Thursday, January 9, 2014

In My Weakness.

"If I must boast, I must boast of the things that SHOW MY WEAKNESS." 2 Corinthians 11:30 

The last couple weeks have undoubtedly been extremely difficult for Austin and I. As we have been looking for a glimpse of hope, we have found ourselves at the bottom of the financial valley. 

God has continually held my hand through this as I am a FIX IT type of woman. I want to have a job so bad, so I have busied myself with painting and started the Ante Meridiem Boutique. The more I have prayed for God to allow me to work in this season as we wait for my sweet husband to begin the post office, the more he has said "wait. Be patient. Be submissive. Allow your husband to lead you." 

Argh! What?! God and I have had some trying weeks as I have wrestled with Him to give me a part time job... But with a gentle hand he has guided me to the realization that I was missing the point. 

The point wasn't for me to focus on the fact that For the past week, bill collectors have been blowing up my phone, and I have continually avoided them. Ashamed to answer after putting the last six dollars in my gas tank. Continually I have told myself "God will provide." (And he continually does through various places to help us scrape by) 

The point hasn't been to focus on my external problems... As a matter of fact, it took the financial burden to look at my heart and see the defects that I still cling to. Pride. Anger. Stress. Depression. 

Where is all this coming from? Money can't truly be what's causing my emotions to be this way! 

But the truth... The truth is that it's hard to wake up each day and feel like I've had a purpose. It's not like I have a job I work at and provide with. The truth is that it's hard to love my husband the way he deserves to be loved when he isn't providing. It's not like it's his fault I am bitter. The truth is it's hard to see God through the mess when bill collectors are blowing up your phone and your barely making it already. The truth is... I can have all the head knowledge in the world about what it is to follow Christ without truly knowing what it is to cherish Him in my heart and be obedient to HIS CALL. 

So, yes, GOD SAYS I HAVE MISSED THE POINT IN ALL THIS. If He had wanted Austin to have a job right away, then He would have made the post office speed up. He has that power. He can do all things. So why didn't HE? Because the point of this, was to learn true submission and what my true treasure is. The point was to show that There is value in following God and SELLING OUT to have that treasure. 

"The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and SELLS ALL THAT HE HAS and buys that field." Matthew 13:44

Honestly, I have to boast in this weakness. Although I have found myself crying more days than not, I wouldn't change it for the world. God will use this mess and turn it into a miracle. God will use this financial burden to strengthen my marriage and not look at my husband like He's somehow failing at providing, but rather that He's trying his best to lead me even in the hard times. God will use this financial downfall as a way to show that money DOES have a chain on me... That my heart turns nasty when I feel insecure... Because my security has come from what I can do... Not what He can do. 

I just pray that you too, if finding yourself in a financial crisis, can learn to see the internal transformation even when everything around you stays the same, or gets worse. 

Look at what IS to be cherished.. And delighted in...  Because until ALL IS STRIPPED AWAY, we won't know the true value of Christ. 

"Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you." Psalm 73:25

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Moving to KC-Part 3

The night after Family Fest, I had a dream. I dreamt about going to a hospital and meeting a mom and little boy. The little boy was named Caleb. The mom and I began talking. Caleb was adopted. The mom then began talking about things she believed to be true... Yet it was skewed. She was open to listening about what I had to say. She was open to the truths of Jesus Christ.  Just like after every dream, I woke up. 

I told Austin about it that morning and we contemplated if it meant anything. I couldn't shake it. We took it to God to give us the interpretation. What he told us, blew my mind. 

"Look up Caleb in the bible. Tell me who he was."  (Obviously, God wants us to participate. ;) ) 

In a nut shell,  Caleb was one of the 12 spies sent by Moses to check out the land of Cannan.  When they returned, Caleb and Joshua gave a good report--knowing that God already had the victory. The other men were afraid and doubted. 
{Numbers 13}

The mother was only something God could tell us. He said that she represented the people of KC. That many know of a truth... But that they do not know of who JESUS really is. She was in a hospital to figure out what was wrong with her... And It was there that she heard the good news of Jesus. That was our purpose. To bring the good news of Jesus to keep people out of Hospitals and bring them back to life.. To mend the broken. 

After the dream had been interpreted to us by the Holy Spirit, Austin and I decided to be like Caleb and "spy" out KC before moving. I knew of a dear friend who had just moved to KC and she invited us to stay in her home for a weekend. 

