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Discipline...hard lessons

Take the hardships and endure them as discipline. Take the discipline as training to "strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees...then you shall no longer be disabled, but rather healed." Hebrews 12:12-13

Our "human fathers disciplined us and we respected them for it." Hebrews 12:9

My grandpa and step-dad always had these underlying lessons in everything they shared with me. I respected them for it. There was always some nugget of wisdom or knowledge in every little thing, but I see it as such a gift now. "Do not make light of the Lord's discipline, do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves." Hebrews 12:5-6
He disciplines the ones He loves. The coach and teacher push the one they see the most potential in, pushing and challenging for maximum growth. The lessons hurt, but they only hurt is for long term benefit. See passed the "right now. "Later on however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (v. 11) Look for the lesson in the pain. The catalyst Pain is the teacher, God' mega-phone. Be strengthened then by grace. Submit to the Father of our spirits and live! (v.9)
Don't shrink away, lose heart, have self-pity or be a victim. Press on, endure, persevere, obey, grow, You are a survivor. The opposite of control is growth. You are more than a conquerer! Obedient endurance.

Light a fire in us!

Are we living to die for something more? Are we living for a 70-80 year worldly success that will pass away with us? For men's approval or the world's praise? Are we living to glorify ourselves? To feed pride and ego? We're only here a short time, and even that is not guaranteed. So do we spend or waste that time chasing one temporary fortune after the next? Is there a point to that? A purpose? Even an aim? Other than the satisfaction of our mortal, earthly desires being fed...but it's never enough. It never lasts. You crave what you feed on. Feed your faith and starve your doubts. Are you feeding fear or feeding pride instead of faith? Feeding one desire, success or fix after the next. Where does that lead you? It is a dead end. Will you look back and be able to say that you lived for something more? Something bigger than just yourself? Ever notice that once you reach the "goal" you find yourself saying, is that all there is? That's what I spent all my time and energy on, devoted myself to? For a short-lived reward.
I want to devote myself to GOD. For His glorification, not my own. His rewards are long-lived, eternal in fact. Think about it. If we were all on earth just trying to enjoy our life, satisfy our own hungers with whatever we deem as right or wrong, what kind of world would that be? Would we ever consider anyone else's needs? Would we be safe? What about our children? It would be chaos, Lord of the Flies, every man for himself literally. Without God-centered Truth, we can choose at any given moment let our fleeting emotions rules our moral compass. Letting our feelings control us. Who is the master and who is the slave? We can tailor-make our own truth on what is good or bad-based on how we "feel." We all have to surrender to something. Are we going to surrender to fear or faith? We all worship something...are we worshipping our feelings or God-breathed Truth? What happens when we are having a bad that really a solid rock to stand on? Are you standing on a 2,000 year old eternal truth, or your own quicksand?

Quicken us. God, light a fire in us. Give us your passion and love and help us to see with your eyes, not our own. When you are on fire people will come around to watch you burn. I want to be that light, watch me burn brightly for God!

