Count The Cost

The man at the pool of Bethesda was paralyzed for 38 years. That means he probably had never been trained in a trade or had proper schooling. So when Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed, it was almost like He was asking him to “count the cost.”

In Jewish culture at that time, begging was a profession for people who could not work. They had to have a legitimate reason such as paralysis, blindness, or lameness to actually be a beggar, but the Jewish people would gladly be gracious with what they had to help provide for these men and women.

So if Jesus healed this man, he would no longer be allowed to beg. He would have to find a way to provide for himself. He would ultimately have to figure out a new way of life. Some people do not want to be healed. They are content with how their life is. They have gotten comfortable and know how to use whatever ails them to their advantage.

This is what Jesus asks us at salvation. Do we want to be healed? Do we want to be saved? Have we counted the cost? Its a free gift He wants to give us. But when we walk in relationship with Jesus, we will have a completely new life. The world will not understand. Our friends and family will not understand. We will lose alot, HOWEVER, we will gain everything. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord.

Do you want to be healed?

Fighting For Your Family: week 2

First, I want to apologize for not remaining consistent with the Fighting For Your Family posts. I’ll be vulnerable here and admit that an attack happened that immediately intimidated me. Which in turn stopped me from posting about prayer. But God stepped in and reaffirmed my faith. So here we go for week 2!

This week I want to tell you what the most important part of prayer is. It’s……Listening. Soaking in the presence of God and waiting for Him to speak into us. Without God speaking into our life, we run the risk of feeling unworthy, unloved, unheard, unseen, and unwanted. Which creates in us this need to either perform to get the Father’s attention, or shut down because we dont believe we have His attention. When He never called for us to do any of that.

In light of this, let us approach the Throne Room with open hands and listening ears.

Praying For Yourself

Dear Heavenly Father.

Thank you for your Holy Word and the Holy Spirit. Thank you for giving me ears to hear, for speaking to me and for never leaving or forsaking me. You are so good to me!

Abba, I ask today that you would give me ears to hear your voice. Remove the things inside of me that keep me from recognizing your voice. Create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10). I open myself up to you Lord. Search me and know me, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way inside of me (Psalm 139:23-24).

I surrender myself to your will. I surrender the plans I have for my life and accept your holy plan instead. I surrender my attitude, my judgements, my emotions, my thoughts, and my actions to you. All that I am is yours.

Lord, I ask for you to increase my faith and discernment. Help me to be patient with my children, loving towards my spouse, and a good steward of the gifts you’ve given me. I love you Abba and I ask all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Fighting For Your Family: Week 1

Hey everyone! Starting today, I am going to be starting a series on praying for your families! I’ll be posting one prayer a week that covers anything from marriage to your children’s future spouses to praying over your house. Prayer is such a vital part of your relationship with God. Without prayer we are just studying scripture and gaining knowledge, whereas prayer invites us into the Throne Room to speak face to face with Adonai. Without this intimacy, there is no relationship. It would be like being married, but never actually speaking with your spouse. Just learning about them from relatives or friends while living inside the home with a stranger.

So without further ado, lets kick off this series with a prayer to cover our family!

Family

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the family you have blessed us with. Thank you for being a constant source of peace and identity in our homes. I pray that you would give my family a heart that constantly clings to you. I ask that you teach us how to train up our children in the way they should go, so when they are older, they will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) Produce within us an attitude of integrity and a heart that seeks to give glory to only you. Protect each family member as they go about their busy schedules today. Bless them in everything they do. Clothes us in your love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:14) Help us to walk in grace, mercy, and Your Will all the days of our lives.

Bring unity into our households and restore any broken relationships inside these four walls. I pray that your hand of grace would never leave us and that you would strengthen us to stand strong against the worldly influences that surround us. Restore the hearts of parents to the children and the hearts of children to the parents. If there is any contention between them, I pray that your healing oil would be poured out over them. Make our homes a refuge of peace with the presence of your spirit always around. Thank you for being faithful to answer our prayers.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Blessed

“Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord”

Blessed – made holy, consecrated, those who live with God.

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked.”

Wicked – evil or morally wrong.

“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither-whatever they do prospers.”

Are you in a difficult season? Or are you in a season of blessing? No matter what season you are in, this says that whatever you do (that the Lord has called you to do), you’ll prosper at it! No matter what kind of season you are in, God promises to work it out for your good. Take heart, God is working everything out to the good of His children. Grow deep in His word so you can stand firm in whatever season you are in.

