Friday, December 28, 2012

When will be the day....

When will be the day....

When will be the day that we decide to truly acknowlege our need for God...

When will be the day that we realize that we can't do this life alone....

When will be the day that we give up our striving and fighting ....


There is nothing more that this world needs then just surrendering our lives to the God who created us... if only we could grasp how great of a calling each and everyone one of us have... we are to give up our own picture of selfish ambition and kneel down at the feet of Christ and ask... what am I here for... what have You put me on this Earth for... there has to be a reason for this life... and it's not what I have been fighting to accomplish on my own...

I feel this stirring... this uneasy feeling that we are just missing the mark...


Lord I lift my eyes up to you to lead me to what it is that you are calling me to be and do. Correct what needs to be corrected and continue to stir that passion for the future! I surrender my will to cherish Yours. You see all that is meant to be... I choose Your way not my way....


My deepest desire my dear sisters is that you all find out who God has called YOU to be... that you see the incredible purpose in your lives. That you find out that you were not put here accidentally... There is a God. There is a God who cares and loves you dearly. First of all He wants to pour out His peace over every part of your life. To take away your fears and anxiety. He wants to lead you to a place where you see His blessing and provision in your life. Then He wants to lavish you with purpose and passion. Why? so that you can be fulfilled... fulfilled in a greater picture of what life was created for... what YOUR life was created for!!

May eyes be opened to God! The fight has already been won... so stop fighting. Stand in what God has already done for you. Claim it!!!


When Enough is Enough, Stand. by Amber Williams

I am really not sure where to start... Amber Williams is one of the most beautiful women I have had the pleasure to get to know on a deeper level in the last few months. We have been mutual mom admirers from a distance for a while since we both started going to Koinonia with our families. Both having our 3rd and 4th babies, church shower together I felt a connection to this mother now of 6 awesome kids. I have seen her put her family to a #1 priority time and time again. She has an unconditional love for her husband and an overwhelming desire to see her children come to sense the amazing presence of God in their lives!!! I am blessed to be part of her life and look forward to seeing the path that God continues to guide her in.

Amber your love for God and family is something that overwhelms me to watch! You truly are an amazing woman of God. Blessings to you through every circumstance, trial and blessing!!! Stay on the path that God has set before you!!! God will never leave you or forsake you. You will not be put to shame or forgotten. Daughter of the Lord most High you have a calling and a great purpose for your life. You were not brought here with such a story without a purpose. God turns all thing for those who serve Him to GOOD... not merely a testimony but GOOD!!! Blessings wonderful friend.. I am honoured to consider  you a friend!!!




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When Enough is Enough, Stand.
By Amber Williams

Many of you know a piece of our story as we were part of "Storytime" 2011.  I feel very honored and humbled to be given this opportunity to share a bit more with you today.

I feel inadequate as we are still in the battle, with only a few answers of how to get to the other side.   However, as I touched on a little bit at the end of our Story, whenever I don't know what to do, I stand. 

I stand in the place that God has put me.  I took the responsibility and committed to first of all be a wife till death do us part, through the good and the bad, regardless of how much bad there is.  Second, I stand as a mother, as I took the responsibility to raise six children in a God centered, God fearing home.  No matter how that "looks" day by day. 

I stand in my commitment to God, knowing He is always by my side regardless of what my current circumstances tell me to be true.  And sometimes, when I think He has left me alone to deal with the things I know I cannot bear, He had been the solid rock foundation under my broken and defeated body just simply holding me. Until, I can get up again, and stand in the gap of where He has placed me for the benefit of my children's future, their children's future and for generations to come.  If I choose not to stand in this gap of brokenness, generational sins, and hardships, that simply means that my children will have to.  I am not willing to allow this cycle of defeat to go on for one more generation.  So when I can't stand, I just listen to someone who tells me that God says I can.  I have learned to keep my focus when I want to quit, and it has been my saving grace.  This concept first came to me during “Divine 2009”, in my most crucial times and has been repeated over and over throughout the last few years.

My mom has given me a Joyce Meyers Study Bible and has taped hundreds of her messages.  Also, she has given me books and cds about blessing your spirit by Arthur Burke which I use to continually wash my mind with the word when all I want to do is lay down and surrender.

