you hostage. Anxiety. Depression. Loneliness. Grief. Insecurities. Bad relationships. Lies. He offers freedom. He offers life. Not a life of monotony or comfort but one of fullness and abundance (John 10:10). A life that changes eternal destinies and impacts the world for his glory.

Praying that you see the freedom that you have in Jesus if you have accepted him as your personal Savior and if you have not, that your eyes would be open to the freedom that is being offered to you. 

Praying that you would be set free from any sin that you are currently wrestling with and that you would be able to use that victory to help another going through a similar trial, as our trials are not just for us but to benefit others in the name of Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:4). Praying that you would live each day in the freedom that comes with following Christ and learn how to navigate through it in your walk.

This song, Shake the World, by Finding Favour is a fun way to wrap up the freedom and its effects on you and those around you. Things change and you are never the same. Neither are those you encounter. Have a listen. 

When we all start marching to the beat of the drum
Moving to the rhythm of the Kingdom to come
It's gonna shake the world
You are here to make a difference in the kingdom of God now. You meant to be free in Christ.

Here's to being set free and showing others the freedom God has given you in hopes of setting them free. 

music monday: a little longer by jenn johnson + bethel music

Tiffany NicoleComment

Let us be silent, that we may hear the whisper of God. Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I think of being busy, the whole Mary and Martha analogy tends to come to mind. Mary, the one who listens to Jesus and does what is better and Martha, the one who is doing everything else except listen to him (Luke 10:38-42). Martha is frustrated because Mary is not helping her in preparations. I am sure all the household chores were in need of doing - chopping and pouring and folding and sautéing and Mary is just listening. This situation is one of busyness born out of necessitates and duty.

Busyness is defined in my concordance as: engaged in action, being in use; full of activity, full of distracting detail.

Busyness is easy to achieve and being too busy for God is even easier. Being too busy doing the things that God has called you to do. Or even being too busy celebrating the blessings and promises he has given to you, that you miss him whisper, you're welcome. This is another sort of busyness, more like one born out of basking in God's blessings in celebration.

In Joshua 3, the Israelites are in all sorts of excitement. After wandering in the desert for forty years, they are now about to enter into the Promised Land. Forty years of dust and sand and manna and now they are about to welcome the land flowing of milk and honey with open arms. There are still things to take care of but the physical land is near. Excitement is building and anticipation is beyond bursting. With all this energy flowing, Joshua takes time to stop and listen to what God has to say in all of this. God tells Joshua that he will exalt him in the eyes of Israelites, so they will know God is with him as he was with Moses. Joshua is obedient to listen to God and tells the people:

Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. Joshua 3:9

In all of the enthusiasm of the new path they were journeying on, it could have been easy for Joshua to not be listening for God's guidance. Joshua could have been so happy that he was about to lead the Israelites in to land that he works out his own accord and rushes the land, finding some means to cross over the water ahead, which was at flood level. But this is not how Joshua operates. He takes the time to see what else God has in store for them. He seeks God, listens, and obeys. They cross the water on dry ground, witnessing yet another miracle. Adding another piece to their testimony and God's faithfulness. And Joshua is blessed by it.

A Little Longer by Jenn Johnson, really reinforces the idea of being still for God. Not doing for God, whether in duty or celebration. Just listening and focusing on him. Have a listen.

You don't have to do a thing. Just 
simply be with me and let those things 
go. Cause they can wait another minute.

If you are coming out of a season of trials and celebration is on your horizon, I pray that you would not miss God in the victory. If God has given you the long awaited child or the much dreamed of job has come to fruition or your health status has been cleared or you have the passport to travel the world, whatever your time of celebration is, I pray that God will continue to be the foremost thought in your mind. That you would take time to listen and wait and be still. That in your excitement you would praise God for all that he is doing.

Praying that you would pour out your blessings on others and they would see a glimpse of him in you. That your testimony would grow and that you would draw nearer to him. Praying that you would truly hear from him. He has something to tell you, you need only to be still to hear it.

