life beyond the well…


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Book Review- The Miracle in the Middle

I first heard Charlotte Gambill preach at Celebration Church in the Fall of 2014.  She was one of the guest speakers for their annual women’s conference, and both Preacherman and I really liked her message.  We left the service and stocked up on some of her materials, and on a road trip I found myself going through message after message.  To say that she is a phenomenal teacher of the word of God and biblical principles would be an understatement.

All that said, I was overly excited to get my hands on a copy of the book “The Miracle in the Middle”.  I’ve found myself “in the middle” of quite a few circumstances and situations, and wondering when/where/how the Lord was going to move me from the middle to the other side.  Gambill provides great insight for enjoying that uncomfortable middle spot, and recognizing it for the miracle that it is- as well as encouragement for us to press through to get to the other side.

I must admit that prior to reading the book, I had already heard her preach a sermon by the same name.  Despite that fact, I still found the book to be insightful, well-written, and a blessing to me.  My approach to my “middles” is much different, as I’m learning to look at it as an opportunity for growth as just a place where I’m stuck until something changes.  I’m also realizing that as I change my perspective, things around me change- regardless of if there’s an actual shift in position.

I would encourage you to check out this book, as well as some of Gambill’s other messages!  The practicality with which she delivers her messages makes it easy to understand and apply to your life.

Until next time…

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are mine

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The Danger in Disconnection

The other night, I was fixing dinner and I heard the timer “ding” on our George Foreman grill.  Excited that the grill had “preheated”, I went and placed the salmon burgers on the grill, but I was a little concerned that nothing seemed to be happening.  Under closer inspection, I discovered that the power cord was disconnected from the outlet.

While I chuckled at my dinner mistake, I later began to reflect on the danger in disconnection.  You see, there have been times in my life, where I’ve been disconnected from my power source.  I’ve been far from God, not really close to people who were trying to live a way that pleased God, and I was just doing my own thing.  Go to work. Do school work. Hang out with friends. Repeat.

But there was a point that I realized that something wasn’t right.  While I was going through the motions, I didn’t feel any real sense of purpose.  To go back to my cooking scenario, I was on the grill, but nothing was happening.  I wasn’t being prepared for the point of completion.

As believers, our ultimate source of power is God.  He is our strength and our hope.  And when we get disconnected from Him and His people, we began to lose a sense of who we are and what our real purpose is in life. We begin to handle things in our own strength, instead of trusting and depending on Him.  And then, when we don’t get the results we desire because WE didn’t do things the right way- we blame God.

I can’t blame the power source because the grill was disconnected.  It was my responsibility to make sure the grill was connected so that the food could be cooked–to completion.  In the same way, it is our responsibility to ensure that we remain connected to God so that He can work in us to completion.

I encourage you to do what it takes to stay connected.  Dedicate time in your schedule to reading the word, to spending time with Him in prayer and worship.  Don’t let the things of this world distract you to a point of disconnection.

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

 


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A Higher Definition

In all seriousness, Preacherman is one of the smartest, most gifted people that I’ve ever met. Sometimes we have conversations and I find myself in awe of how his mind works- his ability to make connections and to explain complex things in such a simple way that it’s almost impossible to not understand it.  He does this incredibly well all the time, but it is amazing to watch him do this with the word of God as a preacher and teacher.

In preparation for our next season, Preacherman will preach messages to me- actual messages that he would preach to a church full of people. They are awesome.  And I’m not just saying this as a proud wife.  I’m saying this as a believer who leaves the message having experienced God in a new way, and having learned something that I can apply to my life, making me a better person.

A couple of weeks ago, Preacherman preached this message entitled “A Higher Definition”. It was such a powerful message, based out of 1 John 3:1-3 and 1 Peter 2:9-12.  Here are some of my key takeaways from this message:

  • The world and its systems do not own me.  I belong to God.
  • I am not to be defined by what others say I am: I am CHOSEN, I am HOLY, I am ROYAL, I am a PRIESTHOOD!
  • We are set up to be victorious.
  • Real victory is achieved with real opposition, not just going with the flow of the world.
  • I cannot allow myself to be defined by anything other than Christ.  That’s too low of a definition.
  • Because I am a child of God, I have promise, power, and purpose.
  • If I fail to live a life like Christ, I am allowing others to die in darkness.

This was SUCH a good word, and I hope those snippets above bless you as the message blessed me.  Interested in hearing the message? Let me know and I’ll figure out a way to get it to you!

Be encouraged! Peace and blessings!


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Ten.

“I’m glad I can look at my past and see that troubles don’t last; that when my soul was broken, God placed it in a cast…” – Me

On Saturday, December 6, 2003; in Ehringhaus Residence Hall on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill, I gave my life to Christ.

I came to that point after years of growing up and serving in church, but never having a full knowledge or understanding of the gospel.  It wasn’t until I came to college that I met people who not only went to church, but had a relationship with Christ.  Slowly, the pieces came together, and on that wonderful Saturday, through tears, I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.

I wish that I could say that this journey has been easy.  It hasn’t.  As with any journey, or any relationship, it’s a daily commitment.  There were days I didn’t want to make it- I didn’t feel like it.  There were days where my heart felt weary and tired.  There were days were disappointments far outnumbered the delights.  There were days where my pursuit of God and the purpose that He has for my life were lackluster.  But through it all, I pressed my way, and I continued to learn and grow in the knowledge of God and in my relationship with Him.

