When Rick was asked to preach a revival the 3rd week of June, I wasn't sure if he would be able to go or not. Since he works full time for another job outside the Church, I didn't know if he would be able to take off of work. If he could, I knew that it would cost him his vacation time.
Without hesitation after being asked, he knew God wanted him to go. He scheduled his days off and we went. Since we were coming right out of Vacation Bible School and him working a full work week, I knew he must have been exhausted, but I never heard him complain..... not once.
I spoke a little bit in my last post about our first service and Father's Day. By the end of the service on Sunday night, we were feeling more comfortable with the people and the Church. I knew God would allow it to be a great week.
We spent our afternoon's having fun and hanging out with Nathan and Bethany and their kiddos. We remembered "college days" and old times. We went to Rainforest Cafe', the mall, and even Chuck E Cheese's. The boys were having a blast and so were we, but I could see Rick's heart and his focus was on those evening messages. He has such a heart for the ministry.
Since becoming a part of the ministry, I have learned that one thing that really can be good for Church's is revival. Sometimes we just have to let our hearts be revived. We have to kind of come where we can "re-boot" (if you will) and start fresh. We have to let our hearts get on fire for the Lord.
So, many things can get into our lives and tear us down.
All of these things can come into our lives and pull us away from being at our absolute best potential for the Lord and for those around us.
So, when you fully surrender your heart and whatever it is that is taking over your life, God will revive your heart and help you to start fresh.
During our week at Faith Bible Baptist, as the messages were being preached, I could see hearts being changed. Including mine and Rick's.
There is just something about being under the Word of God. You feel clean and pure and better. The word of God is our guideline on how to make ourselves... better.
We will never be perfect because only God is perfect, but we can always be better.
Since the passing of Madeline, Rick and I have allowed the Lord to work in our lives. We are better because of her, because she taught us how to fully surrender and depend on the Lord.
I don't know if we would have gotten to this place without this tragedy in our lives. When some tragedies pull people away from the Lord, we have pulled ourselves closer. We have clung to Him and His word and He has gotten us through.
Everyone needs revival in their hearts and everyone can have a better relationship with the Lord.
I'm just so thankful that in going to a little country Church in Michigan, where we were supposed to help encourage and be a part in their reviva, they encouraged us. Our hearts were revived once again.
There was a lot of love there. Once they learned and heard our story, there was even more love and compassion shown towards us. So many tears were shed for us. There was a lot of heart there.
The final night of revival, after a week of wonderful messages preached by my Husband, I was able to get up and share my testimony.
I wasn't nervous, because to be honest, I love to talk.... I'm sure you've learned that about me by now. =)
I have shared my testimony in many Church's and to many people, but this time it was different. This time, Maddie Grace was a part of it.
I stood and began to tell my "story" to this precious group of people. I felt that the Lord was giving me the words to say. Yes I was telling my story, but He was showing Himself through it all.
As I was talking, it made me realize just how much the Lord has done in my life since I was that 16 year old girl. He has brought me so far. I'm very grateful.
As I was talking, I was thinking about how different I am now from then. How much I have grown up and grown "in" the Lord. I was thinking how from now on when I give my testimony, it will include Maddie. Part of this made me sad, but part of it made me happy that I will always be able to tell her story. She is such a part of my life even though she is nog longer here. She will continue to be carried with us the rest of our lives.
As I finished up my testimony I shared something that I don't believe I've ever shared on my blog. Something that through my daughter passing away, has reminded me over and over again of the love of God.
That is the heart of God.
I remember at Maddie's funeral service talking about her little life and how I wish so much that I would've had her longer. But that wasn't God's will. I didn't choose for my daughter's life to be taken and if given the choice, Maddie would be here right now in this moment. I never chose that.
However, God did choose to give us His Son. His only Son. He gave His life for us. For sinners.
He gave Jesus for us.
Do you see the love in that?
Madeline's little life has changed us forever. Her story has pointed people to the Lord. Her days here were precious and wonderful and they changed everything.
She was my heart. She was my daughter. I can't imagine giving up her life for anyone.
God freely gave His Son because of His love for us. This has helped me to see the heart of the Lord even more clearly. He gave so much. He gave His child.
Yet, everyday people reject Him. Every day people ignore His sacrifice as they "selfishly" live their lives. The very life that God could choose to end tomorrow.
Oh, if people could see the heart of God.
Then we would all live revived and holy lives for Him.
After I gave my testimony and poured out my heart, I watched Rick do the same. I saw people flood the altar and men and women getting things right. I watched a Church come together and stand behind their Pastor. I watched God work. It was a wonderful thing.
After the message as Rick and I stood at the back of the Church and people came by, I could see the heart of the people. People we have only gotten to know in 4 short days, but I felt a connection to them. I had 4 precious ladies hug me and tell me that they have lost children too. They told me their stories and I could see the pain in their faces. They each told me how much God had worked in their lives through it all. I shook hands of men who had tears in their eyes. I can only imagine what God has in store at Faith Bible Baptist.
What a blessing to be a part of revival.
Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.
Hallelujah thine the glory,
Hallelujah thine the glory.
Revive us again...
At the end of the night we walked out to the most beautiful sight.
What an amazing way to end the week, and what a precious reminder of God's promises...