Thursday, September 7, 2017

Don't Delay

The year was 2008 and as I secretly prayed about things pressing on my heart for ministry and our marriage as Steve was heading to treatment for the second time. He went to Teen Challenge, which is an on fire Christian based center. While he was away I got closer and closer to God. During which God began showing me through many circumstances from speaking to my heart, to dreams, to people and things that were just not explainable what His plans were for us. I didn't say anything to Steve. After Steve got out we went to Idaho as seen in the picture above. He began sharing with me what he believed God was calling him to and that was to be a Pastor. I couldn't believe what he was saying because it was exactly what God showed me too during the time we were apart. God also showed me about serving on the streets to the homeless that Christmas Eve 2008 and loving on them through the Heart of Christ. Which as your know Surrender40 was birthed the following year in 2009. Steve was excited and he began by enrolling in Liberty University to get his degree in Biblical Studies and I decided to enroll too. Our Church was very supportive and actually offered for Steve to go to there school in Fort Lauderdale through Calvary yet Steve was working a full-time job and that wasn't possible. 
We both finished schooling in 2010 and then he lost his job. We continued to serve on the streets feeding the homeless, we served in prisons and hospital outreaches. People even started calling him Pastor without even knowing he was in school. We used to say that he was a Pastor of a Church Without Walls. 
From late 2010 to January of 2012 we suffered much tragedy. We basically lost everything but each other and our faith in God. Most of our suffering we wrote about in our book. 

"It is doubtful whether God can use a man greatly, until first He wounds him deeply." A.W. Tozer

In 2012 God totally began restoring us. At which point we were led through church to move to Mobile, AL. We both believed this was God restoring what the enemy tried to steal. I won't go into the why's we didn't proceed, all I can say is that other opportunities came and that was the path taken. Today, Steve is suffering in many areas from trading in what I would say the altar for a tie. Now that isn't bad, he felt that was right at the time for us, but now he knows it's not. We do our best in living as transparent as possible so you don't make the same mistakes as us. 

I am urged to no end to tell you DON'T DELAY when God calls you to do something. Many of you girls will be getting out soon and you will have so many things thrown at you. But please take the time to really fall in Love with Jesus and He will direct your path. Please surrender to that path, not what looks pretty or great, because it is usually in the things that we least would want to do is where He is calling you too. This might be moving to another state to serve in your church or to take a job at the Pizza place. Whatever it is, don't settle for God's second best, pursue with all your heart His first best. In closing I also implore you to first fall madly and crazy in love with Jesus before you pursue any relationships. When the time is right God will bring the right man in your life, one who is madly in love with Jesus and puts you second. It's not when a man loves a women, it's when a man loves God.

Steve and I are happy, yet we suffer in some areas from choices that we believe God is slowly fixing. I love him with all my heart, yet my first love remains Jesus. If Steve was writing this post he would tell you the same and possibly more deeply because him being the leader of the home has shed many tears from selecting second best. 
I am thankful for us and his willingness to make wrongs right. 

For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you 
will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

...let us run with endurance the race God has set before us 
by keeping our eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:1b-2a


Much Love and Blessings 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Let Me Remind You-

Let me remind you that He loves you. 
No matter where you find yourself today, 
in the valley, 
the mountain top and 
everything in between 
He Loves you. 

I pray these lyrics Bless you.

David Crowder Band
"How HE Loves"
(originally by John Mark McMillan)

He is jealous for me,
Love's like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, 
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.
And, Oh how He loves us, oh,
Oh, how He Loves us,
How He loves us all.
And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes.
If His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest.
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way...
That He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us

Friday, July 7, 2017

But First She Prayed

“When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. 
And if I perish, I perish." Esther 4:15

These are the very courageous words of the Queen of Persia, Esther, as she prepared to approach a very young, inexperienced and emotional King Xerxes to plead with him to stop the TOTAL annihilation of the Jewish people. If the king was in a bad mood that day, he could have her killed instantly, even though she was Queen, and more importantly, his bride. What courage this must have taken, what a magnificent statement of faith Queen Esther displayed as she unselfishly prepared to sacrifice her life for her people.

Do you know that the Name of God is NOT mentioned anywhere in the story of Esther in the Bible, yet we see such magnificent evidence of HIS Hand all over the story. And the greatest evidence that we see of His mercy and grace in Esther, the absolute beauty of what we call “Reversal of Destiny”.
In Esther, we are given a close up look at the ongoing struggle of satan against the purposes of God and especially against His promised Messiah. The birth of Christ into the human race was totally dependent upon the existence of the Jewish race. Just as Haman plotted against the Jews in order to destroy them, so has satan set himself against Christ and God’s people. Just as Haman is defeated on the gallows he built for Mordecai, so does Christ use the very weapon that his enemy devised to destroy Him and His spiritual seed. For the cross, by which satan planned to destroy the Messiah, was the very means through which Christ “having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” Colossians 2:14-15
Haman was hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai, 
so the devil was crushed by the cross he erected to destroy Christ.

Esther proved to have a godly and very humble spirit that also showed great strength and willing obedience. Esther’s humility was very different from those around her, 
and this caused her to be elevated into the position of queen.

Woman everywhere would do well to emulate her godly attitudes in all areas of life, but especially in trials. Not once is there a complaint or bad attitude exposed in the Book of Esther. Many times we read she won the "favor" of those around her. This “favor” is what ultimately saved her people. We can be given such favor as we accept even unfair persecution and follow Esther’s example of maintaining a positive attitude, coupled with humility and the determination to lean on and fully trust in God.

