“God’s not dead, He’s surely alive! He’s living on the inside roaring like a lion.” – Newsboys
And that He did.
This morning I found myself in the shower crying. The realization that God uses cracked vessels to accomplish His will is so overwhelming.
“Use me, Lord. I just want to touch someone’s heart and be your hands and feet today…”
Cleaning the house this morning and surfing Facebook, I happened upon our worship leader’s status:
One minute I’m dusting, folding clothes, wiping butts….
Then out of nowhere, BAM! A craving for a Chick-fil-A sandwich, waffle fries, Dr. Pepper and a warm cookie hit this preggo like a freight train. So of course the kids and I on a whim, hop in the van, drive 45 minutes down the road to the closest CFA.
Honestly I had forgotten about my shower prayer. But God hadn’t.
We ordered our food and the kids took off to the playground. Walking to the table, a gentleman in army uniform caught my eye.
And that’s when I heard it: Pay for his meal.
I knew that voice. I’ve heard it many times. It was the gentle, yet roaring prompting of the Holy Spirit.
The man walks up to a lady in pink, obviously his wife, and 4 small children. Now I was prepared to pay for his meal. But suddenly the tab grew larger. Yet the prompting grew stronger by the minute.
Pay for the meal. Their meal.
Now I don’t know if it’s because the 4th of July is only days away and it was some type of subconscious patriotism or if this family truly needed to see genuine love from another human being, but regardless, God connected our paths for a divine purpose today.
I walked up to the cash register as they finished their order and gently placed my hand on the register.
“I’d like to take care of your meal today.”
His wife’s face was priceless. “What?” She said, obviously shocked.
“Thank you for your sacrifice and service to our country.” I said, trying my best to push through the tearful lump in my throat.
She said a gentle thank you and Kendyl and I walked hand in hand back to our seat.
And then came those emotion-filled hot tears. My tears.
Sometimes God wants to use our devoted obedience to bless us as much as we bless others.
Sometimes He uses those moments of obedience to strengthen the faith of our children.
“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” Acts 20:35
We cannot out give God.
We cannot out love God.
We simply must be obedient in the big things and small things. Those moments when He beckons a seeking heart to be His hands and feet.
God is looking for seeking hearts and broken vessels.
He’s looking for heartfelt, butt naked shower prayers.
He’s looking for ordinary, average every day people like you and me.
Tune out the noise today and tune in to the whispers of the Holy Spirit. Seek the Lord with all your heart. You could be the connection between someone and their blessing.
Live Life Unscripted,
To celebrate the release of Real Mom Moments – A 30 Day Devotional for Moms, I want to say thank you by giving some away! Whoop whoop! 😉
Starting right now you can enter to win 1 of 4 brand spanking new books! Click the link below to be taken to my giveaway by rafflecopter.
Every Thursday for the next 4 weeks a winner will be randomly selected and receive a brand new autographed copy this awesome new devotional! (First drawing is Thursday, May 21st so you have a week’s worth of entries before a winner is chosen!)
Good luck everyone! Spread the word!
Live Life Unscripted,
I’m so glad to bring my good friend, Tammy Gerber, from www.oneraindancer.com back to share with us! If you missed her first post here, you can click here to read as she shared her heart on our series “Confessions of a Worn Out Mama.”
I pray you’re blessed as she shares her insight on Psalms 25-26!
I love the Psalms so much. I go to them for comfort, encouragement and hope when I’m struggling. I also love the Psalms because they are raw and real. David is not afraid to say exactly how he’s feeling, which is a comfort to me. It’s a reminder that I can be honest with God. I don’t have to sugarcoat anything.
Psalm 25 is no different in its encouragement. David pleads with God for help, reminding Him of His great love and mercy (verses 6 and 7). He asks God to remember David according to His great love, not according to his sins (verse 7). David continues by listing some of the benefits of fearing God (verses 12-14). My favorite benefit of fearing God is verse 14: the Lord confides in those who fear Him. Confide means “to impart secrets trustfully.” (1) Don’t you think it’s amazing that the God of the universe would want to confide in us?
My other favorite verse in this Psalm is verse 16. It says, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.”(2) I love David’s honesty. He just tells it like it is, and He isn’t afraid to tell God what he needs. He tells God he is lonely and needs comforted. This world can feel very big and loneliness is a struggle for so many people, including myself. I’m so thankful for the reminder from David that when are feeling alone, we can go to God. He is the only One who can satisfy and fill our empty hearts. If you have time, jump ahead to Psalm 63:1-5. They are some of my favorite verses about God being the only One who can truly satisfy our souls.
In this Psalm, David says in verse 1, “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have led a blameless life.”(3). To vindicate means, “to clear someone of blame or suspicion.”(4) I’m making an assumption (and just my opinion) here that David wrote this Psalm before the mess with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). He even invites God to test him and examine his heart and mind in verse 2. I think it’s both comforting and terrifying that God examines our hearts and minds. I am so grateful for His continual grace and mercy toward us when we mess up. In verse 11, David reminds God again of His great love for him, and asks God to redeem his life and to be merciful to him.
I often wonder about David’s relationship with God. It had to be amazing to watch. It wasn’t perfect, but it was real. David obviously feels free to be totally open with God. He is not afraid to lay it all out before the Lord, and yet he does it with reverence and awe and respect for God. I love that and pray that I can do the same. I pray that for you too.
Where would we be without God’s grace? We would be in a pit for sure! I’m so thankful for God’s forgiveness and love, and I’m so thankful He sent Jesus to set us free from our prison of sin once and for all!
