Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Our Baby's Birth Story and The Number 7 ~ Encouragement for Your "Onward!"


I consider myself a mainly optimistic, hopeful person of Christ. But lately I’ve been thinking…. sometimes it seems like things will never change.  

Maybe it was just having woken up this morning… Newborn, crying. Five year old not responding to requests and questions. Husband telling me that dream we’ve been working toward and hoping for, still is a long way to being “realized”.  And, big dreams of who I would be and what I would be doing in this life, echoing in my heart and mind… mostly not yet realized.

And then my newborn smiled for the first time, and my daughter responded, and my husband hugged me and whispered how it would all be ok, and we will realize all of our dreams, with God’s faithfulness, ever present help, and perfect timing.

It’s so hard to remember His assurances, His promises, His whispers of His great “plans”.  But it happens, and I’m writing to you today to tell you to remember His whispers of protection, provision and passion for you, and prophesy and affirm over you …. with Him, all things are possible, and you will behold the “promised land” He’s prepared for you!

Every heart dream, every peace, every hope.  He’s heard our prayers. He sees the need.  He knows our hearts.  He is making ways, and He is preparing the above all we can dare ask or think blessings.  

How can I say this?  Well, I had forgotten, but He asked me to share the miracle of my daughters birth to assure you “It Is Well”.  This was over a month ago.  I’m so very sorry for my delay.

I had the worst third trimester of pregnancy. You name it, and it happened. Discomfort, pain, illness, all of it.  My beautiful baby kept on showing in breach position in every scan and follow up.  We were nervous and praying feverishly for the situation to change.  For her to turn the proper way.  Why is it the entering of the miracle of birth is opposite of what one thinks?  Why is it that head down is right?

All the fervent prayers, and believing and speaking life, and no changes.  I was discouraged.  Why God? Is my faith not enough to change this situation?

Imagine our surprise when our scheduled cesarean section was upended by God’s and Baby’s choice, as water broke two days prior to it, and Baby was quickly on the way.

Water broke at 1:30am.  At the hospital at  2:30am.  Upon arrival I was already 6 centimeters dilated. Computer problems, vein locating problems, and all happened along the way. But there was His peace. Every time a contraction would come, I would utter Jesus name through groanings and large breaths.  He was there.  It was painful, but He was there.

Baby came to us healthy and blessed at 7 lbs 7 ounces, at 4:03 (which adds to seven) on 2/7.  And we were promptly wheeled into room 107, to enjoy our beautiful "gift".

My husband walked into the recovery room with her singing “Seven times Seventy times”.  

It turns out that the number Seven is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual). Hallelujah!

I believe my baby’s beautiful birth story was assurance, not only for our family, but for all whom our lives are touching.

Though this time may be hard, the pain present, and the trials difficult, the situation seemingly turned “on it’s head”.... our Greatest God is guiding, and He is planning on not only making ‘it’ perfect, but complete (both Physically and Spiritually).  

Father, You’ve spoken dreams, visions and blessings over us all.  Please give us strength, courage and hope to remember that Your plans, Your perfect timing and Your miraculous blessings, are going to come to pass, as You’ve shown us. All of our hope continues to be in You and You alone.  May we be encouraged in Jesus amazing grace, and perfect love as we wait upon Him and His Kingdom come and will being done in our lives, the lives of our beloveds, and in this earth. In His Matchless and Wonderful Name, I Pray. Amen!

Keep moving forward in hope and keep looking up in gratitude, Cherished Ones!  








Monday, August 4, 2014

Lessons From My 4 Year Old

Before my husband leaves for work everyday, He exchanges "I love you's" and "I'll miss you's" and then asks my daughter and I if there is anything he can get for us, or do for us before he returns home.  (And Yes! I do realize how I am blessed!)

Our daughter always obliges with utmost enthusiasm to this question, and today was no exception. 

She requested a chocolate topped donut with sprinkles.  And we went on our way for the day. 

At one point during our day, we happened by a donut shop to retrieve a blessing for someone else, and I offered, at that point, to get our girl her donut. 

She refused my offer, saying, "Daddy will get it for me, Mama", with all gusto and belief in the world, of that fact. 

As I reflected upon this, I realized some spiritual truth and correlation.... 

Do we trust that God will provide what we've asked Him for? 
Are we willing to wait for His when, will and timing? 
Are we willing to wait for Him to provide it to us, and not someone or something else to provide it?

God wants us to believe Him. Trust with and in faith as small child that He will deliver what our hearts desire is, and know that He always comes through for us!

Matthew 18:2-4
2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Don't settle. Wait on Him. He won't disappoint. 

