Sweet Amazing Grace

Oh such sweet amazing grace has found me
No longer dead for I’ve been made alive
Oh such sweet amazing grace has found me
No longer lost for I am found
Oh such sweet amazing grace has found me
No longer blind for now I see
Oh such sweet amazing grace has found me
No longer deaf for now I hear
Oh such sweet amazing grace has found me
No longer defeated for I’ve found my Champion
Oh such sweet amazing grace has found me
No longer bound in fear for I’m set free
Oh such sweet amazing grace has found me
No longer entangled in sickness for I’m made whole
Oh such sweet amazing grace has found me
No longer bound in shame for I’m transformed by love and mercy
Oh such sweet amazing grace has found me
No longer hopeless for I’m assured of His faithfulness
Oh such sweet amazing grace has found me
No longer doubting for I’m living with great confidence
Oh such sweet amazing grace has found me
Inspired by ‘Amazing Grace’

Amazing Grace (first 5 verses) – Chelsea Robinson – YouTube link with lyrics

Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) – Chris Tomlin – YouTube link with lyrics

Image – Pixabay

Death Is

Death is confusing, our prayers were not answered how we hoped and believed they would be

we held onto the promise of healing but now our hearts are left bruised and confused

Death is confronting, when we suddenly and unexpectantly lose a loved one

the future we had planned is smashed and we are left in shock and disbelief

But what if death is just a reminder

We are confronted by our humanity but also reminded of the great promise of Hope eternal

What comfort we find to know that the pieces of our shattered hearts are being carried by the One who understands what it is to grieve

What balm to our souls to know that the tiny fragments of love will be held within the fierce grip of Love

We can find hope knowing that one day the pieces will be made whole

What a wonder it is to know that our living God holds us tight

What comfort comes to our broken, brushed and crushed souls

It will take some time, but we are promised that the heaviness we experience now will be replaced with firstly comfort; then hope; and eventually joy

We can look past this intense moment of deep pain and grasp hold of a brighter tomorrow

We’re allow to cry and sob and pour out our anguish for it is only natural and a part of the process

We can cry with the knowledge that God catches each tear and treasures it for each one is lovingly captured and recorded in His book

We can know that the tears of our loved one have ended

Those who have entered into heaven are victorious!

Clothed in white forevermore they dance and rejoice in the streets made of gold

They sit at the banquet table devouring a great feast of joy

They look expectantly at the gate awaiting the day of our arrival

So today we cry

We mourn and we cling to the memory of the love we shared

After our suffering God of all loving grace will powerfully restore us and make us stronger than ever

We have been called to share in God’s eternal glory through Christ so we can call upon the Holy Spirit to come and personally help us

We can cling to the promise that God will make us into what we ought to be, He will establish us in His ways by building us up

Death is a reminder of how precious life truly is

We store up in our hearts the love that has burned so bright in our lives

We are changed forever by their presence in our lives

We can go forth braver and stronger because we had the privilege of knowing them

“All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.” Revelation 3:5 NLT

After we have suffered a little while the God of all grace and kindness will impart to us His blessing and favour; He will personally and powerfully restore us; and make us stronger than ever! He will place us upon a firm foundation and build us up. 1 Peter 5:10 AMP, NLT & TPT paraphrased

This song has also helped me so much – Braver Still – JJ Heller – lyrics YouTube video

I shared some of these words with 2 friends who had experienced the loss of a loved one and they were greatly comforted. I pray that you’re also comforted.

Many blessings, Keona

Picture link – Pixabay

The Mirror Said

The mirror said: “you’re not pretty enough” and I believed the lie

The mirror said: “you’re not skinny enough” and I believed the lie

The mirror said: “no one likes you” and I believed the lie

The mirror said: “the world would be better off without you” and I believed the lie

For many years I thought myself never pretty enough

For many years I thought myself too fat and flabby to be truly adored

For many years I thought myself not worthy of true love

For many years I thought my life didn’t really matter

I placed no value upon myself and considered my life of no great consequence

Who would truly miss me if I no longer existed?

