Grace and Transforming Power

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I had the distinct pleasure of helping minister to the ladies at Simonka Place last night. Once again, God showed up in a mighty way. I’d like to share some of my experiences with you.

Prep and Prayer
In preparation for my portion of the service, I needed to chose a song and a poem that would fit with the planned message. With so many choices, this is not easy. Even after praying for guidance it still stressed me out because I wanted so badly to be a good witness, and for everything to fit together perfectly. I caught myself acting as if it was up to me to encourage these women! Ultimately, however, I was reminded again that God is working and in control, and my service will accomplish whatever it’s supposed to. I’m simply along for the ride! Eventually I placed a handful of poems in a folder, and settled on one song.

At Simonka
Once at the shelter, we made conversation and I began to get ready. Pulling up the song I’d already chosen, another song kept playing in my head, so I cued up that one on my phone instead. Glancing through the poems in my folder, the first one seemed “right”.

After the opening prayer and an informal introduction, I shared how circumstances and bad choices can lead us away from God, but if we’re honest with ourselves and trust Him with the mess of our lives, He will turn it into something beautiful.

Here is the poem I read:

“Return to the Garden”

I met Jesus in the garden, hope blossoming free.
Lingering near the roses, He walked along with me.
Then I turned one moment – sweet nothings caught my eyes.
I was drawn away; the lion’s roar disguised.
Silently, my Savior reached out, but the wall was built.
Flower beds abandoned, the blooms began to wilt.
Years passed, I settled into a less than joyful haze
Until I realized I was out of His grace.
Through the darkness inside, I heard His quiet call.
Rising softly over the moss-draped wall.
Trusting in His mercy and forgiveness, I fought
Against the steely forces for the peace I sought.
By His Father’s power and love, down the wall came.
Vanquishing the enemy’s lies through Jesus’ name.
Once again among the roses, my heart set free
His gaze and warm embrace are love and life to me.
The fragrance of His holy love fills my weary soul.
As I live for the One who has made me whole.

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©Ladeena Bell

Faith Notes
The song I played for the group was “If We’re Honest” by Francesca Battistelli.
(Note: Link to opens in a new window.)

Though meant as a meditative time to simply listen, many of us sang along. It was so beautiful, softly singing with the music, listening to these souls so battered by life also lifting their voices to sing about the forgiveness and love of Christ! My hope and prayer for everyone I meet is that they each experience it for themselves.

Transformation
My friend’s message theme was: “There is nothing about our yesterday that will wipe out your tomorrow.” Unlike the world’s view that says our past performance is a good indicator of future success or failure, we can change through the transforming power of Jesus. The catch is, we have to let Him change us, because if we keep doing things the same way, we’re going to keep getting the same results.

God Sighting
I love connecting with people through song and word, but this time especially! Not long after the service concluded, one of the ladies came up to say that the song [chosen last-minute] gave her a special confirmation of something earlier that day.

Time and time again, God shows up when I step out in faith and courage, following His will the best I can. His grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in my weakness! (2 Corinthians 12:9) In a world so filled with hate and confusion, I pray that you too share with others the hope, love and deep peace that can only be found in Christ!

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Bell
All Rights Reserved (blog content and photos)

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