I went to a strip club

This is what serving should look like. Reaching out of your comfort zone to reach those who need to know there is hope beyond what they can see. Jesus didn’t stick around the healed- He served the broken. He loved on those some of us would spit on or ignore.
How shameful that some churches claiming to love and serve Jesus would send hate mail to those who are just as broken as they are- or once were.
I only hope that I could have the same courage to step out, reach out, and allow God to touch others’ lives through me.

just a jesus follower

strip clubA while back I was asked by a group of pastor’s wives to go with them to strip clubs.

That sentence alone sounds strange. But hang with me.

At first I was a little hesitant. And not for reasons you might think.

I love people. Especially ones who are broken; it’s part of my calling. But, given what I’ve walked through, I know how fragile broken people can be.

And I know how insensitive the church can be.

And I was uneasy.

But, these weren’t just any pastors wives.

They had a vision.

One that longed to love on women that society had thrown aside.

It reminded me a lot of Jesus.

So, I jumped on it.

Their plan was to visit these clubs once a month to deliver a meal and gift baskets. I joined them the first night and I’ll be honest, I had NO IDEA what to expect.

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Brimming With Blessings

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime- until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.”  – Isaiah 46:4

Sometimes, I find myself wondering why God hasn’t answered my prayers. Do you ever feel that way? As if we are entitled to an answer- as if we are worthy of getting what we want whenever we desire it. We may as well snap our fingers and demand that God peel us a grape.

It’s a ridiculous thought, isn’t it?

There are moments in life where I just want to stomp my feet and have things go my way. We all have been there:

“If you would just give me this job, Lord, then everything would be perfect!”… “If I just had more money, then none of this would be happening,”… “If I could just get that guy to notice me, I’d feel better about myself,”… “If I could just be thinner, life would be going more smoothly for me,”… The scenarios are endless.

As it turns out, our way leads to more destruction than production. The very things we crave and desire more than anything can become our imprisonment.

For example: I have been without a job for about a week and a half now. It was my doing because I didn’t exactly think things through, so now I’m having to deal with the consequence of the dreaded job-searching and penny-pinching. My yearning for the “perfect job” landed me in my own little self-afflicted prison. I was so stubborn and thought I had things planned out perfectly; I told myself that once I quit the two jobs I had, God would immediately open the door to Commerce Bank and that would allow me to serve Him fully with more time on my hands.

Oh how silly of me! To put a time limit on the Creator of the universe? To demand that He work quickly as I will it rather than in His timing?

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” -Romans 8:28 

Note to self: God can use me no matter where I’m at in my life! His timing is absolutely perfect and always works for my good! It doesn’t matter if I have a job or not, nor does it matter if that job has the perfect schedule, salary or environment. He can use me exactly as I am right this minute- jobless and poor.

“May he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.” – Hebrews 13:21 

He meets us right where we are in life. Why? He doesn’t call the equipped- He equips the called.

I felt the pull to dive in and serve where I attend church, and I got a little overzealous. In my mind, I couldn’t properly function if I had a job that demanded so much out of me in regards to time. If I wanted to be on the Worship Team, I would need to be available! And if I wanted to serve at Paradigm, I would need to be free during service times, maybe even more than that. My solution? Rushing God and acting too quickly on my own.

Honestly, I was frustrated at first. Here I was, without my jobs literally taking a leap of faith… and God didn’t move.

Or so I thought.

I realize now that God is always on the move. Even now, He is working in my life to make things happen that I haven’t the slightest inkling of yet. His movements aren’t always visible to us. Sometimes He works behind the scenes, be it through others around us, different opportunities and situations, or orchestrating a big change without our noticing til much later (hind sight is 20/20). His works are often that way, in my experience.

God opened a door for me to serve in June on a mission trip to Detroit, MI. It would be my first mission trip, and I was eager to go. I hadn’t thought of the final deadline being May 8th. I was quickly running out of time. The trip is $500 in total to cover the cost of airline tickets, housing and other things, not including food. I have maybe $6.00 in my personal bank account, and had only been able to pay the $150.00 deposit towards the trip. I have 3 days left.

Last week I was encouraged to ask for help, so I wrote a letter explaining what we would be doing in Detroit, asking for prayer and support. After sending out just over 23 personalized letters, God showed just what putting my faith in Him can do.

Two days ago, my Aunt called me over to her house before leaving for Paradigm that night. I was able to visit for a little while with her, and upon entering her home she gave me a check. I did a double-take at the amount written on the line and immediately was overcome with emotion. I didn’t know what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t the FULL AMOUNT of the trip. God had spoken to her heart after receiving my letter. At first she didn’t think the full amount was appropriate, but God kept urging her to put $500.00 on the line.

So, after prayerfully considering it… that’s exactly what she did.

As of today, I have $1,050.00 for missions trips, accumulated in less than 5 days after sending out those letters- and the week isn’t over yet.

God has been working behind the scenes in this, even when I was worried that He had abandoned me to living with no income and no way to possibly fulfill the deadline in time. At one point, I know the enemy put thoughts of doubt in my head, telling me that God didn’t want me to go to Detroit. “Maybe it’s just not meant to be,” a voice whispered in my ear. “Otherwise, God would have given you the means to earn the money yourself.”

I didn’t believe the voice… but I was getting anxious. I kept praying and delving into His Word, which helped to give me comfort. I knew He wouldn’t leave me or forsake me. If it was His will for me to serve, He would work out the schedule and finances. He would equip me so that I could bring Him glory.

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”   – Ephesians 3:20

He spoke through my Discipleship Mentor, Lona, to encourage me to write those letters. He moved in the hearts of those who have helped me financially and prayerfully. He went above and beyond what I could have ever imagined- I now have enough funds to not only go on this trip but also save for another opportunity.

“With each new thing I learn about You… With each new verse that speaks truth into my life… With every sermon that touches my soul… With every answered prayer… With every change and with every blessing, Lord… You amaze me.”

– Prayer Journal Excerpt from Tuesday, May 3, 2016

God is good. He is mighty and all-powerful. Majestic and pure. My Lord and Savoir is KING! He is sovereign! Lord most high! My Creator is marvelous in all He does- His creation is vast and grand in all of its splendor! He is my Father, full of compassion and unfailing, unconditional love. He calms the storms in my mind and in my life. His comfort is unlike any other. King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He is the light of my life! He is worthy of all praise!

May every part of my life worship Him, be it through my music, art, writing, actions or words. He never ceases to astound me. I am in awe of His works and the love He has for us!

My cup runneth over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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