RESTING IN THE LOVE OF CHRIST

LORD, LET US DRAW NEAR TO YOU

The sunbeams were softly touching my face while I was sitting outside early in the morning. The birds were serenading me with beautiful songs as I was slowly and intentionally breathing in the cool air. There were drops of dew on the flowers and plants reminding me of the refreshment that comes in communing with Christ. His love enveloped my soul and the presence of the Lord beckoned me to draw close to Him.

In my heart, it was as though Christ was speaking these words, “Arise, My love and come into My arms. You have stolen My heart, My bride. Let My love wash over you and let Me be the only desire of your soul. Let Me sweep you away into My embrace and carry you into heavenly places.”

After a morning of stillness, I was refreshed once again by the love of Christ and ready for a new day of living in Him.

There is no other love as perfect as the love of Christ. Though we may seek to find pleasure and rejuvenation in other places, only Christ’s love can satisfy us and refresh us. Jesus promises us if we come to Him when we are weary, we will find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30).

May we seek to draw closer to Christ’s heart and let His love renew our spirits every day.

 Beloved Jesus,

Thank You for refreshing our souls with Your love. Thank You for the beauty You have given us through song birds that sing and flowers that bloom. Help us to draw near to You every day. Let us carry this message of Your beautiful love to a broken world that so desperately needs You. We love You and are waiting for Your return. We pray in Your name, Christ. Amen.

“You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes, with a single jewel of your necklace.”

Song of Solomon 4:9

Grace and peace to you,

Amy

This devotion is a piece I wrote in 2012.

LIVING WITH A SURRENDERED HEART

LORD, WE SURRENDER ALL YO YOU

As I laid my head on my pillow one summer night years ago, my mind was clouded with worried thoughts. It was the only time in my life I ever felt anger toward God. Jesus, I’m mad at You.  Jesus patiently listened as I poured my heart out to Him.

I was questioning the Lord while my husband was facing another season of unemployment. Why are You allowing this to happen again, Lord? After several minutes of wallowing in my pity party, I fell asleep.

I woke up eight hours later with a new attitude. How ridiculous for me to be mad at Jesus. He’s the only one who can truly rescue us from the difficult challenges. Being mad at God will only make things worse.

After realizing how silly I was for being mad at Jesus, I prayed, “Lord, forgive me for my silliness. Please forgive me for being mad at You.”

It was in that precise moment that I arrived at the end of myself. I prayed, “Lord, I surrender everything to You. I will do anything You want for me to do or go anywhere You want for me to go.”

Prior to that moment, my fear of losing my home was holding me back from surrendering all to Christ. In the previous decades, I had surrendered parts of my life to Christ, but this was total surrender. It was the last time I ever tried to do things my way, without Christ’s help and guidance.

With a serious heart and a little bit of humor I told Christ, “You can have my house, all my material possessions, even my closet full of clothes, but will You please leave me one outfit?”

Obviously, I knew that Christ was not going to leave me destitute with nothing to wear, but I wanted to lay everything down. I was more serious than ever about following Christ’s will and no longer living controlled by my own will.

Christ rewarded my seriousness in the form of a great miracle. Amazingly, about two weeks later, my husband was offered a job that ultimately led him to his dream job and far exceeded any of our expectations. Miraculously, my fear of losing our home subsided and we are still living in our house after thirty years. Keeping the house was no longer more important than following Christ, so He helped me keep it.

There is something mysterious about totally surrendering to Christ. It’s as though our submission to His will opens the door to the supernatural realm.

When we place Christ as the highest priority in our lives, then miracles begin unfolding left and right.

I’m a work in progress and I do not have this journey of following Christ figured out, but I can testify that total surrender is the key to the door that leads to abundance and never-ending joy. Disappointments have absolutely no power over us when we live with a surrendered heart moment by moment. When desiring nothing but Christ’s will, we see His glory in greater ways and we are free to live in His abundant peace eternally.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We come to You with gratitude and we thank You for Your never-ending grace, mercy, and love. We surrender every part of our hearts to You and ask You to guide us in everything we do. Let us pray without ceasing and let our relationship with You be the most important part of our lives. Help us to grow spiritually every day and let us look to You for every need. Let us make a difference in the world every single day and let us share Your love in countless ways to those who are hurting. Fill us with bold faith and let our prayers shake the heavens and bring down the dark forces that seek to devour us. Let us arise as powerful, mighty warriors and let Your glory and light shine brighter than ever in all of us so that multitudes of people will come into Your kingdom. We trust You to keep Your hand upon our families and our nation and we wait expectantly for You to reveal Your glory in greater ways in 2017. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

“Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”

Luke 9:23

May you have a blessed year in 2017!

