6 posts categorized "Amanda Pace"

The Friend we Need

Blog PostHello all! Amanda here for day three of our fast. I hope all of you are doing well and staying hungry for more of HIM!

  As Ann mentioned in Monday's post, our theme this week is Friendship with God. I have been rolling this concept around in my head the last few days and asking myself the question "what does friendship with God look like?". I have been jotting down thoughts as they come to me and I wanted to take this time to share with you what I believe God wants us all to remember about what it means to be friends with him.

 For my side of the friendship it means I want to know him deeply. I want to know his thoughts, his desires, and what pleases him. I want to know what angers him, what he finds detestable, and what he will not tolerate.

  Friendship with God means I talk to him often. Throughout my day I have little conversations with him. I talk to him while I am doing dishes, sweeping, cooking ect. Just like I would one of my girlfriends on the phone. I chat with him about big concerns, little annoyances, and everything in between! One day I may be telling him all about how someone angered me as I furiously scrub pots and pans, another day I may just proclaim my love and thankfulness as I fold towels. No matter what I am doing I want him there with me.

  God and I being friends also means I can be REAL with him! I can let him in all the raw, ugly parts of my life and share what I am really feeling. I do not have to pretend like everything is fine when I am with him. I can let the fur fly! He already knows what I am thinking anyway so its not like any of it surprises him. He just listens patiently, as a good friend would do. He holds me as I cry, corrects me when I'm wrong, and comforts me when I hurt. Oh, what a wonderful friend he is!

  God is the kind of friend we all desperately need in our lives! Yes, he will hold you. Yes, he will comfort you. Of course he will listen to you! What he will NOT do however, is tell you what you want to hear all the time! God is that one true friend who is not afraid to tell us what we need to hear, even if it may sting a little. He is not a "yes man", he cares about us too much to feed us easy lies that may placate us for a time. He will always tell us the truth.

Here are few of the most beautiful things I learned about what this means: First, He loves us unconditionally. When we royally mess up, he loves us. When we get caught up in pride or people-pleasing, he loves us. When we say things we shouldn't, he loves us. When we are lazy, angry, or full of self pity guess what? HE LOVES US! 

Second, he knows us. He knows me. He knows exactly what shade of green is my favorite color. He knows I love the smell in the air after it rains. He knows I love music, sunrises, and lilies. He knows I love the beach, but loathe the feeling of sand between my toes. Haha! He knows my innermost thoughts and feelings. He knows exactly what comforts me as well. He knows ME. More than anyone else ever could.

The Father, our precious Lord, is closer than a brother, parent, husband, or human friend. He is the one in whom we live and breathe and have our being (Acts 17:28). And he desires oneness with us! We only have to reach out and grab hold of him!

During the last half of our fast I hope you find yourself growing closer in friendship with our Father. Even if you don't "feel" him trust that he is right there, because Matthew 28:20 says he is! Enjoy your time with him as much as you can. Let him lavish his love on you, and soak it up!

I would love to hear about how the fast is going for you in the comments!

 


The Throne of His Heart

 

THRONE

Hey there SUMites! Amanda her, I am so excited to share something God revealed to me weeks ago that really rang my bell! 

 For several years my husband struggled with an addiction to alcohol. He was never violent or dangerous, but it was still slowly taking over his life and becoming a top priority. Drinking was what he looked forward to the most at the end of every day and the start of every weekend, it truly was his idol for many years. 

One night we were reminiscing about things and he started to talk about drinking. He spoke of it fondly, and admitted to missing it. That hurt my heart in more ways than one. Suddenly, while he was talking I heard God. Now, when I say I heard God I mean I HEARD Him, loud and clear! God said to me, "Can you handle him loving ME like that? Can you give me ALL the space that I will take up in his heart?". My head was actually buzzing, it felt like someone had rang a gong in my head. I cannot remember the rest of the conversation with my husband because God was so loud in that moment. I don't think God has ever spoken to me quite like that before. I had to shake my head to regain focus on my husband and continue our conversation.

I mulled this over a lot in the days afterward. The truth was, God had caught me in a heart issue. I am a fixer, when there is a problem I want to fix it myself. I like to be the one to make people feel heard, seen, and wanted. Most of all, I like being the number one source of comfort for my husband. The more I looked into my heart the more I realized I was NOT prepared! I had not been preparing myself for what would come when Daniel got saved.