Here's to open ears and open hearts and quiet hands and quiet feet. 

music monday: healing begins by tenth avenue north

Tiffany Nicole2 Comments

In our culture, so often when we hear the word neighbor, we think of the person living next to us that we occasionally wave at as our paths cross when we are pulling out of the drive way or grabbing the mail but we usually do not associate the term with family, rather merely as an acquaintance we hardly know. 

Jesus call us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). The word neighbor in the Greek is is plēsion, which is what the New Testament was written in originally. It is referring to those in our  neighborhood but also those who are nearest to us. 

The Blue Letter Bible gives these definitions for plēsion:
·        a friend
·        any other person, and where two are concerned, the other (thy fellow man, thy neighbour), according to the Jews, any member of the Hebrew nation and commonwealth
·        according to Christ, any other man irrespective of nation or religion with whom we live or whom we chance to meet

For most, family is near at one point or another, both physically and/or emotionally. Jesus is calling us to love our family members as ourselves. Relationships are messy. Especially when a lot of people are involved. But there is also a commonality that not found anywhere else. The longevity that has been weaved in and out of memories and years forms a beautiful bond.

God calls us to engage in difficult relationships. To be stretched past what we think we can handle to see how big he really is (Matthew 19:26).  Harboring bitterness, envy, anger is easy. It can be so easy to pit sister against sister and brother against father due to the longevity and history of the relationship. There are a lot of opportunities over the years for bitterness to creep in and frustration to form, whether between a husband and wife or the children. Choosing to forgive and rebuild is harder and is worth more in the end.

It is forgiving those God has put closest to you, who have openly hurt you, whether by choice or indirectly. It is loving them. A sister. Aunt. Mom. Friends. Whomever that may be in your personal community. Loving someone who does not deserve it and perhaps does not want it is what love is all about. That is how God has loved us. That is the change that God puts in us. It is the compassion that God gives towards us towards others, as well as understanding for the opposing view. It is new incite and perspective. It is healing. 

This song, Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North conveys this quite well. Have a listen. 

This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken 
within The light meets the dark

God can do anything, even fix a broken family and all its relationships. I know because he has been mending and shaping and restoring mine. He is still at work and I am excited to see where he will lead us next. 

Praying that God will move in your family and relationships and restore what needs to be restored. Praying for healed hearts and new beginnings. Praying that God will be praised throughout the difficult conversations and each warm embrace. Praying for God to show you what steps to take and guide your heart to truly forgive what or who needs to be forgiven. That you would open your heart and make the choice to make an effort and let God piece your lives back together. 

Here's to healing and new beginnings. Here's to seeing God move in your relationships and choosing to take the harder route.

music monday: let it fade by jeremy camp

Tiffany NicoleComment

Some days I cannot focus on any one thing and it seems like I could be diagnosed with ADD. The dishwasher needs to be unloaded. Toys are scattered around the house and need to be relocated. The floor is screaming to be vacuumed and the bathroom, well it just needs help. Then the kiddos verbalize a need, which trumps all. This roller coaster ride that comes with the titles mama and wife constantly changes and surprises me. Rest is something that seems to be hard to find. It is hiding between emails and bath time and squeezed in after errands and grocery shopping or found after work. Rest does not come easily. Perhaps that is just me. How hard is to stop? How hard is it to trust God that everything will be okay if you are not at that function or say no to the invite or just sit down despite everything whirling around you.

Rest: freedom from activity or labor; peace of mind or spirit; to take relief or respite.

Rest is finding freedom from the world racing on around you. It is a peaceful mind and spirit. Rest is not worrying about your to do list or the mess that seems to be filling your mind. It is giving your mind and body a time to recuperate while spending time with the maker of the universe.