EOW 5/24/2020

Most people in my area know who I am. But for those of you not from around here, my name is Stephanie Smith. I started this blog about 3 years ago and was beginning to get pretty consistent with my posting, until that fateful day. I’ll explain that a little further down, but I’ve been off of here for over a year now. God spoke into my heart to begin writing again just recently. I love to write! Writing comes easier to me than even speaking. So, here is the story of the most terrible week of my life, to catch you up to speed.

My brother was a state trooper who died from injuries sustained while on duty, and its been a heavy heart ache since then…

George was a stubborn, goal oriented man. Every goal he set, he conquered. He planned out his path and then worked with everything in him to achieve it. From joining the Marines at the age of eightteen, to becoming a cop in a small town, all the way to becoming a state trooper! He was my hero.

From the moment we heard of George’s accident, we prayed hard for a miraculous healing. I gathered my trusted prayer warriors and we stormed the gates of Heaven all day, every day. I laid hands and prayed over him, I laid hands on his wife and prayed strength and comfort over her, then I would go to my spiritual leaders and let them lay hands on me. There was such a huge move of God during that time!

I had such a huge hope and expectation that George would get out of that bed, that I would almost laugh at the doctors telling us that there was no hope. I was so expectant, that I sat by his bedside an entire day, waiting for him to wake up and look at me. I knew he would not only wake up, he would walk out of the hospital, broken bones restored! It was deeply embedded in me. My faith soared!

Everyday, the news grew worse and worse. From there is no hope, to second and third doctors telling us the same thing. Before my brother had even passed, I got on social media to be bombarded with ‘RIP” posts made about him. This is how dire the situation had become. But God is always up to something good. Even when our circumstances are bad.

You see, my brothers injuries were only in his brain, brain stem and ankle. He had led an outstanding life and remained healthy. He was a prime organ donor. Even able to donate two perfect lungs! (which doesn’t happen often) so we made the hard decision to set him up for organ donation. He had donated his life already to keeping people safe, might as well keep that going even in death.

My brother’s story doesn’t end in death though, it ends in life. He was able to directly save lives! On the day of our deep mourning and grief, others were celebrating answered prayers. We may have not received our miracle, but God revealed to me that many others had. And if this sacrifice brings even one life to Christ, it is all worth it.

We praised God for those saved lives at George’s funeral. We prayed, praised, and gave God all the glory. We cried, laughed, and buried a piece of each of us that day. George left behind a wife, a daughter, a mother, a father, two sisters, and many friends and family. The community drew closer together as they lined the streets for the funeral procession. Waving flags and signs with his name and call number on it. His military family drove from all over the country to pay their respects as well. It was such a beautiful and humbling experience.

I was ok for a while after the accident. It wasn’t until everything calmed down that I began to feel the intense hurt. Then I shut it down with anything I could. Distractions and busyness. Until God called me to attention. I spent an entire year working on my relationship with Him. And now He has encouraged me to begin writing again. I’m so excited to see where He leads me!

The Battle of Loneliness

Lately I’ve been strugglng with loneliness. Not actually being alone, just feeling alone. I have people that would come sit with me and bring us dinners to help out. I have friends that would drop everything and come see me if I asked. I have a mother that would literally move in with me to help out. And yet, I still feel alone.

I’m surrounded by children and animals and my husband. I actually get touched out by bedtime still. And yet, I still feel alone.

I have a true church family that is willing to get in the muck and dirt of my life with me. Who have survived all of our battles with us. Who will fall on their knees with just a look of sadness from me. That has proven their loyalty and love to me. They surround us and fight with us. And yet, I still feel alone.

Spiritual warfare isn’t a fair fight. It spikes its ugly head at the worst possible moments. It speaks lies into your mind and anxiety into your heart. It puts you in a dark place where you find it hard to breathe or find peace. It surrounds you and tries to drown you.

But God. He stands in the precipice of darkness and victory. He holds His hand out, beckoning for you to grab hold of Him. To let Him be your knight in shining armor. To allow Him the chance to swoop in and save the day. All you have to do is cling to his shoulders while He fights off the demons and lies. Just hold on to Him while He speaks His truths into our ears to drown out the cries of the enemy.

