Sunday, March 07, 2010
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Posted by Susan L. Prince at 9:29 AM
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Sunday, February 21, 2010
I can't WAIT to share because God just really showed me His Presence this weekend and not in any HUGE major way, just in small things. When He opens my eyes enough to see Him in the small, it just magnifies His Glory that much more!
Here's the one from Saturday. I am a BIG Jennifer Knapp fan and was excited to see her perform last night at TPAC in Nashville. My friend Katrina and I made arrangements to spend the night in Franklin and visit Grace Chapel church on Sunday morning.
Not only did Jennifer Knapp come onto that stage with only her guitar and God given voice, the chick gave a stellar performance that I enjoyed greatly. What a gift she has and I'm so thankful she is choosing to share it again. (Photo by Knapp Fan David Crenshaw)
The band, Todd Snider, that she opened for was great, wow they were good, but it was not my kind of music. A bit too country for me, so Katrina and I decided to leave. As God would have it, He timed all that perfect so that I would be able to MEET JENNIFER KNAPP again (I met her once before at the Mid-South Fair in Memphis in 2000) as she stood near her table where the demo CDs were. (I had already pre-ordered her release and had a demo in pocket!) Yes! I got to look in that woman's eye and say "thank you for sharing your music. I saw you perform at The Belcourt last fall and you rocked!" Katrina and I continued to share with her that we had had the chance to talk with her once before ten years ago in Memphis. Anyway, that was a neat treat and did get a couple of pictures with her, so that rocks.
Onto the next part of the story. A few months ago, I received a notice from Amazon.com that I had earned a "free download" of music for being such a great customer. This download was for a full length mp3 album of my choice, but the choice was to come from specific selections and of those I had to choose from were about 800 different albums. I did not want to waste my free album, so I took my time to sample hundreds of CDs over many days and weeks to be sure to choose the perfect one. I'm a music junkie and I am always looking for something new that inspires me, something that stands out from the rest of the mediocrity out there.
I searched and searched all of the rock titles and the Christian rock titles. I am a "rock 'n' roller"! I love rock music! Hard rock music! I had fun going through some old tunes from back in the day and stuff but then after days of deliberation and frustration that nothing was jumping out I came upon a CD called "Heaven on Earth" - Covenant Worship with Nicole and David Binion. Never heard of them? Neither had I, until I sampled their music. This is NOT music I am naturally drawn to, but something about this particular one captured my attention and I ended up downloading this as my "free mp3 album". Normally I'd find music from Disciple, DecembeRadio, Switchfoot, or Skillet or some band like that. Choosing a praise and worship CD is highly unlikely, but God led me to it.
I was so excited about this music and I listened to the album over and over. I shared it with a couple of friends who like exactly this type of worship music, but both were very surprised that I LIKED IT! LOL Anyway, the music pierces my heart with words of truth and just plain good music. God becomes real to me through it. You know how good music can be?
Now, moving on. Jennifer Knapp was lot of fun, but hardly compares to the experience today. Grace Chapel is a huge church, but it is often packed and difficult to find a seat. We made sure to arrive early, so after breakfast in a nifty place called Country Boy restaurant in Leiper's Fork, we made our way to the church and found a seat. This church offers communion each week before each service for anybody wanting to partake. A prayer is said, people go up to get the elements, return to their seat, quietly meditate/pray or whatever and take of the bread and blood. As I watched people do this, I noticed that I recognized one woman walking up the aisle and took a seat directly behind me. Didn't think too much of it, people sometimes look alike, you know?
Soon, the praise and worship music started and it was so uplifting as it always is there. (Amazing musicians and music!) I heard a female voice accompanying worship that sounded familiar to me, but I've listened to the Grace Chapel stuff online a few times, so that explained away the familiarity.
As the music and worship continued, I was getting into the music. Then I heard a familiar male voice and thought naaaah, can't be. Worship continued and then I heard a SONG I KNOW VERY WELL! I turned to Katrina and said "no way!" and she said "oh, they do this song all the time", so I was kind of crushed because I thought I had figured out why I was so familiar with the voices and the song. But, then the woman next to me, a Grace Chapel member, got my attention and asked "who are those people? I have never seen them here before." and then I KNEW. MY HUNCH WAS CORRECT! Get this: I said "I know who they are, Binion is the name. David Binion, but I forget his wife's name." So, worship really took off now because they taught the song "Heaven and Earth" to the church, in parts (which was cool) and everyone could then belt it out to the Lord! Woohooo! I was so taken aback that God had given me such an awesome revelation that He is ever present! MAN! I started thinking what are the chances? what are the chances?