He will ever provide. 
He will ever look after you. 

Romans 8:32
32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Go In His Love Today, Beloved Ones ~ And Rest in His promise, in faith, like that of a child....His child!






~ Amy O

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Morning Rev

I woke up today with a plan....work out, shower, time with God, email reduction, make breakfast, send hubs off, etc.....

If there is one thing I know, it's that God has a funny way of standing our plans on their noses! Love Him for it too!

This morning went so differently than I planned, and I'm so glad it did.

I won't be working out today.
Instead, I got to text with a friend, and beloved mentor.
I got to hug my daughter for a minute (she's normally stand-offish with me in the morning, so this is a rare gift)
I got to sit, pray for Ya'll, write to Ya'll, and I got to spend a few intentional minutes with God, taking in His beauty and creation song.


I came across this, in the Word too, and I knew I had to share it (it's just plain slaying me right now - how "on time" this Word is). 

May you be blessed, as I was, and set right, as I was, in starting the day, and the rest of the week to come, in and through it!...

1 Timothy 6 (MSG).....

6-8 A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that’s enough....

11-12 But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.

18-19 .... Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.

20-21 And oh, my dear Timothy, guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life. Avoid the talk-show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts. People caught up in a lot of talk can miss the whole point of faith.

Overwhelming grace keep you!

Indeed! His grace is sufficient! He is more than enough, and You, Beloveds, are more than conquerors in and through Him! Take this truth and fact with you as you begin this work week! 

In His Love ~ Amy O xo

This life is a gift...take hold of, treasure it and by God's will and means....ENJOY IT! (Preaching to myself now too!) :-)  .....

EXPLORE










ENJOY



EMBRACE





"I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name."(Revelation 3:8, NKJV)

REMEMBER....YOU ARE:

A child of God, saved by grace, alive to God and dead to sin, sanctified, a new creation, reconciled to God, free, justified, chosen, adopted by God, accepted, forgiven, predestined, raised and seated in heavenly realms, created for good works, called to eternal glory, more than a conqueror, an overcomer, never forsaken . . . (~ Christine Caine)

YOU ARE the righteousness of God in Christ!
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. (Romans 3:22) 

And one step at a time WITH HIM, FOR HIM, IN HIM.....

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV)

His Grace Is Sufficient! By grace, through faith, we are changed and everything changes!....

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8, NKJV)

He's commissioned You to do greater things....

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (John 14:12, NKJV).

Thursday, May 22, 2014

He Is - "I Am"

I had the privilege of going to worship last night amongst brothers and sisters in NYC, with Kim Walker Smith and Kristene Dimarco of Jesus Culture as the worship leaders. One thing that Kristene sang unto God, was "We believe who You say You Are!". The room, and my heart and spirit erupted in agreement. Yes. Exactly. 





No matter what we are going through today. No matter what's coming against us, acting as a really pressing matter, or a "thorn in the flesh", may we believe God, and Who He says He is!

Because when we really believe Him. When we believe in the God of All, the God of Miracles, the God of our Salvation, the God Who Was and Is And Is to Come....It doesn't matter if the relief comes, or things "it"/"they" change/s, because He is truly all we need. Of course, He answers every prayer. It may not be in the timing we desire, or the way we hoped, but all our hope should be in Him to know what we need, and not what we want!

This excerpt from Exodus 3, speaks so greatly to my heart this morning, and what I am attempting in exhorting/reminding us of....

12 God said, I will surely be with you; and this shall be the sign to you that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.

13 And Moses said to God, Behold, when I come to the Israelites and say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they say to me, What is His name? What shall I say to them?

14 And God said to Moses, I Am Who I Am and What I Am, and I Will Be What I Will Be; and He said, You shall say this to the Israelites: I Am has sent me to you!

15 God said also to Moses, This shall you say to the Israelites: The Lord, the God of your fathers, of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has sent me to you! This is My name forever, and by this name I am to be remembered to all generations.

May Your perception of the Greatness of Your God become over-abundant today.

May His Love overwhelm and assure Your aching, longing heart.

May His Peace, surpass every understanding, and take root in your Spirit assuring you of His steadfast faithfulness.

May His Joy overwhelm You, in abundance, to the full, to overflowing, that You may share Him with All whose lives He blesses you to be touching.

May His Justice overwhelm You, and You stand up to be an Artisan of Hope, Ambassador of Reconciliation, and Agent of Grace. (~ E Cho)

May His Fire, Set within Your soul, and May Your desire of more of Him lead you to more than you can dare ask or think.

May You take hold of this truth today.....I’m just one, but I’m one with The One who made heaven and earth. And nothing is impossible for the one who has The One!