But how wrong those lies now seem how silly the deception

For a man once saw me as a priceless treasure

He said my life was worth all that He could give and so that’s just what He did

He died upon a lonely cross to show me His great love

He rose again and lives today to prove how much He cares

Each and every day He calls to me and says: ‘beloved come near’

How wrong it was for me to look into a piece of glass

How distorted the image returned to me twisted without love

For a mirror can never truly tell me of my great worth

For my worth is found deep inside a hidden treasure chest

My Saviour alone holds the key

He unlocks the chest

And when I trust Him fully He unpacks each part

He teaches me how my value lies within

for true beauty is found within a heart that’s pure

What the mirror says no longer matters!

 

Mirror – Barlow Girl – YouTube lyrics clip

Picture cred – Pixabay

Press in and Receive

2 years have passed since that wonderful day when God intervened in my long-term illness and healed me! It’s been 2 years of deep inner and restoration. 2 years of cherishing every day because there were many days I didn’t think I could go on.

As I celebrated the day quietly at home I heard the words: “press in and receive” ring in my heart.

As I reflected upon those words I wondered what they could mean and then I knew that I needed to “stop and take some time and wonder…..” (Isaiah 29:9a Amplified).

I started to research what it is to press into God and to unpack the word receive but before I could read the article links I had saved my answer came.  A friend posted on Facebook an extract from Psalms 62 and I was reminded of the journey God has taken me on of developing a worshiping heart.

“I’m energized every time I enter your heavenly sanctuary to seek more of your power and drink in more of your glory. For your tender mercies mean more to me than life itself. How I love and praise you, God! Daily I will worship you passionately and with all my heart. My arms will wave to you like banners of praise. I overflow with praise when I come before you, for the anointing of your presence satisfies me like nothing else. You are such a rich banquet of pleasure to my soul.” Psalms 63:2-5 The Passion Translation

I declared:

  • How I love and praise You God!
  • My arms wave to You like banners of praise.

I’ve discovered that pressing into God is simply spending time listening to worship music and or reading the Bible. It has been in my times of entering into His presence with praise that I have received refreshing and renewal. Therefore, the words: “press in and receive” were a reminder to keep praising, to keep seeking His face so that I can receive the promised restoration. I believe that there is so much that God wants to bestow upon us but I also know that we need to be in a place of being able to receive.

My prayer:

Oh Lord thank You that I’m energized every time I enter into Your heavenly sanctuary! I long for and seek more of Your power and desire to drink in more of Your glory. Lord God, Your tender mercies mean more to me than life itself. Thank You for developing my heart of worship, I now passionately love and praise You God! Daily I will worship You passionately with all of my heart, my arms will wave to You like banners of praise. I overflow with praise when I come before You, for the anointing of Your presence satisfies me like nothing else. You are such a rich banquet of pleasure to my soul!

Psalms 63:2-5 The Passion Translation paraphrased

I encourage you today to spend some time pressing in so that you can receive. Here is a YouTube playlist for you: Soak in God’s presence

Many blessings, Keona

Cocoon of Love

I struggled and fought in the cocoon of love

I refused to accept its crushing confines

As I fought my way out I felt victorious

But my victory was short lived for I found my wings had no strength

I flapped my wings and saw the work yet to be done

I collapsed and cried in utter defeat

Wondering why I was unable to fly

I crawled back into the cocoon of love and tried to draw the tattered layers back around my body

I surrendered to the process of being strengthened

I realised I had so much more growing to do

My song of surrender became a sweet sweet sound of love

The cocoon of love gently wove itself around me

I allowed the close confines to remind me of how close i was to God’s heart

The days dragged on and the months gradually passed

I learnt to pray with great thankfulness

I learnt to praise within that cocoon of great love

I wiggled at times but I learnt to stop resisting the work that was being done

I dreamt about the day I would fly and tried to imagine how glorious it would be

A great expectation sparked in my chest as I saw the day approach

As I wiggled one day I realised the cocoon of love had softened and no longer felt stiff and confining

As i wiggled some more I realised my wings had grown so big

As I wiggled some more I heard God call me forth

So I excitedly wiggled and pushed on the cocoon

I saw light break through and tore at the hole

I emerged into the sunlight gloriously new

I flapped my wings and saw the work was finished, I was ready to fly!

