Alive – Natalie Grant

 
 
Who but You, could breathe and leave a trail of galaxies and dream of me?

What kind of Love is writing my story till the end with Mercy’s pen? Only You.
 

What kind of king would choose to wear a crown that bleeds and scars to win my heart?

What kind of Love tells me I’m the reason He can’t stay inside the grave?
 

You. Is it You? Standing here before my eyes, every part of my heart cries

Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome; Death has lost and Love has won Alive! Alive!

Hallelujah, Risen Lord, the only One I fall before. I am His because He is, alive.

Who could speak, and send the demons back from where they came, with just one Name?


What other heart would let itself be broken every time till He healed mine?

You.
Only You could turn my darkness into dawn; running right into Your arms

Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome; Death has lost and Love has won Alive! Alive!

Hallelujah, Risen Lord, the only One I fall before. I am His because He is, Alive.

  

Emmanuel, the promised King, the baby who made angels sing,
 Son of Man who walked with us, healing, breathing in our dust.


The author of all history, the answer to all mysteries,
 The Lamb of God who rolled away the stone in front of every grave.

Alive! Alive! Look what Mercy’s overcome;

Death has lost and Love has won Alive! I am His because He is alive.
Alive!


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It is because of Him and Him alone that I can be strong when I am weak… Alive, when I feel dead… In Him and Him alone I am found when I feel lost, and Saved when I fail.

As I ponder each word it becomes more and more clear to me that His divine plan is for my good. How? I am completely unsure. But, because He loves me, and he wrote my story “with mercy’s pen” I can’t not believe that His plan is greater. Through death and Life. Through feast and famine, it is good. I praise Him that I have been given the opportunity to rest in the certainty that I am His, and I have His spirit within me to claim wholeness because of what He conquered. He died so that I might live in freedom, especially when my body fails me, or my own plans (that I dream up) fail me. I praise Him for the Mercy I don’t yet see. I praise Him for my story, although it may differ from what I expected and wanted. I praise Him for what I don’t yet know, and I praise Him for the confidence I have in what I do know.

Mercy writer, Promise keeper, Grace giver, healer , Powerful , Freedom fighter.  These are just a handful of ways to define our Father. 

1 Corinthians 2:9 

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.  
I am always amazed that, when I go to write, God has beautifully orchestrated another side to the story I wanted to tell. As usual I try and read out what I’ve written to my husband. For me, it’s always beneficial to read out loud what thoughts turned into words. You see, I am naturally not great at putting my thoughts on paper. I tend to leave words out, misspell, or add in far too many commas…..But I do it anyway. I love that little part of me! 
Well, after reading and discussing my hearts outpour, it came up that I haven’t been the only one considering the lyrics to this song. My husband has been extra sensitive to this song as well. This has been a beautiful reminder to me that I one, I am not alone, and two, through yet another loss God is using our pain to refine us and bring us closer as man and wife and also closer to Him, it’s been His mighty way to show us(me) that He is trust worthy when we, or I, start to think perhaps He’s not. I am not sure Proof of a sovereign King gets any more real. I am honored that He has given me eyes to this perspective and I pray my perspective grows. 
Through the fire I, we, have experienced some major transformations. All because I simply thought to stop and ponder these lyrics, my pain and suffering was exposed just a little more. 
Psalm 112:7
They won’t be afraid of bad news; their hearts are steady because they trust in the Lord.

I was driving home after work and was thinking about my sister in law. Her life’s message is often purposefully centered around refinement and sanctification. I was able to apply some of her words to myself and my husband, and was gently reminded how His plan is always purposeful, I was reminded that these two losses have brought a whole new meaning of worship (worship includes: song and any other act that exaults His great name) in my life and how He’s used those both for refinement of my intimate worship for His glory. Although my circumstances are extreme, and not at all what I planned or even wanted, I will praise Him for not letting my pain go to waste (it almost makes it seem worthwhile when you’re smack-dab in the center of it all). I will stand confident in the dark knowing full well how loved I am by my Maker. I will stand confident while in the dark, so that when I can see the light, it will be a renewed redemptive vision of grace and mercy tangled up in my own story. Stretched, battered and bruised I know full well His plan(s) are good. His promises are true and I’ve seen this all because my King is alive and living today. Forever.