A read a quote recently during my Life Journal, from Joyce Meyers, it reads: "It is untold what people can do, even people who do not appear to be able to do anything.  I believe God does not usually call people who are "capable".  If He did, He would not get the Glory. He frequently chooses those who in the natural, feel as if they are in completely over their heads, but who are ready to stand up when called and take bold steps of faith as they receive direction from Him.” 

As spiritual a battle as this truly is day by day, it feels like it is anything but.  I have to keep reminding myself that what I see is a physical retaliation of the spiritual realm.  I have a couple of verses on my fridge that I read often to remind myself of this. 

“Do not be afraid, Stand Still, and see the Salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.  For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.  The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace.”  Ex 14:13-14

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” 

I have prayed over and over for years to be delivered from these circumstances, or even for Him to just take me home because I simply can’t endure another day!  However, I always come out of that state of defeat realizing that God is more interested in our spiritual maturity than our circumstances here on earth. As much as He wants to simply change our circumstances, He knows that if we learn to be stable and unchanging, and even have joy in the midst of our hardships, as Paul tells us in Col 1:11, we will not just come out on the other side, but come out with joy and patience, lacking nothing. (James 1:4)

Have I learned to have joy in the midst of all this and speak what I know to be true in His word, rather than what I see? I wish I could say yes.  It is in my head.  It is what I know.  However, I am working on consistently getting it into my mouth and attitude.  I do have moments where I catch myself immediately after a negative word and turn it around, so I know I am growing.

So as messy as it feels at times, as long as I am standing in my God given place, even if that is ALL I CAN DO, I know that the Lord is fighting on my behalf, and I know that the next five years will hold the best that God has for me because I am in obedience to Him and He will carry me through it.

This is me Standing….. through the storm…… no matter how scary……….. I will not jump overboard…… I will make it to the other side. Thank you Jesus!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"My Latest Upcycle" by Stephanie Headrick


I am honoured to share this post with all of you from a woman that I dearly look up to. I met Stephanie Headrick when I was 17. My family hosted Steph and a friend at our house for the weekend when a team from Eastern Pentecostal Bible College came to minister at our church. It was a chance meeting but something that the two of us decided was worth investing in, even if it came 3 years later, after both of us got married and started having families. It has been a treasured distance relationship full of encouragement and challenge. (Again, FB proves a reason when used properly to be a great tool!) Stephanie Headrick is an amazing woman, pastor, wife and mother. It has been so exciting seeing how God has used her through the years. I am blessed to know her!! And one of these days, we will have to get our two families together!!

Stephanie, dear friend! It has been such a blessing to have a cheerleader behind me through many stages and circumstances! I have loved getting to know you through the years and cannot imagine life with out our little chats and messages back and forth. Praying for continued blessing on you and your amazing family!!! That God will use your gifts as you serve Him, to bless those in your sphere of influence. May your passion to grow in Christ become an attractive extravagant example to your family, to your church and to your community! "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him." Romans 8:28

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"My Latest Upcycle"
By Stephanie Headrick



I don’t know about you - but I have been caught up in the Pinterest world. I really do love it! Honestly, where else can a mom of 4 kids between ages 7 and 2 put an idea to come back to later and NEVER loose it!!!!

 

As I stood spray painting my latest ‘upcycle’ inspired from Pinterest, I realized that maybe God has been upcycling my life too...

 

Over the course of the past few years I feel like my life has been turned on its head and for the sake of ‘Honesty with Modesty’ (as Beth Moore likes to call it) I will spare you all the details, but lets just say it thrust me into a full fledged identity crisis. I got married ‘young’ by most people’s standards and was still finishing my last year of school, at which point I discovered just weeks after our first anniversary I was pregnant, I graduated with a Bachelor of Theology in Youth Ministry 5 months pregnant. Over the course of the 4 years that followed, I gave birth to 3 more kids, was credentialed and later ordained with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. It was a whirl wind I wouldn’t trade for anything. As time progressed, I began to feel as though things were falling apart, I should clarify that - I didn’t just feel that way - they really were. It shook me to the core so badly that I ended up getting misdiagnosed with postpartum (turned out it was situational depression), medicated, sedated, in counseling and barely able to function. It was such a lonely, overwhelming and isolating time. As I was coming out the other side, God began to move in our lives again and called us to a new church.