Pre-ordained destiny

So Missy Pitt (Matt Pitts mom) shared the most amazing story with us at the leadership meeting. She was talking about Matt being a little discouraged lately because he has been getting sick and he is having a lot of fatigue. Mind you, he is in full-time ministry and preaches all over the world. He had just flown in from the other side of the country Monday night, and then got up and preached to all of us (leaders on the Basement team). He was exhausted, but God gave him strength in his weakness. So Missy's heart had felt really burdened for Matt lately, so she was praying as she was cleaning and organizing. She ran across some of Matt's old stuff from childhood and found this little treasure. It was this little tiny booklet out of folded paper that Matt had made at the age of six. It had stick figures drawn in crayon and words underneath in pencil. She pulled out this book at the meeting and began to read it to us.
And so it goes, "There once was a boy, who had a hard life. But one day he got a Jesus stroke in his whole body. He felt real good after that, and the devil got ticked. The boy grew up and became a preecher (that's how he spelt it haha) and he 'preecht' all over the 'contry'. And 'thin' he preecht all over the world and thin everybidy got savedt." It was funny how Missy told us how he spelt out certain words, highlighting how young Matt was at the time he made this. After she read this to us, the whole team just looked around at each other! We had goosebumps on our arms. A six year old Matt Pitt had just prophesied his whole life. Missy went on to say "Do not ever get discouraged or doubt the God-given dreams in your heart. God gave them to you before you were even born. You might not have even really known the extent or the reality of these dreams as a child, but they were in your little heart all along. He has it all figured out, it is al pre-ordained. His plans and purposes are too lofty for us to understand, His ways are above our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Just trust Him, as He leads you in your destiny. Do not give up. He sewed you together in your mama's womb and has been preparing you, your whole life for such a time as this." Amen!
I think back on when I was a little girl and sitting in church with my grandparents and my mom, looking up at the cantor's singing near the altar. I would just pray in my little heart that one day I could be up there singing and leading the congregation. Guess what my first job was at age 16 (besides the occasional babysitting job)...I was the cantor at the church I'd grown up in. I also remember my mom always playing Amy grant and Michael W. Smith on these little cassette tapes in the car, as we drove around to run errands. I would sing along and pick my favorite songs...I wanted to be just like Amy Grant. I was too young to even know that she was a Christian singer. Once again, God put these desires in my heart before I could even fully comprehend them. Then, even before I was born again, I had gone in the studio to record some of them being an evanescence song. I later realized that the song was about God, and the band had spiritual undertones on their whole album. Hmm...interesting. My mom would always say to me, "Malorie, you are going to be a Christian singer one day." I would laugh at her, telling her that I wanted to be the next Jessica Simpson-pop singer. Funny how, Jessica Simpson first tried to be a Christian singer, before she broke into pop music. And she had certain songs that gave glory to God and she still does. In fact, her music is coming full circle as she makes her way closer and closer back to Christian music. She just recorded a country album, with songs like "Praying out loud" "You're my Sunday" "Still Beautiful"...all about God and His love and the power of prayer and His holiness. I could go on and on about all these little underlying messages and notes throughout my whole life...but I think you get the point.

"When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:15-16

"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain." v.5-6

"When I tried to understand all this, it was too much for me
till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny." Psalm 73:16-17

Cherry on top-kinda day : )

