Tuesday, November 29, 2011

“Stronger” by Mandisa

Another oldie but goodie…

“Stronger” by Mandisa

Hey, heard you were up all night
Thinking about how your world ain't right
And you wonder if things will ever get better

And you're asking why is it always raining on you
When all you want is just a little good news
Instead of standing there stuck out in the weather

Oh, don't hang your head
It's gonna end
God's right there
Even if it's hard to see Him
I promise you that He still cares

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger
Gonna make you stronger, stronger, stronger
Believe me, this is gonna make you ...

Try and do the best you can
Hold on and let Him hold your hand
And go on and fall into the arms of Jesus
Oh, lift your head it's gonna end
God's right there
Even when you just can't feel Him
I promise you that He still cares

'Cause if He started this work in your life
He will be faithful to complete it
If only you believe it
He knows how much it hurts
And I'm sure that He's gonna help you get through this

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
In time it's gonna get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger

Check out the video here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Praise that Perseveres

I started trying to edit down this devotional because it is sort of long but there was just too much good stuff in there! I encourage you to read through this devotional from none other than Girlfriends in God :) as they talk about praising God through the trials in life. One of my favorite quotes here…“I’m reminded that in every situation, I come to a crossroad and have a choice: I can pout or I can praise. I can turn away from God because I don’t understand or I can turn toward God in full assurance that His understanding is enough for the both of us – even if it hurts – even if anger lingers – even if doubt looms.” (Emphasis throughout is mine.)

April 29, 2011 (see, drafts have been building up a LONG time)

Praise That Perseveres

Today’s Truth
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25, NIV)

Friend to Friend
Andrea lives in Lake Mary, Florida and is the proud momma to four beautiful girls. Two of her daughters are identical twins who have cerebral palsy and are severely disabled. Over the past 14 years, Andrea and her husband have been through the ringer. Her days are spent caring for the twins. And they are grueling days: filled with many tears, outbursts of frustration, and bouts of anger. There have been times that she has felt abandoned by God. Andrea admits that on many days, she has called out to God like the psalmist did: Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer (Psalm 4:1, NIV).     

Through it all, however, Andrea has determined that she will praise God in spite of the daily complications. “I have always prayed for healing for my girls,” she shares. “I believe that with the mere thought of our God that my girls could be restored. I know that if He heals them I will spend my life praising Him for that miracle and telling others of His goodness. Of course, although God can heal them, I’ve had to learn to spend my whole life praising Him simply because He is God – whether He heals the girls or not. I decided very early on that God is still God no matter what He allows in my life. I can trust Him even when I can't understand Him.” She thoughtfully finished with this statement: “It sounds easy, but it hasn't been.”

Oh, how I can relate to honestly like that! How I’m drawn to this type of God-courage. Her challenges are great, but she is determined to praise God anyway. When I hear stories like Andrea’s, my heart stretches toward trusting God. I hear and feel that the trials in her life have led her to a greater dependency on God and a deeper trust in His sovereignty. I’m reminded that in every situation, I come to a crossroad and have a choice: I can pout or I can praise. I can turn away from God because I don’t understand or I can turn toward God in full assurance that His understanding is enough for the both of us – even if it hurts – even if anger lingers – even if doubt looms.

Have you been to these crossroads?

God shows us a powerful example of praise that perseveres in chapter sixteen of the book of Acts. During the Apostle Paul’s second missionary journey, he and his ministry buddy Silas encountered a collision of faith and trouble while in Philippi. After Paul cast out a demon that was terrorizing a young slave girl, he and Silas were seized by disgruntled Roman citizens and dragged to the marketplace before the rulers. They were then wrongfully accused of public disruption. They were stripped, beaten, and unlawfully jailed without a trial. After the flogging, Paul and Silas were taken to the in the inner cell of the prison, normally reserved for the most dangerous offenders, and their feet were placed in stocks.

Though they had every reason to sit and stew because of the injustice of their situation, Paul and Silas chose to trust in God's plan and praise their Lord, Jesus Christ. Though they had open wounds and would have been in severe physical pain, Paul and Silas chose to glorify the name of God. “After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them,” (Acts 16: 23-25).

Then God shook the earth and the prison foundations and loosed the chains of the prisoners. In horror, knowing he would be held responsible for the escape of the prisoners, the jailer raised his sword to kill himself – but Paul stopped him. He and Silas hadn’t fled. They stood amidst their dark circumstances and spoke and sang with confidence in their God.

As a result, several people, including the jailer and his family, came to believe in Jesus Christ. “The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’”

“They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.’ Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household,” (Acts 16:29-34).

Though we won’t always rejoice in our circumstances, we are commanded to always rejoice in the Lord. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:4, 6-7).

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance,” (James 1: 2-3). When we praise the Lord through, and in spite of what we face, our praise becomes our deliverance through the trial.

“We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us…,” (Romans 5:3-5a NCV).

No matter what difficult times we encounter, God is worthy of our praise. When we choose to praise, we choose to trust God. When we choose to trust God, the broken world around us lifts their eyebrows in wonder – just like the Roman jailer. Sometimes a sacrifice of praise is required. Offer it. We can and should choose to bless His name through the pain, which astonishingly can bring His joy into our hearts.