XOXO,

Amy

A THANKSGIVING PRAYER

in-everything-give-thanks

No matter what circumstances we are facing in our nation, we can breathe deeply and rest in knowing we have a good heavenly Father. His son, Jesus Christ, is the anchor that keeps us from sinking into the depths of darkness as we press into Him through prayer.

We have so many spiritual blessings to be thankful for. Let’s pray and thank our Father for His love and goodness.

Father,

Thank You for Your never-ending mercy and grace. As we join together with our families and friends this Thanksgiving, let us rejoice over the gift You have given us through Your son, Jesus Christ. Thank You for all that He gives us and how He enables us to live with an abundance of hope, joy, peace, and love. Let our gratitude flow from our hearts every day and let us always remember that You blessed us to be a blessing to others. Help us share Your love every day and always do good to each other. Let us never stop praying and be thankful in all circumstances.  We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

“See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

May you all have a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving celebration with your families and friends.

XOXO,

Amy

KEEPING FOCUSED ON THE THINGS THAT MATTER MOST

jesus-we-look-to-you

After spending too much time reading articles about do-it-yourself projects, a thought came bursting into my head: “I’m done! I’m done with wasting time on trivial things.” A zealous determination rose up in my spirit like I’ve never had before.

In the previous months, I had spent so much of my time on repainting walls and restoring furniture instead of working on the things I knew God desired for me to do.

Creating beauty in my home and inviting people over for meals are two of my greatest passions. Creating a pretty home is not a bad thing, but it can be a burdensome thing if it begins stealing my focus away from eternal things.

Over and over again, the Lord has reminded me of the words in James 4:14: “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

In the blink of an eye, our time of passing through this earth is over. Do I really want to be known for being the “Home Project Expert” when I’m gone? No. I want to be remembered mainly for the love and encouragement I’ve sewn into lives.

How do we stay focused on eternal things when there are so many mundane things tugging at our minds? I think we sometimes need to reassess our priorities. That’s what I had to do. I had to stop reading decorating blogs and stop watching decorating shows. Those things were just feeding my desire to do more projects.

To be completely clear, I’m not saying I will never do another project around my house. I’m sure I will tackle a home project again in the future, but I’ve chosen not to make it a high priority.

After resetting my priorities, I don’t feel the pressure to rip down the bathroom wallpaper that’s nearly two decades old. One hundred years from now, whether or not I updated my bathroom will not matter.

Our relationships with people and with Christ will matter eternally. The time we spend seeking to find God’s assignments for each of our lives and the time spent helping others will be what lasts forever.

What new thing is Christ calling you to do that will have an eternal impact? Are you called to work with elderly people, start a ministry for foster children, or use your gift of music to uplift people?

Will you join me in seeking wholeheartedly to know Christ’s heart better and go passionately after the things that will have an eternal impact? Whatever it is any of us are called to do, Christ will give us faith and help us to stay focused on what matters most as we keep our eyes focused fully upon Him.

Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.” Hebrews 12:2

PRAYING FOR AMERICA AND THE ELECTION

lord-please-keep-your-hand-upon-us

We’re living in really dark times; however, the darkness will not overtake us if we stay surrendered to the will of God for our lives. It’s a time for excitement as the day draws nearer for Christ’s second coming. Even though no one knows the day or hour, we can see the signs all around us that we’ve entered the season of preparing for the Lord’s return.

I’m very excited about the years ahead and I truly believe God is going to turn this nation around in due time. For the past six years, I have strongly sensed in my spirit that the U.S. is called to be the light of the world. It’s time for the Church of America to arise in the darkness and pray fervently for change in our country.

Our prayers are more important for America’s future than any of us can imagine. Will you please join me in praying for God’s perfect will to come forth in America?

