Sunday, December 27, 2009

Open Heart Surgery

You know those times where you feel like the Lord has given you a small revelation and then something happens and it is actually bigger than what you thought it would be...

Well, that happened today.

*Rediscover yourself lesson #361-Worship

In September 2002, we were invited to a church by a friend. At that point in my life I couldn't see any good in myself...but God did and He had a plan.

I remember walking in this church and feeling a different feeling that I had never felt before. We walked into the sanctuary of the church to a band playing on the stage with contemperary music uplifting the Lord. People freely raising their hands and laying their heart out in worship. This was new to me. I had never attended a church where this was okay. The one thing that stuck out to me the most was the worshippers on stage. I heard myself say, "I am going to be up there someday" and I immediately got excited. The thought of using my God given talent on the stage where people can hear you. I mean, I had a voice. Not just a singing voice but a VOICE. I had earned medals in high school for my voice. Superior ratings for my solos. I had main roles in choir concerts and attended choir camp for 2 summers. Why not have me up there?

Well, I never made it up there. Two weeks after commiting to a class at this church to get to know God more and myself, I got sick. An overactive immune disease called "Lupus" had plagued me. I had been completely healthy my entire life until this moment. It had crippled my walk, fatigued me, made my hair fall out, and taken my voice. I lost my voice for 1 week and when it returned, it wasn't the same. I could no longer carry high pitches or finish a whole sentence without clearing my throat. It was then that I had to learn and discover how to use my heart for worship. God didn't want to hear my voice, although He delights in what He created to be used for His glory. He wanted to hear ME. After getting over the fact that I lost something that I thought defined me, I was able to open up to the Lord with my heart...and I embraced it! I felt so free to show God how much I loved Him. I didn't have to say anything, I just allowed my heart to say it all.

Here it is over 7 years later and its still the singing voice. I have learned to worship with my heart, soul, and mind. While I am still learning just like you, I still makes mistakes but I understand grace and strive to move closer to the Lord.

Christmas time has wonderful music and it led me to reflect on my favorite song of the season. That song is "Little Drummer Boy." It reminds me of how I don't have much to offer but what I do have is my heart and I will worship the Lord with all I have. There have been times that I have been dry and not much in my heart to give but I believe that God sees a little as a lot given what we are going through. If I am not really feeling the love at that moment I express it to God. I let HIM know how alone I feel or sad I feel. Even if I am angry, HE knows. I cannot hide from the true feelings that I am going through, I have to let HIM know. God is so gracious with me and loves me through every process.

This weekend I was sharing with a friend my need to reach out more. The feeling I felt after Christmas Eve service was a feeling of wanting more in my relationship with Christ towards the lost. My desire to grow up more in the church and my need to be around other believers sharing in the same vision. I know God wants that for everyone.

This morning we had to teach. We teach 3 year olds every other Sunday and I leave there feeling purposed. As we were getting our lessons and room ready I noticed a different teacher in the 4 & 5 yr old class. I walked over to her and said, "Hi, are you in here today?" She said, "yes, I will be leading this group." I see her every Sunday because her son is in our class so I jokingly asked her, "well, are you leading worship today for the children?" A nervous smiling look came across her face and said, "I can't do that. I have no idea what I am doing." We both laughed and said bye. I walked back to my room.

A few minutes later the childrens pastor came in our section to check on all areas with cirriculum and materials. She came over to me and asked, "Is there any way you can lead worship today? I forgot Kim is out and I have no one." I got nervous but then immediately God said 'yes' and I just said, "sure! I have never done this before but it isn't me, its HIM." She was thankful to me and showed me how to operate the songs.

There are 3 rooms of children (up to 24 children), 5 teachers, and 5 youth (that help the class) to lead worship for. I had to sing in front of them and use motions. I said to God (like He was hanging out with me for the day), "I can't do this but YOU can...let's go!"

I started out with our morning greeting song, our lesson song, and last, a soft worship song by Hillsong. It's called "Your love is deep" and consists of many motions. Everyone was sitting and worshipping with their hearts and it was amazing. Four 4 & 5 year olds were sitting in front of me singing their hearts out. I could feel every bit of their innocence while singing to Jesus. As I looked down at one of my 3 year olds, Maggie, said to me, "my love is long" and she did a long motion. One of the lines in the song says, "my love is love is wide." I lost it on the inside. I was crying with my heart and telling the Lord..."my love is long." While I had tears in my eyes, it was then that I remembered worship and what it is supposed to feel like and how much God loved that moment. That was a feeling like we weren't even in a building...we were in the presence of the KING.