So, in closing, it does not matter whether in prison or the free world, Jew or Gentile, white or black, rich or poor. We are all placed here to show love, grace, mercy, humility and unselfishness to ALL people, regardless of our circumstance, regardless of the cost!

Who knows but maybe God has placed YOU in such a position, for just such a time as this?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

"The Prisoner That It Really Frees is YOU"

Very often in life we feel so bitter and hurt by the wrongs people have done to us.  In fact, there are probably just as many people walking around that are JUST as bitter and hurt about what they feel WE have done to them. It can become a never ending cycle of pain, resentment and very often anger that will choke our hearts and never allow us to experience a  joyful fruitful life. Left on our own, we are selfish, hurtful people that only really care about what we THINK is good for us, not others, and this often causes hurts and emotional scars to almost everyone we come in contact with. Holding on to these hurts and scars can lead us into the deepest personal prison of sorrow and a life full of regret and sadness. WE become BOUND by the very chains that we forged by blaming others and pointing fingers. Others become bound with chains of their own because they refuse to do the ONE thing that will truly set them free.......FORGIVE!

The Bible speaks about this in great detail, as a matter of fact, the very REASON that God sent His only Son Jesus to die for us was so that WE could be forgiven of our sins. The Bible says in Matthew 6:14-15 "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do NOT forgive others of their sins, your Father in heaven will NOT forgive you" It also says in Colossians 3:13 "Bear with each other and forgive one another if you have a grievance against someone. Forgive as The Lord forgives you"

You see it is actually a command, a MUST DO if we are to call ourselves Christians. Too many scars, too much pain, too many burdens and hurts, will weigh us down and NEVER allow us to know the JOY of being truly free. more thing, it doesn't matter if someone apologizes for hurting you, it is our job to forgive them, just as Jesus forgave the very men that were gambling for his clothing on The Cross as He lay dying with nail scarred hands....FOR US!

WE will close with some amazing lyrics to a song written by Matthew West about a woman who forgave the drunk driver that killed her teenage daughter one night. Not only did she find it in her heart to forgive, but she went to court to ask the Judge to set him free, which by the way...the Judge did! Together they tour the country, in schools, prisons and everywhere God sends them to talk about the Power of God's Grace

"It will clear the bitterness away, it can even set a prisoner free, 
there is no end to what it's power can do.
So let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
the prisoner that it really frees is YOU"

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Happy Mother's Day 2017

A short but full of Love post to say....
"Happy Mother's Day" to all YOU beautiful Mom's. 

May your day be filled with nothing but sweet times. 

Sending lots of Love and comfort to those who will be
without their Mom's for the first time this holiday, 
I know how you feel. 

Happy Mother's Day to first time Mommies 
may you experience nothing but 
joy with your new bundle of joy.

Mom's,  your kids are out there, but keep standing on His promise, 
they will be back. 
May your day be filled with Hope. 

God Bless all Mom's and may God Bless you in your lying down, rising up, going out, coming in and make all your plans succeed with great peace and joy. 

Much Love,

Friday, April 7, 2017

In Honor of Pat and other Mom's

Death is never easy. It comes at us in different ways. For us we were crushed to find out that our beloved Pat, "Patty" who was like a second mom to both Steve & I passed away the morning of March 29, 2017. Who is Pat? Pat is many things but one she is the mom of Robin who we've been serving in prison ministry for over 8 years. Robin is still in prison and our hearts are with her as she begins this journey without her mom. Pat was a vibrant, feisty, a tad of stubbornness in her blood like us all, but deep beneath it all she was warm, kind and loving. She was a friend to the friendless. She loved baking and making things from tissue box holders, to blankets and kitchen hand towels. She was talented. She was beautiful. I loved her deeply. This picture was taken on January 15, 2012 outside before the entrance into Homestead Correctional as she was coming out from seeing her Robin. 
Which now marks the last time both of us would have seen her. 
   Pat is the 3rd mom that has died with a daughter in prison that we have been blessed to be a part of their journey. There was Kim and Nicole that both received news that their mom's passed away. Although we didn't know your mom Kim and Nicole we honor them too. Both Steve & I have lost our mom's too so we know the pain all of you are experiencing. There is no words that will make it better. But what I can say is that in Psalms 34:18 God is close to the brokenhearted. What a comfort that is knowing that God thinks upon you and is close to you during this time.
I love you Pat. Thank you for all the talks we had and for always telling me that I am stronger than I know. I weep and mourn your death, yet I think of the pain you no longer have and that you're dancing on streets of gold with Jesus. I even wonder if you got to meet my mom and told her all about everything. Steve was blessed more than all of us; he got to share in a beautiful dinner with you in Bloomington, Indiana right near your home on October 7, 2014. You were doing so great, look at you both so happy! 
And how I know you loved Steve so much, like you said he was your son.
To the rest of Pat's family and surviving kids and grandkids we pray for God's peace, comfort and 
Love to surround you all in Jesus Name.
We Love you Pat and you will ALWAYS have a place in our hearts.
See you soon!  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

True Friends

Be careful who you surround yourself with! 

True friends are always seeking your good, while false friends merely seek good from you.

"Wounds from a sincere friend are better 
than many kisses from an enemy"
(Proverbs 27:6 NLT)