By Denene Lucas
What has the power to change the trajectory of someone’s life? What has the power to metamorphosize someone who is broken emotionally beyond repair, to wholeness? What can arrest a person who is living a destructive life full of self- hatred, low self-esteem, rage and addiction, to one whose heart chases after Jesus, whose identity is found in Christ and whose rage has been transformed into a passion to see souls saved?
Every day we awake to hear and read about the atrocities that occur in this world, we hear about husbands killing wives, mothers killing children, we see the acts of hatred perpetrated against individuals and groups of people simply because of the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, gender bias, we see a world full of hurting and severely broken people, lost and devoid of the knowledge of the one thing that possesses the power to change anything it faces. This one thing has the ability to change any situation, any condition, ANYTHING, if that person(s) allows it to enter and reside in her or his heart and by extension their life. What kind of love is this? A love that brings truth into the midst of lies and chaos and calms the storm, it’s the kind of love that takes a person who is at the end, in the gutter, and filthy, raises her up, cleans her from the inside out and gives her a new garment. What kind of love is this? God’s Love.
His Love Saved Me…
One of my favorite songs in Contemporary Gospel is “Your Love Saves Me” by Ashmont Hill. This song speaks of God’s redemptive and transforming love and its power to reach you no matter where you are positionally.
When I accepted Christ at 17 I was broken and shattered by sexual assault, betrayal, and abandonment, I was plagued with thoughts of suicide, I was in a dark place, angry, battle worn, and exhausted from the emotional war that was waging inside of me, I called on the Lord and He heard my cry, and when I made my heart and my wounds accessible, His transformational love took that young woman full of despair and changed me at my core! God’s love is the only love with the ability to change a person, a nation, the world at its very core, when given admittance, how awesome is that?!
God’s love heals you, which enables you to tell your story from a place of victory and not from a place of victimization and shattered pieces. God’s love is transformational, unfailing, restorative, redemptive, rejuvenating, boundless, unconditional, sacrificial, in relentless pursuit to gain access to your heart, a never-ending source.
1 John 4:10 NIV “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us.” God’s love is self-generated, spontaneous, it isn’t predicated on our performance, He doesn’t love us because of our faithfulness, His love isn’t temporal, it doesn’t fluctuate based on how we treat Him. God’s love is born from within Him, because He is love.
Max Lucado said “God’s love does not hinge on yours. The abundance of your love does not increase His. The lack of your love does not diminish His and your goodness does not enhance His love, nor does your weakness dilute it.”
My 16-year-old son would say “That’s LIT!” (hyped or outstanding)
What kind of Love is this?!
John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
This scripture is incredibly significant because it illuminates the potency and potentiality of God’s love. Let’s consider just how different the lives of the lost, the disenfranchised, the agnostic, the atheist, the hate group member, those of us who still haven’t fully embraced, received or trust the love of God would be. This love is so transformative it makes us want to share it, to declare it and offer it to those in need. This love doesn’t have to get acquainted with you, this love doesn’t have to figure out your likes and dislikes, this love already knows you, it knows your hurts, your aches, your pains, it knows what makes you smile and what makes you cry, it doesn’t look for your value, it already knows your value and it asks nothing more from you but to let it in and take residence. God’s love fills every furrow and every aperture. What kind of love is this? The love of God!
And that's a wrap! Her Life Speaks gathered on June 10th at Montclair Community Church to share a meal with one another, hear a word from Executive Director April Sliwak on this year's small group theme, "Women of the Bible", and share praises and testimonials. Summer is dedicated to the team to rest in the word and in God's presence. Everyone is looking forward to connecting again in September and finding out what the Lord holds this year for Her Life Speaks.
Each year, as the New Year approaches, instead of a list of resolutions, I seek and find a Word for the New Year. This has been a wonderfully freeing experience.
