So much has happened since my last post, but all I can say is WOW! I knew God had BIG plans for this ministry when we started two years ago, but I had no idea what He was up to! Everyday when I wake up, the first thing I can't wait to do is dig into God's presence, His peace, His mercy, His unconditional love for me! And then as I set there, He reminds me that He too, has been waiting on me....to jump up in His lap and share my day with Him. Isn't that cool....the God of the universe, the one who created the stars in the sky, waits to spend time with me (and YOU)! The next part of my day is spent reading emails from women like you who write into Crowned By the King, sharing what God is doing in and through you! You have no idea what this does for me! Ladies from 45 of the 50 states are participating in the ministry and have sent necklaces to over 9 countries! He is using everyday women, like me and you to remind women of how much He loves us, how beautiful He thinks we are, and of His specific purpose for our lives! I am so excited to be doing ministry with each and everyone of you! I wish I could meet all of you in person, but geographically, I'm not for sure that's possible! But one day! This time of the year is so busy getting ready for CHRISTmas that a lot of time people forget the true meaning for the holidays. I would like to encourage you to look for those moments in your day while standing in a very long line at the post office, or sitting in traffic (a great time to make a phone call), or waiting to check out at Walmart :) to minister God's love to someone. I'm amazed at how God can orchestrate a moment when all He wants us to do is remind people around us of His love for them (anytime of the year)! People are looking for hope everyday, but especially this time of the year! Luke 1: 46-55 46-55 And Mary said, I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God. God took one good look at me, and look what happened— I’m the most fortunate woman on earth! What God has done for me will never be forgotten, the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others. His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him. He bared his arm and showed his strength, scattered the bluffing braggarts. He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud. The starving poor sat down to a banquet; the callous rich were left out in the cold. He embraced his chosen child, Israel; he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high. It’s exactly what he promised, beginning with Abraham and right up to now. Let's all burst with the God-news this CHRSITmas season!
I was at a women's conference a couple of weeks ago and had an encounter with a precious lady that I will never forget! This encounter was one I never expected and has been on my heart since that day. A friend of mine and I had been enjoying the fellowship with our sister's in Christ, meeting new friends, and praying for needs when it came time to head into the conference center to engage in worship and listen to a guest speaker. Worship began and the sweet presence of God filled the room. I was totally engaged when at one point my eye was drawn to a lady I had met earlier in the day. I didn't know this ladies story, but as I stood there and watched her worship, I was overwhelmed with emotion! At that point, I had no idea why. This lady soon took the stage and thanked everyone for their love and support they had shown her and her family over the past 11 months. She introduced the speaker and sat back down.
When the speaker took the stage she began to tell the story of how this Godly woman had lost her 8 year old son and mother-n-law eleven months prior in a terrible car accident. My heart was about the beat out of my chest! It was at that moment that I realized why her worship struck me so deeply. I had no idea of her story, but her worship spoke volumes!
I found Angelia after the service just to let her know that I was praying for her and her precious family! She began to explain to me the pain that her family had went through over the loss in their lives, but how God was using their son's story to bring people to the Lord. It was during her story that she spoke these words that have resonated with me since that day: "Judi, I prayed for 5 years that God would give me a son, but I never prayed that He would let me keep him forever!" She was so thankful for the time she had had with her son, that she was celebrating his life and praising the same God who gives and takes away.
You see, I have 3 children of my own and I too prayed for 2 1/2 years for God to give me a child. Now that I have them, how am I spending my time with them? The world is pulling at us from so many levels of busyness that sometimes a day or two or even three will get by me, where I am thinking "where did the time go?"
God's word tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1-10
There is a time for everything,
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
I don't know about you but I want to do everything I can to spend those precious moments with my kids so that one day, when the Lord chooses, I can stand before Him and worship Him for the time He gives me with my precious children. Never take that time for granted! Love on your children a little more each day, pull them up in your lap (even if they are grown) and tell them you love them! Don't let a day go by, without them knowing how much you and the Lord loves them! Let this be a season where you are planting seeds of LOVE!
So today's blog maybe a little longer than usual do to the need to let go of some raw emotions I have been feeling since my daughter's accident. As many of you know, our 10 year old daughter was in the hospital over the weekend with 3 fractured ribs and a punctured lung due to a horse accident. She was playing with our horses when one tripped and stumbled into my daughter, knocking her down, and then accidentally stepping on her chest. There is nothing worse than hearing your daughter scream as she runs toward you, with a bloody mouth and then collapses right before your eyes! It was horrible! And in that moment, all I knew to do was get her to the hospital and pray!