The night before we left to come to KC, we went out to eat with my family. I had to leave dinner early to run to work, so Austin got the check at the end. Unfortunately, the lady accidentally charged us for the entire table of 12 ppl. She had already run our card, the damage was done. It charged us for every cent in our bank account. 

Austin called me at work to give me the bad news. It was upsetting and we were both glad I wasn't at the restaurant when it happened or I could have told the lady a few things (UnChristlike Things) that were on my mind. I am currently thanking God still, that my anger was contained.(For her sake, and my families). I then knew that I knew, that I knew, we had to still go to KC the next morning, with half a tank of Gas and no money. 

The mixup could have stopped us or propelled us. For God tests the righteous. We decided it was exactly that, a test... A test to see if the hardship would get the better of us... If it would scare us away from following through with what God planned for us. 

I prayed that night that God take care of us... That We knew this is where He wanted us and we were going to follow him because we knew his super natural powers. He is CAPABLE even when things make no sense. 

So that next morning we packed up and got in the car to leave. I called the bank early to see if they could do anything since they cancelled the charge. We are so blessed. They released the funds right in time for our trip! 

We drove 3 relaxing hours to KC, Mo. Not worried about a thing. Shannon was more than generous. She allowed us to stay in her room and she provided us with meals... All three days. She is a fantastic cook! We were so blessed!!!! 
Church came early for us on Sunday morning as it took us an hour to drive there. (& we weren't late, praise Jesus).

On our drive, we both heard God say... The answers you are looking for are going to come at Church. Not sure which answers, but we knew the answer was Church... Our fellow Christian brothers and Sisters.  

We were greeted by at least 5 ppl before being seated. The worship played and we felt at home. Three songs in, they began playing a song that said "Breaking Chains" in the chorus. Aw! Again. Thank you JESUS for confirming our church home. 

After the message, Pastor Todd Blansit came over to us and personally introduced himself. I felt compelled to give him a love connection book and Austin told him about his music. Pastor Todd then told us about how he wanted to use our talents! Is this real life? Someone pinch me. 

Before leaving the Church, Austin needed to use the restroom, so I stood by the information desk when a "stranger" came up to it. 
"hey, I know you, you were in my life group at DC." I said to her. "Remind me your name."

 "I'm Nadine. I'm also Traci's mom." She replied. 

She had come back in to get her cookie tin that she had left behind accidentally. Then Todd (her husband) came over and she introduced him. Austin came back and I introduced him to them. We then all went into the new comers area where they gave us cookies and introduced us to a couple people. 

Todd and Nadine then asked us.. "What are your plans here." We began to briefly explain we just felt called there. We weren't sure what we wanted to do or why... But we knew we were supposed to come." 

They both got tears in their eyes as they looked at each other and then back at us. They said "We were just talking about it this morning, but we don't know why God has really called us here either. But we know we have a purpose. I think one of our purposes is to help you two. We have plenty of room in our home. We would like to be a blessing if you two want to stay with us." 

Austin and I were blown away... Not only had God provided a church home, and a studio, but he was now providing us a real home... With a generous family... 

We planned to get together that Monday before Austin and I left for home to talk details. When we came to their house, scripture filled their walls.

On their tv stand a very familiar scripture stopped me in my tracks. Tears came to my eyes as I read the words "For I know the plans I have for you,"declares The Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 

All this came full circle and I could hear The Lord whisper, "welcome to your new home." 

We told a few close friends 

Moving to KC- Part 2

In all Honesty, I've hesitated writing this, as I have felt less than adequate to tell of the things God has done... In all of my desires, glorifying Him is at the TOP of my list & I don't want to miss ANYTHING HE has done, so I've waited... 

Your marvelous doings are headline news; I could write a book full of the details of your greatness. {Psalm 145:6 MSG}

But now I feel ready.. For in my weakness, and in my inadequacies HE IS STRONG. 

{2 Corinthians 12:1-10}

After the Broken Chains crusade, we came home totally in awe of Gods greatness and totally humbled by seemingly small beginnings. 

Austin and I both felt our calling was to continue fighting on behalf of others... To pray and believe Chains could be broken in others lives with the ministries He had given us. 

With that on our hearts, we continued our daily living...working on breaking some of our own chains. 