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the vision You have for the United States. Please keep Your hand firmly placed upon our country and heal our land. Let America be a holy nation, a group of people who will proclaim the praises of Your goodness. Revive the Church of America and make us light-bearers. Please turn things around in our cities and let Your chosen one be elected as our president. It is our desire to have a leader who will support Israel and will support our values. We are grateful our nation was founded upon Your truth, and we ask You to appoint the leader who will help to reinstate the foundation of our biblical principles. We know that it is You alone who can bring change and we trust You to carry our nation out of the darkness and into Your marvelous light. We pray in Your name, Christ. Amen.

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

Have a blessed Sunday!

Amy

PSALM 91 PRAYER

lordkeepmy

I wrote this prayer on October 31, 2013 and it has remained the most visited post on my website ever since then. It’s encouraging to know that there are so many mothers in the world searching for prayers for their children on the Internet.

I’ve updated the Psalm 91 prayer and I’m sharing it again to encourage you to pray passionately for your children today and every day.

LORD,

I pray that (child’s name) will always dwell in the secret place of the Most High and abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

Let my child say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”

I trust You, Christ, to save my child from the enemy’s snare and the deadly pestilence. Please cover him with Your feathers and keep him under Your wings where he will find refuge. Let Your faithfulness be his shield and rampart.

Help my child not to fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that walks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at his side, ten thousand at his right hand, but it will not come near (child’s name) because You are with him.

Let (child’s name) make the Most High his dwelling. Let him take refuge in You alone. Let no harm befall him; let no disaster come near him or his home.

Please command Your angels to guard my beloved child in all his ways.  Let Your angels lift (child’s name) up in their hands so that he will not strike his foot against a stone or be harmed in any way.

Let my child love You with his whole heart and trust You fully. Please rescue and protect him as he acknowledges Your name. Help him to put on the armor of God and trample the dark forces of the evil one.

Let my child call upon Your name. I trust You to answer him and help him in times of trouble. I trust You to deliver him and honor him always. I ask You to bless my child with long life, satisfy him, and show him Your salvation. I pray in Your name, Christ. Amen. 

I wrote this prayer using the King James Version and New International Version of the Bible.

May Christ fill your heart with peace as you pray for your children.

XOXO,

Amy

LIVING A LIFE OF PRAYER

nothing-is-impossible-prayers

Two decades ago, my prayers seemed to be last resort petitions and my relationship with Christ had become complacent due mostly to an over-committed lifestyle. I was a thirty-one-year-old mom when I plummeted to the lowest point of my life.

While trying to be some sort of superwoman, I stayed up all hours of the night making homemade tiaras and princess wands for my daughter’s seventh birthday party. With my people-pleasing skills, it appeared that I had it all together. In reality, I was terrified and carrying the weight of many problems on my shoulders.

Shortly after my daughter’s extravagant birthday party, my self-sufficient strength imploded. Hopeless words in my journal from that dark season revealed my depressed state.

I vividly remember the night when I sat at my dining room table and began sobbing. In a puddle of tears, I thought about my broken marriage, our financial struggles, and how all the stress was affecting my daughter, Christa. With another child soon to be born, it all seemed like more than I could handle.

In my desperation, I requested prayer from a counselor at church and turned to my loved ones for encouragement. My mother and grandmother prayed for me and encouraged me to stand firm in my faith. With their encouragement, I took baby steps toward a consistent prayer life and I eventually began praying and meditating on Scriptures persistently.

With a renewed confidence in Christ, I realized that my need to forgive some offenses was hindering my closeness with Him. I was reminded that the Bible says, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions “(Mark 11:25, New American Standard Bible).

After choosing forgiveness, my hopeless feelings didn’t linger very long. I gave birth to a baby boy, and by the time my son, Thomas, was five months old, I was feeling like a new person.

As the darkness dissipated, I realized the prayers of my mother and grandmother had carried me through my immature years. I truly believe I wouldn’t have made it through such a tumultuous season without their prayers.

The dark season I experienced during my thirties was a catalyst for me to renew my spirit and turn to Christ wholeheartedly. Through prayer, I began to see the unfailing love and never-ending faithfulness of God.

With a rekindled prayer life, I prayed and waited for Jesus to restore the broken pieces of my heart. He began restoring my life step by step, and filled my soul with peace and joy. He healed my hurting marriage and restored our finances by leading my husband to a stable career.