What are the chances that I would land on THAT one album of worship music (out of my normal character to purchase),after spending DAYS and weeks poring over 800 selections that I had to choose from, only to visit a church that I live two and a half hours from, and to have the ARTISTS of that album that has been such a blessing to me, leading worship today!?!?!??!?!?!???????????
I was totally blown off the planet by that one! Meet Jennifer Knapp, now this? WOW!
Then, the message for the service was fantastic about being spiritually blind and how we are to be used in the recovery of sight for the blind. Mind blowing stuff from Pastor Steve today, convicting...but that's for another day.
After the service, I went over to the Binion's and thanked them for leading worship and sharing with us today. I shared my story of how I came upon their CD and they thought it was so cool, and seemed surprised in a way. I also shared about the surprise God gave me that I live 2.5 hours away and was only in town visiting Grace Chapel and that the people responsible for that awesome worship CD that has been edifying me for months were here live and in person to lead the music! WOW WOW WOW! Nicole said "It is amazing what God does, my name is Nicole, what is yours?" and we talked a bit more until I excused myself to go wait for Katrina back at my seat.
As I was sitting there I saw that woman I had seen earlier that I recognized. Not being totally sure of who she was I just kind of observed, and then I heard her speak while she talked to a person about the amazing message she heard. As soon as I heard her voice, I knew who it was and that I was right. Kathy Troccoli was seated behind me worshipping at Grace Chapel today. How cool is that?
Anyway, God totally blessed my time with Katie this weekend and I am ever so grateful. He also went above and beyond and put a couple of exclamation points on the days! Woohooo! God is good! :)
Seeing Jennifer Knapp and being able to talk with her is not any monumental thing in life, but it was special to me. It was nothing God had to do for me. It didn't really grow me spiritually, but I believe God took pleasure surprising me with that, knowing full well I would enjoy it.
Worshiping with David and Nicole Binion at Grace Chapel today was quite a surprise and very special to me. Their songs have helped me reach a place of intimacy with God over the past couple of months that I don't often experience. I was able to worship God in a deep way today because I knew He delighted in surprising me.
My time with Katie was blessed as well. Two friends and sisters in Christ that have experienced so much together, but are now living lives completely different than they were a year ago. God is delighting in growing the both of us in Him, and He delights in surprising us.
He Bloggles the mind.
Posted by Susan L. Prince at 9:56 PM
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Saturday, January 23, 2010
Hindsight is 20/20 right? There are people who look over their lives and say they wouldn't have changed a thing. Oh boy I wish I could say that. There are a lot of things I would have done differently. I would have not made a lot of the mistakes I made that I still bear the consequences from. But, everyone makes mistakes…and this is my confession. I am taking responsibility and owning what I have done…and hopefully I will learn from this and not repeat it.
Here is what I am processing today….
God told me to love Him first and then love others and esteem them as better than myself. That was the first thing He told me to focus on after my husband and I separated over a decade ago. He prepared me in advance. He warned me that I was about to be majorly deceived…but I missed what He was sayin. In my deeds I tried to put others first…but in my heart, I was number one. People kept telling me, but I didn't believe them. I didn't realize it until now…now that I have "loved" everyone right out of my life.
I have been grieving over this. I have had bitterness over this…and I have been selfish.
It got to the point that all my family ever heard from me is how I would like their time since I gave them so much. I constantly reminded them about how good I was to them and all that I had sacrificed and given to them….so I unintentionally tried to manipulate them through guilt to give me what I wanted (company and appreciation). I never stopped wanting to please them and do
I would have spent more time on my knees and less time running my mouth. I did what I did out of love, but became selfish and felt like I deserved something in return. I defeated my whole effort. All I wanted was to create a stable, loving environment for my home and to give my children happy childhood memories. But, what they have is memories of a grumpy, selfish mom who they began to fear to ask for anything. They were afraid to ask for money because I would lecture them on finances. They were afraid to ask to go anywhere for fear of a lecture on how exhausted I was. Often, when time was spent with me, it was out of guilt and not pleasurable for them…then I lectured them because they didn't want to spend time with me. The same thing happened with my best friend.