"Now arise in the fullness of your union with our Lord." Philippians 4:1 TPT

God Bless you, Beloved Ones!

In His Love and Ever and Only By His Grace ~ Amy O

If you've not ever accepted Jesus as Your Lord, please reach out to me, through the "contact" section. I want to pray with you! 



Here's some relevant worship songs I felt led to share that go along with this encouragement....






Thursday, May 8, 2014

Feeling Powerless Today? Giving Is The Best Medicine!

I couldn't think of a more worthy causes to give to today....My heart is aching. I may be one, but I can do something....So can you! God answers prayers, through His people! And we heal ourselves as we give unto others! Love wins! 

Searching for a meaningful Mother's Day gift? The best things in life aren't things! Honor a mother by helping to create change in the lives of hundreds of women and children in need. In 2014 Education and Hope is providing scholarships to 212 children and young adults. Over 100 students now attend our after school program where they receive hot meals, tutoring, showers, medical care and love in a family-centered environment. Education and Hope is proud to provide stable employment to 46 people, many of whom are single mothers, the sole source of income for their family. Our support is having a tremendous positive impact on hundreds of lives. Make a secure online gift on our website and include a note in the comment section to let us know who we can send an acknowledgment to, via notecard or email. The blog post below will give you an idea of what your donation amount means to our program. Thank you for being a part of our important work!

A Prayer and Blessing for Today

May God speak peace to your soul and calm to your storm. May you sense His nearness even when the winds blow. May you know His joy and strength from the top of your head to the tips your toes. May the hope He stirs in your heart cause you to live with a holy expectancy and trust that this storm too shall pass. And, in the days ahead, may His very real love for you compel you to dance in the rain before the sun breaks through. He goes before you, He's got your back, and He's there, just around the bend. He'll never forsake you. May you entrust your whole soul to Him tonight/today! ~ Susie Larson

Father ~ May it be well with us. No matter what things look like. Be with us in triumph and in trial. Help us to keep moving forward with hope and keep looking up with gratitude! Help us to ever remember that the wind and the waves still know Your Name. In Jesus Name. Amen!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNqo4Un2uZI

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Personal Testimony and a Reflection on Resting in God

Hi, I’m Amy. And, I have trust and abandonment issues.

My biological father was a troubled, angry, problem-laden, hurting man, from what I understand.  And, it’s by God’s grace that I survived my first few years. 

My mom was a scared 16 year old, when she had me. I know she always did the best she could to protect and provide for me. Looking back, I’m so grateful she had the sense of mind she did, despite all she was going through (most of which I’ll never truly know of, I’m sure). 

Eventually, my mom would meet and marry a good, hard-working man, who endeavored to love and legally adopt me.  My biological father never showed up to contest it.  In fact, I didn’t see him after the age of four, I think. I believe God to be convicting his heart, even then, despite him not knowing God, yet.  (I pray he knows Him now) I believe by choosing not to be present, my biological father was choosing to try and give me a better/the best life. 

But it’s a hard thing, you know.  A soul knows abandonment and rejection even when not old enough to comprehend it.  I’ve been battling with the abandonment, and ineptness of flesh and blood, for so long. But, as a wise friend once said, “Sometimes the best example is what not to do”.  There is truth and fuel in this.

Raised Roman Catholic, I believed in God, but I was far from Him in relationship.  I was truly saved in high school.

A wildly vibrant blond gal in my class simply known as the resident “Jesus Freak” (will ever be thankful to God for her) invited me to her Baptist youth group meeting, and I loved it. I don’t remember the exact moment or day I became saved, but I know I believed in Jesus, and I know I prayed the sinner’s prayer, and I know I believed and was very grateful for His saving grace, then.  More prominently, I remember being wildly torn about fitting in to the in crowd, but wanting desperately to stay in God’s will, out of sin. All of my friends up to the point were sexually active and drug and alcohol curious and pursuant. 

It was a terrible battle. There was such a God-sized hole in my soul. I wish I had the strength then to choose to be filled by Him and Him alone, no matter the persecution I feared it would have brought.  Wanting to be wanted can truly drive one to doing the most futile things, and stay around the other hurting ones/people.

I ended up graduating and heading off to college in Rhode Island.  I chose the only thing aside from singing that I was being recognized for, and receiving positive feedback for… riding horses. And with that, my spirit crying out and sensing my poor decisions and misdirection, I chose to lose myself entirely to a life of sin, addiction, and self-sabotage.  Those were incredibly lonely years.