I do not always "get it", I do not always "understand it", and I do not always "see it" but I am learning that that is faith. Faith happens by worship. Its believing in something that is unseen and when you believe in something unseen, worship is what grows it up into that relationship. You don't have to do any rituals or outrageous things to get Gods attention. Just seek Him with your heart. Worship consists of the way you talk to others (about HIM or not), how you love, reading the Word, and singing/worshipping...with your heart. You don't have to go out and put on a show, just be you. That is how God made you and for you to be any different is only critizing what HE has done.

Worship is how we love. Open your heart...God is ready to do some work!

Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your HEART and with all your SOUL and with all your MIND." Matthew 22:37

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Google it...

Tonight is one of those, "I can't sleep" times. I fell asleep about 10pm but had a nightmare and awoke to Maddy smacking her lips in her sleep. Yes, she has been sleeping with me lately. Since Jeremy's schedule is here and there, I have been appreciating the time we all have to spend.
After waking up to lip smacking, I began to think about a conversation I had on IM on Facebook with a good friend. We were talking about the Lord and how great His love is for us. Reflecting on our past and things we had to go through, my friend said, "I wish I knew how deep God's love was for me." I began to think about that. I responded to her by saying, "well, I gave up trying to figure it out. I wonder if I did know, would I appreciate His blessings? Would I know how to love Him back? Would we keep searching for more of His love IF we know all of it? We can never know the extent of God's love. He wants us to keep searching for Him."
It then made me think of Google. That is a great site that I use on a daily basis. I feel somewhat smart after thinking upon something and getting the answer on Google. I then told my friend, "not even Google has the answer for how much God loves us," and it doesn't. No one does. God is the only one who can give even a glimpse of love to you. That joy you feel when you see seasons change, when your child says 'I love you', and the joy you feel when you read the Word. That is love. How about that feeling when you feel far away from God? That is love too. It's a feeling of emptiness and 'love' sick. You see, Jesus wants to be our first love. He wants for us to get our hearts filled with Him. He delights in you and wants you to have all the things your hearts desire.
"Delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."-Psalm 37:3-5
I mentioned earlier that this is a "rediscover yourself" tour and I am willing to hear what the Lord has to say. I may and will fall at times but I am willing to admit it and move forward. I believe the Lord has more than just "set backs" for me. He will use those experiences to mold me for His purpose. So, if you feel like you are just "idling," just hang on...your open door is coming! He isn't going anywhere and you know what, He wants you!
"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine"-Song of Songs 6:3
His love is more than we can fathom. You can Google it...but only God can give you the real meaning...and it's free!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I think God is taking me on road trip. These past few weeks I feel that He is leading me on a "Rediscover Yourself" tour. I definitely do not have all the answers but I am willing to see what it is the Lord is showing me. I am also willing to lay out my faults as well as my victories.

I have a "picture box" that I hold dear to my heart. While I call it a "box" it is more like a rubbermaid tub. It contains memories that go back to my childhood.

I love to sit and look at them from time to time. Looking at those pictures makes me happy and I feel loved. To be honest, my favorite pictures to look at are those of my mom and dad. The ones where they went to prom together, a wedding kiss, and a family photo of US. I feel so much love when I look at those photos and I am thankful that God made me.

Madelyn came up to me the other night and asked me if she could get a baby picture of herself out of the box. She said she needed it for school. I told her that was fine but not to make a mess. All of a sudden I hear her say, "oh mommy, you look so cute!" She brings me a photo of my hospital picture on the day I was born. I hadn't seen THAT photo in a long time. She then brought me one of me when I was 4 months old. I smiled immediately at the thought of what I was like when I was a baby. Then I thought of my parents and I sat in that happy feeling for a minute.

As I stared at the newborn photo I thought to myself, "and I didn't know I'd grow up to have Lupus." Then I said it to Jeremy and Maddy, "I didn't know I'd grow up to have Lupus." They then reached out to hug me. I jokingly laughed and took no pity. I am okay with it, I am at peace.

