Anointing

'Anointing, as described in the Bible, can be defined as "God on flesh doing those things that flesh cannot do." It is God doing those things only He can do, and doing them through a flesh-and-blood, earthly vessel...' (Understanding the Anointing, Kenneth Copeland Ministries, kcm.org)

2 Corinthians 4:7 AMP However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves.

Anointing. It means we are far more than what we appear. It means God has blessed us with an ability to convey His power and love to others in a way that can be attributed in no way to ourselves. We cannot take credit for it, we can only direct all our praise and adoration to our God for the work He is doing in and through us. How remarkable, amazing it is to think He sees us as able to do this and thank goodness for His Spirit at work in us! I am filled to overflowing, to look back at the last two weeks and see how God's hand is moving in our lives. We have seen doors open, doors close, and we are still watching as other doors begin to creak open even as I am writing this entry. God is good, all the time-that will most certainly never change! Even on the worst of days, that certainty rings true in my heart and soul, when I am helpless and emptied out before Him, I can truly acknowledge that He is always good!

This coming weekend is the start of something new for us. Ryan has accepted a part time worship pastor position with Altar of Praise Family Church. It is a small church family that meets in a store-front location in north Springfield, and we are so thankful to be part of the potential, the opportunity to see God move and grow this church and reach many lives for Christ! We know and expect great things will happen and we are so thankful, so humbled to have this opportunity to go and serve. The worship ministry is pretty much non-existent and we will essentially be 'it' for awhile. We are looking forward to the task set before us to build this ministry, to allow God to use us and the gifts He's given us to meet the needs of this church body and encourage others to join this loving body of believers. We know God has destined this church for great things and we are so excited to be a part of it! Please pray for us as we begin this new adventure. I am thrilled beyond words to be joining Ryan in worship leadership once again, and I have been waiting and praying for God's timing--and here it is! I am thankful for lessons learned in this time in between, the necessity and blessing of rest and allowing the heart and soul time for restoration. As we prepare our hearts for service this weekend and in the months ahead, would you please pray for us? We know God has purposed us for this very moment, and we want to follow His leading in all we say, sing and do!

Thank you, Lord, for this moment, right here, right now. Prepare us, lead us, and guide us and we will do what You've called us to do.



Thankful for His promise to me

Jeremiah 32:40-41 The Message
I’ll make a covenant with them that will last forever, a covenant to stick with them no matter what, and work for their good. I’ll fill their hearts with a deep respect for me so they’ll not even think of turning away from me.

Oh how I’ll rejoice in them! Oh how I’ll delight in doing good things for them! Heart and soul, I’ll plant them in this country and keep them here!

If you are familiar with this passage, and I admit I had to read through this carefully to absorb again what took place, but this was a time when God allowed His people to lose everything in order to teach them how to appreciate what they had and honor the Lord their God. They weren't honoring Him, they weren't serving Him and devoted to Him as was expected of God's people, and so He allowed things to go very, very badly for them. Ultimately He finished His message to His people by acknowledging that His covenant with them would stand and He would restore them. Painful and promising all in a few paragraphs and so much had to happen for His people to learn their lesson. You know, we have to admit we are still learning that lesson today. I try to face each day with confidence that it will be a day I can look back on and say, "Hey, I did something good today!" but all too often, I hit my pillow thinking, "Good grief, what a day. I didn't get nearly half of what I needed to done. And I have to get up and do it all over again tomorrow." Anyone relate? Well, here's the hard reality: this is life. Life on this earth is never going to be perfect, no matter how we attempt to package it. Something, or several something's are likely to occur and send you spinning with stress, doubt, frustration, confusion...shall I go on? Life is full of surprises, so what to do? Face it with as much hope and joy as you can muster, and if your tank is low, then dig deep into His Word, sink it into your heart and mind, and go out into the world ready to be the best you possible! It sounds corny, but it is the way I try to approach each day. I find myself these days trying harder to let go of my thinking in terms of what I think God is going to do, and instead just realize He is going to do what He does without any help from me.

Ryan and I are nearly a year into a season of restoration, and it has been very hard but absolutely necessary. We are trying to throw our hands up at God more out of release than exasperation. Does that make sense? It seems like for too long we were losing our hope, that we felt life was beating us up to the point we were ready to throw in the towel. We felt like God didn't see or hear us, and we just wondered when, when is the break we have been praying for going to come. If you've been in a place of desperation, then you know, any ounce of patience and understanding you once had is pretty well fizzled out. When you don't know how you're going to meet the basic needs you are faced with, and it seems every avenue you have pursued is exhausted or the answer has come back as no-sorry we can't help you, well, the only thing left to do after you've had your pity party and hit rock bottom...is to throw those hands up to the Lord our God! Desperate times have made me do some really stupid things and some really brilliant things too. I am thankful, no matter what I do, stupid or brilliant, God still loves me and is still there for me. I don't deserve it, and I certainly can't earn it, but thank goodness for it!