 

On the tail end of 11 months of intense depression and anxiety, God moved us somewhere new. So incredibly exciting and relieving and yet at the same time completely chaotic. The last time we moved it was with 1 baby and a very pregnant me; this time it was with a 6,4,2, and 1 year old...to a 1 bedroom cottage no less while our home was being built.

 

I would love to say that as I reflect I feel like I now know more of who I am and have got my feet back under me, but I can’t. That year of my life - it will never be undone. It’s created a new me, weaker in some ways and stronger in others. I don’t feel today that I have any more questions to my identity crisis then I did a year ago in counseling. I did realize today though that maybe, just maybe God’s upcycling my life, taking what was for the past 30 years and turning it into a newer more relevant useful version for the future. I thought about Jeremiah 18 where the Lord sent Jeremiah to the potters house and in verse 3 says “So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.”

 

I know you’ve been dying to know what that latest upcycle was so without any delay - a spice rack turned into a nail polish center. Who knows maybe that spice rack would have rather waited on the bottom shelf for someone to pick it up and use it for its purpose, but I’ve realized, I would rather take on a new purpose then sit around collecting dust. God’s not done with me yet, he’s just shifting and realigning things so He can use me in a new way now. Life can be scary, my only absolute is Jesus, so when it feels like He is allowing things to fall apart around me I have to trust that He can still turn what’s left into something beautiful, and so should you. ~

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Incredible Changing and Re-arranging" By Zoe Wood

I am sooo excited to post this today!!! I have been getting to know this amazing young lady for the last few months and she has reminded me again of how important it is to keep connected to every stage of life!!! Zoe Wood is a passionate fun loving person who is maturing into an incredible woman!!! It has been a joy to see the journey that she is on and I am anticipating amazing things for this upcoming year for her and the influence and impact that she is going to have on many many young girls around her!!!

Blessings to you wonderful Zoe!!! This was amazing I really really enjoyed reading. This post was an encouragement and challenge all at the same time!!


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"Incredible Changing and Re-arranging"
By Zoe Wood



God has been doing some incredible changing and rearranging in my life these past few months, however, I have decided to focus on my high school experience and what God has been saying to me about it. 

In order to help put my high school experience in context, I will give you a brief history on my life prior to high school.  I grew up in KCF and went to the private school at Koinonia.  So in Gr. 10 when we decided it would be smartest for me to switch schools into the public system (for academic reasons), I am sure you can imagine my shock.  Growing up I never felt like I was ‘sheltered’ or kept away from the ‘real’ world.  In fact, my parents even encouraged us as children to play on city sports teams and take lessons to get us outside of the church bubble of protection.  Nevertheless, I truly think nothing could have prepared me for the culture shock until I was actually fully immersed in it.  You can prepare as much as you want but everything is much easier said than done and head knowledge is way different than heart knowledge.  You really don’t 100% know what is inside of you until push comes to shove, and this was a hard lesson for me to learn.

During my time at KCA I honestly thought my relationship with God was great, and that it was exactly how it should be.  And then I switched schools.  Needless to say my world felt like it was shaken, turned upside down, and ripped out from under me.  Never in my life had I been in one building with over 1000 young people all trying to fit in and find their place, or with such low morals and standards.  Yet they were all so accepting, and looked like they were having such a great time.  It was definitely a confusing situation, so I turned to my Christian friends at church, and where were they? I felt like they were nonexistent.  For the first time I felt I did not belong in my church or with my church friends. So I turned back to my school friends, and they welcomed me with open arms.  As the years progressed I got more and more immersed in their culture without even noticing (to clarify, you can definitely make the culture at public school what you want it to be, quite simply I just made some poor choices and judgment calls). 