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, Thank You for being trustworthy and praiseworthy! I ask that You will nudge me to trust You each time I approach the crossroads of faith and trouble. In spite of the burdens on my heart and challenges in my path right now, I praise Your name and celebrate that Your hope will never disappoint. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Now it’s Your Turn

  • What steps can you take today that will help you remember to praise God when you come to the faith/trouble crossroads?
  • Sometimes life does not turn out like we thought it would.  OK, not just sometimes, but most times.  Is there any part of your life that seemed to take a bad turn, and then God showed you that it was indeed His perfect plan?  What good did you see coming out of it?
  • Let’s talk about today’s devotion on my facebook page: www.facebook.com/GwenSmithMusic.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

“Daylight” by Remedy Drive

Continuing posting old drafts…I guess I never posted the lyrics to this song. I am sure everyone has heard it by now but I still love it. Actually, it was my ringtone for awhile. It’s such a great reminder that this life and all of the troubles that come along with it are temporary. Daylight is coming!

“Daylight” by Remedy Drive

Has everything you've counted on
Left you right here with no warning
Have your dreams become invisible
Wait with me dear till the morning
Light will make the night burnout

Hold on
Daylight is coming
To break the dawn
Daylight is coming

The brightest stars are falling down
Is hope lost in the black skies
The darkness must precede the dawn
Wait with me here till the sunrise
Wait, your night will soon fade out

Hold on
Daylight is coming
To break the dawn
Daylight is coming

Daylight is coming

Hold on
Daylight is coming
To break the dawn
Daylight is coming [Repeat]

Check out the song here.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Very out of character for me, I didn’t get a picture of it, but Barry and I registered a couple of weeks ago! We debated it for awhile…is it too early, are we crazy, etc. but finally decided to go ahead and register for the basics and then we can add to it once we get our referral. I am a planner planner planner and although God has taught me over the past few years that I can’t plan everything, things like this that I do have control over, I must plan for.

I will say, I felt the teensiest bit silly registering, obviously not pregnant. Luckily, I don’t really care what people think of me most of the time, so it didn’t bother me, but it was a little weird. They do not make baby registries easy if you are adopting. For instance, we had to put an expected arrival date. We obviously have no clue, so we just randomly had to pick a date. At least Babies R Us had a place to check if you were adopting…that’s gotta count for something.

And THEN last weekend Babies R Us had their furniture on sale 20% off, so we went ahead and purchased our baby furniture! We decided on a convertible crib since that will accommodate our child at whatever age that they come to us. And it was delivered today! Look how pretty…

IMG_0571Ohhh, ahhh. The rest of the pieces were special order so it will be a bit longer before we get those. It’s so exciting getting a few things in place for our baby whenever he or she arrives! :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Victory in the Battle

I am finally going through many of my blog post drafts that have been piling up for quite some time. I like these thoughts I found somewhere about the battles that we face every day…

“We can praise God for what He will do long before He does it. We can prepare a victory table before the battle begins, knowing that the battle belongs to our God. And don’t you know that a pre-battle victory party irritates the fire out of the enemy? I love that!

Celebrating the battle’s outcome is simply a matter of celebrating God, acknowledging His power on our lives, and walking by faith in the victory provided before the battle was even fought.”

Pretty awesome that we can have peace even in the midst of trials because we know that the Lord has already won!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

USCIS Pointless Fingerprints

This past Monday we engaged in one of the most pointless things we have ever had to do. I understand getting fingerprinted and all…but we have already been fingerprinted and have FBI and ABI clearances. So why oh why does the US Citizenship and Immigration Services need to do it again and themselves? We had to drive to Birmingham, which is about 3.5-4 hours away, for a FIVE minute fingerprinting appointment. Seriously. FIVE minutes. All they did was use the live scan machine and take our prints…no official paperwork, no interview, no nothing but brief fingerprints. Sigh. At least we have friends and family in Birmingham and made a weekend of it, but still…I don’t get you USCIS.


Monday, November 14, 2011


Just some thoughts (from somewhere…probably Girlfriend in God) for your day on worry…

Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks (Philippians 4:6, GW).

Worry literally strangles our peace and weakens our faith.

Worry is a control issue.
Worry is wasted energy.
Worry is consuming and unhealthy.
Worry is a joy thief.
Worry is the interest that we pay today on tomorrow’s problems.
Worry is practicing atheism.
Worry makes everything seem bigger than it really is.

When we choose to trust God, we are choosing against worry. In Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah voices a powerful prayer of faith that should be our prayer as well. “You, Lord, give true peace. You give peace to those who depend on you. You give peace to those who trust you.” It is simple. God rewards our trust with His peace.

Friday, November 11, 2011

National Adoption Month!

Now that it is mid-November, I thought it was time to welcome National Adoption Month on my blog. :) NAM is a time to raise an awareness of the need for more adoptive families and to celebrate current adoptive families! There are approximately 147 million orphans worldwide, 107,000 children and youth in the US foster care system waiting to be adopted, and 280 children in foster care waiting to be adopted just in Alabama! Every day in November Children’s Aid Society, my employer, is sharing an adoption fact on Facebook and Twitter – check it out to better educate yourself and help us find homes for all of these precious children!