As we approach the end of April, we have some good things to report. God is good, all the time!

*Ryan has accepted a part-time worship pastor position with a store-front church, Altar of Praise Family Church in Springfield. It will be an interim position for the first 60 days which is wonderful because we can truly "test the waters" and if it is something we feel like God is calling us to sink our feet into and the leadership feels the same, we'll move forward. If not, we can come away from it with the freedom to pursue other avenues.

*We have been approved to purchase a home. We have a couple of options, and we are gathering all the information we can to see what is going to be the best option for us. Option #1 is for an FHA loan which includes the necessity for us to put 3.5% down. Less than a year into new jobs and rebuilding our finances, you can imagine how much of a challenge it will be for us to come up with $4,000-$5,000 for a down payment. Option #2 is for a USDA loan which is a 100% financing program. Credit score requirements are higher but we don't have to come up with a big down payment. Early May we will work with our bank to see how our scores come out, and if it goes in our favor we can move forward with the USDA loan option.
Option #3 is for us to search for a rental home. The rental market here is great, but we will inevitably have to pay $400-$500 more a month in rent to find the space we really need. Time is ticking away, we have to give 60 days notice at our apartment complex which is June 8, so please keep us in your prayers as we head into the next month and see where God leads us to live. We are excited, stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted...need I go on?

Every day, throughout my day I take time to pray and think about the needs around us, what is going on in your lives, the needs we are all facing. Life is not getting any easier, and it is getting less and less predictable so all the more reason we need to cling to our God, embrace His Word and be a support to one another. I am amazed how God brings people into my life at just the right time, and for the opportunities He has laid before me in this season of restoration. I am excited to see some new and interesting opportunities take shape as we walk into the days ahead.

Timing is Everything

Timing is everything. God's timing, specifically, is perfect and just in time. Have you found this to be true in your life? I spent a lot of time last night in my quiet time, praying out of sheer exhaustion to God, we need Your provision now more than ever in this moment! God is doing a work in us, both of us, in this new season of restoration and purpose. We know what we are called to, that has never been in doubt. Ryan is making efforts to gain secondary income in worship leadership opportunities, and we hope to see the doors of opportunity open for him over the days and weeks ahead. God has provided what we need, and we are very thankful! Now that we've improved our financial footing, we are taking an inventory of what we need in the year ahead of us. We have two aging vehicles, and this seems to be the year that every little thing that could go wrong and needs to be repaired, is happening right now. We have been blessed to find a cozy 3 bedroom apartment that has worked well for us within the span of a one year lease, but 1150 square feet for 6 people is proving to be more than this family can take! The walls are starting to close in on us, and we are in need of more space, more breathing room soon! So, last night I took a hard look at where we are financially, what we have coming in and what we need to make two very necessary improvements in our lives this summer. We need more living space, so we will start looking in June for a 3 or 4 bedroom rental home. We also need to find a replacement vehicle, something affordable, fuel efficient and dependable for our family of 6. Would you please consider praying for us? Here is what I'd ask you to pray for:

1. Consistent secondary income for Ryan--We want to find something in a part time worship pastor role, but we will continue to share his promotional packet with anyone and everyone who can connect him with a need for worship leadership at any number of events such as interim worship pastor roles, retreats, revivals, concerts, camps, etc.
2. A 3 or 4 bedroom rental home--We need to stay in Willard school district. We have to provide 60 day notice so we will notify our apartment office June 8 of our intent to move. Our goal is to find something in June, move in July.
3. A replacement vehicle--We need something that will fit a family of 6, affordable and dependable.

Prayer is our lifeline to God, it truly is a conversation with him that He longs for throughout our day. I find myself praying without ceasing many times right smack in the middle of my busiest days because I know my limits, and I know I can't go on without my God intervening and supplying me with the peace that passes all understanding.

My heart is full to overflowing with thanks to each and every one of you for your prayers, your loving support and encouragement for us over the years. The journey is certain to be difficult, but God provides His perfect peace and love to help us carry on! Thank you for standing beside us, joining us on this journey.

my Ebenezer...

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