God had shown me that although that baby, Wendy Marie Makepeace...ME, did not know life would bring pain, tears, and sorrow, HE knew. HE knew how painful it would be and I would cry out. HE knew how angry I would be at the affliction and cry out. HE knew how sad I would feel when I felt alone and how I'd cry out. How did HE know? Because, HE was there.

HE cried for mercy before carrying the cross on HIS back. HE had nails driven through his hands and feet. A painful crown of thorns placed on HIS head in mockery. HE understood everything I went through.
HE understands everything you go through too. Rejection, sadness, heartache, loneliness, anger, frustration, etc.-HE knows.

Like I said earlier, my most favorite pictures to look at are those of my family. It makes me feel good to see them happy, joyful, and (at that moment) in love. I love to stare at them in photos and see who they are, what they are doing, and how they are interacting. It makes me proud to call them my parents.

Did you know God does that with you? Your life is a photo and God is the photographer. HE took a picture of you and stares at it with pleasure. HE made you and HE is proud of what HE made. HE doesn't see the hair loss, scars, rash, ailment, handicap, etc. HE sees YOU. HE loves YOU. HE delights in YOU. Like a parent, HE brags on YOU. Those "happy, excited, loved" feelings we get when we see a photo and it takes us back, God feels that every minute of the day for YOU.

Psalm 139:1-16 know when I sit and when I rise...for you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mothers womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made...your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Say...Cheese! Jesus is going to frame YOU!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Baa, Baa, Black Sheep..."

It has been a while since I have blogged and I am hoping with this renewed sense that I feel, I can pick back up and say what God wants me to say.
I intended to blog about the marathon that I had just recently completed but God is bringing it in a different direction and I am completely okay with that.
I am not sure the road that you are on today but I know that lately I have been down a road of loneliness and discouragement in my relationships. That may sound strange but to be honest, I felt this way almost my whole life up until I was born again in September 2002. I grew up in a dysfunctional household with my mom/stepdad and never really knew my real dad up until adulthood.
When I began this journey with the Lord, He showed me what real love was. He filled a void of that parental guidance, voice, and love I had not experienced. It was then that I realized the Lord has always been with me and that although my parents raised and loved me the best they knew how, they were human and made mistakes. God did not. I became a new person at that moment. Filled with confidence, joy, love, and renewal. I knew then that nothing could bring me away from my God.
During that process I also learned that Jesus was my husband first. Showing me the right way to love Jeremy. He was my guide to relationships and how to respect and honor and cherish my husband. I felt revived. I never had the right role model to show me how to love my spouse. How to fully appreciate and cherish what God had brought together. I got it!
I also discovered how to be a mother. Christ was my example on how to be gentle at heart, loving with words, quick to listen-slow to anger. I had some work to be done and still do, but Christ was patient with me and still is.
True friends came along when Christ became my Best Friend. When I confided in Christ with every ounce of my heart and trusted Him with that of which I shared, I was able to love others.
Many things I have learned about relationships through Christ, my only trusted source.
It was recently that I have forgotten those things and allowed the enemy to pick apart the things God has built up.
You see, a few months ago I had reconnected with some family members. It was awesome having these new relationships and I began to wonder where it had been all along. I started to feel myself holding on them tighter and tighter each moment. Not wanting to let go, I soon began to take those relationships into my own hands and they fell apart. I was left confused, hurt, and empty. I know now, I was confused because it was "treacherous" conditions. I was hurt because I gave all that I had and not allowed Christ to do His part. I was empty because I told Christ "it's okay, I can handle this" and He let me. I had tried to move forward and show my heart towards a few of them but I have since hit a wall and have not gotten a response back.
I have two really good friends that I began giving up on because I felt I was giving so much and was wearing down. I am getting to a point where I cannot connect with them much these days and to be honest, it hurts. This is just a mild overview of "relationships" and how difficult they can be when you take God out of the picture.
I was recently on a road trip with my family. On the way to where we were going I immediately heard the words, "black sheep" in my head. While I was meditating and thinking on that, I heard the words, "You have always been a black sheep. Think about it. No one loves you. All the connections you have made, they don't care about you. You are a black sheep." For a moment I began to side with that phrase. "Yeah, I am a black sheep. I have tried so hard to reconnect with people, love them, and give it a chance. All for it to be in vain." I then had sorrow come over me. I discussed it with Jeremy on how I feel and why it has to be that way. Just as we were talking the Lord revealed some things to me. God had shown me a "black sheep" and how it was wandering all over the place. Meaning, there was a reason I had not been in contact with those family members for so long. I don't know why but I know God knows me and MY heart as well as the others. He had been protecting it all along and as much as He was trying to get me to pull back, I kept going forward with it. I had wandered out of the "fence" which the Shepherd had set up for me. Inside the fence is green pastures, rest, and a place for me to be ME. I don't have to strive to be anyone and I don't have to go out looking for what I need/want. Thinking about that gave me a whole new perspective on Psalm 23.
After thinking about it, I wondered "what does it mean to be a black sheep?" and I came to a conclusion. It means nothing. It is a label that the enemy set up for me. I could have avoided a lot of hurt and anger but I walked right into it. Although it seems like such a horrible thing, the Shepherd was still with me and even sent out a "sheep dog" to help guide me back. The "sheep dog" once said, "The grass isn't always greener on the other side. Who knows what its like over there. Their dog might be meaner." That phrase not only stands for relationships, it can also mean in your job and in your church. When you feel like wandering off bc it may be "better." Just stay and wait for the Shephard. His job is to make sure you are safe, have what you need, and most of all, loved.
I came back to the fence but I came back all matted. I brought in some dandur, knots in my wool, and being far away, I had allowed the wool to grow over my eyes. But the Shepherd was gracious with me and still is. He is caring for me, cleaning me off, and He has taken his gentle shears and stripping away all that has entangled in my wool. Words cannot express what it will feel like when it is all taken away.
I am not sure what lies ahead for me. What I do know is that I am not going alone. I have a Shepherd who is concerned for me. Loves me for who I am. Forgives me. Honors me. Adores me. Most of all, He doesn't see me as a "black sheep" because I am His and He is mine.