Loneliness is an attempt of the enemy to get you weak so he can torment you. My loneliness allowed that for a bit. But over the loudness of the enemy, I could still hear the whisper of my God. He would tell me what to do to fight back. My flesh cried for me to go back to old habits and ways. To remember the days in Egypt when things were “normal and comfortable”. When I lived in the lie of the world. It wasn’t even for me to go back to doing bad things. Just to familiarize myself to people from my past, which I know leads to old ways.

But God’s whisper is easier to want than the screams of the enemy and my flesh. I’ve been down the wrong road enough to know that while I may crave it, it leads to death. But God leads to peace and fullness and love.

The whispers of God led me to His Throne Room. To prayer. To meditation on His word. To Him. To a place where I could crawl up in my Father’s lap and find comfort there. My faith doesn’t rest on my feelings of loneliness. And while this feeling may continue, I know the truth. I am never alone. I have scripture to back this truth up. I may wake up tomorrow still free falling in this feeling of loneliness, but I know my God is right here with me. Even when I don’t feel it, I know it. Even when I can’t see it, I know it. His love endures forever.

My feelings do not control my faith. So I will wake up and face the day with God’s truth. I will take on the day with God as my shield. I will conquer the day no matter how I am feeling because I know who holds my hand.

God Bless

Grace Revival Homestead

Good or God

I’ve been in Exodus for a few weeks now, commemorating my own exodus from the world and this one verse spoke millions to my heart. “Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.”

Aaron was following the directions of God, performing mighty acts to show God’s judgement on Egypt and His glory to them.

The Egyptian magicians and sorcerers duplicated some of the acts that Aaron had performed. BUT nothing of this world is as powerful as God! Aaron’s staff swallowed theirs! God deflated their magic trick and humiliated them in the process.

You see, the world tries to act like God. Some things that are shown to us look good, but they really aren’t godly. And its just that, an ACT! It can never work. Not without God being in it. All that is out there in the world is hardness and failure.

God is so much more! God loves us. He desires us. He has some amazing things in store for us! We are not meant to stay here.

Our exodus from the world looks alot like the book of Exodus in the bible. There was intense spiritual warfare, wilderness walks, camp outs with God, and God showing us His glory daily. We yearned for our daily manna from Him. We spent so much time with Him. There was a Honeymoon phase where all we wanted and sought after was Him.

But just like the Israelites, we tend to wander back into the lusts of the world. Our hearts are deceitful and cannot be trusted. But God always pulls us back to Him. He woos us softly and tenderly. He chastises us like a loving father. He defends us as a protector should.

How was your exodus from the world? Are you currently going through it? Is your battle intense, or on the ending side? I’d love to pray for you or with you. Comment or send me an email with any and all prayer requests! I’m all about my Father’s business.

God Bless

Grace Revival Homestead

Diaversary Day!

So a few days ago, we celebrated my sons “Diaversary”. If you do not know what this is, then you are blessed! If you do know what it is, feel free to comment your diaversary date so I can send you some celebratory stuff on the date! But any who, it is the anniversary of his diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes (T1D).

I had plans to make it super special. Low carb cake, balloons, rides to places he enjoys. However, the entire world is shut down right now (thank you Covid-19). So my plan was a stay at home party of five. THEN we woke up and realized his insulin pump had shut off last night…that’s not good. Apparently his sugar spiked right at bedtime due to a small head injury after dinner (no worries, it only bled a little!). That sugar spike caused his alarm to go off all night. Which then led to his battery going from 50% to 0% in the middle of the night.

Talk about a long night for everyone, except him. I started using some essential oils on my children and now they can literally sleep through anything. I have even moved a dresser while tripping over toys inside their room, and no one budged! (Thank you Peace & Calming) Those oils are truly a life saver for a mom of a diabetic child and a toddler who share the same room. the alarm wakes the toddler and then no one goes back to sleep.

So anyway, back on task Stephanie! His insulin pump died, which causes his CGM to disconnect from his pump, and it stops reading how much insulin he has in his pump. It kind of snowballed by 7 that morning. All before I had even consumed coffee! I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and done with the day. So I did what any mom would do, I did the next right thing. (hello Frozen 2 song lyric).

We reset his pump, there was no saving that CGM connection, but luckily it stays connected to my phone too. So at least we have that. With him reconnected and that crisis kind of avoided, I sent the kids to the sand pile. I oiled up with some Stress Away and then joined them. BUT the craziness of this day was not yet over! My son meets me at the door holding his pump and attachments. his insulin pumped had gotten snagged on something and ripped completely out.