I worked and went to school all the time. Working hard became a covering for what was really going on. No amount of money made, or time spent making it, could fix that hole in my soul.  That need to be needed, that need to be wanted, that need to be loved.  It’s shuddering, however, what the soul believes is love and life, in the midst of utter junk that it chooses.

I eventually was chosen to study a year abroad in Holland. It was there that the ugliest of turns was taken, and I chose to enter an adulterous relationship.

Upon returning from Holland, I was in the worst of ways. A scared, lonely, confused woman living as if a child, back in her parents home, now needing to become apart of the “real world”, yet so longing to be detached from anything having to do with such an ugly world.

I found a job training horses in Pawling, NY, which eventually lent itself to me job-hopping until I found myself in Florida. It was always one excuse or another, but I really was always just trying to escape. Later I would realize that it was myself that was the inescapable constant.  

I accepted the devil’s lies. I believed that I wasn’t good enough. Nobody wanted me. Nobody loved me. I was never going to succeed. I was a failure. I was a nobody, from nowhere, bound to do nothing.  I lost myself to physical relationships with men, thinking that if I could just give men what they wanted, eventually someone would choose to keep me around for my willingness to meet their physical needs and desires. The only time I ever talked to God was to beg Him for me not to get pregnant.  I wanted to be married and begin a life with someone, one day.  In my mind, even if someone did choose me, I believed I would never really know what true love is. Love as I knew it, was a battlefield of misuse, and manipulation.

I remember being so overwhelmed, and so at my wit’s end, that one night while doing a security night check at the horse barn, I began crying uncontrollably and sank to the floor, barely able to breath. I had a cousin, just days before, give me the number to her therapist, whom she said was an excellent one; and I pulled up the number on my phone, and at 11PM at night, I dialed it, and she answered. And an appointment was set. Years of therapy with this woman would become a catalyst to helping me deal with much of the pain I was carrying, and also be a blessing to what God is showing me is becoming a ministry. (God makes ways)

But, the fact remained…. I was angry, and while in so much anguish one day, while riding a horse that I was to train for sale, I got angry with her, and the horse checked out and reared and fell over backwards on the both of us; and my leg was broken.  And suddenly I found myself, unable to “work”. I was forced to rest and reflect. To stop the incessant movement was near torture.  Broken tibia. Broken hand. Broken heart. Broken life. I was at rock bottom.  I really thought I was dead, and if I wasn’t, I wanted to be.  But God….

It just so happened that I had taken a side job, which was to start in a few days following this incident. You see, it wasn’t an accident. What the enemy intends for evil, God always intends for good.  God makes ways…

I was to stay overnight with the kids from a family originally out of Wisconsin, who enjoyed their winter months in Florida.  The parents were going away for a week and needed someone to oversee their 4 girls in the evenings, ages 7 to 16. 

Even with injury, they chose to keep me in that job, which was a tremendous blessing, because I had immediately gotten fired from my main job after being injured. 

So, this opportunity not only afforded me a safe haven to recover, but a way to recover and still pay bills while recovering.  (God makes ways)

I can’t say that I repented and sought God at this point, though I know I was feeling lucky to have survived.

Eventually after 6 months I was healed and ready to find a more permanent placement.

When you are made to rest, to take a step back from the “normal”, even through vicious and upending circumstances, it isn’t a bad thing, unless you look at it through skeptical, and pessimistic eyes. 

I was so busy keeping busy to avoid the truths that caused my true pain, my internal pain, I was not allowing myself a chance to heal or turn to my Savior King.  Life can sweep you up, even if you aren’t really enjoying it.  It’s sometimes so much easier to stay in the pain, or stay a lone-island, than face the root of it all! It’s easier to stay in the familiar of pain, rather than rest in the peace that God offers. Unfamiliar territory is still scary, even if it’s landscape is much better, and offers so much more than the one, one is used to.  But God….

So I returned to NY, and found a job in a relocation company in Danbury, CT. This was a miracle in and of itself.  I was terribly unmarketable, even though with business degree, my expertise was in horse training and farm management.  But God….

The wife of one of my mother’s cousins worked there and recommended me, and that is the only way I was hired.

There I met a raw, beautiful, single mother, and un-coincidentally, the administrative executive for the team on which I was placed (God makes ways), who invited me to her church one day. 

At this point, I found my way into singing for a wedding band, and such. I was still living a life of sin. I kind of shirked at the idea of walking into a church as a hypocritical mess.  But God…

One Sunday morning in October 2005, I woke up in the bed of a co-worker in New Milford, CT.  I didn’t know what had proceeded the night before, but I felt as filthy in my soul, as I looked and smelt.  I got in my car and began to drive home, and I remember being completely “done” with everything. I finally got real with God. 