When wool is sheared, it is used to make something. I hope this helps you in whatever you are going through. The Shepherd wants your wool. He knows what can be made from it and He knows how you will feel when it is all removed.

"Baa, Baa, Black Sheep have you any wool? Yes sir Yes sir 3 bags full..."

Monday, March 16, 2009

"I got an "F" on that test!"-NOLA Pt. 3

Time has gone by so fast this year already. I had plans to have this one written a month ago but "life" got to me. So here it is and I am so happy to have had this opportunity.

I had been training for the New Orleans Mardi Gras Marathon over the past six months and as time drew near the more excited I became.

I had to do a 20 mile run as a part of my training. I asked a friend to run that with me and she, with no hesitation, did. We had an interesting but fun run that day. It had been a while since my friend and I had ran together and the fellowship was amazing. After 10 miles of running, we made a short turn and was preparing ourselves to finish out the rest of the 10 miles. At the moment we made the left turn I felt a tug on my right knee cap. It began to throb and pain shot up under my knee. With grace given by my friend, we "walked it out." She was patient with me and ran at my pace. I was in pain the whole 10 miles back.

I went to church the next day and the sermon was, "Are you ready to fail in order to succeed?" It was a list of people who failed many times before actually succeeding at something. The pastor asked us, "Are you willing to do that for Jesus?" I agreed I was ready.

Later on in the week I ended up having a dream of trying to complete the marathon but I strayed off the path. My friend in the dream asked me, "Are you willing to fail in order to succeed?" and went back and began running but woke up before I got to see the finish line.

My knee didn't feel any better and I ended up going to a physical therapist. For 1 month I got treatments on my knee, which they diagnosed as "Runner's Knee." The pain went away in my right knee after doing what I was supposed to do but began having problems in my left knee. This time it was a different pain.

The P.T. gave me the approval to run but to slow way down and just enjoy it. That was a relief to me because that is what I had planned to do.

Here it is the night before the run. Jeremy and I were talking about the run and how it was going to feel completing another marathon. He was getting me all pumped up and then he said it, "if you don't finish tomorrow, it will be okay." I instantly got frustrated and asked, "why do you say that?" He said, "well I just wanted you to know that even the elites know their body and quit if they have to. That's why they are elites." I instantly remembered my dream but shrugged it off because I was going to finish.