You see, when Daniel takes an interest in something it consumes him. He has been that way since we were teenagers. When he was 16-18 it was The Beatles. We have every album (CD's and vinyl), a book of the complete music scores, pictures, shirts, ect... When he was 20 it was another musician named Gotye and Daniel learned a new instrument because of him. When he decided he was an atheist, he dove head first into that as well. He was listening to and reading from every atheist influencer he could find. He would spend hours researching and arguing his point to anyone who would listen. Daniel is an all-or-nothing man, so it is very clear why I would need to have my heart prepared for when salvation comes to him!

I know without a doubt in my heart that when God does reveal himself to Daniel my house is going to be turned on it's head! What a glorious day that will be! But I have had to face that, while glorious, it will also come with challenges. As God moves on to the throne of his heart, everything else has to take a step down! I will have to share him with the Father in a way I have never had to do in the 14 years we have been together. I will no longer be his main source of comfort and peace. He won't run to me first, he will run to Jesus! The dynamic of our relationship will shift, there will be a third party we are now both aware of! His views and opinions will change and grow as he changes and grows. He may want to try a new church, change what we watch, wear, and listen to. As for me, I have been the soul spiritual leader of our children for 10 years! You can bet that will not be easy for me! I like being in charge haha!

God has started this work in me slowly. This year has taught me a LOT about giving God control, about what it means to actually "give it to God". It has been no easy task, this heart change. BUT it is exciting! Because for God to speak to me in such a drastic way, it must mean that things are getting close to changing, and I better be ready!

 

Have any of you ever thought about the challenges that a newly saved spouse might bring? Has God ever spoken something so loudly to you? Drop a comment so we can talk about it! :)


How I Read My Bible

How I read my Bible 2Hello my lovely SUMites, Amanda here! I have loved reading Ian and Ann’s posts on how they read their bibles! It is always inspiring to me to hear or read how other believers like to study Gods word. 

I have loved bibles since I was a teenager. I wanted the one with the trendy cover or cool maps inside. I ended up with several bibles in a variety of styles over the years. Sadly, I was more interested in the look of them than actually reading them.

You see, I struggled badly with condemnation in my teens. I felt I could only study when I was “being good”, once I stumbled and did something that wasn’t good, I would feel too guilty to keep studying. This was a cycle that repeated itself into my early twenties. The Bible, especially the New Testament, was a book of rules in my eyes. It was a list of all the things I would never be and could never do. The enemy had twisted my mind into being afraid to open the word! I was completely missing out on Gods grace and denying myself His forgiveness and mercy! That all started to change when I was introduced to two things: a fantastic couple of local pastors, and page on YouTube called The Bible Project.

I have so much to share so I will keep this part brief. I started regularly attending church alone when I was 25. I met the sweetest couple who were joint pastors of this precious little church. This husband and wife opened my eyes to Gods grace. I specifically remember the wife preaching on grace one Sunday and at just the mention of it she was close to tears. I remember her voice trembling, and how passionately she spoke to the congregation. Her message that day was a big step towards me believing that I was worthy of it too! And so, opening my bible got a little easier.

A few years later, my younger sister introduced me to these guys on YouTube who called their page The Bible Project. I had never seen videos like these before, and soon I was hooked! Not only were their videos beautifully done, but they were FILLED with the goodness and truth of Gods word. They helped me begin to understand the importance of context; the when, where, and why a book was written. And the creators of the page were so passionate and excited about the Word that I began to feel excited too! I ate it up like candy! It replaced my condemnation and fear with joy and hunger! I began to read my bible even more ;).

Fast forward to now, in my early thirties, the condemnation still tries to see where it can creep in, but I know how to kick it so it doesn’t stick around long. The way I prefer to read currently is one book at a time. I like to start by watching a Bible Project video on the book and learning as much context as I can beforehand. My favorite mornings start with me grabbing my bible and journal as soon as I wake up. I write down 5 things I am thankful for, a declaration for that day (something like “I will speak lovingly all day” or “Today I will walk in health and peace”), I pray, and I read. I typically read one or two chapters at a time. After that it is time to get up with my littles and start our day. My kiddos are still pretty young (7 and 10), so not all mornings are this peaceful! But I can definitely tell the difference between when I start my days this way and when I don’t. 