Oh what a glorious day

Oh how wonderful it is

To know I can soar and do great things!

I smile as I look back at my cocoon of love

I smile and remember all the lessons I’ve learned

I smile at the patience of my living God, who saw it fit to wrap me within His great love

I smile and go forth to declare His true love

I smile and I soar within His great love

I now dip and dive and fly with my Lord

I allow the current of His great love to lift me up and carry me

I need to never fear for He won’t let me fall

I am held and steadied with His hands of love

“‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus” – Casting Crowns – YouTube lyrics video

Image – Pixabay

A Redemption Story, Day 717

My 2-year healing anniversary is coming up (4th Sept) and to be honest I thought things would be different by now. At the start of the year I felt prompted to get my story ready to share and I dreamt of holding a celebration party in September to launch my healing testimony. Which, unfortunately, hasn’t unfolded but I’m more than ok with that, I’ve realized that my story hasn’t finished being written because I’m still learning lessons that need to be included.

Last week I felt overwhelmed with busyness, I had done a few extra things that I hadn’t done for a long time and it was also my daughter’s birthday week. In the preparations for her party I had pushed myself harder than usual and I could feel it catching me. Friday I chatted to a friend over lunch who suggested maybe I should reassess my commitments and later that day, as I attempted to construct my daughter’s birthday cake, I realised I had set myself a task that was a bit too adventurous. Saturday was the actual event and it meant a later night than I would have liked which I could feel taking its toll on my body. Sunday was busy also with church and I felt absolutely wiped out by Sunday night. Monday I awoke with a terribly sore throat, no voice and no energy to get out of bed. My body reminded me that I desperately needed rest. Tuesday as I awoke still feeling flat I decided I needed to withdraw from almost every commitment for the rest of the week, I decided I’d still try to attend class but pull back and rest from other things. As I made that decision I also decided that I would study some more on how to rest well, I want to grow and learn from this so that I don’t keep pushing myself to the point of collapse. You’ve got to understand that it’s been so frustrating because as I start to feel better and stronger the need to limit myself is a HUGE struggle. I constantly find myself comparing my ability now to how much I used to be able to do and feel as if I’m ‘falling short’. I want to race ahead and get back into life as normal and enjoy all the things I used to do such as full days of activities or going out at night without feeling like I need to be back in bed. I’d love to be able to make plans and not worry about having to cancel them because I’m too tired or unwell. But the fact is that a great work has been done but I still have a long way to go.
My study, on how I can rest well, led me to a devotion titled “Sacred Rest” by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith on the YouVersion Bible app and the first words that ‘jumped out’ to me were: “Hunger to draw nearer to the sacred sanctuary of rest.”. I’m intrigued what is the “sacred sanctuary of rest”? Whatever it is I need to go there! I’m going to be brutally honest with you and say that this restoration phase sucks! I feel like it’s an uphill climb which entails a lot of really hard work and yet I still can’t see the top. Also, just when I think I’m making progress I slip back down the hill and find myself lying in the dust battered and bruised. I lie there wondering if I’ll ever make it to the top, hoping that at the next attempt I won’t forget the lessons learnt and I’ll take it slow.

It’s demoralising right now to have to step back from life yet again, to be stuck in bed for days feeling useless. I’m not well enough to attend class which is really sad. But I’m reminded that yet again I got busy with distractions, I started doing stuff that I wasn’t meant to do just yet. My friend, who asked me to look at the priorities, said the definite column was the things only I can do and I know the 3 things only I can do: be a wife; a mother; and write the things God has placed in my heart and upon my mind to write. So those things have to be my priority and everything else has to work around that. Easier said than done though when I’m the kind of person who sees a need and wants to fill it! But day 2 of my study reminded me to “Return to rest, quietness, and trust as a deer returns to a stream. Return to the source of your strength, and in doing so, you will be saved.”.

