Saturday, March 07, 2009


I know that few pass by here these days (including me), but I just had to stop in and update everyone on the exciting new events taking place in my life...


Yes, that's right! About ten days after I posted my last entry, I bumped into the man who would soon become my future Mr.!

To sum it all up, God has truly blessed me more than words could ever say; and despite the fact that I was apprehensive and VERY scared in the beginning, God knew what He was doing. It's been amazing to watch His perfect design for my life unfold before my very eyes, and before me now, stands quite possibly the most wonderful, patient, kind, gentle, supportive, humble, giving, selfless man there ever was. And I get to keep him!! Everyday, I fall a little deeper in love with him than the day before, and in roughly a month - I'M GOING TO BE HIS WIFE!!!

I hope you are all doing well, and have wonderful stories to tell of God's blessings on your lives as well!

Lovingly in Him,


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


God is good, friends. He truly is. This time off of ministry has been a tough road for me to walk: it really feels like a swift kick in the gut when you have to take a step down from the very thing you are called to do. Kind of seems like an oxymoron when you think about it: but the difference is, that it's only for a time - it's not forever. But yet, in the midst of the tears, the broken heart, the grief over said temporary loss: it feels like forever. It really does!

But God is so amazing, that he takes that grief, and He turns our mourning into dancing. He sets our feet on a solid rock, and He bestows upon us a "garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair". So: ironically enough - even as I grieve over having to give up my position of "public praise" for a time, He promises that in that grief He is going to replace that dispair with a spirit of praise - the very thing I felt like I lost. But the difference is: He wants that praise for Himself.

What a concept!

I guess looking back, I grew up as a Christian in the worship ministry: I never put much thought into the fact that perhaps I wasn't praising Him enough when it was just He and I. I had become so used to being a worship leader: leading others into the presence of The Almighty and pouring my praises out to him in front of hundreds of people every week, that I missed a very crucial part of the equation. Before I can fully operate in that annointing and move into the plan that He has for me in full-time ministry, I have to make it solely about Him.

I know many of you are probably wondering how this has just become an epiphany to me now after four years of being in the ministry. Well, let me just say, that some people are just slow learners. Okay well, maybe that's just a little harsh: but I've always been one to have to learn the "hard way" so to speak. Not that I even do it on purpose because I just like getting my face rubbed in the gravel! No no! But it just seems to work out that way. However, as I get older, and the lessons get tougher, I find that it is wisdom to listen to those around you who know a thing or two about a thing or two: and that includes, if not exclusively personifies God in His entirety in terms of what His role should be in my life. But you know, sometimes we don't realize that we need to give Him that place in our lives until all we have is Him.

I'm not saying it's going to be easy. No sir! But I am looking forward to exploring a life of trying everyday to please Him and Him alone. So in addition to my quiet time and digging into the Word, it also means taking time each day to worship him: to offer up my heart, my voice, and even my mediocre guitar and piano playing abilities to Him. I know that He's desiring that I use this time to the absolute full by pursuing Him and His call on my life with everything I have in me. Truthfully though, He wants that of all of us at all times: however, sometimes He has to bring us to the very end of ourselves before we realize how badly we actually need Him.

And boy, do I need Him.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Oh, Blessed Answered Prayer

So in the midst of all my turmoil and pain, I find comfort - not only from God Himself reaching down to touch my heart and my life through His Word, His comfort, and His peace: but through a very specific answered prayer. Allow me to explain.

A couple of weeks ago, I had had about all I could take in terms of everything I was going through. I was a flat-out mess, and I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel - this misery was far too much for me to take: and suddenly, the fight or flight response kicked into HIGH gear. Suffice it to say, I was struck down with a terrible case of the "get-up-and-go's", and I was determined to go anywhere but here.

So I began the tedious (yet slightly exhilarating process for those of us bit by the travel bug) of looking up airfare to literally - anywhere but here. I wanted to take a last minute trip to Jamaica to see the friends I've neglected for a year and a half - only to realize that my passport would be expiring in a week. Next, I moved onto the Dallas Fort Worth area, hoping to reach a couple of the people I knew down there. No dice. Then I moved on to Arizona, where I have some family whom I haven't seen in EONS. I settled on that destination, only to realize that airfare was skyrocketing every day the closer I got to my desired departure date. So what do I do? The same thing any rational adult would do: I stomped my feet! And I got frustrated. and I said to God, "Okay. I guess I have to leave even this in Your hands. So if it's Your will for me to get out of here (please! please! let it be Your will!), then You will make it happen..."