I woke up the next morning excited to get the day going. I had no idea what was going to happen but I knew either way, God was going to be there.

We started out running and it was amazing! Running down Bourbon Street and seeing the sights. Some of those sights were drunken tourists. Yelling with what they had left in them for us to keep going and not give up.

When I got to mile 8, which came quickly, I was beginning to feel a little ache behind my left knee cap. I prayed for God to take my mind off of it and continue to run but I heard a voice that said, "you are not finishing this one." I actually laughed at that inside and asked, "what do you mean I am not finishing this one? I'm okay, I will finish." I continued to run only to find myself slowing down with each mile. My knee was done. When I came up to the half marathon portion, I heard God say, "you can turn off here, it's okay." My pride stood in the way. I could not cross the half marathon line with my marathon bib, people would see. What would they think? I continued to run.

I crossed my half way mark and the throbbing became unbearable. Sharp pains that shot all the way up my leg and it became too difficult for me to run. One of my really good friends texted me at that very moment, saying "YAY YAY WENDY!!! GO GO GO!!!" I really tried to keep going but I had nothing left.

So I did something I had never done before and that was quit. Sure in our minds we all "quit" at some point but I REALLY felt the feeling of "quitting." I stopped at 17 miles and I called Jeremy. I told him how sorry I was and that I was a loser. He quickly told me, "you are my hero no matter what." I was then released of the title I had given myself.

Limping back to the car, lots of things raced through my head. I was trying to figure too many things out but one thing kept coming back to mind. "Are you ready to fail in order to succeed?"

I was a little angry at that question at the time it came to mind but after letting it sink in, I agreed that I was ready.

After all that had happened with my knee the physical therapist determined that it could be a torn meniscus (?). She told me to take it easy, run for fun, and no long distances for a little while. If it didn't heal on it's own they would send me for a scan.

I think that is how it is in life. The thought of failure makes us nervous. What would they think? Will I ever get it back? Why does this have to happen?

I guess I can only think of a reasons for God to purify and perfect us. It was so hard going through the "quitting" motions and humbling myself to tell others, when all along they have rooted me on. I had to realize they were/are still rooting me on. Not just with running but with life.

I am still learning God's ways. I am sure I will miss the mark again for what He is revealing to me but my desire is to fully lay it down for Him to see that I AM "willing to fail in order to succeed!"

F-Faith-2 Corinthians 5:7

A-Ambition-Philippians 2:3

I-Inheritance-Revelation 21:7

L-Love-Psalm 36:5

If failure comes in the form of an "F" then I guess I failed but I am going to keep taking that test until I get an "A."

Monday, February 9, 2009

"Will and Grace"-NOLA pt. 2

"Why are you going to New Orleans again?" someone asked me one night. I explained that I was going to see my dad...and planned to run the Mardi Gras Marathon. With my heart bitter towards the last reunion my dad and I had, I was concentrated on that run more than I was seeing him. For me to tell them, "to see my dad" was not the whole truth.

To take you back some, my dad and mom divorced when I was 3 years old. My mom remarried and so my dad. There was distance between my dad and I until I was 17 yrs. old when he came to my graduation. I longed to know my dad but he was distant and I didn't know how to get close. I didn't have a father figure in my life. My step-dad didn't know how to "love" someone.

We didn't stay in contact after I graduated and I began a life of my own. I married a wonderful man and had a wonderful child. It's a wonderful life...right?

Well, I was missing something. I was missing the love, approval, and soft voice of a father. An authority figure that speaks volumes in your life.

My husband asked me one day if I would be ready some time to see my dad. He suggested it would be good for me, him, and our daughter to see him. I was hesitant at first but we planned out a time to go to New Orleans and reconnect.

That visit was in July 2002. It wasn't a visit I expected I guess. With distance between us and not really knowing what to say with one another, we stayed more apart from each other than close. I had come to terms with we aren't meant to have a father/daughter relationship. I wrote him a letter explaining that we were better off "friends." He never responded.

In November 2002 I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ. I had become a Christian when I was 15 years old, but not having anyone to help me along my walk to grow and mature in my Christianity, I fell away. Being led back to Jesus was the best thing that has ever happened to me. It was that time that I began to realize, I was never alone. I had a father...a Heavenly Father. I began to be filled with His love and understanding that God never intended for me to be without my dad. He began to show me that my dad didn't know how to reconnect with me, he didn't know how to respond with that fatherly relationship, for he felt as if he had messed up and couldn't turn back.