Once again I’m like that deer panting for water: “As the deer pants [longingly] for the water brooks, So my soul pants [longingly] for You, O God.” PSALM 42:1 (AMP)

Once again I find myself in silence (I literally can’t talk) before the Lord where I submit to Him and His ways; I remind myself that I will wait for as long as it takes for Him to do the work within me because my hope is in Him alone! (Psalm 62:5)

How wonderful it is to know that He promises to fully satisfy my weak and weary soul for He declares that He will give rest to the weary and joy for those who find themselves buried in sorrow (Jeremiah 31:25-26).

Dear reader I want to encourage you today that if you find yourself in a season of busyness, one that is leaving you exhausted, then maybe you could spend some time reassessing your priorities and look at the things that only you can do. Lay down all that you’re doing at God’s feet and ask Him to help you find wisdom around what you’re meant to be doing and the strength to do the things He has called you to do.

Many blessings, Keona

‘Take Courage’ – Bethel Music featuring Kristene DiMarco – YouTube Lyric Video

‘Backseat Driver’ – Tobymac ft. Hollyn & Tru – YouTube Lyric Video

A Virtuous Wife

I’ve gone through so many emotions in my marriage and most recently I’ve experienced repentance (yet again). After 22 years of marriage I came to a startling realisation:

“The integrity and strength of a virtuous wife transforms her husband into an honored king. But the wife who disgraces her husband weakens the strength of his identity.” Proverbs 12:4 The Passion Translation

As I read those words I felt as if they pierced my chest. As I reflected upon those words I sought out the meaning and what God was trying to teach me. I read through the verse in other versions:

The New Living Translation explains it like this: “A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones.”

The Amplified version explains that a virtuous wife is worthy of honour, but she who shames him, through foolishness, is like rottenness in his bones.

The Message version urged me to be a healthy wife so that I might invigorate my husband!

I reflected upon the many times I had said hurtful things or responded to situations with the wrong attitude, and a deep sorrow entered my heart. I remember vividly getting so angry and annoyed about how Trav would leave a wet towel lying around. That small thing grew into such a bitterness. I remember God urging me to not get angry about it, but rather to bless my husband and be so grateful for him. I tried to set a pattern in my life where I would regularly pray a blessing over my husband. When I was sick I was barely able to function and therefore my practice of praying for my husband slipped. As I grow in strength and restoration I have been actively releasing those prayers of blessing once again. I am so grateful for Trav’s love, care and support throughout this truly difficult time. I am so astounded at his grace and kindness towards me. I truly desire to be a wife that brings honour to my husband, that blessed and invigorates his life.

It is my heart’s cry for Trav to feel the honour I wish to bestow upon him, today and all the days to come! I want him to feel like a king returning from battle, that he returns to a home that is joyous over his safe arrival. Each day may I wait at the door for my mighty warrior to return, looking expectantly  to the horizon for the arrival of my champion. What joy enters my heart when I see his banner in the distance (car pull into the driveway). How I long to hold him once again in my arms; and to hear of his mighty victories! Each day I pray: ‘Lord bless my love as he goes out and as he travels home; pour Your favour upon him and anoint each and every action that he takes!’

This is my prayer for Trav & I:

Our minds — that we will have the mind of Christ and think as the Holy Spirit would lead us and not the flesh (1 Corinthians 2:16). That our decisions will honour God (Psalm 25:12).

Our eyes — that we will keep our eyes fixed on God, not on temptation and sin (Matthew 6:13; Mark 9:47).

Our ears — that we will hear the Holy Spirit’s still small voice instructing us (1 Kings 19:12, Psalm 32:8).

Our mouths — that our words will be pleasing and honouring to Jesus (Psalm 19:14). May we speak with care (great thought and caution) words of truth and life (Proverbs 18:21).

Our hearts – create in us clean hearts and loyal steadfast spirits (Psalm 51:10).

Bring harmony into our lives, thank You for Your grace and spiritual peace which grants us unity (Ephesians 1:2 Amplified version). We are protected and in perfect unity (John 17:11,23).

God Your love is in us (John 17:26) so help us to truly love each other!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

My prayer is modified from the devotion: Praying for your husband from head to toe by Sharon Jaynes. Published by Proverbs 31 Ministries

Many blessings, Keona