Death has lost and Love has won
 Alive! 
I am His because He is alive.
Alive!

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A little bang for your buck

I love DYI projects! I might like them more than I love Tuesdays!
And what I especially love about this particular one is that it only cost about $17 and took about 1 hour of my time start to finish!
Items you need:
Holiday decor of your choice
Wooden monogram of your choice
1 small can of coordinating colored spray paint 
1 roll (3yards) of 3inch ribbon
1 small roll of ribbon for hanging
Hot glue gun
And one 10″ styrofoam round wreath
All I did was wrap the wreath with the 3inch ribbon and fasten with a small amount of hot glue at the start of wrapping and the end of wrapping. Ensuring that the glue was on the back side of the wreath. I layered my holiday/seasonal decor and hot glued it in my desire spot. 
At this point I remember I should have probably spray painted my letter first to allow time for drying. So I paused my project and spray painted! 
Next- which I should have done last- was wrap my other ribbon around to allow for hanging. Because I’m a cheater I tied a loop knot first then wrapped the ribbon and fasted it with glue on the back side of the wreath. 
Lastly I placed my letter and secured it with glue.
Viola! You have a craft! Now, I am well aware these directions are not detailed, and I am well aware my little project is far from perfect or maybe even qaulity. But for under $20 my heart is happy to have a festive fall decoration hanging from our front door to welcome our guests!

This next project was even cheaper. Depending how many different varieties you want! I, however, bought a pack of assorted paper for about $5-8. So you could cheat and do just a few 12×12 pieces of paper for less than $1 each. 
I made 6 coasters out of Modge podge, paper, and 4×4 white tiles and also adhesive cork.
The tiles were about 16 cents a piece. The cork was about $3-5. The Modge podge, if you don’t already have it, can be the largest expesense, however, it lasts forever. This go around I chose a sparkle one!
I cut my paper into 4×4 as well as the cork. I hot glued the cork to the bottom of the tile to ensure the stickiness stays. Once dry, I then placed my paper on top of the tile and smeared Modge podge in a generous even amount over every corner. Once dried, I applied a second coat. Let it dry completely before using and be sure to watch for air bubbles and smooth those out as quickly as possible. 
See, easy! Again, not great instructions but these aren’t difficult projects. And they surely aren’t intended to last forever. 
Happy Tuesday and have fun discovering the crafty side of yourself! You won’t regret it!

Climbing over walls

There is nothing more frustrating than waking up in the morning and realizing you have yet another wall to climb, another hurdle to jump.

What do you find yourself staring at in the mornings?  Is it your job, or stress?  Maybe it’s anxiety. Maybe, if you are anything like me, it’s fear.

Fear.  It stops us dead in our tracks.  It distracts us, and holds us hostage and tricks us into thinking we are at (what feels like) arms length from our Creator.  Fear.  It binds us up, sometimes unable to remember the goodness and greatness of our God. Fear, it can make us slaves.

The good news here, we are not bound up.  We are not slaves.  That is a lie.

Christ came to set us free! Of this truth, I am so certain.  For that freedom I am thankful. 

Here is why I love God’s word and what He says about fear:

 Psalm 27:1
 The Lord is my light and my salvation,
whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life,
 of whom shall I be afraid?

This tells me that He owns me.  My Father has got my back.  He bought me for a price I could never repay.  Therefore, I can stand confident that fear does not belong in me (or you).

 2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity,
 but a spirit of power, of love,
and of self discipline.

Ah-ha!  I shall not be timid because I have Jesus Christ my Savior in me!  He has gifted me, and YOU, a spirit of power to walk in Him, confident and sure!  We have the power in us to rebuke fear, to sucker punch the enemy right outta our lives.  Thank you Jesus!

 Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

This is, by far, one of my favs.  However, I am in love with the book of Isaiah.  His promises are true, always.  He commands us not to be fearful.  To trust in Him at all times.  Easier said than done, of this I am sure.  If we – I –  hide these promises He’s given me in His word, deep down in my life and my heart, I can use these tools to fight back.

It’s no accident that yesterday, after I started typing this blog, I got a text from a friend (whom I love dearly) wrestling with fear.  It’s no accident that I was even more inspired to remind my friends of the power within us from Jesus to fight fear.  It’s no accident that last night at prayer night, at my home church, a major focus was on spiritual warfare.  I know that my connection to the body of Christ is of NO accident.  The fact that he planted within me a seed to want to tackle this topic is no accident, either.

I have a responsibility to follow His lead and speak out in truth where there is deception.  I have an obligation to fight fear with those who need help fighting.  I have a deep desire to stand with those who need it.

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be Strong and Courageous.
Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

” When you step out in tenacious courage to attack the walls in your life you will make the devil nervous.  When you bring an extravagant offering of worship to God, when you give a mighty victory cry of praise, the devil gets nervous because he knows the Power of our God to pull down strong holds that keep us bound.  The enemy knows we will be free as soon as we shout to the Lord in worship!”
– Darlene Zschech
Extravagant Worship

I couldn’t have said better myself.

A tenacious, explosive cry of Praise.  I want my life to be a continual explosion of praise.  I do not want the enemy to gather a single foothold in my life.  I don’t know about you, but nothing gives me more pleasure than knowing my Savior makes the enemy tremble.  It brings me great joy knowing that I have someone, a King, fighting for me (for me!! wow…).  It gives me courage to stand firm in the One who already won the war.  Jesus battled so that I may live.

I want my life to be an example of worship.  I want my life to be a testimony of standing firm and shouting out the Victory of the one who saves us.  I owe it all to Him, the keeper of my heart, the one who knows me inside and out.  The one who loves me. I refuse (from this day forward) to live my life in Fear, when I know full well that it has no power over me.  My deepest prayer is that the body of Christ has an ache to remind eachother of this truth.  I am far too guilty of allowing and validating fear, but no more.  I am standing in a victory cry of praise for, and with, my family. I hope you stand too.

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And because it’s Friday:

 
 
It would bring out the inner 5 year old in me to see this plane in person, let alone fly in it.
Congrats Hello Kitty on making your Air time debut! I am shamelessly proud! To see more silly pictures click here.

What’s stirring in your heart?

Many times as I sit to write out my weekly Tuesday blog, I find myself speechless. I find myself in a situation where my thoughts and prayers are abundant but my words are few. There’s not doubt my Lord specifically planned it this way. It’s that weekly subtle nudge to thoughtfully consider my words and how I want them to come across or inspire.

Some days, like today, I find that my words are so few that I struggle to find a ‘topic’ or I struggle digging out pieces of me to share and expose.
But today, I find that I have a stirring in my heart. A sense of expectation and of patient waiting. I can feel it through my bones a gentle whisper of my Lord prompting me keep my eyes open. To taste and see that He is good. To open my eyes a little more to His story. It’s all around me. I am blind, praying constantly to see the light, the bigger picture.
But today, my heart is stirring in such a way, I have no words. The stillness within me is surrendering, and expectant of His will to be done. So maybe The Lord is prompting me, leading me, preparing me… Maybe The Lord is opening my eyes, my heart, all to be transformed by his grace and mercy in his perfect plan. 
Today, my heart feels invaded by the Blood of Jesus and wrapped in his graciousness. Wrapped in his contentment.

 Lord, let me not forget this. Let the stirring bring forth fruit. Let the stirring be purposeful. Lord, let it be for your glory.

What’s stirring in you? What’s happening in your heart today?