I also really enjoy reading with my kids! I usually stick with one chapter, or even half a chapter, and make sure it is something I know well enough so I can answer questions (ALWAYS pray for wisdom before you start answering questions!). My daughter is very inquisitive and asks all the hard questions, which I love! It was this very thing that lead to her asking to get baptized a few weeks ago! Praise God! Even if you never get quiet time, read the Word to your kids in the noise. It plants a seed, even if you can’t see it!

That’s all for me folks! I would love to hear about your favorite ways to study in the comments! 


Gatekeepers

7EADF9A6-E07B-437C-A163-CC6B56E73862By Amanda Pace

I had prayed about what to write and settled on this story before I watched Lynn’s amazing video on spiritual warfare in the SUMite facebook group. Isn’t God’s timing amazing! This post will also be about warfare, but it is more of a personal testimony as well as declarations I feel God wants me to share with all of you to claim for yourselves. So here we go!

Years ago, I was attending my wonderful church and went up front to ask for prayer as I often did. I was feeling so weak and alone, like my life and marriage were falling apart. I was so scared of what might happen to my kids and their faith. In short, I was filled with doubt and fear. 

My pastors knew me and my situation, so I didn’t have to explain much when I came up for prayer. They knew my husband was and is an atheist, that I had two young children, and that my husband was struggling with depression and addiction. They knew I struggled with my emotions as well as my confidence at the time. So there was no shortage of things I needed prayer for!

My pastors wife (who was also Co-pastor) began to pray over me. During the prayer for strength and courage she paused, went to her seat and grabbed something, and came back. She had me open my had and put something in it. Keys. She wrapped my hand in hers and told me to remember that I am the gatekeeper of my home. That I CHOOSE who I lock and unlock the door for. I have the God-given power to kick evil out of my home! She said I am like Jeal, driving a peg into the enemies head (Judges 4:21)! Let me tell you, God showed up big time during that prayer session!

I came home feeling so emboldened with the power of the Holy Spirit! I remember going down into our basement, where my husband spent most of his time, feeling ready for battle! I swear I could have physically taken off a demons head had it shown up in the flesh at that moment! This daughter of the King was ready for WAR! But of course, this battle was not one of the flesh. So I stood there, in the darkness. The air felt thick and heavy, like the enemy knew I was there and could feel what was coming. I could feel them too. The weight of all my husbands demonic oppressors hanging over me. And I was filled with righteous anger. I began to rebuke every single spirit! I laid my hands on things I knew had been gateways and bound them up (TV, XBox, ect.). I cried out boldly, fearlessly, OUT LOUD, and in full confidence that I was working in God's will! It truly was glorious!

Some changes were immediate, and some were still a long way off. But I remember when things started to shift even my husband noticed he was changing without  intentionally trying to! I remember him asking me once, half joking, “What did you do to me?”. I just smiled. Someday he will know exactly what God did through me. And I cannot wait for the day I can discuss it with him.

I believe God brought this to mind for me to share to remind us all, yet again, that we DO hold power! Through HIM! Ladies and gents, we should walk into life every day like we are in a battle we KNOW we cannot lose! With our heads held high, confident, bold, glowing with His love! Take hold of His promises and SHOUT them out! No matter what things look like in the flesh - the flesh is a liar anyway! See with our spiritual eyes the truth that God has laid out before us! We are gatekeepers and warriors! Walk in peace and confidence because you KNOW He is walking with you!

What can you declare freedom from TODAY as the gatekeeper of your home? I would love to read about it in the comments!


Running the Race

By Amanda Pace

Blog picWe often think of running a race as just that, running, as fast as you can and as hard as you can towards a finish line. Blood pumping, adrenaline nigh, excitement and anticipation pulsing through your body as you see your finish line getting closer and closer! Running a race you can see the end to is easy enough, and many people would even consider it enjoyable. It's exciting because you KNOW you are going to reach the end, often you can SEE it before you even start running. But what about the races we cannot see the end of?  What about those of us who feel like we have been running for months, years, or even decades? Towards a goal, a finish line, that we never seem to reach. This message today is for us. The ones soaked in sweat and tears, the ones who live our lives falling and getting back up, bruised and battered and heart broken. Yet still we run. We run through valleys of depression, mountains of adversity, deserts of hopelessness, winding trails of illnesses, and sometimes we run through utter darkness, with no light except the Fathers promises. His Word guiding us towards that place of rest and peace in him.  This is just another reminder, one we all need. He sees us!