For some, this is easy. For others, much like myself, it is difficult. It requires effort and intention. It involves working through the day and letting some things slip to gain restful composure. Rest is not always something we will find until a series of events leads us there.

Sometimes you find rest in ways you have not anticipated, such as health issues or an end of a relationship or layoffs. Your overscheduled agenda comes to a screeching halt and you find yourself with time. Time to think. Time to reflect. Time to stop and ask God what is next. Rest is something that God ordained. He rested on the seventh day after making creation. The creator rested and he enjoyed what he made. Too often it is easy to get involved in what we are making and climbing the ladder without having time to enjoy it because we want results. We want to get to the next thing. We want to do something. We do not have time to stop. We do not have time to be still.

This mindset is so far from God's plan for us. He wants us to pause. We were not made to keep going and doing and making. We need time to be still and quiet ourselves to hear God. 

Scripture assures we will find rest. We will find rest in God.
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1
Jesus will give us rest.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Praying that you will find true rest in Christ alone. That you would stop whatever distractions have so easily taken up your time and that you would allow yourself to rest. Rest in promises. Rest in his word. Rest in his grace and love and mercy. 

Let it fade by Jeremy Camp is a great example of letting our lives fade and resting in Jesus. Have a listen.

You can rest, You will find rest. Let this old life crumble, 
Let it fade, Let this new life offered be your saving grace

Here's to more rest and less doing. More stopping and enjoying.

How do you find rest? What does the term rest convey to you?

music monday: you make be brave by bethel music ft. amanda cook

Tiffany NicoleComment

I had the opportunity to go on the women's retreat for my church this weekend, my first time away since my kiddos entered the world. I had planned on bringing my little guy, since he is still nursing but God had other plans and I am grateful for the time apart and some quality time with my mama and other fabulous ladies and inspiring leaders and speakers. It is amazing how God always has something for everyone and is faithful to start a good work in each of us. The theme this year was fearless, based on Proverbs 31:25. After lots of praying and fasting the past few weeks, God has been renewing my mind in him and drawing my thoughts to him instead of the things that were weighing me down, one of which was fear. Who knew?

I did not think too much about it going in to it but God revealed to me little incites and slivers of fear that had crept in different aspects, one of which is writing. As I have said, allowing others to read the words that God has me sharing is not easy but I know that is what he is calling me to do.

Fear is one of those sneaky things that hides in the middle of something else and masquerades as other things, like doubt and what ifs and worry. It takes away a little bit of you before you knew it even crept in. It takes your joy. It holds you back and keeps you from a fulfilling life.

Fear intertwines with confusion. It coincides with normalcy and screams safety. Fear is hidden in the thoughts of taking chances and sides with not making mistakes.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

This verse from Isaiah is my favorite of the "do not fear verses." One that I go back to and God pops it in my head at the appropriate time. God tells us not to fear. This particular verse is regarding Israel's release from captivity, which had been caused by their disobedience. God is speaking of hope for the captives. They will be set free. He will set you free. He will help you. He will restore you and turn desert in to pools of water (41:18). It is such a beautiful picture of how God makes beauty from the ashes. He uses our fears and takes them to bring glory to him alone.

Perhaps you find yourself in fear because of a decision you made or an event that happened out of your control. Or a choice you do not want anyone to know about. Whatever the cause, I pray that you would allow God to take your fear and give you truth and a sound mind and show you how to give yourself grace.

Over and over again scripture says not to fear. We do not need to fear men (Matthew 10:28). Or what we will eat or drink or about our life (Matthew 6:25). God has it all in the palm of his hand.
I pray that God will reveal to you any fears that are holding you back and that you will be able to stand in front of them with God leading the way. Praying you will be set free from any lies or misconceptions and focus on the truth that God is for you. You are his. And you are beautiful.

And I have to share the theme song for the retreat, You Make Me Brave by Bethel Music. Another awesome Bethel song, one I had not heard before but is amazing. Have a listen.