Luckily I had just put on Stress Away lol. So, we unhook everything, fill his pump up with more insulin, reinsert it into his little body, and try this outside thing one more time. Yall! I was at my limit of the day by this time. And it was only noon. I could feel the tension in my body, I could feel the shortness in my answers to the kids, I was not being the best version of myself.

Then my son did an amazing thing. He laid hands on me and started praying for me. My humble, wonderful 8 year old child prayed for my heart, my happiness, and for Jesus to help me to feel His love for me. As Wyatt was praying, my four year old son, Mason joined in. With both of my tiny children laying hands on me and praying for my sanity, I felt the layers of stress begin to melt away.

God began to minister to my heart and mind through the actions of these tiny humans. It was a humbling experience. And yes, I ugly cried. Hard. My children are the best blessing I ever received from God. They are truly faith builders and love connectors. Pure. Set apart. I learn about love and acceptance from them every day. Through the faith of my children, I was brought back to a place of perfect peace once again.

So, we finally celebrated his Diaversary in true us style, by swimming all day long and playing with baby chicks. By the time my husband got home with my surprise of chocolate covered pretzels, I was my normal happy, healthy self. We wished my son a happy 1 year Diaversary, told him all the ways we are proud of him and love him, then explained God’s love for him. Wyatt truly is a remarkable kid, his love for God is incredible and we are ready to conquer diabetes for another year.

God Bless

Grace Revival Homestead

BTW! If you are interested in any of the oils I mentioned, shoot me an email or comment below. I’d love to help other mommas find peace in the night and relaxation during the day!

The Mountaintop

So I took a small sabbatical from life while I learned how to survive the valley I was apparently still in. And now that I am standing on the mountaintop, overlooking everything that was supposed to take me out, I am content.

Its a marvelous thing when you are on the mountaintop. We went through a 3 year valley, and it was tough. But standing on the mountaintop, seeing the blessings of God fall on our family, makes every tear worth it.

From here, I can see how much I learned in our valley. We all grew deeper roots in Christ’s love. We all grew more perseverance. We all learned how to surrender our wills to God’s will for our lives. It was an amazing experience.

One I dont want to necessarily repeat, but I would do it again to learn the lessons I learned. The valley is hard and dark and scary. But it is needed. If you find yourself in a valley today, here is my advice.

Embrace your valley. Embrace the hardships, learn from your mistakes, and surrender to God. Let the tears fall. Feel all the emotions. Then ask God to give you His perspective, and follow His lead. He wont let you down. He will shape you into a greater person through this. Your testimony will be used for His glory. Bend to His will today.

And when you get back to the mountaintop, you get to look back at everything you survived! Its beautiful here đź’™

So, now to catch everyone up on how life is going. We have currently started fulfilling my dream of having a self sustaining homestead! I am absolutely in love with life right now. God has fully and completely blessed our life, our garden, our children, our finances, and our health. It seems like the world is in massive chaos all around us, but here we are in the perfect peace of Jesus Christ.

Get ready to start seeing some pretty routine posts from me again!

God Bless!

Grace Revival Homestead

Day 5

MY HOUSE TURNED INTO A HOME

Dear Heavenly Daddy,

Today I want to thank you for the rain. It’s cleansing and purifying and it is bringing in the colder weather with it. As the seasons transition, I think back to how my own house has transitioned with my marriage over the years. This place was once a hostile battle ground with children held hostage between their selfish parents wants. Now God has purified this place into a holy temple that welcomes in the Holy Spirit every minute of every day. You pour out peace and tranquility on my home every morning before my children wake from their restful sleep. My cup overflows with your love. This house has seen many battles, both spiritual and mental, inside these walls. With Your constant guidance and strength, we have taken back territory from the enemy’s hands. You reached right into enemy territory and snatched my family and I right out; and for that I am eternally grateful. Place a hedge of protection around my house and place your angels on guard around it. Touch my children’s hearts with your loving hand so they feel safe and secure always. Protect their minds from any attacks of the enemy. Fill them with Your Word so they do not sin against you.

Lord, I pray that you do this exact same thing for the families of the world. Pour out your peace on their households. Protect little children from selfish acts of parents who haven’t yet witnessed your love. Help us to be examples to our neighbors of how a godly household should look and feel. Give us discernment to what the spiritual and physical needs of our friends and families are. Teach us to be a shining lighthouse to draw more of the world to the cross.

In Jesus name I pray, amen

With All of God’s Blessings,

Stephanie Smith