Friday, November 30, 2007

God's A Blessin', Satan Is A Messin'

Whew! So many things have been happening this week. God had given By Design a few calls this past week for some really neat exposure. As many know, we have been praying that God would do things far beyond ourselves with this new CD project. And, He has continually knocked our socks off again and again. Well, the latest news to add is that many multi-media opportunities are coming our way that are just really neat. One came out of an old friend that Kelly and I ran into during our shopping trip the day after Thanksgiving. She is a freelance writer for The Baptist Press which is nationally sendicated much like the Associated Press. She would like to do an article on By Design. How cool is that?! Then there have also been a few contacts call for a TV spot and a radio interview. We have also been given the opportunity to be at Lifeway Christian Bookstore next Saturday afternoon to sing and promote the CD. It is as if God is just reaffirming that He has more in store for us. Go God!!!

With all of that said, Satan is on the prowl trying to throw a wrench in everything. He always gets me in the area of my family relationships. And, this time in no different. We have been at each other all day. As I was reflecting on everything earlier this evening, God spoke to me and just simply said, " Don't you see that I am at work here. That is why you all are at each other's throats. Satan is trying to worm in again and create discord. Don't let him in!!"

Girls, isn't that just like Satan?! He tries his best to rob us of what God has in store for us. And, so many times I get wrapped up in the whole process and take the bait losing the very best of the blessing that God had for me. Pray that this time I will stand strong in the knowledge of the Lord and rebuke him when he baits the hook again.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Blessed Times

Last Thursday evening, I went to a Sunday School ladies event at my friend Amanda's home. I was so glad to be able to go since it is rare that I get the opportunity. Most of the time, my plate is full with other commitments. I thought that I would go and have a good time, but little did I know how much I would be blessed. Another friend, Carol, was speaking about a verse that the Lord had her memorize from Acts 18:9 & 10. She went on to say that she realized after a while that the first part of that passage was meant for her. But, what she didn't know was that the last part was meant for me.

By Design was asked a few months ago to come and minister along side of Pat and Terry Powell with Street Wise Ministries down in Bowen Homes. Now, if you are not familiar with that area, it is one of the most violent project areas in metro Atlanta. After some emails earlier in the week regarding some shootings in the community, I was not feeling very safe about going down there. I mean, here I was a middle-aged white woman from the suburbs going into an area filled with guns and violence and gang activity on a daily basis. That's not what I would call a smart move unless you are taking a security detail with you. As Carol began quoting the verse that the Lord gave her a few weeks earlier, I knew that it was for me and tears started well up. The last part of what she quoted said, "do not be afraid for I have many people in this city. " Wow!!! Thank you Lord for that word!!!! It was if God Himself was sitting there in front of me saying, "Hey, I've got this, DeAnna. I am going before you. I am surrounding you on all sides. " And, you know what? He did!

Saturday, when we got to the community center where we were to minister, there was a hedge of protection already in place. Many people that I knew from Hebron and other churches were there to volunteer that day. Some were there as counselors, some as security detail, some were working with the children who had come with their moms. As I walked into the center, I felt no fear. My prayers and the prayers of others who were praying for my safety had been answered. What a sweet time of fellowship we had with the people there. The Lord was in the house that day!!! You could see Him in all four corners of the room. The smiles on the faces of the community members was such a blessing to see. They remembered By Design from the year before and were so excited to see us return. Once again, we received as big of a blessing as those we went to minister to. Girls, God is so good.

God continues to amaze me at how He shows Himself in ways that only He can. As Carol said on Thursday, when we simply say, "Lord use me" He will continually put opportunities in our paths to do just that. It is then up to us to be obedient or not. When faced with that challenge, what will your answer be?


As we enter into the Thanksgiving week, I have been thinking about everything that I have to be thankful for. The Lord has really blessed me beyond anything that I deserve. So, I thought that I would post a few things that stick out above the rest for me.