You make me brave. No fear can hinder now the Love that made a way.
Here's to not being ashamed of your fears but finding power in knowing that God is your strength and will show you how to overcome them. Here's to being brave. 

music monday: in christ alone by owl city

Tiffany NicoleComment
The past two months, my mind has been in a sort of fog. The past few months I have been feeling guilty for everything. Sorry that I did not act the way I wanted in certain situations. Sorry that I said such and such. Sorry that I did not get the bathroom cleaned or the laundry finished. Sorry that I failed to do X,Y and Z. Feeling guilty for not measuring up and guilty for every action I make in parenting and friendships and my marriage. That I can do better. And constantly being in battle with doing what I do and then frustrated because I do not want to be frustrated. It is not a fun place to be and some days a prayer for God to push the perfect button on me bounces around my head.

Going in to marriage, I was advised to be careful about preconceived expectations I unknowingly had on my husband and God taught me early on in parenting about the issues with expectations on my child. During this struggle, he revealed the issues with self imposed expectations. This is something I have never thought about or even occurred to me to be an issue.
 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Romans  7: 15-20
I can SO relate to Paul here. It can sound like a circle when you read it, which is how it feels sometimes. I desire to do good and be a great mother and wife and daughter and friend and do God's will and some days it seems like all I do is fall short but that is not what God is calling me to do or to be. Perhaps you can relate. Hear this truth: God is calling us to love him with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind (Matthew 22:37).  

He does not have expectations. Sin is in the world and we are not perfect There is a constant battle of us verse sin but Christ already won. Satan does not want you to see yourself in that light and when you fall in to the temptation of feeling like a constant failure. you are falling in to sin and not living in the victory that Christ has given us. 

You must focus on him and not your own strength or to do list. Personal expectations make you miss blessings right in front of you because you are too busy focusing on what you want rather than what God has graciously given you. It may also lead to other sin, as a result. 

I pray that God would open your eyes to any unknown expectations of yourself that you have been carrying around. I pray that you would feel the freedom that comes from letting go of your own agenda and to do lists and that you would enjoy his peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7).

Rest assured, you are doing the best you can do with the resources you have, with the skill sets that God has given you for this season. Do not fret over the past. Be forgiven. Ask forgiveness where forgiveness is needed and accept it and move on. Christ died for your sins and because he overcame death, hope can be found. Stand firm in the faith and in him and be a witness to how he works out the good for those he loves (Romans 8:28). He loves you despite your expectations, failed or not.  

I love Owl City's rendition of In Christ Alone. Reminiscent of high school days where the anthems of the Postal Service were constantly blaring but that is another story. Have a listen.

In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song; This Cornerstone, this solid Ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, When fears are stilled, when strivings cease! My Comforter, my All in All, Here in the love of Christ I stand.
 Here's to less expectations and more lavishing the love of God.  