And that was it. I took my hands off.

The very next day
, I get a phone call from my aunt: "I just came into quite a large sum of money - and I really miss you! Can I fly you down here in a couple of weeks?"


I would get into all the details - the ridiculous deals we found, the ridiculously nice resort I'm staying at, all the little ins and outs of this trip that make it so apparent that God wanted to bless me (for some reason I'm still not understanding - my obedience in the fire? Eh. Maybe I'll never know) but I won't bore you with all that. I'm just thankful that the Good Lord is giving me time to do just what He called me to do in all of this - REST. So I'll be enjoying some much needed R&R in the valley of sun, poolside, under a palm tree (or ten), Bible in one hand, and a virgin pina colada in the other.

Now that's what I call rest!

God is Good!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Ready... Set... Rest!

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength" (Isaiah 30:15).

I know I ended my last post with this verse, but I think it bears repeating.

I've always had a hard time resting. No, I take that back. When I was younger, all I did was rest. I would be categorized as what some would affectionately call, a "lazy sluggard". I don't know where it came from, or why it was so ingrained deep down inside me, but I was the biggest procrastinator on the face of the planet: and I guess in some respects, I still am - a procrastinator, I mean. Not lazy. I'm anything BUT lazy these days. In fact, as an adult, I can barely sit still. I already feel sorry for the man who lands me, because I can't even sit still through one two hour movie without finding a reason to have to pause it, and get up to a.) make popcorn, b.) check my email c.) run to the bathroom and then check my email or d.), or e.)... etc. You get the point. I'm as "restless" as they come - which is why I almost laughed right out loud a number of different times over the last week or so: when God gave me the aforementioned scripture along with an entire sermon last week Sunday about "rest", and began speaking to me over and over and over about... you guessed it! Rest.

In the midst of my struggle, in the midst of my pain, in the midst of this "thing" that's still an enigma to me: this thing that has literally rocked my world and turned it upside down - God is speaking rest. Rest. It is here that I began to fear the worst. "He's going to make me rest, isn't He?" I've seen SO many people called right out of the very thing they've been undoubtedly called to, so that God can spend some time working on thier hearts: refining and even refueling them so as to make them rock-solid, stead-fast, and fully equipped for the ministry - for the very work that lies ahead of them.

I always prayed that it would never happen to me.

I love what I do so much, that I would sacrifice life and limb to keep doing it. (Figuratively speaking, of course: can't very much have a half-dead, limbless creature up on the platform attempting to lead worship every week - well, I suppose you could, but... well... okay... shut up Stephanie.) Anyway, my point is this: I. am. called. This much I know. My involvement in the fine arts ministry has been a time of pruning, shaping, restructuring, learning, training, etc... I could go on and on. God has shaped me and molded me into a new creature inside and out while I've been up there, so much so, you wouldn't recognize me now if you hadn't seen me in four years. Not even a little: and I'm not talking just the physical, but my very countenance has changed, the way I present myself, the way I speak... everything. It's all different. And I know that part of that just comes from growing up - but I give all the glory to God here: because I would have "grown up" to be a MUCH different woman if it weren't for Him.

But quite obviously, He has more work to do.

So, that being said, I'm beginning to realize (not only due to my own circumstances, but also by sheer observation of those around me who are also called) that while God will and does "grow us up" in the ministry, He will also likely call us out for a time. I have seen it over and over again: He wants to use you, and He has! But now's the time for "spiritual boot camp". God means business, and if He's going to use you mightily to advance His Kingdom, and powerfully impact countless lives through you wherever He takes you, He's going to make for darn sure that you're ready: that you're spiritually, mentally, and emotionally ready and girded up to take on the call that He's placed on your life. Sounds like a pretty big deal when we put it that way, doesn't it? That's because it is a big deal!!! Think about it: you're in the ministry, you're rearin' to go, you're on FIRE, and then it happens: the enemy attacks in full force, and suddenly, you're face first in the concrete - road rash and all - picking gravel out of your teeth, wondering what the heck just happened. (And trust me: it really is just like that too.)

I guess what I'm trying to say is, it really should have come as no surprise to me then, that God recently called me right out of the only thing apart from Him that gives me abundant joy. You guessed it: no singing for me - for at least six months. OUCH. For those of you who know me even a little bit, you know the gravity of this call. I'm still trying to process this: it's just kind of not computing. But that's okay. I'm sure God doesn't expect me to understand it all right away. Just like everything else in life, this too will take time for me to adjust and adapt to. But I've seen with my own eyes God's swift and abundant blessings take place when a person is obedient to Him - God honors obedience (I'll be sharing with you a very cool story in my next posting about blessings in obedience): so I can either go out kicking and screaming, or I can step down gracefully in humility, and let God get busy with my heart.