  • I'm thankful for a God who loves me in spite of myself
  • I'm thankful for a husband who loves me even on my worst days
  • I'm thankful for healthy children
  • I'm thankful for a full pantry
  • I'm thankful for friends who lift me up when I am down and rejoice with me in the good times
  • I'm thankful for the opportunities that God gives me to serve Him through song
  • I'm thankful for clean clothes and a warm bed at night
  • I'm thankful for a sturdy roof over my head
  • I'm thankful for children who love me unconditionally everyday
  • I'm thankful for Christian education

What are you thankful for? I challenge you to consciously think about it today. And, then thank God for His blessings on your life.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Do You Really See Me?

I just got finished reading a blog of a new friend. She really challenged me with what she said. Stephanie, you hit it right on the head for me today, girlfriend.

I see so many different people throughout the course of any given week - carpooling kids to and from school (when I look my ABSOLUTE best, LOL), the many different trips to Wal-mart and other stores, Sunday School, choir, church services, By Design ministry opportunities, etc. But, most of the time those people don't REALLY see ME. They see the DeAnna that I want them to see. The one that "has it altogether". The one that stands in front of a crowd and proclaims the name of Jesus in song. The one that doesn't have real problems to face.

Now, I love to get together and talk with other women about anything - or should I say anything on the surface. Kids, housework, jobs, hobbies, family life, etc. nothing too revealing. But, when it comes to sharing what my heart is burdened about that is totally different. I have always been very private and guarded about what I was feeling or struggling with. Even as a child I internalized my feelings - so much so that it came out in other less desirable forms. And, if the truth were known, it is simply because of a lack of trust and a fear of rejection. Can I really trust "them" with my innermost thoughts and burdens? Will "they" still like me if they saw all my warts? But, what God is showing me through several different sources is that He desires me to not only have that type of intimate relationship with Him, but also with other women. He is telling me that it really is okay for others to see that I am not all put together all the time - it's okay for others to see "the ugly" sometimes. Case is point - last week I sent out a prayer request to our Sunday School class about me having to go back to work as a teacher next year and how I have really struggled with that decision. God was so faithful to send encouraging responses through several people in our class. Normally, I would not have sent the request out, but, because I opened up, He showed up through encouragement from our class members. It brought tears to my eyes as I read each response that was sent. He is continually showing me that when I do let others in to see those sides of me (that really do exist in us all) that makes me the real deal, and it gives Him an opportunity to show Himself to me and to bless me in ways that I might not have received any other way.

So, I would ask each of you to pray for me as I struggle daily to "take off the mask" as our pastor put it a few weeks ago. What we see together might not always be pretty, but, hopefully, it will be real - warts and all.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Let the little children.........

Jesus himself knew what special little creatures children are. He even told us in His word that we must come as a child to Him. This morning, the kids and I were all on our way to school as like any other morning. The girls asked for me to play my CD for them to sing to. They fight over who will sing which solo. The first song, "Shout Your Fame" came on and Georgia decided that she would be Kelly this morning and Ginny would be Nancy. They started singing their respective solo parts and then got to the chorus. At that point, I looked in my rearview mirror to smile at them and got the most precious glimpse. Both girls had their hands raised praising our Lord just like they have seen me and the other members of By Design do countless times, "I will shout Your fame to all the earth, I will lift Your name on high, I will show the world your greatness, You are my God, Jesus, I will shout Your fame.........." At that moment tears started welling up inside of me and springing forth out of my eyes. At that very moment, God was reaffirming everything that I have worked so hard to instill in those two little girls. It was as if He was saying, "They are mine.... don't worry..... I've got this whole thing." What an answer to prayer!

You see, I have really been struggling about going back to work. The housing market is continuing to drop and that is not good when your hubby is an electrical contractor. I do have a peace about stepping up and helping financially again, but I have really struggled with what to do. At this time, teaching is the only answer that I have gotten any peace about. Faithful friends are already praying with me for THE answer. But, this morning was a blessing. Thank you. Lord, for showing me big things in the smallest of instances.