Posted by Katie at 12:48 PM
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Author: Katie Labels: christianity
At the risk of totally humiliating myself , I am writing a public confession. I pray that God will bring good from this.
I thought I was the kind of person who didn’t have a problem with holding grudges but then circumstances occurred in my life to show me that even I am susceptible to this deception of wanting justice and vindication where I feel I have been wronged…all about me. How did I get to this place? It was a slow and deceptive fade into selfishness. I am confessing this sin of unforgiveness and selfishness that is overwhelming and poisoning me. This grudge and bitterness I hold is towards people who once held a very special place in my heart. I keep justifying to myself that I have a right to this, but truthfully, there is no justification there is only God’s Word which says that this is sin and it is harmful to my relationship with Him. He forgave me and if I don’t forgive as He has forgiven then I am not reflecting Him or bringing glory to His name. More than I am sinning against those who have wounded me…I am sinning against God and it has deprived me of the Spirit’s power in my life and thrown me into a time of desert wandering. I know this but I can’t seem to let go, to trust God and let Him have it. Why? He can fix this. I am only making it worse.
Brothers and sisters, I covet your prayers that I will be healed from this…that I will find a way to turn from it and stay turned. It is self-preservation that keeps me in this state of darkness. My faith is weak. I know my God is bigger than this…but I also know He will not choose for me. It is my prayer for strength to choose for myself and to believe that He alone is the one who should deal with those who have wounded me. He will let them know if and what they have done wrong in His time. It’s not my job to make them understand and I can’t show them Truth because I’m not really sure what that is myself. But, when I let go and let Him have the controls and trust Him again, He will let me know Truth and He will give me understanding towards why I have been so deeply hurt. Maybe I don’t want to know. Maybe that's my problem.
I have never harbored bitterness like this before and I don’t know why I continue to put myself through this. It serves no purpose and is only destructive to my well-being, my testimony, my relationships to others and my relationship to God. It is a waste…I know this…so why do I find some twisted sense of security in it? I do what I don’t want to do.
God help me
Posted by Katie at 8:17 AM
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Sunday, December 27, 2009
Author: Susan L. Prince
About two months ago I began playing with the idea and plotting logistics. It was then that I first realized that Christmas was on a Friday and then it dawned on me that the weekend after Christmas would fall on the work rotation that would normally be my weekend off. I am a retailer however, and so many times during the holidays, it is virtually impossible to get any significant time off. This has been accepted by my family and has been ever since I started a retail career in 1995.
I mentioned to a friend that I was thinking about surprising my parents on Christmas Day by showing up unannounced if my work schedule allowed for it and she said "do it!" Being a Northeast Ohio native though, I also know that more plays into a trip up north than just a work schedule and that would be having to add the familiar phrase "weather permitting" as a coda to every travel plan.
So I watched to see if I would indeed have Christmas weekend off, and when it was apparent I was going to, I started to watch the extended weather forecast. I also needed to make arrangements to spend the night somewhere on the way to Ohio on Thursday night in order to get some miles behind me and get an early start Christmas Day to arrive with enough time to visit with my parents. It is a ten hour drive from Humboldt, TN to Medina, OH, and I lose an hour on the way up, so I was hoping to arrive late afternoon.
I was being particularly careful not to tell many people about my plans because I really didn't want somebody to accidently "forget" that it was a surprise to my parents and say something on Facebook. Very few were aware and that helped to keep the secret under wraps. I also had to find out if my parents had plans for the holiday, which they did, but that was all taking place on Thursday, Christmas Eve, when my sister and her family were going to be visiting. So, Christmas Day was all clear!
Mom called me earlier in the week and I asked "so what are your plans for Christmas" and she told me that they were going to have a quiet day at home. She asked me what my plans were and almost threw me off when she said "I suppose you have to work on Saturday". Knowing I was not working and not wanting to lie to Ma, I fumbled my reply a little bit but mustered an "uhh, I have plans for Saturday". Whew.