But the point of this blog is not for me to talk about how screwed up I was or am, and it is not for me to stay stuck talking about my past, in fact, that is one of the things I learned through this experience.  I have learned that God is much quicker to forgive than I am.  He is much quicker to forgive me and my past than I am, and to forgive others than I am.  For a while I beat myself up about my high school years and disliked myself because of the choices I had made.  Then after a crazy God-encounter during my devotions I realized that He had already forgiven me and was sitting there waiting for me to forgive myself so He could move onto His purpose and plan for my life.  God also forgives others more readily than I do.  I had been holding onto an offense for years now.  I thought that my church friends were supposed to be the ones accepting me, not my public school non-Christian friends.  Now the sad part is after having finally talked to them about this long over due offense, we all came to the realization we had all been unspokenly offended at each other and for peddy reasons too.  We had all been so caught up in our offense and what we felt the other person did to wrong us that none of us thought to deal with it in the logical way; which is talking to the person, letting go of the offense, forgiving, and moving on.  You see, what I learned was that offense is a choice, no one can force you to be offended, you choose all by yourself to be offended, and you also choose how you deal with it.

The second thing I learned through this experience is that sometimes God chooses to let us do our own thing for a while.  This is for two reasons:

1)                  If He forces us to love and serve Him when we do not want to we will end up hating Him and Christianity.  We will be spiteful and not want to do whatever He has called us to do.  This method would prove to do more damage than good. 

2)                  The longer we are in the desert, the thirstier we get.  The longer I lived my life without God as a priority, and the deeper I got into doing my own thing, the more valuable and real this experience of coming back to Him has been.  God gave us a free will, so He can’t force us to learn lessons the easiest way possible, but He can definitely, always, make the best out of a poor situation and turn it around for good.  See, to be honest if I had stayed at KCA I don’t know where I would be right now.  I would definitely still be in the church and serving God, but I don’t know how passionate I would be because I never would have had the experience of living life without God, I never would have had the wake up call.  I probably would have still been stuck in my mediocre-Christian-zone.  I have lived life without God, and now I have chosen to live life with God.  I have seen the insane difference it has made in me as a person and in my life.  I am not suggesting the way I got to this point is the best or right way; in fact, if it could be avoided, I would strongly recommend to do so.  What I am saying however, is that God is good and will take the inch you give Him, turn it into a mile and change your life if you allow Him to.

The third and final thing I will share with you is this: be real.  It is simple, but not easy.  If I had been real in the first place, with myself and others, I don’t think I would have ever gotten to the point I did because I would have been open to have talks with my parents, or someone saying that I was struggling with my walk with God.  I think it is really hard for Christians as a whole to do this because we all want to be like Christ’s image, and He was perfect.  The small thing we all seem to forget in putting on this perfect image facade is that we are not God!  God would rather use one screwed up person whose heart is in the right place and genuinely wants to serve and obey Him, than hundreds of Christians who have been in church their whole life, know all the ABC steps to becoming the perfect Christian, but are slowly dying on the inside and not willing to love and serve God whole heartedly.  We all have our own set of problems and we need to be open about them.  It’s funny because I always feel like God cares when I screw up or have problems (which He does), but not nearly as much as I do.  I feel like we as Christians put an unrealistic pressure on ourselves to portray a perfect image, but God doesn’t care as much about our imperfections, because He already sees the solution to our problems.  So this is just a little tid-bit of what God has been teaching me about lately. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Beautiful Things - Gungor

 
 
 
 
"Beautiful Things"
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

"Attitude of Gratitude" by Heidi Fleming

Today I have the privilege of sharing with you the heart of an absolutely beautiful woman. Heidi Fleming glows of the presence of God and overflows with love for others! It has been a pleasure getting to know her slowly through the years and more than thrilled that she has accepted the position this year, leading at Koinonia Christian Fellowship as the Children's Director. I cannot think of a more incredible person to launch our Children's ministry towards the future and personally, for my girls to look up to as they get older.

Her topic today is one that was hard to read because it touches on a loss that is dear to her heart and many of those who have followed Heidi's journey through the last few years. To see her walk out life, through all circumstances has proved to show of Gods overwhelming love and faithfulness over her life.

Blessings Heidi. May the words that you have written bring another part of healing to your heart and to all those who read! May it remind us to prepare and live a life of gratitude beyond what life throws at us. May we be found a people of consistent thankfulness in all seasons.