During the hardships, I learned to pray passionately for my children in the same way my mother and grandmother prayed for me. As I released Christa and Thomas to Christ through prayer, I watched them grow into thriving adults.

A life without prayer is like a sailboat without sails. Without prayer, we get disconnected from Christ’s guiding voice, and without His guidance, we end up in desperate places. Desperation drives us to our knees more than anything else.

It’s interesting how, as humans, we need adversity to push us toward God and prayer. When things are going well, we sometimes think we don’t need to pray. Perhaps we need to pray the most during our best days.

Living a life of prayer connects us to God so that we can hear His still, small voice and live peacefully in the midst of life’s challenges.

Are you in a dark season? Don’t lose heart. Trust that Christ’s love for you is deeper than you can imagine (Ephesians 3: 17-18). Knowing Christ’s love for you is necessary to pray with faith. Simple, faith-filled prayers will move God’s heart to do what seems impossible.

Jesus teaches us to never give up praying (Luke 18: 1-8). If we persistently pray with pure motives and forgiving hearts, we will not only see Christ’s power working in the most amazing ways, but most importantly, we will continue growing closer to His heart. As we fix our eyes on Christ, prayer becomes as natural as breathing and we become transformed into God’s image in the process of waiting for His good plans to be established in our lives.

If you would like more encouragement for living a life of prayer download a FREE copy of the Prayers of a Mother’s Heart eBook through Monday, October 3rd.

REMEMBERING 9-11-2001

we-will-never-forget

I will never forget the morning of September 11, 2001. I was home with my four-year-old son when the phone rang. I answered the call and I gasped when Michael began telling me what had happened in New York City. In a state of shock, I listened to news reporters tell story after story about the loss and tragedy that happened in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.

Five days later, I sat in a church that didn’t seem to have a vacant seat. People were afraid and they wanted to hear assuring words. I remember the sense of urgency I was feeling during that season. At the time, I did not have the spiritual maturity to realize that my prayers could have actually prevented such a tragedy. It was all I could do to pray and trust Christ to take care of my own family’s needs.

Now, I have the maturity to realize my prayers matter. I have seen enough supernatural intervention in my family’s life to know Christ can change a nation, and He will change it if we pray and trust Him to do it.

My confidence in Christ has grown through the years as I have cried out to Him in prayer and studied the Scriptures. As I’ve sought for answers in the Bible, there are verses that have stood out more than others. God speaks to me the most when I read an entire chapter of the Bible at one sitting. The words make more sense to me when I read in larger segments instead of reading a few verses here and there.

In 2005, I was reading the book of Zechariah and was inspired by Zechariah’s words about the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. There were many verses that stood out to me, but one practically jumped off the page while I was reading. As I read the words in Zechariah 9:8, it was as though God was telling me that He would protect me and never again let a marauding force overrun my family. I have shared this verse with friends time and time again. It has become a defining verse in my life.

zechariah-9-verse-8

A dark force tried to destroy my life, and it came mighty close to destroying me. But Jesus came to my rescue as I cried out to Him. Now, I stand boldly on the truth of God’s Word and believe He is all I need and all this country needs.

We are living in dark times, and it’s obvious our nation is in danger. However, the Lord is teaching me to trust Him more and I am choosing to trust Him with our country. Will you please join me in praying faithfully for God to keep His hand upon this nation?

Let us never forget what happened on September 11, 2001. Let us remember to pray passionately for our cities, our communities, and our nation.

Father,

Thank You for Your never-ending mercy and grace. Help us to never forget the heroes of this country and help us remember the ones who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Please keep Your hand upon the United States and let us be an undivided nation. We repent from our complacency and ask You to bless and protect America. Please keep watch over us and never again let a marauding force overrun our country. Let our nation be a strong and mighty group of united people. Let us return to You wholeheartedly and help us trust You to restore our nation to what You desire for it to be. I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

“But I will encamp at my temple to guard it against marauding forces. Never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch.”

Zechariah 9:8

 

BE STILL AND TRUST CHRIST

THE LORD WILL FIGHT FOR YOU

It was nineteen years ago when I hit rock bottom and needed Christ to pull me out of a pit of doubt. With many questions in my heart about God’s goodness, my faith began growing strong again as my family prayed for me and friends encouraged me not to lose hope.