My friend's parents live in Nashville and welcomed me into their home late Christmas Eve. They didn't just offer me a bed for the night, they welcomed me with smiles, hugs and love. What totally blessed me was that Ellen's mom and dad both rose early in the morning, 6:00am, to see me off. Not only that, her mom cooked a great breakfast and we all ate together before my trip. Who would have thought that we would all be up that early on Christmas Day when there were no children under the age of 37 in the house! LOL I left well rested and well fed. It was an awesome beginning to my Christmas Holiday. I was so excited and felt overwhelmed by the blessings I had already received that morning and I hadn't even left for home yet.
On my way to Ohio I started heading north on 65 toward Louisville. I was talking with my friend on the phone while she headed to work in Jackson. We were disconnected at some point and then I got a call from my mom. She was calling to wish me Merry Christmas and she told me that she wished that someday I'd be able to make it home for the holidays, but understands it isn't so easy when one works in retail. She asked what I was doing and I said that I was driving "home" from a friend's house in Nashville. She assumed I meant to my home in Humboldt, TN, but I was meaning my home, HER HOME, in Medina, OH! That was fun! I was playing with words and she had NO CLUE! I sure did enjoy that!
So, I drove and drove and drove for eight hours. I was good until I hit Columbus, OH and then the drive was getting long and I was anxious to just get there.
A couple of hours later, when I was finally in Medina County, I tweeted "I wonder what my ma is doing?" to which she responded "Was just wondering what Sue was doing. I am watching a little TV and crocheting.....oh, and missing Sue!"
She had NO IDEA that in a few minutes I was going to be knocking on the door and that I would be spending the rest of Christmas Day with her!
I got to the house and pulled in the driveway. Because the living space of their house is at the back, I did not fear that they would see and/or hear me pull in, so as soon as I turned off the ignition in Janeway, I went up to the front door, sent a tweet "About to blow my parents' mind! First Christmas in 15 years that I am home and they have no idea I am at the door!" and rang the doorbell.
I stood a bit to the side so that I would not be seen through the window to the right of the front door. The door opened but I could not be seen, nor could I see in, because there was a wreath on the outside screen/storm door in the line of sight. I poked my head into the middle of the wreath and looked up to see my dad standing there.
I immediately said "Merry Christmas" and dad looked a little confused. He had no idea to expect me to be there, so it caught him off guard, just for a split second, and then he exclaimed "SUE!" He quickly worked to unlock the door and let me in and Ma, having heard dad say "SUE!", made her way from the kitchen to the foyer to greet me. Dad gave me a big bear hug that only dad's can give. It was a sweet moment.
Both of my parents had tears welling up in their eyes and then Ma had her chance to hug me. Then Dad hugged me. Then Ma hugged me. I was getting passed back and forth! It was AWESOME! It felt so good to be in their arms! I WAS HOME!
We were all so happy to see one another that not many words were spoken in those moments, so we just held on to each other. One of the most favorite moments of my life for sure!
Then Ma had to go get the camera and post this pic on FB and captioned it "Oh my gosh, Sue just walked in the front door!"
This Christmas surprise is one that won't easily be forgotten! Oh it was fun!
Merry Christmas Mom and Dad!
Posted by Susan L. Prince at 7:40 PM
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Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Author: Susan L. Prince
I have one of the best and deepest friendships one could have with my friend and sister in Christ, Katie. We became quick friends when I responded to her prayer request ten years ago. From that moment on, it was apparent that God brought us together to enjoy a friendship.
We have shared many laughs and deep conversations. We have loved deeply and served one another in different ways. We studied God's Word together and grew spiritually. It was a relationship that set God at the center and as a result, our friendship flourished and we both were blessed by it.
As with any relationship, they often come with struggles. Our friendship has not been immune to that, but today we can praise God because He grew us into friends, grew us through our friendship, and grows us through our struggles relationally to this day. We have been able to teach each other many things and for that I am ever thankful. It has not been an easy journey at times, but I know "that in all things God works for the good of those who love him."
Many changes have occured in both of our lives over the past few years especially; the kids have both grown and moved on, Katie is now married and living in another state, and I am living alone in this house our "framily" once shared. We are where God intends us to be at this time, and I am confident that the gift of friendship that God has given to Katie and me will continue for all our lives.