When we run through the valleys of depression, he is right there to comfort us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

When we face mountains of adversity he is our peace. (Philippians 4:7)

When we find ourselves in the desert of hopelessness he reminds us of his goodness(1 Chronicles 16:12)

When we are wading through illness he is our healer! (Jeremiah 17:14)

And when we are running through that utter darkness, lost and terrified and confused HE IS OUR LIGHT! (John 8:12)

I don't know about all of you, but during some of my races I find myself looking for an easy way out. Any way that I can side step the path in front of me and take an easier one with less resistance. After all, none of us want to run a race with illness or depression. And there are times when God will show you a quick way out. Then there are times when God says, "I know this is hard, but we have to finish this one. We are taking the long way this time". Those are the races that test us, that push us to the very edge. But those are also the races that build the most endurance! Which leads to stronger faith and closer intimacy with our father!

Our precious and adoring father knows we will stumble, struggle, and even fail. He knows how exhausted we are, and how afraid, and even doubtful we can be. The good news is he loves us anyway! He is the perfect One, he is the love, grace, and mercy every human needs in their life. He will always be right there to help us back up, give us a drink of his living water, wipe our tears, take our hand, and shine a light in the darkness. Every time! 

I hope this encourages you this week my dear friends. That it gives you just a bit more endurance to keep running your race. I hope it reminds you that you are seen. You are seen by the one who matters most. The one whose heart yearns for closeness with us. 

So that in the end we may say "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7 NIV


Do Nothing?

  Ocean Hello my lovely SUMites! I have a little story God put on my heart recently. It is a little bit intense, but I think it is the perfect metaphor for how some of us may be feeling in this season of life. I hope it speaks to you as much as it spoke to me. Then I will share one of my own experiences with letting go.

  Imagine yourself hanging over the edge of a high cliff. All you can see below your dangling feet is a dense fog. You have no idea if the ground is 2 feet or 200 feet away.  You start to panic! Your mind is racing, your breathing quickens, your heart is pounding in your chest. You are completely terrified of the unknown. As your mind races, questions arise, "How did I let myself get here? What happens next? How can I get myself out of this? Will I be stuck here forever? What am I going to do?". You start to feel hopeless, weak, embarrassed, and maybe even angry at yourself and the situation. Then, as gentle and quiet as a soft breeze, you hear a voice. The softest whisper calls out to you, "Trust me, and let go". This voice is so sure, so comforting, and so familiar! It is your father! THE Father! Calling out from somewhere just out of sight. Asking you to trust him enough, to love him enough, to have enough reckless faith to LET GO! Can you do that? Can you let go of what you have been clutching and let yourself fall into the Father's waiting arms?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding" Proverbs 3:5 CSB

The first half of this year has been full of lessons and trials for me and my family. And it all came to a head at a weekend ladies retreat with my church. The weekend was full of wonderful words and worship. On our last night there one of the pastors said she had a word from God for all of us in attendance. He told her that he knew we had been struggling with battles we didn't know how to fight anymore. And when we took communion that night our eyes would be opened and we would know exactly what we were supposed to do. Now there had been some serious struggles in my marriage and I was getting tired. I had been trying to fix everything for so long, and now I was at the end of my rope.

"You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace" Isaiah 26:3 CSB

So, as I waited in line for communion I prayed and I praised. We each took turns walking under an altar that represented his protection and love. Afterwards I found a quiet corner and stayed in worship mode. The Lord kept saying "Let go...let go...let go". I just couldn't understand that. I am a "fixer"! I like to get elbow deep into the issues and work them out! How can he be telling ME to let go?

Then, a woman I had just recently met, who had no idea about my situation came up to me. We prayed for each other. And right after she told me she felt like God wanted me to do...nothing. NOTHING! Whaaaaaat? I have no training for doing nothing! haha! This scared me and gave me peace all at once.

Later that night while I was in bed, God clarified by telling me it was time to have reckless faith! The faith that trusts enough to LET GO. Pray of course, walk in faith daily! But stop trying to make things happen on my own time. To loosen my chokehold on life, on my family, and on my marriage. To trust him like I never have before. This is a new and foreign place to me. I am still working it out. And some days I fail, but that is when I lean on his grace and start over. God has been so good and so patient as I fumble my way through this new season of faith!

What are some things God wants you to let go of? To step back and do nothing so that he can work? Let's discuss it together in the comments!

Amanda