I began going through a heart mending process. I first forgave myself for always thinking it was me and putting the blame on me for not having that relationship with my dad. I had no control over it. I then had to forgive him. It was a process and it took will. Everytime I would feel as if I had forgiven him, the enemy would throw in my face, "well, if he had stayed active in your life, you wouldn't have had to go through what you went through with your step dad in that household." It was hard to push those thoughts away, but I had to focus on forgiving my dad and building a bridge for him to cross to get to me.

When I say "bridge" I mean Jesus Christ. I cannot build a bridge from things in my heart, for my heart can be guarded. I have to build a bridge based on the words from Jesus. So, he began to show me how and I was able to forgive my dad.

So here it is 2009 and I was going to run this marathon...and see my dad. Should it not have been the other way around? I was challenged with that question, "Why are you going to New Orleans again?" I knew I had to rearrange my priorities.

I began to pray about this trip. What would my dad think of me now? How will Madelyn react to her "grandpa" that she has never met...or remembers meeting? I began to be at peace and knew it would be okay.

We got to grandma and grandpas house on Saturday. Lots of family members were there greeting us and welcoming us back. Treating us like family...and we are. I guess I never grew up in a tight knit environment that I didn't know how I was going to act. God reminded me that all the "love" that he placed inside of me when he made me, was solely for this purpose and it was okay to release it and I did. No walls, no guards, and no locks. I let go.

My dad, step mom, and siblings arrived. I hugged my dad right away. It was one of the tightest hugs I had recieved in a long time. It wasn't a hug I was used to getting. It was a hug that a father gives his child. A hug I have witnessed Jeremy giving Madelyn and not sure how Maddy was feeling at the time her daddy was giving it to her. I always wanted to know how a daughter feels when her daddy is "approving" of her, and I finally got it.

We sat on the porch talking about life, Hurricane Katrina, and forgiving one another. My dad began to tear up and saying he was sorry for things. I quickly reminded him that I was an adult too and I can reach out too. He still sat their feeling sorry. I finally said, "I am okay now. I have forgiven you and forgiven myself. Let's move on." I could tell he was battling within, but I reminded him again, "I am okay." He smiled and we continued to talk.

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. '

"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate..." Luke 15:20-24

This is a scripture that God revealed to me as I was seeking Him on how to approach the reunion with my dad. I felt as if I were to welcome my dad back. I felt like the father who hadn't seen his son because his son felt bad for all he'd done wrong.

Jesus welcomes us back no matter what wrong we have done. We have to learn to do the same to others. How cleansed do you feel when you know God has forgiven you for your faults? Should we not show the same heart to others...especially our family? Maybe the reason why I felt so "fatherly" to my dad was because it was God's heart. He is still my dads Heavenly Father and wants my dad to feel loved. So like Jesus tells us "you are forgiven," so I say that to my dad too. He doesn't have to explain anything to me.

There were a couple of things that went on while I was there that the enemy tried to throw in my face about how my dad was. I had to throw in the enemys face that I was over it. You see, like I said early on in the blog, there needed to be a bridge built for me and my dad to cross. Well, when I talk about a bridge, it reminds me of the childrens story "The Three Billy Goats Gruff." We, of course, are the billy goats. The bridge is Jesus. We are trying to get to the other side. Well, under the bridge is a troll (the enemy). The troll tries to stop the goats from fully crossing the bridge to get to the other side where the green is, but the goats (with teamwork) succeed and beat the troll.

That is how we have to do things in this life. Teamwork. Otherwise, we will never see what is on the other side. There are many things over there; salvation, hope, and forgiveness.

My dad may have some growing to do, we all do.

My wonderful husband came up with the title of this blog, "Will and Grace." My dad's name is William and he taught me a lot about Grace. I couldn't have Grace for Will if Will and Grace weren't given to me.

So you see, you have to have "Will and Grace" and those aren't things you see on t.v. It is learned from a walk on a bridge.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Fleur de lis"- NOLA pt. 1

We have returned home from our awesome trip to New Orleans, LA. (NOLA) and I have to say that from this trip I have learned so much about myself, family, and most importantly God.