Many times in our lives we are faced with circumstances that remind us that we are not in control and to trust. I can't tell you how many times I have spoken the word "trust" to my husband, family members, and friends. Circumstances like: moving due to a change in jobs, financial loss due to the economy, unwanted divorce, being a single parent; but NOTHING----NOTHING causes you to pause and ask yourself this question, "will I trust"-----than when you see your own child being loaded in an ambulance!
Proverbs 3:5 reminds us to "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." And at a moment like that, TRUST is all you can do. Trust that God is with her, trust that it's not her time to go, trust that the Dr.s know what to do---trust that God is looking down on you and has it under control......because I don't. Sometimes we don't understand "why" something happens, or why it happens to "good" people, but we do know that we can trust God! I love how God gives us just the right verse at just the right time....... to calm our hearts and minds into knowing that no matter what, we can trust that He is there with us!
My daughter ended up having a chest tube put in her left lung but by the next day her lung was completely back to normal. We were headed home with a few cuts and bruises, but one very healthy and strong little girl. As one of my friends prayed over her, she reminded her that God is always holding us in the palm of His hand! No matter what storms we may have faced, will face, or are facing right now----God is holding us!
As I sat beside my daughters bedside these past few days, I would be lying if I told you I didn't ask God why. I think we all do when we are faced with difficult decisions and I think it's ok to ask why as long as we aren't challenging God's sovereignty! There is always something for us to learn when we are faced with trying times. But the ultimate test once we ask: will we listen, and ultimately will we TRUST?
What is God wanting you to TRUST Him with this week?
I don't know about you, but as the summer draws to an end there are three words I hate to hear; "back to school!" Are you kidding me! Summer break is already over? It seems like just yesterday that I was driving to school for the last day and now we are busily preparing for our first day! We have been to the stores, bought all of the supplies, attended the orientation and met the teachers. All of that is fun for them, but not for me! This year is especially hard for this stay at home mama of 10 years because my baby is headed to Kg! I am excited and nervous for him all at the same time. You see he is one who never meets a stranger!!! But with this little outgoing personality also comes the curse of never shutting up! He LOVES to talk, get involved, and be the life of the party! There's only one problem, school is usually not a party! School is hard work, learning the ropes, and learning how to be independent of the one person they have known all their lives as their example to life situations.
This kind of reminds me of how Jesus must have felt on the day he ascended into heaven. He had walked, taught, and been with the disciples for many years, but now it was time for them to "go it alone." I can't imagine Him not feeling some of the same emotions I too am going through...nervous, anxious, and excited all rolled up in one. As I sit here and think about all of these emotions, I am also comforted by the fact that Jesus didn't leave His beloved behind without a friend and He's not going to allow my baby to face Kg. alone either. He left us the Holy Spirit; a friend, a comforter, a teacher! Isn't it comforting to know that the same one who leads, guides, and directs my steps will also be with my kiddos as they head back to school? I know for this mama, it is the only thing making "back to school" bearable!
The Heart of a Mom!
Crowned By The King - Media/Press Release
My heart is heavy today for a 28 year old mama of two, who is lying in the hospital on a ventilator fighting for her life against cancer. I do not even know this lady personally, only through her fellow MOPS (Mother's Of Preschoolers) group who asked me to speak at their group on Monday. I had no idea that after I shared a message that a video was going to play, interviewing this mom about her fight against this terrible disease! As I sat and listened to her courage, I was overwhelmed with compassion. Not only for her, but her sweet husband who is battling daily to keep her with him and their two precious children. She was so bold, saying that not even cancer was going to get her down! She still continues to be a witness to others of God's grace, love, and mercy as she fights with all the strength she can muster! "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" is a quote she and her family have become all too familiar with over the past year, when she first found the lump while nursing her newborn.
As a mother of three, I can not even imagine the thoughts that are racing through her mind. But I do know that God puts us here for a specific time and purpose, to bring Him honor and glory! It has made me hug my children a little tighter, hold them a little longer, and tell them I love them even more than usual these past 3 days. I challenge you to live your life cherishing the moments God gives us each and every day with our spouses, our children, our families, and our friends. We never know when our time on this old earth will come to an end, but we have the hope of what awaits us on the other side.....the arms of Jesus!
Please join me as we lift the Payne family up in prayer as they have a tough road ahead of them! May the God of all comfort be with them and peace abound in their hearts and minds...Amen!