In March of 1997 while we were at church, a friend of ours approached Michael and shared a Scripture with us. He told us to read Exodus 14:14. I wrote the words in my journal: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

From that dark season in my life, I began a quest to really understand what it means to be still and trust God.

Through my journey and over two decades of discovering how to trust Christ, my prayers changed from pitiful petitions to a confidence in the God of the universe to guide me and fight for me. I learned to be still and listen for God’s voice in my heart.

It was in the listening and stillness that I began to hear the voice of God guiding me and leading me to the abundant life that Christ promises (John 10:10).

In my younger years, my own stubbornness and inability to discern God’s voice led to so much heartache in my life. It was not God’s fault. It was my own responsibility for not seeking to know and hear God better.

John 10:27 says: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He guides those who will listen for His voice.

Once I began hearing God clearly in my spirit, everything in my life turned around. With my renewed faith, I began praying bold prayers not only for myself, but for my loved ones and for the entire world.

It’s obvious this world is in great need of Christ’s healing power. The recent tragedies in Orlando, Germany, Turkey, and the horrific things that have been happening right here in my community are heartbreaking. However, I refuse to let these tragedies deflate my faith.

Are you in the midst of a painful battle? My heart is filled with compassion for you and I have been praying passionately for the prayer requests that have been flooding my inbox.

No matter what you are facing today, it’s not too big for God. Be still and let Christ do the fighting for you. Place your faith in the One who has the power to heal and restore.

Father,

I am in awe of Your goodness. Thank You for Your healing love. Please strengthen all those who are in the midst of hard battles. Let them be still and trust You to fight for them. Let them know You are a good Father and You have good plans for their lives. Strengthen them today and let them feel Your presence strongly while they wait for a miracle to unfold. I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

Will you come to the altar and release your problems to Jesus?

 

MARRIAGE IS A GIFT FROM GOD

Marriage is a Gift

Marriage can grow more beautiful every day or it can be a source of pain in our lives. It’s really all up to us. It depends on whether or not we choose forgiveness moment by moment.

When Michael and I got married three decades ago, we could have never dreamed of how deep our love would grow. Occasionally, we will have an argument, but now we forgive instantly rather than let an offense take root inside us.

My marriage to Michael is living proof that Christ can empower us to walk in forgiveness toward each other even in the midst of the worst circumstances. Sometimes a separation is necessary as it was for me in 2002, but any marriage can be saved if it is covered in persistent prayer (Luke 11: 9-10).

Marriage is a gift from God that thrives beautifully when it is Christ-centered.

I wrote an article in 2012 with ten tips for a passionate marriage and shared it on my blog in 2015. I submitted it to the Unveiled Wife website three years ago and they recently posted it. The article has not been updated, so it says I have been married twenty-eight years. However, I have actually been married thirty-one years.

I pray that you will be blessed by reading the ways Christ restored the passion in my marriage.

Vow Renewal 1

Ten Ways to Have a Passionate Marriage

After a tumultuous season in our marriage and a brief separation, my husband and I decided to do whatever it took to get our lives back on track.

We met when I was an eighteen-year-old student and got married when I was nineteen.

Over a decade later we had two children, piles of debt from several failed businesses, and the stress had taken a toll on our relationship. Our marriage hit rock bottom.

Then after a season of brokenness, the healing of our rocky relationship began. Through prayer, forgiveness, and the love of Christ, our marriage not only survived—it was gloriously restored.

To celebrate what God had done for us, in 2010, we renewed our vows and celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.

It’s now better than it’s ever been, twenty-eight years after we said, “I do.”

Marriage is a gift from God that is supposed to be a beautiful mirror image of the love between Christ and His church. It’s a covenant that is meant to last our entire lives.

How do we keep the passion alive throughout our lifetimes? Is it possible to be deeply in love after two or three decades of being together? Absolutely.

I will never stop sharing the story of my restored marriage. It’s a story of redemption that I hope will encourage other married couples to never give up.

A few years ago, a friend told me about a great idea she had for putting together a “Happy Marriage Recipe Booklet” for a bride-to-be she knew. My friend asked me to contribute my own special recipe for a great marriage.

After a few days of praying and searching my heart for the best marriage tips, I came up with a top ten list that has contributed to my thriving marriage.

To read the entire article, click the link below.

10 Ways To Have A Passionate Marriage