I choose Him.

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength" (Isaiah 30:15).

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him..." (Psalm 37:7).

"Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oh The Irony of it All

I've been parousing around blogland momentarily for the first time in awhile, and I have to marvel at the sheer genius of it all: God is up to something. I've felt it for awhile, deep down inside me somewhere... this still, small voice that seemed to be saying, "choose ME or choose death...". I would look around myself and see fellow believers being brought to these defining crossroads in thier lives where they would be forced to choose to lay down thier lives and follow God with everything they had in them, or walk away from Him: enduring the struggle, and potentially losing it all. It's as if God is calling out His faithful ones to an even higher place of committment and righteousness: all to prepare us - to ready us for the battle ahead.

So I would look at these people, in the midst of thier dark struggles and wonder how they could ever choose the struggle over the peace of God - how they even saw that they had a choice: "don't you know how good you had it with Him?! What in the world would posess you to walk in uncertainty, doubt, shame, worry, unecessary pain, regret, etc... over what you had right in front of you?" I would stand on my little "God pedastal" that I had put myself on, looking down on all those in the valley, just knowing that I would never be in that place: I would just never allow it!

What I didn't realize, is that sometimes, we don't willingly choose sin - sin chooses us. The enemy is a cunning, crafty, horrible beast that knows our every weakness: studying us from birth, and laying out his well-laid plans to trip us up at just the right time to take us out (or attempt to take us out anyway) - in hopes to flat-line us and make us completely unuseable for the Kingdom. Read on (an excerpt from a Joyce Meyers Battlefield of the Mind devotional):

"Satan has well-laid out plans to hinder/stop us from having the life that God has promised us. Unlike some of us, the devil is "well" organized. He operates with a strategy in mind. Don't think that this strategy is something new. As long as we have been on this earth the devil has been planning how he will get us to abort the things that God has ordained for us. The devil knows that he alone can not abort the plans for our lives. He realizes that we must be a partaker. This is where the plot thickens; he has to have our cooperation. The devil is patient. He has studied us and it's sad to say, but some times it appears that he knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what we like, what we don't like, and what makes the hair stand up on the back of our necks. He is just waiting for the right time and it's on!"

So suffice it to say, I just couldn't believe it when I found myself standing at ground zero surveying the damage (yet again), wondering how in the world I got there. Suddenly, the black veil was lifted from my eyes, and I was standing on a pile of rubble. "What in the world?! But I love Jesus!! What happened here?!?!"

The enemy happened. I realized once God got a hold of me and shook the sin right out me, that while I was confident in my love for Him and my devotion to Him, that I hadn't quite "girded myself up" for the red-hot arrows of the enemy. I hadn't fully put on the armor of God yet: and that while I've been "cleaned up" so to speak, that I hadn't learned how to take cover when the enemy attacks. Read on:

The Armour of God

"10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:10-18).

During this time, I have found that the only peace, the only rest, the only comfort, and the only real joy I have is in the Word of God. Ironically, nothing is out of line as it stands: in fact, everything is as it should be - in obedience, God is restoring all. But spiritually, my only sustenance has been in the Word: and I'm realizing just now, as a 4 year-old committed Christian, called to full-time ministry, that the Word is the only answer. I used to question how God could speak to all of our situations through His Word: our questions, hurts, bondages, pains, even our joys and victories - but He can, and he does!! What an awesome God we have, that He would give us such a tangible gift - a manual for life right at our fingertips: and yet, how terribly sad that so many of us take advantage of it - that we let those answers sit on the shelf and choose the 10 year plan instead of the two year plan, when all we had to do is ask Him and seek His Truth right in His Word.

I'm thankful for the lessons I'm learning in this, and the strength and wisdom I'm gainging through this time. My prayer is that God would begin to "gird me up": that He would strengthen me from the inside out so that the next time the enemy attacks, that I would be ready; that I would be fearless, that I would be ready and willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to stay on the path He has me on, to do the right thing, and most of all, to please the Father.

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength" (Isaiah 30:15).

"Let the redeemed of the LORD say this - those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men..." (Psalm 107:2-8).

"I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you" (Isaiah 44:22).

"But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one" (2 Thessalonians 3:3).