I’ve got to tell you a story that happened one Christmas. We had went shopping at JCPenny and I fell in love with a doll (that looked a lot like the cabbage patch kids) and she was all I could think about. My grandmother bought it for me that day and it wasn't the fact that she bought it that meant so much to me. It was the fact that she allowed me to play with that doll everyday until Christmas and she would carefully wrap it back up everyday after I left and place it back under the tree. My mother had no idea until years later, what my Granny and I had pulled off. Is it that doll that really meant so much to me? No! It was the fact that my granny loved me so much that she was willing to do something for me that spoke a multitude of love to me at that moment in my life. My granny was the one who took me to church, prayed for me daily, and watched me give my life to the Lord at the age of 12! She meant the world to me!
But I’ll never forget a year later when she became sick, she had just had triple heart bypass surgery and just wasn’t recuperating as fast as she should have been. It was months later when they discovered she had uterine cancer and after a few treatments of chemo she ended up in the hospital and was given a short time to live. It was a Friday night when all of my friends were out at the movies having fun, when my mother and father came home from the hospital. My mom took me outside and told me that Granny had went to be with the Lord and that she loved me very much.
Needless to say, I was devastated! I remember running to my room, grabbing my JCPenny doll and falling on my bed, begging the Lord to take me too! I didn’t think I could go on living because the one person who meant LOVE to me was gone. It was if her time on earth was finished! I was the youngest of all of her grand kids and I had finally asked Jesus into my heart, so her job was done. I am so glad God chose not to take me, because I have learned the power of one’s story! I remember hearing story after story the night of her visitations about how she had impacted others and the little ways she showed love to each person she met. What a legacy she had left. One that I am still walking out day by day with my own family, friends, and even strangers.
And then I can't help but think of the legacy Jesus has left for us! One that He wants us to share with each and every person we come into contact with! When the world says money, power, and prosperity; God says:
What kind of legacy are you leaving?
I was totally blown away over Spring Break! My family was taking a short trip to Dallas to visit some friends and hang out for a few days. While packing for our trip, I was frantically running around the house (like all moms do, I'm assuming) and my husband called me to the computer. My initial reaction was "are you kidding me, I don't have time to sit in front of the computer! I'm trying to pack!" But as I sat down to read an email, the words of gratitude that flowed from the computer screen overwhelmed me to tears. We had recently donated 30 necklaces to an organization in Michigan, called Forgiven Ministries, which focuses on the rehabilitation of inmates and their relationship with their children while incarcerated. I immediately knew Crowned By The King should get involved because of the father/daughter and mother/daughter relationship. But never in a million years, did I realize the impact it was going to have on me and them. Here is the email I received:
As I sat in my kitchen looking at these pictures, tears began flowing down my face! This is why we do what we do! I look at the faces of those two girls and their father as he places the necklace around their necks, and I can't help but to think about God's redeeming love for us! How many times in our lives have we messed up? With decisions we've made, choices that took us down the wrong path, or relationships we have destroyed. But God the father, loved us so much that He has healed the broken hearted and sets the captives free (Isaiah 61:1). God is restoring the lives of these prisoners and their relationships with their daughters, just as God, our Father, is restoring us! They may not be free from the walls of prison, but by the look on their faces, they are FREE in their hearts!
I was out of town this Saturday which left my husband, David, home with all three kids! He is an awesome dad, so I never have any reservations or worries while I am gone! But isn't it true that if anything bad is going to happen, it's gonna happen when the mom is away! So true for this family! My 7 year old son was riding one of our horses and wanted to make him trot! Just like a boy huh, the faster the better. Well the problem was he was riding bare-back so when the horse took off to trot, Gavin just slid ride off. Landing on his right wrist and side of his face. I came home finding him lying on the couch with an ice-pack on his arm watching a movie. I'm amazed at times, how a movie can distract kids even when they are in pain. Needless, to say I was so thankful I wasn't there to witness him lying helpless on the ground, broken, and beaten up from the fall.
God gave me a picture right then and there of how He saw us before the cross....helpless, broken, and beaten up from sin! Isn't that they way we live our lives at times.....the faster, the better! With no regard to where we might end up! But God knew exactly where we were headed and had a plan to rescue us once we fell. John 3:16 says it like this "For God so loved the world, that He sent his one and only son, that whosoever believes in Him, will have eternal life." I am so thankful that God loved me enough to have a plan that would help me get back up again. His plan was much better than ours ever was. Even today when we find ourselves in a world of hurt; physical, emotional, or spiritual....God still has a plan! He is there to pick us up, dust us off, and show us the way that will lead to freedom!
Gavin's wrist ended up with a buckle fracture and he had to have a splint. I was so proud of him, because the very next day, he was right back on that horse again! But with a different plan this time...no trotting! He couldn't wait to get back to school to show all of his friends his splint! One of his friends said "Boy Gavin, I bet you don't ride that horse again!" To which Gavin replied "oh no way, it wasn't his fault so I can't wait to get back on him again!"
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