One thing I know for sure- God has been so CRAZY faithful.  When I think of the last 10 years, and where He brought from, as well as what He brought me through I am so humbled because I know I’m not worthy or deserving.  It’s so difficult to put in words- but my heart is so overwhelmed by His love, His grace, and His mercy.

Ten years ago, I accepted the invitation to drink from a well that wouldn’t run dry, and my life hasn’t been the same since.

My cup overflows.

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

PS: Because I think it’s important to acknowledge where I’ve come from- check out my testimony.


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30- Better than Good to Me

Today is my 30th birthday.

I’ve been mulling around in my head (and with Preacherman) just what that means, and I honestly don’t have an answer.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve been alive for 30 years.  Last year, I marveled at turning 29 and the faithfulness of God over the past 29 years of my life.  I am constantly amazed at God’s faithfulness.

More than anything, I feel so incredibly blessed.  I got saved for real when I was 20 years old.  The past 10 years have been such an amazing journey.  When I think of all that God has done over my life, but particularly over those past 10 years, I am moved to tears.  I finished college and graduate school, had amazing jobs in Georgia and Florida, moved back to North Carolina for another amazing job, got married, and moved back to Florida with my husband to pursue the purpose that God has for our lives.

If I could put it into a song, it would be this one, sung by our church’s praise and worship team: You’ve Been So Good to Me.  Here are the lyrics:

Lord, You are good-  You’ve been so good.  Lord, You are good- You are better than good.  I can’t praise You enough.  I owe You my life.  I can’t praise You enough, even if I tried.  You’ve been so good to me…So many doors You’ve opened, so many ways You’ve made, so many times You’ve healed me- You’ve been better than good to me!

Yeah. That kind of sums it up for me.  I can absolutely look back over my life and see where God has been true to His word on so many different occasions.  Goodness and mercy has followed me, His plans have prospered me; given me hope and a future, Nothing has separated me from His love– all in His word and all in my life.

Cheers to 30!  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the next 30 years

Another testimony of my 20s: “All we want and all we need is found in Jesus/All we ask is more of you/Nothing else can satisfy our hearts desire/All we want is more of you/For the Lord is good/And His love endures/Yes the Lord is good forever/And I’ll shout it out/from the mountain tops/Yes the Lord is good forever…” –Israel and New Breed “More and More


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2013- Second Quarter/First Half-Year Review

And just like that, it’s July! I can’t believe that we are in the second half of 2013.  It seriously seems like we were just celebrating the new year.  Preacherman and I are doing well, continuing to learn and grow together and becoming increasingly excited about the plans that God has for us.  At the beginning of the year, we committed some things to the Lord, and it’s been so wonderful to see how faithful He has been to us.

I’ve seen progress on both my dissertation and my exercise routine. I also wanted to focus on healthy eating and honoring God with my body and what I consume.  Though it’s been challenging (I love all the wrong foods just a little too much), the discipline of eating and exercising has paid off.  Since our wedding, I’ve lost about 10 pounds and I successfully completed my first 5K.  God has truly been faithful in these pursuits, and for that I am so grateful.

While it’s easy to just rest on what has happened so far, I’m challenged to believe God for more.  The faithfulness that God has demonstrated to me and Preacherman during the first half of the year is encouraging and empowering.  I’m looking forward to see what can happen next if I continue to exercise my faith and believe.  This is important for me, because it’s so easy to become complacent with what God has done, and adopt a “business as usual” mindset.  I don’t want to be on auto-pilot or cruise-control with God.  I want to be fully engaged, pressing for more, believing for more, trusting for more- in every area of my life.

So that’s what the second half of 2013 is like for me.  More. Lots more.

More of God.

More belief.

More worship.

More faith.

More faith in action.

More trust.

More love.

More love in action.

 

I’m excited to see what God has in store for the remainder of 2013, and I hope you are as well.  I know that there are many people who have struggled through the first part of this year, and I’m praying that you will continue to see and believe God for the things to come.  If what you’ve been believing God for in 2013, know that there is STILL time.  Trust that God will keep His promises.  Be encouraged that His ways are not our ways and His time not our time.  What takes us years can take God seconds.  Your waiting is not in vain!

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

 

“I am persuaded, Lord to love you.  I have been changed, to bless your name.  I am constrained by this great gospel, forever to worship you.”

“Lord your love for me gives me everything I need, and it keeps me wanting more…You are my delight and with you I’m satisfied. Your love keeps me wanting more…”


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Worship Wednesday

I love my church, and I feel blessed to go to have access to a church where I get good, biblical teaching.  I also LOVE our praise and worship.  While church is not just about the music, praise and worship is an important part of the service, and it sets the table for the word that we receive every Sunday and Wednesday.  Having been at churches where the music was less than desirable, and having to learn how to appreciate the words of a song over the sounds that I hear, I’m SO grateful to be at church where the music is both anointed AND good.

What really resonates with me is that the music is fresh, and it gets in my spirit in such a way that later in the week, I find myself singing or humming or replaying the songs I heard during service.  It’s amazing, and truly helps me to get through days that may be challenging.  I wanted to include the three songs that our praise and worship team have sung that have personally blessed me over the past few weeks:

Hopefully these will bless you as they have blessed me!

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!