Like the best day ever! Well it started last night after the most amazing leadership meeting at the Basement. I have never heard grown men weeping during worship...until last night. YES it was that intense. The presence of God is so real. I cried in the worship too, as I prayed for the people that I love and lifted those in need up in prayer. One of the most healing and powerful experiences is to pray for others while you worship God. Talk about selfless. You are focused on God, not on self, and focused on others. Healing. True Love.
So I only slept about five hours because we all stayed really late worshipping and then hanging out after the meeting. I got home and called my mom and told her all about the meeting, then said some prayers for her because she was not feeling well. Then I talk to my roomie in the kitchen for like an Needless to say, I was up late. But I was also up bright and early this morning (as always). Got up at six, read the Bible, talked to God for a while, journaled and then got ready for the big day. I got to do full-time ministry today. Linda was speaking at an event today, so Connie and I got to be her right hand assistants. It was an honor. There was a Bible study, then Linda spoke and sang a beautiful hymnal. Then Linda and Connie asked me to share my testimony. It fires me up being about to share my experience, strength and hope with other women. All the trials, pain and struggles I have gone through are NOT in vain, because God is using them to help others. That makes it all worth it. His LOVE makes it all worth it.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention that while I waited in the car for Connie and Linda to arrive, I wrote a song. And recorded it on my I did not want to forget it. It is straight from heaven, I cannot take credit for it...other than putting the pen to paper and singing into the phone haha. It is called "Seven" I look forward to sharing it with ya'll. Seven has always been a very special number to me. It was my dad's favorite number, it is God's special number, it is how old my mom was when she was hit by a car, and it is how old I was when my father passed away. Heavyduty.
So after the event, I got to go to lunch with Linda, Connie and Betsey (incredible woman of God). It was wonderful fellowship time. Then we went to this awesome little store that Connie had been raving to me about, called The Carpenter. It is jam-packed with worship music. From Southern-Gospel to Messianic Jewish worship...and yes the Gaithers (my Grandpa's favorite). Sitting in the store with Linda and Connie, I felt like I was at home. Hearing the Gaither's play, felt like I was teleported back to my Grandpa's couch listening with him to his favorite southern gospel tunes : ) Home Sweet Home! Then Linda and I began to cry as we heard the most heavenly, etherial music begin to play. We just sat down on these strategically placed chairs, near the music and closed our eyes as we imagined what heaven looks like and what that day will be like when we arrive. I had a lot of revelations, that are little too deep to share via blog...but take my word for it, I got some glimpses. It's real, He's real. I closed my eyes and imagined my family so excited to welcome me with loving arms, up into the Kingdom with my Heavenly Father. They were all so proud of me with joy and love in their eyes for the work I had done on Earth for the Kingdom of God. That I had stood firm in what really matters, and kept my eyes and my heart fixed on God. WOW! I could go on, but I feel this may be a little to heavy for some. Take it or leave it, it is Truth, it is written.
As if that was not amazing enough of a day, no no God always has to show-off and just keep pouring it He did. Went to the basement leaders worship night with my friend Dallas and it was incredible. My love cup is full and overflowing. We got so pumped up for what God is doing in and through us-all over the world, through the Basement, through me. I am just a vessel, what an honor to be a conduit for the Almighty God. People search their whole life for the meaning of life or for purpose...that is purpose, being used for and by the Creator of the world. Humbled by it daily. His grace just amazes me.
Got home from worship and fellowship. Should be exhausted but I am not my second wind-its eleven and I am in the kitchen chatting with Jaime again. Then I finally retreat to my room to put my pj's on, and I see this card and two beautiful journals. Aww. Jaime wrote me the sweetest card, and bought me two new journals. In case you haven't noticed, I am an avid writer. So sweet of her! The card was thanking me for being the "best roomate" she has ever had, and really the blessing is all mine! I feel so blessed beyond measure for her.

You are God's masterpiece

Learning how to stand on your own two feet...learning who you are as a person. I totally get why people move away or travel to "find themselves." Sometimes you have to break away from who you were to find out who you are. The new creation that God is creating you to be. It is like the Michelangelo. It was just a big rock, but deep down there was something beautifully exquisite hidden, waiting to be revealed. A masterpiece, a creation. God chips away at the rock with each lesson, trial and experience, cultivating and creating a new creation. Breaking away from all the systems that stunt our growth or the little boxes we fit our lives into. God has something so much bigger in store, He thinks way outside the box. Getting out of your comfort zone is the best catalyst for growth, because it challenges you to press beyond the small systems of your past and to move forward into something bigger, better and new. We were not created or designed to live small lives.
Starting fresh and new with a clean slate is a wonderful way to figure out who I really am. Not what others tell me I am or what I have always been. It challenges me, because I cannot fall back into the comfort of who I was or the relationships that defined me. Now God gets to define me, as I soul search and build new relationships and better patterns of life. It is a crucial time in my life to be independent and rely solely on God. Instead of trying to fit into someone else's way of life, follow their path, make friends with their friends...etc. I get to really figure out my way of life, my path and my friends. It is like that movie "Runaway Bride" where Julia Roberts just keeps running from these commitments, these relationships and not knowing why she is running. Later we find out that she is running from herself, because she does not even know who she is. She has spent so much of her life trying to define herself by the men she is with and how she fits into their lives. She has become a chameleon, able to adapt and become anything or anyone that others want her to be. But everywhere you go, there you are. There is no quick fix, geographical cure or relationship that can make you whole or define you...except your relationship with GOD. Once she really starts asking herself what she likes, what she needs and who she is, the break through happens. She has to stand on her own two feet and not rely on anyone or anything else to tell her who she is. Then comes the self-acceptance and self-love and the ability to love others and finally commit to someone because she has committed to herself for the first time.
Today, I choose to let God complete me. To let His relationships define me. To let Him chip away at the rock and reveal who I am. I don't want to be who _______ wants me to be, or who I can adapt and mold myself to be when I am with ________. Nope, that will never satisfy. I will never be able to commit or stand on my own or even love myself because I won't even know who I am. There is no person's life that I can duplicate, emulate or follow to find peace, but my own. This is a process of growth, one day at a time. It is not a one time deal, I must surrender daily and discover daily. I will never graduate and become WHO I AM. I will never "have arrived" at a certain level or place, it is constant spiritual growth. I graduate at the end of each day, and get to start all over again the next day. I can choose to surrender to fear or surrender to faith. For today, I choose to surrender to faith. Holding on to God's promises and trusting that God knows what I need more than I do. God's promises will always materialize..."sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, they will always materialize if we work for them."