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"Attitude of Gratitude"
By Heidi Fleming


Recently in Kids Church we began a series called “Attitude of Gratitude”.  Here’s an excerpt that I wrote about the theme: “Gratitude is about more than just remembering to say thank-you at the right times, it’s about how we choose to FOCUS on God’s blessings, rather than all the negative things we could complain about”.  As I’ve been writing these lessons, I’ve been discovering that having an Attitude of Gratitude is not easy.  Imagine what a place this world would be if it was!  There are so many things to be grateful for, but how quickly our focus becomes all the things we wish were different.  It’s really about shifting our focus daily: from where we’re empty, to where we’re full to overflowing.  Here’s a little piece of my story that I hope will encourage you to focus on how GOOD God really is.

 

Halfway through my first year of university, I received a phone call from my dad saying that my mom had been diagnosed with cancer and given 3 months to live.  I finished the year as strong as I could and returned home in April.  I was blessed with 3 more months to spend with my mom until she went to be with Jesus on June 29, 2007.  She was a worshipper here on earth, so I’m positive she’s totally in her element worshipping Jesus face to face now (I think that’s the most beautiful thought ever).  It’s been 5 years since then, and here I am now looking over those years with gratitude.  I’m so grateful that I had 20 years, learning from my amazing mom.  And if you’re reading this and still have your mom with you, I encourage you to call her up and say thanks.  Moms are so easily taken for granted, but they are some of the most lovely, brave, supportive, encouraging people in the world.
 

 

But gratitude is also about choosing not to dwell on what I DON’T have.  I miss my mom, and of course there are times that I feel the “hole” bigger than others.  But if there’s one thing she taught me, it’s that God is good.  And I don’t want to ignore all the ways he’s proved that to be true.  In these past 5 years, I can name multiple women who have filled a piece of that hole for me.  Not one person will replace my mom, but there are so many women that God has brought into my life to care for me in their own unique way.  It’s like moms are coming to me from all angles: mother-in-law, step-mom, Grand-moms!  Not to mention Aunts, friends, and co-workers, all with their own children but special to me as well. 

 

I could go on about how grateful I am to each one, but I will leave you with just one example: my Aunt Donna.  I had dreaded the thought of going wedding dress shopping without a mom.  It wasn’t good enough to have another person there, to fill in the blanks.  I wanted something completely different.  So I didn’t even go shopping at all – I decided I wanted to make my own dress.  My bridesmaids and I went to Toronto and found the perfect fabric in a little store on Queen St., and I brought it home.  I went to Aunt Donna’s house with nothing but yards of white fabric and a dream.  She was up to her gills in work for her embroidery business, but each month she took time for me.  Measuring, cutting, sewing – she taught me every step of the way.  And the dress was truly a dream come true.  But more than having a beautiful dress, I am so grateful for each moment of that experience.  I recognized early on that it wasn’t just about having a dress at the end, it was about learning to appreciate the time spent with my Aunt Donna.  Sitting, listening, learning.  It wasn’t about her being the one to fill the entire “mom” void – no single person could or should – but she brought her own unique gifts at the right moment and it was just what I needed.  I am so grateful to her for taking that time for me, like so many other passionate women who have a special place in my heart.


http://jamiedelaineblog.com/about/
 

So I pray that I continue to focus on how blessed I am by all of these mamas who have spoken into my life, especially when I needed it most.  I think it’s this Attitude of Gratitude that keeps me looking for places that I can generously give what I have, to fill in a little space for someone else everyday. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Blessings Friends!!!

Hi all you wonderful women!!!
 

I am so charged and excited after going through the last season of a life group called Lioness Arising and sharing it with you online here. It has stirred AGAIN the passion I have for women linking arm and arm in life together to see one another supported, encouraged and serving an incredible God.

With all that passion in mind I have put the shout out to some of you for new guest blogs and I am soooo thrilled with the "yeses" I have recieved already!!! As I re-read some of the posts and listen to your hearts, I am knocked off my feet again and remember the reason why I started this blog in the first place. So keep your posts coming. You never know who you will touch by opening up your life to those around you!!!

 
For any of you who are out there and would love to be involved please message me at nicoleandadam@hotmail.com!! My stretch of influence can only go so far! My desire would be for this blog not only to reach those in my world but those in your world also. Here is an opportunity to share and encourage women around you with the message of God's faithfulness in your life in a way that no one else can.


Stay tunned for new blogs once a week through the Christmas season.


Blessings
Nicole