Gone is the list of resolutions that are broken by mid-February if not sooner - lose weight, exercise every day, get out of bed at 5 am, spend two hours a day with God. (Did you know that only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions keep them?) Instead of bound-to-fail resolutions, I’ve chosen One Word for the New Year since 2012 when I first heard about this concept, and I’ve loved it!
The process of choosing one word is fairly simple. Basically it involves reflecting on the past year, praying, and thinking about the year ahead. I’ve included the questions that help me reach this new word. So, if you haven’t chosen a word and it sounds intriguing, you can do this for yourself anytime.
I seek my word prayerfully, asking God to guide me to my word, to please make it obvious to me. And I find He usually does through songs, scriptures, truths, themes that keep popping up.
As I reflect and mull over questions in my mind like those below, I usually come up with a word…In fact, it really seems the word finds me. It just becomes very obvious.
This year, my word is Enough. I wanted a scripture to go with this.
You have circled this mountain long enough: Now turn north. Deuteronomy 2:3
One of the things I learned over the past year is that I have a root belief that I Am Not Enough. How does this translate?
I wrongly believe:
As you can see, this belief that I Am Not Enough has wreaked havoc in my life. And trust me
when I tell you, the list above is just the tip of the iceberg. As I looked back over 2018, I could see more clearly than ever that this belief is a big lie. And since God is a God of Truth, I know He wants to rid me of this belief. God desires us to be free – It is for freedom that we have been set free!
Even before I had determined that my word was Enough, I had been talking about this root belief with a friend who challenged me to write “I Am Enough” on my bathroom mirror. Honestly, it took me about a month before I took the challenge and boldly wrote out this proclamation. I finally wrote it, as you can see from the pic. I gotta tell you…this has been a daily powerful reminder. It’s one of the first messages that greets me every day.
So, my One Word for the New Year is Enough. Because I Am Enough just as I am. Right here. Right now. And where I am lacking, there is a God who says He is My Sufficiency. A God who says He is my Helper. A God who says He Provides.
I Am Enough! How about you?
Questions to Ask to Seek and Find Your One Word
1. Think about this past year. What is the One Word that might fit or define this past year? Or if you did One Word for the New Year in 2018, what was it and how did it play out in a sentence or two?
2. Now think about this next year. What do you need to help you be your best? What do you want to be better at? What would you like more of? In what areas do you desire to grow, change, develop? What do you need or desire? What is in the way? What do you need to focus on?
3. Has God been speaking to you about anything…sometimes He sends us a neon sign and you just get a message everywhere you go – in music, in the Word, in a study, in a conversation. Sometimes He whispers. Do you sense God saying anything to you?
4. What’s your word? And if you haven’t come to one…any possibilities? If not, it will come! Just continue to keep your eyes, heart, and mind open.
5. How about a scripture? Do any come to mind? You could search your word. Where does it show up in scripture?
How do you mark the New Year? Do you make resolutions? Choose a word? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
By April Sliwak
Do you believe prayer changes things?
When you’re at a crossroads, do you believe God can show you which path to take?
When you want to know your future, do you believe God will show you?
Anyway, let me start by saying that I believe in the power of prayer. But before I go there, what is prayer? Simply put, it’s having a conversation with God. Do you like to talk with your friends and family? If I’m not mistaken, most of us do. Having conversations with our friends helps us to know her better, be more honest and vulnerable with her, be able to trust her and go through life together. Prayer with God is the same. The more we pray and read the scriptures, the more relational we become with our Creator. We grow into an intimate relationship with God and we can trust him because we’re learning more about him and his promises.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have what we asked of him” 1 John 5:14-15
Prayer according to God’s will and with a confessed heart, Psalm 66:18, is a confident and trusting prayer because we’re asking God to line up our hopes, wants and plans with his, Jeremiah 29:11, and we’re secure enough to trust them. What we’re saying is, “I trust my life with Your will. You know what’s best for my life. You know the whole picture and the plan for my living.” That’s submissive, bold and confident. God hears our prayers.