I was born in New Orleans, LA. on September 25th, 1979 at Lakeside Hospital. I was born Wendy Marie Makepeace.

We lived in New Orleans until I was 9 years old and moved on to Monroe, LA. (near Shreveport). The south has such a smell that is home to me. When I cross Texas on to Louisiana I just have to take a deep breath and know I am home. I love it here!

I moved to Oklahoma when I was 12 but always longed to go back home to Louisiana. I remember being in Louisiana and we had to have manners. We said "yes sir, no sir" to everything. If we didn't, you got reminded right there in front of the person. So after we moved to Oklahoma, I thought the polite thing to do was use my manners. I remember my first day in 6th grade, Mr. Matthews asked me if I was from Louisiana. I said, "yes sir" and everyone laughed and even whispered, "she said yes sir." That is when I knew things were different here.

I always had some what of an emptiness for where I called "home" and wondered if I would ever get that feeling. Years go by and you often forget where you are from. I was reminded constantly everytime I saw the "Fleur de lis." It is the symbol for the city of New Orleans or you may recognize it from the New Orleans Saints football team.

Anytime I have gone/go out and I see that symbol my heart longs to go back home. I am reminded that that is where I am from. People have asked me if I feel the "heaviness" over New Orleans, for its sin. Well, I didn't. Maybe it's because I didn't go expecting to feel it. I went expecting to feel God show me what it was that I have been longing for all this time.

While we were down there we saw cars with "Fleur de lis" all over them. I got filled with joy because it showed a city proud. There were "Fleur de lis" on business windows, billboard signs, and people wore them on their shirts. I told Jeremy I had to have something with a "Fleur de lis" to take home. I was so excited.

We stopped at a silver shop in the French Quarter downtown before we left to head home. I wanted a necklace with "Fleur de lis" on it. I found one! I was so excited to put it on and Jeremy was so happy to see me happy. I wore it proud.

On the way out of New Orleans to head home, I felt the Lord prompt me to look up "Fleur de lis" on my phone. I always associated with New Orleans but wasn't sure what the meaning of it was. As I searched on Wikipedia, I saw something that made my heart feel so loved.

"Fleur de lis" means "Lily Flower" in French. God had reminded me of my graduation at Purity with Purpose in November 2002.

I had announced my full name "Wendy Marie Grist" and what each meaning meant. When I was done I walked over to get prayer. Before it got started, one of the pastors had said, "Wendy when you walked on stage God told me the scripture Song of Songs 2:2 "Like a lily among thorns is my darling among maidens." He then said, "your middle name Marie means fragrance right? Well, I believe the lily symbolizes the "fragrance" that you are. God wanted me to tell you that scripture, you are like a lily among thorns." I immediately cried of course. I had never felt as if I was beautiful and for God to tell me that at that time was amazing.

Times following that prophesy, God showed me how He was showing me in the past that I was a lily among thorns. Someone had given me a scripture plaque with lilies on it, I carried lilies in my wedding, and there were lilies on a picture in all the doctors office I had been in. It was a sure sign to me that God was always with me...even from birth.

As I scrolled down more on Wikipedia, I saw it again, but this time the actual scripture was there; In the Middle Ages the symbols of lily and fleur-de-lis (lis is French for "lily") overlapped considerably in religious art. Michel Pastoureau, the historian, says that until about 1300 they were found in depictions of Jesus, but gradually they took on Marian symbolism and were associated with the Song of Solomon's "lily among thorns" (lilium inter spinas), understood as a reference to Mary.

I thanked God that He showed me that.

He thinks I am a "lily among thorns." I have a guarded, calloused, and selfish heart at times and he sees the growth in all of that. I am yet again in awe of His greatness.

I do not worship the "Fleur de lis" but it is a reminder to me of where I am from, what God has done, and how He is in everything.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Can't Get Away...