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hello All!

It would seem that I have become THAT blogger. You know the one: they tempt you with empty promises of new and exciting posts once every 3 months or so, but never ACTUALLY deliver. I'm really not a fan of being THAT blogger: because quite honestly, I miss you all! I really do! And you were all SO supportive during my time in Jamaica - especially the time leading up to it, that I would never want you to think I have forgotten you: because you didn't forget me! I hope and pray that you all are well, and would be ecstatic if you drop me a line (as you trickle in over the next month lol) and let me know how you are. I'd LOVE to hear from you!

God Bless You All!!


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Oh, The Days When I "Mused"...

Once upon a time, you all had a friend. Her name was Stephanie. Stephanie was a spontaneous, adventurous, soul-seeking type: a singer with an unquenchable desire for God and the limitless worship of said God, having launched herself on the never-ending quest for life, love, and the pursuit of the Almighty.

"WHERE DID SHE GO," you may have asked yourselves, once, twice, or maybe never.

I'd be willing to bet that at one time or another you all thought that you would never see anything come out of this blog again.

Well, dust the cobwebs off of your seats, ladies and gentlemen, because you're in for the ride of your lives!!!

Okay... well... not really. But I do have quite a few stories to share. Life has in fact been somewhat of a ride for me lately. I know, I know, how can it possibly be any more crazy than the last ride I just went on? (For you more loyal readers, you know what I'm talking about.) But trust me: something that I've learned over the past few months is this: just when we think we've arrived - spiritually - just when we think we've hit the highest high, and that it can't possibly get any better than this... God proves us wrong.

Now, I'm certainly not saying that every moment of my life in the last nine-or-so months have been a fairy-tale. And no, I'm not married... there's not even a man in the picture, friends - STAY FOCUSED!! What I'm talking about is the constant journey, the constant learning process that God has us in. He wants relationship with us, and in order for Him to do that - in order for Him to use us - He must teach us first. We need to learn, to a.) know Him and love Him more, and more, and more: always striving for higher heights with Him. And b.) to become equipped to do His work. Whatever work it is He'll have us accomplish for Him while we're here on this earth.

I truly love the idea of helping to advance the Kingdom of God. I can't say that I'm always very good at it. Many times, we have our own agendas, and they can tend to get in the way in a very messy fashion. But again, in order to do that, in order see His desires for this life - for our lives - above and beyond our own agendas is nothing short of... heh... well, let's face it... a miracle from above. But that's what I'm saying. It's a learning curve. It's a process.

I don't know how many of you out there believe in prophecy or gifts of the spirit... well... I do. Most days. Call me a fundamentalist, call me what you will, but some of my story includes use of, impartation of, the aforementioned gifts, which actually prove rather critical to certain aspects and outcomes of my journey. Now. I know I may have just lost some of my readership. That's okay. My blog. My story. But perhaps, (if I didn't just scare you off two-fold with my abruptness), maybe just maybe you might find it in your hearts to see me through to the present-day "Anie", to see what all the fuss is about. It's all intertwined! Really! There's so much that has gone on... but truly... it's all been a part of God's agenda: a means by which to teach me, disciple me, and ready me for something... greater.

However, just to make it fair, considering I just realized that I haven't really given you all a choice as to whether or not you get to experience the "Jamaica 2006" saga from start to finish, I'll give you all a choice. I can start at day 3, and just plow through (including weekends), until I finish, OR, we can put it off, I can share more current, up-to-date life stories, and get back to Jamaica whenever we get around to it. So... knowing that I have about 3 regulars who check back like, once a month to see if I'm still breathing, I'll leave it up to you guys to decide what the topic of discussion will be for the time being.

So! With all that being said... I have missed you all dearly, and can't wait to start browsing your blogs and catching up on your lives!

Much Love,


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Day 2 of the Jamaica 2006 Review!

Day Two:

What adjustments I've had to make! Life is SO different down here: we Americans take MANY things for granted in our lives - only day two and I'm saying that - YIKES!

But really: when I said yesterday that we had to "cozy up" our little abode, what I should have said was, "we had to rid cabinets of lizard poop, wipe EVERYTHING down, and settle in around our lovely walls adorned with dried up, mashed roach guts. Ahhh, Jamaica. :)

Don't get me wrong though, the place IS gorgeous, and the people are amazing: but when you have to chase three-inch grasshoppers and lizards around your house, well, let's just say one learns to quickly appreciate what they have back home.