Countdown/ weekend wrap up

I am so excited that my mama is coming in a couple weeks! Boy oh boy! This is the only quality time I get to spend with her until Christmas so I want to take full advantage : ) We have lots of fun stuff planned, people she wants to meet, and places we want to go...little mini trips within the trip. I was noticing that I have not been feeling so homesick lately, and then it mom is coming soon! So I don't have to feel homesick for long...home is coming to me! There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Trying not to have too many expectations, but at the same time I really want this week to be special for her. I just want her to feel how special she is, and to feel the love of God here for her. Giving her my undivided attention for the week will be just enough, and everything else will be the cherry on top-from God. I am really looking forward to a two special lunch dates with two specifically awesome leaders in ministry : ) It is an honor for me to get time with these busy women in ministry, so for them to make time for my mom is such a blessing to me!
I went to my friend Susan's house last week to hangout by the pool and was blown away at her lakefront property. WOW! She is one of my adopted mom's here in Alabama. She has a 24 yr. old daughter who lives out of state, so I get to be her adopted daughter too : ) She invited me to bring my mom over to her house for lunch and pool/lake will love it! She has two really cute dogs too, which totally fills my love cup because I miss my puppies back home soo much! God is so good about meeting our needs.
Lunch with Linda Oliver the other day was amazing! We sat and talked for four hours...they actually started closing the cafe we were in. We began to laugh, because we had no concept of time. It was as if we had gone into a time warp together. She blessed me in more ways than I can ever explain. We poured out into each others lives, and even began writing a few songs right there in the cafe. She is working on her third album now, all about HEALING. No coincidence or accident there. Just being around her, I soak up so much and learn so much about life, love, ministry, God. She has experience, strength and hope that goes for miles! She is writing her second book called Fibro Free...also no coincidence that she was healed of Fibromyalgia. My mom has suffered with Fibro and chronic pain for years, so this is truly a divine appointment on so many levels. It just gets me fired up thinking about it.
Had a great and very busy weekend with the girls...gabby's house friday night, then about 9 of us went to sushi, then a crazy excursion/adventure at Walmart (lots of laughs), and then back to Gabbys for PJ time. Yesterday I got to fellowship/discipleship with a girlfriend and then go out to dinner with Katelyn for some QT and then coffee with Connie and Kelly. Totally got spiritually fed and got to also pour out into others lives all over the place yesterday. I love days like that, when God uses me left and right. Ministering to people and loving on them is the most incredible, purposeful feeling in the world. Thank you God for using me to bless others, and for blessing me in serving, and through others! Now off to church for some learning and growth with my girl Connie. Have a blessed Sunday!

Self-reflection then Self-acceptance

To overcome each test, we must: stop, pray and rest.