The scriptures give us all the answers for life. And prayer gives all the answers for living.
As I was preparing to write this blog, I reminisced through the file in my computer labeled, “Ministry Prayer Requests” beginning from 2011. There are 2528 prayer requests and praise reports in that file. They are from women who have hope and trust and believe that their prayers will be heard and answered. Their prayers are for; good health, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, college choice, a new job, wanting to get married, suffering in a marriage, relocation, legal attacks, bullying, abuse, emotional suffering, fear, loss and much much more. These women believe in the power of community prayer and intercession. They believe God hears our prayers and he change things.
My community of friends and family have been praying 20 years for me. I had kidney disease and my prayer was for healing according to God’s will and that I wouldn’t have any side effects to the chronic disease. My prayers were answered on December 20, 2018 when I received a kidney transplant and I didn’t have ANY side effects and I am healed in the way God chose for it to happen, and in his timing. God heard my prayers and they changed the course of my life. God taught me to trust him. My healing was not only physical but more importantly, spiritual. By abiding in him, now Jesus and I are “tight” … we’re close… we’re FRIENDS.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:20, (Jesus)
On May 16, 2019 we’re gathering for corporate prayer. Why don’t you join us, let God hear your prayer and let others support you in prayer? Trust that God hears your prayers and will answer them according to his will. Your prayers matter and they change things for you and your loved ones. Come and hang out with us and with Jesus. Click here, Herlifespeaks.org for the details. Bring a friend(s). All are welcome. We’re looking forward to praying alongside you.
Do you have prayer request that you’d like our intercessors to pray for you right now? Click here for our on line prayer group. They’re waiting to pray for you.
How has God answered your prayer? What did you gain from it? Are you still waiting for the answer? What are you gaining from that?
By Meghan King
I am new to Her Life Speaks ministry and the women’s conference held on March 16 at the Marriott in Saddle Brook was a day of healing for me. This was my first time attending a women’s conference. So much love, time, and effort was put into that day. The morning started off with fellowship over a light breakfast with coffee followed by worship. There is something about sharing a meal, even with strangers, that brings about peace and a sense of belonging. The only woman I knew at my table, leads the HLS younger women’s monthly small group called The Table and I had only met her once prior. I can get quiet around people I don’t know and yet I had such a sense of belonging with those women. It was great to talk and get to know one another.
The topics of the day were thought provoking and set my heart on a path towards restoration. We are meant to choose God’s freedom and love even when life feels broken. My current season that I am going through has been one of trials. Keeping my eyes set on God’s great love for me can guide me through anything. One of the speakers of the day was Sylane Mack. The message she spoke about was choosing forgiveness in light of God’s love for us. She went through anguish and so much ugly growing up; but clinging to God’s love allowed her to persevere. She chose to forgive and in doing so helped her to heal. Sylane discussed two pieces of scripture that resonated with my heart:
“ In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He answered by setting me free.” Psalm 118:5
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life…” Deuteronomy 30:19-20
My program from the day is marked up from underlining other scripture and notes to remember such as “Choose to give Him my burdens and take refuge in Him”, “Receive life and His wisdom”, “Receive His freedom and love to do His work,” and “ Believe in His power to forgive, forgive yourself, and overcome your battles”. This side of heaven is stained with sin and heartache. Jesus took that pain and died for us to have a loving relationship with our Father in Heaven. God knows our hurts and sorrows and longs for us to lean on Him. The table discussions led to opening up of fellowship between women who had not met before and fellowship is something God calls us to. I have noticed in my own life that I feel enriched in my faith when I seek a relationship with God and a stronger bond in community. I find my freedom in recognizing the beauty and blessings in life that God has given me during this growing season.
Her Life Speaks is all about Her testimony, Her life, and who God is in Her story. Here we write our stories in hopes of helping other women find their relationship with Jesus Christ.