Austin and I were both getting burnt out being in Ozark/Springfield. We were both feeling drained-as if things were changing and we were being left behind. We couldn't quite place a finger on it...Life was GOOD, real GOOD But we knew we had to go...we knew that God wanted GREAT. 

In Springfield, we both have family, we both had jobs, we both have church family, my birthson, our friends, and our memories. So what exactly could be greater? What would leaving truly look like? 

We prayed... And prayed... And prayed some more... Asking, pleading, with God to show us where he wanted us to move. I assumed Jokingly, Austin said Kansas. But he was dead serious. & I wasn't having it. "HECK, NO, it's flat and boring and there's tornadoes. I am NOT moving to Kansas." Taken back by my answer He said,"Never say never, God may call us there." I laughed it off. 

That Night I went to work and as I was driving I called on God and said "the next license plate you show me, is where we are moving." A car drove past with an Arizona license plate. I called Austin. "babe, I feel like we are supposed to go to Arizona. Yeah, for sure. That's definitely where we are meant to be."  Hanging up, I felt content.. Mainly because I felt I had dodged the bullet to come to Kansas. 

The next morning was Church... Austin didn't want to get up. He had worked long hours the night before and was exhausted. Something inside of me compelled me to fuss at him to get up and go with. We both know Church is important and usually it's no problem, which is why I pushed even harder because I felt like it wasn't Austin... 

We went to church that morning together, running late like usual. When we  got inside worship was already playing. We grabbed our coffee and immediately jumped into the swing of things. 

As we lifted our hands in praise, I prayed to God and said,"Lord, I give in. Wherever you set my feet is where I shall go. I just want to do your work. I know I desire someplace warm, but if that's not what you have for me, I will still love you and do my best to honor you."

Worship was over and we sat down. Pastor Chad got up and swiftly introduced Pastor Todd Blansit, His cousin.. Who Pastors a church in KC. (Oak Grove). Austin and I got a little excited!! 

After He was done speaking, Austin looked at me and said "that was good. Really good." A video began playing about shining your light and allowing it to reach an entire city. Both of us got a heart shock.. We both felt it. Kansas City was set into our minds. As we left church, Austin was excited about what He had learned, yet still wanted to go home and nap. ;) 

My family and I had planned to go to "Family Fest" that day... And I again pursueded Austin to stick to our plans and go.

When we arrived, there wasn't many people. It was supposed to rain, so a lot of people hadn't wanted to risk the weather conditions. The concert had already started. We set up our lawn chairs and then walked over to the merch table. We looked at T-Shirts and CDs when Austin noticed Steven COOPER
would be performing and Had his own merch section. 

Austin picked up his business card & asked the lady working behind the table if he could keep it. She kinda giggled and told him of course. His eyes lit up as He explained who Steven Cooper was to me. He had worked with tech nine, akon and Toby Mac. 

Then Austin flipped over the business Card. It said "The Booth Studios." Located in KC, MO.  Two times in one day, we saw KC, MO. So not only would we have a church, Austin would have a studio if we came up to KC! It seemed to fall into place. God is so clever when it comes to the details of our lives... He works behind the scenes and after it's set up, HE shows us where to go. 

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: {Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV}

It was perfect. Austin and I then grabbed Steven Coopers CD and on the back.. The third song down was called BROKEN CHAINS. That's it. I was undone. God gripped us. We chatted to my mom about KC, and she got excited for us. She's always been supportive of the dreams we have! She's an all in, go big or go home type! (It propels & encourages me). 

We sat down expectant for God to show up. Austin got up one second later to get my mom, little brother, and I some water. He was gone for what felt like FOREVER, and when he returned he was glowing. He had seen Steven Cooper on the way to the water and stood and chatted with him about music and recording.. Hoping that possibly He could teach and disciple him along the way. 

About an hour & a half later, Steven Got on stage. My mom didn't realize who he was and said "this guy is my favorite so far." Austin and I laughed and told her who he was. She was impressed! After, we got his CD for my mom and He signed it. :) 

We decided that KC was probably the place, but we didn't want to tell anyone. There's something that happens when you recognize that God is leading you, but it's in the secret place and until you have all of what He is giving you, it's better to keep your mouth shut and just follow. Austin and I had been blabber mouths about what we assumed were Gods plans, and it just made us look foolish. 

We learn as we go, and one thing we have learned Is that if God is behind something.. You don't have to say it, it will happen in time... You just have to show it. 

Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words. {Ecclesiastes 5:2, 3 ESV}