Even Jesus had boundaries and limitations. He accepted and embraced them because he trusted His creator, His Father.
Stop comparing yourself with other people, there is no one else like you. There is no comparison. We are each snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. It would be like comparing an orange to a piano. There is no comparison. God does not want cookie cutter Christians or cookie cutter creations for that matter. Stop trying to fit in or be like "them." God made you, to fill a purpose that only you can do. Constant striving to fit in or to be more like "them" is not going to teach anyone anything. "Them" is whoever your them is-we all have them haha pun intended.
You see, God gave us our limitations and boundaries and quirks for a reason. We are all teachers, and when we embrace and accept our limits we are teaching others to accept theirs too. I only know a handful of people who are truly at peace with who they are, true self-acceptance, settled in to who God created them to be. It is few and far between because it is the opposite of what this world calls for us to do. The world wants us to try to fit the mold, strive for success, rid ourselves of our limitations and be perfect and if not, then we are duds. Thankfully we are not of this world, we are just in it. It takes a lot of courage, self-reflection, introspection, and self-awareness to be at peace with yourself. Not many people want to take the time or the energy to look inward.
I am trying to learn how to embrace my limitations as gifts. It is only until I accept them, that I can truly be free and be serene. "Accept the things I cannot change." God knows better than me, and He created me this way, so I will trust Him by accepting all the different parts of me. "In my weakness, He is strong." God does not want me to be superwoman or superhuman for that matter, because then I would get all the glory. It s not about what I do or how hard I work, it is about His grace and His power shining thru my weakness. He gives me limits to slow me down and focus on the specific gifts He wants me to minister to others. I am not supposed to be every part of the body of Christ. I am called to be one specific part, in one specific place. "God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased." 1 Cor. 12:18

My limits keep me from trying to be everything and do everything. If one person could run around and do it all, why would we need the different parts of the body? We would be taking jobs and gifts from others, and also taking the glory from God. So I see my limits as God's direction to keep me on track with what He has purposed me to do. No one else can do my job better than me, and I cannot do anyone else's job better than them.
So I will start calling my limits, assets. One of my assets is that I need alone time to seek refuge in God. To recharge, restore, replenish. I had always looked at this as a bad quality that I got so tired easily or that I had to take extra time to process things. I am starting to see that this is a unique quality and gift. I used to hate being an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), because I need extra time to process. I need refined processing of all the things, energies, feelings...etc that I pick up on throughout the day. And I pick up on a whole lot because I am so receptive and sensitive. But sensitivity is a beautiful quality, it partners with empathy and compassion and insight.

One of my "jobs"/gifts is to empty myself and pour out onto others...pouring out God's love, and my experience, strength and hope to those in need. I fill others up with God. In order to have the strength, energy and resources to pour out, I must continuously be filling myself up with God. I have to stay connected to the source (God). Apart from Him, I can do nothing. So this is why I need extra time, space and quiet in my heavenly Father's presence; so that I don't burnout or become depleted.
Artists are often very different, quirky, eccentric...don't fit in. Unique. Once again, an asset. It is all how you choose to look at it. Perspective and perception is everything. I always pray to see with God's eyes, and not my own. He teaches me to see the beauty in myself and in others. First comes self-awareness, by getting real with yourself and with God, THEN self-acceptance. If you don't know and love all the different parts of can you expect anyone else to? I am learning to embrace those things, accept them and love them. I have to first receive God's love in order to pour it out onto others. This is part of my recharging too, so that I can minister.
So if I am trying to be more like "them" and prove myself all the time to people, I will never be satisfied or truly at peace. "They" are not the standard, Jesus is. If I am people pleasing, then I am not being authentically who God created me to be. Be a God-pleaser by being unashamed of who He created you to be. Be the unedited version of you because no one can be you better. It is a process, and it takes a lot of self-reflection and introspection. Be courageous enough to look inward and then accept God's love by accepting who you are (quirks and all). Be uniquely you. Every character defect or limitation is just a misused or misguided asset. Look at the other side of the coin, and check out the beautiful qualities and assets that God gave to you. Let us be unashamed!

Dedicated to my mom

Dedicated to my mom:

The Widow and the Fatherless

The widow and the fatherless
won't be left in the wilderness
Jehoveh-Jireh-He'll provide
Never leave, He's by your side
Don't be scared, no need to hide
God is making all things right
So hold on tight little child
Today I've become your Father
So worry not, don't even bother
I'll love you like my only daughter
Dad will fight the good fight
All the days of you life
He's got your back
He's on your side
He sees each and every single stride
At night alone those tears you cry
Abba Father will provide
Single mama tucks her girl in
Doesn't think she'll ever win
Each ache and pain, is not in vain
In all your need, still devote yourself to good deeds
Dedicated to Christ
He'll open heavens at the appointed time