music monday: fall afresh by bethel music ft. jeremy riddle

Tiffany NicoleComment

This year is my second year of gardening. I do not have a green thumb in the slightest, where as my grandma and grandpa were exquisite gardeners. I have learned so much this year by just plowing in, along with some advice from experienced gardeners, and lots and lots of prayers. That is how my garden grows, not with silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row - but with prayer. Through that, God has taught me more about life than I ever thought would be revealed, as we planted the little patch months earlier. Jesus' parables about seeds and gardening became clearer as the plants grew in front of me.
I started some of the plants I started from seeds. It really was an experiment and I did not think that they would grow but God proved me wrong. The tomato seeds became the biggest plant in the garden and started taking up precious patio space. Despite their big garden presence, they lacked tomatoes. One tomato was harvested and another had begun growing but that was it from them. While watering one day, God revealed this truth: people may have a big influence on others or hold a high position, yet are not bearing fruit.
You were chosen. Jesus picked you out for a purpose and has appointed you to bear fruit - fruit that will last for eternity, not the temporal. You have an influence on people around you, whether you like it or not. Whether it is for better or for worse. You have an influence on your husband, friends, children, neighbors, co-works, the barista at Starbucks. People notice you. Perhaps for your fruit. Perhaps for your lack of it.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15: 1-4
God has appointed you so that you can grow in him and from your growth and overflow of fruit, others will come to know him. You cannot produce fruit without first being centered in Christ. You have to be constantly in his word and growing in your personal relationship with him before you can bear fruit. You can do nothing apart from God or your fruit will be just that - lacking God.
Perhaps you find yourself in this situation now - feeling farther from God than you have ever before. I pray that you do not grow weary of doing good (Galations 6:9) but that you would take time to actively seek God and his direction. Perhaps you have sewn all the fruit in this chapter of ministry or particular friendships or jobs and he has something entirely different in store for you. Perhaps you need a refresher of being still and knowing he is God (Psalm 46:10). I pray that you would listen to his leading and see what other adventure he has planned for you.
I pray that your soul would be renewed and anything in you that is not producing fruit would be transformed. I pray that you be refreshed and open to receiving God's guidance and come alive.

Fall Afresh by Bethel Music seems to fit perfectly here. Have a listen. 

spirit of the living god come fall afresh on me, awake me from my sleep.
Here's to realizing your influence and bearing fruit. Here's to pruning and growing. 

music monday: overcome by jeremy camp

Tiffany NicoleComment

Do not try to make the bible relevant. It's relevance is axiomatic. Do not defend God's word but testify to it. Trust to the word. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

You can talk until you are blue in the face about the truth of the bible. About how great it is to read. How life changing its text is. Boast of the wisdom sewn in to each page and the lessons that make up the verses. But unless someone actually reads it, your words may be just that. Words.

Your life on the other hand, has mounds to say without ever opening a bible. Your actions and conversations and decisions. Your testimony - the evidence that you are giving about what God had has done, who he is, and claiming the truth of the bible. No one can argue with that. It is yours to claim. Yours to profess. No one can tell you that you have not been changed or transformed. Your constant growing trust in God and the ever growing list of his working on your behalf cannot be argued. 

With the lack of truth in the world today and the move from people knowing they are sinners in need of a savior to not understanding they are caught up in sin, your testimony sets a perfect tone.

You story has power and has been written for such a time as this. Do not let the story God has written through you - your personal story - be down played or make you feel ashamed. Perhaps you feel your past was horrible, scattered with drugs and theft and all sorts of personal trauma. Or perhaps your past was not so dramatic and you came to Christ with what you see as just a small tray of issues but nothing so big and dramatic that God could use. The latter is what I thought. My story is not so impressive and could possibly be viewed as anticlimactic. But every story that has Jesus as a main character has a climax. The part where Jesus showed up and turned your world upside down and started the refining process.

Do not be afraid to share what God has done for you. God has given you life experiences to share of his abundant goodness and faithfulness. He has given you people to profess to and the story to go with it. I pray that you would not be so focused on the day to day and caught up in your own agenda that you lose out on those around you who you can invest in. Those you can share what God has done for you personally.

I pray that if you have never written out your testimony, that you would seek God for the words to do so. That you would be equipped when someone asks you about why you are different. That He would show you how he turned your trials in to victories.

I pray that each chapter in your life that was viewed in shame would be lifted up by the power of God and be transformed in your mind as a victory - through Christ you were able to overcome it. That you would freely share openly what Christ did for you and in doing so that you would give hope to someone going through the same struggle.

We are not perfect. It is through our weaknesses that we are made strong. Our testimonies attest to it. We are sinners. Jesus bridged the gap between God and every person who has walked the earth. 

Jeremy Camp quotes part of Revelation 12:11 in Overcome, which states: They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. We can overcome the darkness with the light of our testimony because of Jesus. Have a listen. 

We will overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. 
Here's to sharing your story and giving God the glory through it all.