Recently I had the opportunity to share with Northbrook Church some of what I have learned through the mistakes that I made in my relationship with Katie and how I failed to yield my will to God's, especially with regard to submitting to one another and submitting to spiritual authority. This sin of failing to submit resulted in me falling out of God's will and that naturally leads to suffering dire consequences, and in my case lead me into a spiritual desert place which I have shared about before.
I shared last June on the Sisters' Weblog A Little Something I've Learned About Spiritual Authority. (it is a three part series run back to back so you can read all of it scrolling up the page.) The past few years have been difficult for both Katie and I, some of which is documented on this blog. I know some of my actions and words have been hurtful to Katie and for that I am sorry, but again, Jesus is the Lord of both of us, so in His amazing ways, He is restoring our friendship to something even better! I am forever grateful for His mercy and grace.
I want to make available to you the testimony I shared with my church on Sunday, 11/14/09. Sin had damaged my relationship with my Father, but His love is faithful and He used circumstances and His people to help open my eyes to spiritual truths that only He can teach me. You can listen to the audio file of my testimony HERE, and catch the entire message Chuck delivered HERE. Below I will include the list of six things I learned about this type of submission as a summary.
Things I learned about submitting to one another:
Listen to my testimony delivered to Northbrook Church for the message "Submit to One Another"
Posted by Susan L. Prince at 10:41 AM
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Thursday, November 26, 2009
Author: Katie Labels: christianity
God’s word proves itself. I need not try to prove it. It only takes one believer to test what it says and today, it proved itself to me once again. History tells of how man is doomed to repeat his mistakes over and over from Adam and Eve in the garden to Katrina Dunkin.
This morning, I cried out to Him with a broken and contrite heart. I asked forgiveness for dwelling on things that make me miserable. His Word tells us to focus on what is good and lovely, admirable...that being Him and the work He is doing and the fact that He loves me and wants me to cast all my cares upon Him.
I find myself repeating this cycle over and over. I focus on Him, I rise above my circumstances. I have peace and a wonderful testimony of His love, mercy and grace on my lips. I live a life that is attractive to those who are seeking to know Christ. They want what I have. I feel no need to defend myself because Christ is my vindication. But, then something happens and it becomes my focus. I lose sight of the One who loves me. The words on my mouth and the meditations of my heart are unacceptable and I find myself not dwelling in His presence…although He never leaves me. My life is not appealing to those who are seeking Christ and my testimony of Him is defeated. I get depressed, and miserable and I can’t seem to snap out of it until I realize what I’m doing and I fall on my face before God with a broken and contrite heart…Then, I find myself back in His grace, restored, whole.
This morning I found myself in that place of brokenness. I cried out to God in repentance for focusing on what makes me miserable and feeling hopeless and helpless. I asked Him to help me break out of this cycle. Then I read my devotion for the day….
“You have not cried to Me with all your hearts, but you have complained that I have not heard your prayers. As it is written ‘He [the Lord] is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him’ (Hebrews 11:6), And again: ‘You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with ALL your heart’ (Jeremiah 29:13).
Look no more to My hand to supply freely your needs when you have not humbled your hearts and cleansed your hands and come to me with the sacrifice I have required – even a broken and contrite heart. You need not expect Me to speak to you when your ears are heavy from listening to evil reports…..”
I also read, “Your eyes will not look upon My face while they are still engaged in viewing the faults and imperfections in the brethren.” Of this, I am guilty…of bitterness against my best friend and sister in Christ. I confess unforgiveness to God and everyone. I confess bitterness, and I ask for prayer…and I ask my friend to forgive me because I am full of faults and imperfections and I have no business pointing out those of others. God help me…it’s a pride thing.
Again, I must remind myself that victory is birthed from calamity…I need to stop complaining and fault finding, and trying to defend myself. I need to let God defend me..and thank God and praise Him in ALL things because He works everything for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)…that is the good I need to focus on in the midst of calamity…not the calamity. Then I will praise Him and glorify Him no matter what life throws at me…and that is what I was created to do!