"I am an arrow,
I am a rocket.
I am a river,
nothing can stop it.
Cause You are the target,
and You are the atmosphere.
You are the ocean,
that keeps pulling me,
You pulling me here.
And I can't get away,
can't get away...
I keep running into You.
Can't get away,
Can't get away...
I keep running into You
I am a beggar,
You are the table.
I am so helpless,
God You are so able.
And when I get turned around,
You change my direction.
Cause You're so perfect,
I'm so broken.
Here You come with arms wide open,
chasing after me.
Down every road,
You're always waiting there...
And I can't get away,
Can't get away...
I keep running into You.
Can't get away,
Can't get away...
I keep running into You.
And even when I close my eyes,
I can't help but see.
That there's no place that I can hide,
you're such a part of me.
I can't get away, cause I keep running into You..."
Can't Get Away
by Rush of Fools
I was packing my gym bag for tomorrows run before bed tonight. I hooked up my new headphones to my MP3 player and decided to try them out. Since I didn't want to fill my mind with anything other than God's pureness, I heard "Can't Get Away" in my head. That would be # 30 on my MP3. I flipped it on and had myself some God time! I gave Him my whole heart and the distractions that like to try and come in between me and my Best Friend. I laid it out and told Him everything. I felt so good and refreshed. I "rushed" downstairs like a child running to their father after returning home from work. I wanted to post this while my heart was pumping full of joy and love for my Father.
"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways...Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."-Psalm 139:1-24
I was playing the song above in the car last week. As it started, I heard Maddy ask, "Why is he saying I am an arrow?" I explained to her the entire song as it played. What our role was and what God's was. I told her when you have God in your heart, you cannot get away from Him. You have invited Him in to live there forever so He will never leave you. She asked me, "when did I become a Christian?" I told her I remember her being 7 years old when she asked Jesus into her heart, she was in our basement while I was watching gospel videos. She responded, "no, it was before that because I have always worshipped God with my heart since I was 4 years old." I smiled and said, "okay, well for 4 years you have been a Christian." She asked, "that's all?"
That's all??? It seems that way. When you have a new heart/eyes it seems that God has been with you forever...and you know what, He has. Did you know He is with you right now? You cannot see Him but He is with you and loving you with His whole being! Recognize Him. Just thank Him for everything He has done for you and while you're at it, tell Him how Holy, Holy, Holy He is. Love on Him because He is always loving on you.
Jesus loves you and you can't get away!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

"You did that on purpose!"

The title of this blog sounds like siblings in an argument. Antagonizing your brother or sister and them yelling that out at you. Most of us have heard it many times over and over.
I heard it yesterday while reading an email from my brother Jason.

You see we reconnected after many years of being apart. Facebook is wonderful with all the details of peoples lives and the wonderful "Instant Message." With IM I am (haha) able to chat with my friends and family. I love it!

I received an uplifting email from Jason on God, family, and life in general. A lot of things were written and made my heart so full of joy and the word "PURPOSE" was all I could think of. After replying to the email, I pondered that word-"PURPOSE" and thought of the well know scripture-Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

So after thinking of this and some conviction from the Lord, I began to think back at my purpose. What was it again? My mind has been so cluttered with the wordly possessions and thoughts that I cannot seem to remember. I may catch a glimpse of what I vowed to do for God but I can't grab a hold of it.

Maddy and I watched "WALL*E" last night. It was a sweet movie and caught myself calling out for "WALL*E" and his pain to have that "hand to hold." Without giving too much information on the movie, there was a scene where WALL*E is looking up at the sky and it is covered with smog and toxins. He gets a small glimpse of the sky with a twinkling star but it is quickly covered by the toxins again and he shrugs his shoulders and goes about his daily routine.

Why does life have to get in the way to where we settle for this? Why do we let the worries, material possessions, or other people of this world toxin our view of what God wants to show us and we are okay with "just a glimpse?" My heart has been poked at by God all day for Him wanting to give me what He has for me and I am scared to see it.

We had Life Group tonight and we are going over "The Blessed Life." They asked, "What does it mean to give it all to God?" I responded with, "You have to give EVERYTHING to him, not holding anything back." When I said that I was convicted of not doing that.

I am human and I strive to be like the Lord but it is hard when God wants to renew something big inside of you but has to get rid of the toxins that is in your view. I am tired of seeing a glimpse of Him and shrugging my shoulders because I have to be on my routine. I want to see it all!!!

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity..." Jeremiah 29:12-14

WALL*E ended up seeing the sky in full force after fulfilling his purpose and having a "hand to hold."

Thank you Lord for bringing Jason and his family back into our lives and helping me meditate on the things you call us to be..."You did that on purpose!"