Thank you Brittany, for asking me to do this post!
- – Dictionary.com
- – Psalm 25:16 (NIV)
- – Psalm 26:1
- – Dictionary.com
It’s such a pleasure having Tammy share with us today!
David was always so real. The good, the bad and the ugly, he displayed it for us to see. David went down some treacherous winding roads in his lifetime. But I truly believe this is why he had such a passionate heart for worship. He knew where God had brought him from. Has God brought you through some things?
God sees us, hears us and examines every fiber of our being. And the crazy thing? He’s still pretty wild about us.
We’d love to hear from you! What is something that really spoke to you today?
Start the conversation below or head to my Facebook page by clicking here!
Live Life Unscripted,
I’d like to introduce to you someone who has made such a huge impact in my life. This woman has spent countless hours with me in prayer, laughed until we’ve cried and rejoiced as God has brought us to exciting new doors to walk through.
One thing is for sure – Penny is a mighty woman of prayer. She loves Jesus and you can see Him illuminating the room through her contagious smile.
Meeting this incredible woman of God, you wouldn’t have a clue of the road she’s walked down. But she’s ready to share her story and we’re praying it will set you free!
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Me: You’ve never had it easy, that’s for sure. How early did the abuse start?
Penny: From the time I was a small child, I recognized that my father could love other children, yet he was verbally abusive to us. He was so cruel to my mother when her she became ill and it cost him money at the doctor. He was a workaholic and a control freak. He would go as far as writing down the mileage of the car as he left for work so he knew if she went anywhere. My father would never let her befriend anyone at church. Looking back, I think he was scared she would disclose what was going on at home. He was a different man at church than at home. And he hid it well.
Me: As if the emotional and physical trauma wasn’t enough already, the beautiful life you had growing inside of you would never make it to your arms. Do you wonder what she looks like?
Penny: All the time. After I gave birth to my second child, Jamie, I always wondered if my daughter was normal. I wonder if she knows she was adopted. I never spoke to anyone about being pregnant. No one knew for years I had even had a child. I honestly thought for once I would have someone to love me. Then my father had the baby taken away from me the moment she was born. I’ve wondered if she’s struggled with weight because I always have. I’ve prayed she didn’t struggle with that. Every time I babysat someone’s kid’s I have thought about her, especially if they were girls.
Me: You and your father had quite the strained relationship. Tell us about the day your world stood still.
Penny: My father hadn’t felt well for some time and had been to the doctor. They couldn’t find anything wrong with him. I think he felt guilty for being so angry with my mother being sick and that guilt triggered his suicide. He couldn’t handle the pain he felt or the guilt of how cruel he was to my mother when she was sick. After talking with my brother and I for hours, he walked to the back of the house and I heard a noise from the back room. He laughed and said he was putting his pistol away and it went off. A few moments later I heard it again and he had shot himself with a shotgun. He had 4 days by himself at home but waited until I got home to do this. It was the ultimate rejection from my earthly father from a man who was supposed to love and nurture me.
Me: You remind me so much of Job. He was tested time and time again, yet remained faithful to The Lord. Even when he had lost his family and his friends were kicking him while he was down, he continued to trust in God. Do you find it hard trusting God, your Heavenly Father, when your natural father abused and abandoned you?
Penny: Yes. I went to church and heard Psalm 139 and read for myself that I was wonderfully made by God and that He loved me with an everlasting love, but it was hard to grasp that concept. I compared God to my earthly father. And every relationship I had with a man followed that grueling path of abuse. God in heaven is nothing like our earthly father. God never abuses us. He never abandons us. He will never stop loving us. The bible says nothing separates us from the love of God.
Me: Jamie is such a sweetie. And he LOVES the ladies! You said the devil has really fought you hard as a mother. Tell us a little about that.
Penny: I had seizures the whole time I was pregnant and Jamie was born with brain damage. I believed God was punishing me by giving me a disabled child for my promiscuity and giving my first born child away. The devil spoon-fed me those lies for years. But now I know that’s a lie straight from the pits of hell.
Me: For those going through a difficult situation right now, what advice would you give them?
Penny: What the enemy means for your bad, God will turn it around for your good. God definitely has a way of birthing something so spectacular through our pain. We just have to hold on. God has a way of wrapping all of our mess up into a ministry to set others free – if we will just let him. We can’t effectively minister to others until we have been there ourselves. We always have a choice. We can either get bitter or better. We can’t blame God for the decisions we have made, because we will reap what we sow. But it’s not God’s fault. What takes place in our lives is not to destroy us. It’s to help mold and make us for what God has called us to do. Everyone has a story to tell but not everyone shares it. We have learned to mask it and walk through the doors of the church and feel utterly alone. Everyone is hurting. We have to get real with God about ourselves before we get real and transparent with others. Thankfully, God uses cracked vessels.
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A big thank you to Penny Bartee for sharing her story with us! We pray you realize you are not alone in your situation. Struggling with suicide, abuse and emotional trauma for years, she has overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the words of her testimony. Revelations 12:11
Is God asking you to speak up? Listen for His voice. He loves you so much!
Live Life Unscripted,
Don't miss out! We have 2 more incredible ladies to hear from this week! Share this if it blesses you!
There are soooooo many distractions that pull and tug at us every moment of every day. Are you speeding past
the things that really matter?
I challenge you – wherever you are today, BE THERE. 150%.
Jesus set an awesome example for us to follow. Jesus set an awesome example for us to follow. 🙂