“When you look to Me in truth and sincerity and repentance, you shall indeed see Me, and having seen Me, you wil look upon your brothers and sisters with love and understanding and patience knowing full well the needs in your own heart and life…”
“I will withhold my chastening rod when you turn to Me in repentance…”
“The heart that grieves over sin shall experience genuine comfort. There is nothing like it in any of the comforts of the world. If you bathe My feet in your tears, I shall clasp you to my heart in love. I cannot describe to you My love. I can only give it to you.”
This truth has been proven in my life over and over and over…and now again. His grace is truly sufficient and the only perfect love is God’s love.
I am reminded today of 1 Thessolonians 5: 16-18
Pray WITHOUT CEASING
IN EVERYTHING give thanks
Posted by Katie at 8:05 PM
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Author: Susan L. Prince Labels: entertainment
On Wednesday, November 18th, I experienced something that I had waited many years for. I drove the 2.5 hours from Jackson, TN to The Belcourt Theater in Nashville, TN to see and hear one of my favorite musical artists ever, Jennifer Knapp.
I know I wasn't the only one in the theater absolutely bubbling over with glee that Knapp is back on the stage to use the wonderful gifts and talents God has given her. The woman has been out of the music scene since 2002 when she left the stage and basically vanished from music, leaving a gaping hole in the hearts of her many die-hard fans, of which I am one.
In 2001 Katie and I had the privilege of meeting Knapp in Memphis when she was the opening act for Jars of Clay at the MidSouth Fair. While it was exciting to meet the boys of Jars, we hurried past them to get to who we really came to see! It was a blast to be able to talk with her and say "you rock!" She was kind and gracious and looked at the both of us and said "this is great!" while she listened to us share about the impact her music has had on us and shared small bits of testimony. It is a memory I hold very dear.
Since the day Knapp re-entered the music world I have been following her on Twitter and MySpace. People keep encouraging her to do the Facebook thing, but apparently with all the imposters out there, she has run into some trouble "proving" she is indeed the real JK. You better know I will be her "friend" as soon as I learn she's on FB!
I received a tweet one day from Knapp that she would be performing at The Belcourt and I was all over that! I wanted to go see her, but there are some logistical things to consider. I would be working that day, need to drive the 2.5 hours to Nashville, back again and work the next day. I had made prior arrangements to have Friday off that week to see Donald Miller (author of Blue Like Jazz) so I was not privy to another day off. I wondered if I could handle all the traveling and work and all my other commitments that week. Also, I really would have liked to have Katie go with me, but now she is married and living in Alabama, starting a new job, too, so that didn't seem like a possibility. This would leave me driving back and forth alone and attending the concert by myself.
I posted on FB about the concert and that I would be going alone, and my friend Debbie saw that post. She inquired about when and where and while we shot posts back and forth, she visited The Belcourt Theater online, bought tickets spontaneously, and came back with "I'm going, too!". So, we had our first road trip together to go see Jennifer Knapp! It was so much fun!
Knapp received a standing ovation as soon as she stepped on stage. The place was energized with fans all excited that she was about to play only her third show in seven years. She opened with "A Little More" and another familiar tune and the place was all abuzz with enthusiasm!
Knapp made it no secret that she felt a bit inept on the stage. She was obviously very rusty and awkward not knowing where to place herself, "what to do with her hands", and failing to "be cool" and flick a pic into the audience. She poked fun at herself for not really getting into the "rock and roller" thing and said "I can't even be cool and flick a guitar pic right" and as she tried the thing fell at her feet. She tried again and it dropped in front of her. It was hilarious!
An audience member called out and asked for a pic and Knapp obliged. As she was about to flick it in that direction the audience member said "let me come up and get it". We all laughed as Knapp nodded and said ok, walked to the edge of the stage where she handed off the pic to the fan who came up to retrieve it. It was classic! I laughed!
Thing is, none of us fans care how awkward and rusty Knapp is on the stage. All we cared about was the fact she was there playing her inspired music for us. I loved the performance, and in fact, the awkwardness visually just made it all the more endearing to me. It was raw and it was REAL. It was Jennifer Knapp!