I remember driving, crying terribly, and saying “God what I’m doing is not working”.  It was an AHA (revelation) moment. And just as I submitted, just as I finished saying those words, there was the church (to which my single mom administrative executive friend invited me), and it’s enormous front and cross, appearing to my right, and I turned my car into that parking lot.

I remember standing in the way back, away from everyone, but I remember the feeling I felt. I felt as if I found a safe place.  A home base. Someplace different. A way for change to happen. And the music. The singers. They were so wonderful!  I remember thinking “I’m going to do that!”.  A hope welled within me that I hadn’t experienced before.

Months later, I would try out for choir, and that very night, meet my husband.

Ironically, I would pursue a relationship with him originally because I was looking for someone to be a roommate with, and he seemed to have it all together with a stable job, and outlook.  But God…

One night on the way home from a date/concert in the city, I felt and saw him (I had my head resting on his chest) through the reflection of the glass on the train, praying silently over me. And in that moment, I knew that I would marry the man.  No one had ever cared enough to pray for me.

We would be engaged 3 months later. Married 1 year later.

He would later tell me that my tenacity for encouraging and witnessing him improve himself in his own life, with his own boundaries with family and friends, would bless his love for me further. 

It’s wild how I could help and encourage this man change for the better, yet I was still so stuck in my own life, ways, bad habits from the past, etc… While I had sworn off drugs, drinking and even sex (until we married), I was still so very damaged and manipulative in my comings, goings, thinking and doings.

I began to learn and grow and be blessed with Christ-ordained friendships in the church.  I began to learn God’s Word. I began to believe it and speak it.

God would use my husband also, and his blessed patience, persistence, consistency and stability to be a tangible reflection of His unfailing, grace-filled, miraculous, constant love.

My husband is like no other that I’ve ever met in this world. Matchless in compassion, understanding, wisdom and relationship with God Himself, he is my angel, and my closest friend. God truly chose for me above all I can ask or think.

I often struggle still, thinking, I’m so undeserving of such love, both with Jesus and my husband.  But then He sings over me as in Zephaniah 3:17 “I am in your midst. I am mighty to save, and mighty to deliver. I will quiet you with my love. You are my beloved upon whom my favor rests”.  And I tremble, and gasp. Such love. Such unfailing love. Who am I that God Himself should bless me so? And the blessings, they continue…

A day before I found out that I was pregnant with my answer (my daughter’s name means “God has answered”), I was laid off from my job. It was devastating at first.  I found such identity in being useful in a job. Once again, in my mind, I was being rejected.  But God…

Once we found out we were pregnant, we determined I would be staying at home with our baby.

And then the foundation of my spiritual walk came to be. Every day for 9 months, I sat and listened to sermons on TBN. Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Paula White, Joel Osteen, Charles Stanley. You name the preacher and I was listening and taking notes, the whole day through. The foundation I received in my walk with Christ through this time period is still proving priceless to me. But, He ordained it to be so. He made me to rest, so I could “find” Him.  

In various ways since, God has made me to walk through uncomfortable situations in challenging my unhealthy connections, relationships, boundaries, and damaged defense mechanisms.  And I imagine He will continue to. In order to be birthed, one must be pushed, and through really narrow and dark places at that!

God has been forcing me to rest, and rest in Him, and pushed me all along in that, in ways that otherwise seemed devastating. But they were not. He’s proven them not to be.

These were just big wake up calls and ways to help me strengthen my foundation in Him, for the next glories.   He’s proven to never leave me or forsake me. He’s proven over and over that He loves me, and while I’m peculiar, I’m called to be a prophet unto the nations, singing and speaking of His steadfast love and faithfulness! An encourager and exhorter in the body of Christ, and worshipper of all that He is. Omnipotent. Omniscient. Able. Faithful. Mighty God!

Had God allowed me to remain on my planned paths, He only knows where I’d be.  I shudder to think, but He truly does work all things for good to those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose. He makes ways when they are no ways, but not in ways we may believe or feel are not good at all!

If there is ever an admonition chant about rest, I can say it’s this…. Believe God, no matter what it looks like.

He always comes through. There comes a time in every believer’s life that your faith will be tested. I exhort you today, you must believe the report of the Lord.


We must make a choice to believe God. No matter what we are going through, no matter what our situations, no matter how bad it looks, we must trust God! We must choose to believe. Take Him at His word. He loves us too much to leave us the same. He will change us in and through rest that comes through shock at times. But He will mold you, the clay, for He is the best potter.  He takes the Bread, blesses the Bread, breaks the Bread, and then gives the Bread. We are the Bread.  Now Go with God and Grow! I know I will ever be!