Today was great, but exhausting. It was the first day of school for the semester for the kids, and our first day as teacher's aids (Cheryl and me). The kids of course, had to test thier boundaries with us as the new people, so that became a little exhausting having to discipline and chase children around all day long. (I said "exhausting" twice in two sentences - I AM tired!) But we really only had a half day today, as Cheryl and I spent the early afternoon with Mrs. Missionary to have an orientation time of sorts on the veranda at her house. The view from her house: simply BREATHTAKING!! You can see most of the mountain range, the city, AND the ocean from thier house - gorgeous! As we sat there, a storm system moved through, and it absolutely POURED! Tropical rains are heavy and fast - and beautiful too!

We took an hour break to get some R&R, and then headed down to help the kids with homework and hang out with them for awhile. We met with the missionaries briefly, and later went to the older girls' house for devotions.

My favorite thing above all else so far, is how God is just infused in EVERYTHING here! Prayers before school, prayers before breaks, prayers at EVERY meal: prayers at bedtime, along with devotions, services at LEAST twice a week, and prayer meetings. LOVE IT!! The cool thing is, that the kids love it too: they especially love worship - God really IS everywhere here!

Speaking of which, it's time for me to read my Bible before I get too tired to even keep my eyes open: it's only 8:30pm, and I'm already in bed - face washed, teeth brushed. Didn't I say I was EXHAUSTED?!

Friday, January 12, 2007

"Jamaica Review 2006": Day 1

Well folks, as promised, the first edition of MANY of the already-popular and sought-after "Jamaican Review 2006 Chronicals".

Okay, okay... so it's not all that popular, nor is it so much sought-after at this point, but it IS somewhat exciting, and will only increase in excitement as time goes by. So, for those of you who were wondering what the heck I was doing in the tropics for all that time: well, strap on your seatbelts, baby, cause you're in for a wild ride! And for those of you who weren't wondering: well... too bad. Read it anyway. ;)

So, without further adeiu:


Chapter 1

Day 1:

After a hard goodbye with mom, I headed out from Chicago to Miami, to be connected from there to Kingston, Jamaica. There was a bit of a mix-up, however, at the ticket counter in Chicago, because they apparently tried to send me to San Salvador, Honduras! (Don't ask me how it took me almost an hour of sitting in a terminal, surrounded by a bunch of Latino-looking folks to figure that one out...) But I was too smart for them! (Riiiight...) So, I eventually found my correct gate, and shortly thereafter, I landed in Kingston - the epitome of all that is hot and humid in the world.

The missionaries' son, John (name changed to protect the innocent), met me at the Kingston airport, where we proceeded to wait for a couple of HOURS for Cheryl (my soon-to-be-roommate) - (name changed to protect the innocent) to fly in. In the meantime, I was able to people watch (WHOA!!!), listen to them talk (I just LOVE the accent!), and I read the Jamaican "STAR" - VERY interesting take on world news!!

Once Cheryl arrived (very nice girl - she's a missionary kid who was raised in Africa), we then headed out to meet the missionaries for dinner at a mall in Kingston.

My favorite N., was there with them (one of the kids I had met from my previous trip to the home - she is SO sweet!), and I was just so happy to see her! After dinner, she came shopping with us while the missionaries went to a meeting in town.

We eventually made our way up the mountain, and I just drank in the scenery around me - God's creation is just BREATHTAKING!!!

Once we reached the home, we unloaded, took a quick tour of the facility, and said hi to the kids, and then the rest of the evening was our to use to settle in, unpack, and make our humble little abode cozy for ourselves for the next three months.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

My Recent Absence...

I appologize to all my dedicated readers (all three of you haha!), for my recent extended absence. I guess I have no real good reason to excuse my recent blogging behavior, however, I am committed to making it up to you!

So, starting THIS evening, Thursday, January 11th, 2007, I will begin what I would like to call, "The Jamaica 2006 Review", in which I will go back in time to my very first journal entry, beginning September 4, 2006, and document daily (from Monday to Friday) each individual entry up until December 2nd, 2006, when I returned home. This will give you, my readers, an opportunity to get right in there with me, and almost experience, firsthand, what it would have been like to be in my shoes.

Now granted, be not disappointed if here and there, my entries are simply not fantastic or overly detailed: some days were just not that exciting! But I can guarantee you that you will see triumph, failure, personal victory and growth, all tossed together with a little humor to boot!

So keep your eyes peeled for my first edition of "The Jamaica 2006 Review": you WON'T be disappointed!

P.S.: I miss you all!!