She has such a rapport with the fans and it was like having a close friend visit, chatting over song in the living room. I adored her performance. She played some old familiar tunes and invited Amy Courts to sing with her on some stuff and that was absolutely wonderful. Most of the evening however we were introduced to new stuff Knapp has written. What a treat! After all these years, hearing new stuff was amazing! The new songs have the Knapp familiarity, yet they are new and fresh, and I was all giddy! You can hear two new songs on her Myspace, "Letting Go" and "Mr. Gray" which represent her sound very well.
I am so looking forward to her new album which is tentatively set for a release early in 2010. After getting a sneak preview of the new songs, I can NOT wait for this CD to drop! It is going to be amazing and Knapp will not be playing such small venues much longer.
I plan to get to her every performance within a reasonable driving distance. Hopefully, one of these day, Katie and I both will attend her show together. It will be a double blessing that day! Woohooo!
Posted by Susan L. Prince at 10:58 AM
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The last 2 years of my life have been what seems to be a trail of one calamity after another. I have battled spiritually until I have found myself completely on the brink of a mental/spiritual breakdown. But instead of collapsing into oblivion of mental illness, I ran to my Father and collapsed in His arms. I battle…this warfare…daily and I am not so blind as to believe this struggle will ever end this side of heaven. This is life on Earth… a preparation and teaching time for eternal life with God. Labels: christianity
Calamity teaches us how loved we are and that God is always there, in control and always with us. It teaches us how much we need Him and that He is the only One we can truly depend on always. The biggest thing I am learning is said quite perfectly in my devotional book, “Come Away my Beloved” by Frances J. Roberts. One sentence sums it all up in a nutshell….
“There can be no permanent loss in the life of My children, for out of the seeds of every calamity rises a whole crop of new victories.”
The author writes from God’s perspective, as if He is talking to his children…through His love letter…where He really does talk to us. It goes on to read…
“[This] is the way I have made it. The greatest evidence of this truth is Calvary.”
This is His story...for His glory....
I am experiencing a new crop of victories birthed from the chain of heart breaking events. He is healing me…and growing me…and blessing me….slowly but surely and eventually, completely.
I only want Him to receive the glory for the great things He has done. Apart from Him I am nothing and I can do nothing…but in Him…all things are possible.
By God’s grace I have a new and wonderful victory that keeps multiplying….I am Mrs. Katrina Dunkin!
Posted by Katie at 6:31 PM
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Sunday, November 01, 2009
Author: Susan L. Prince
I awakened this morning like I do each Sunday, although this day I was not working and looked forward to heading to Northbrook Church to gather with my church family and worship together. Northbrook has been my home church since 2001, so I have a large family!
There are many things going on personally in my head and heart that I can't share here, but I will share some things today because my experience at church was so profound. It is difficult sometimes to share this stuff because what is so deep and meaningful to me may sound trivial and "stupid" to the reader, but it is a risk I am going to take. This blog is meant to glorify God and today He really did surprise me with some things and I just need to document it in some way.
When I walked in the door at Northbrook this morning I was greeted by name with smiles and hugs from my brothers and sisters in Christ. It was such a warm feeling of love in the air. :) It just seems sweeter now that I live alone to have people genuinely happy to see me.
I chatted some and then headed in to take my seat, third row in the section on the right side, second chair in from the aisle on the left. I noticed a couple behind me that I had not met so I introduced myself and met Gina and Raymond. I said "hello" to a few other family members and watched as other Northbrookers made their way over to greet Gina and Raymond. It made me remember my first visit to Northbrook and how I immediately felt loved. I hope Gina and Raymond experienced some of that today.
I took my seat again and observed that the elements were reverently on display at the front. Honestly, I have not partaken in the sharing the Lord's Supper the past few times the opportunity presented itself. I chose not to partake on those occasions because my heart just wasn't "right". The Lord's Supper is something I revere and take very seriously. There are times I literally shake when I hold the elements and consider what Jesus Christ did for me on that cross and think about how much love it took to stay on that cross, suffering and dying. I think hold me Jesus, I'm shaking like a leaf.
When I saw that my Northbrook family would be sharing in the Lord's Supper today, before the service started I sat and reflected at my seat. I was thinking that my heart is there, it is ready, and it is His. I thought, today I will be able to partake.
The service started with a single voice singing strains of a hymn and then we heard scripture read by many different people and children. All these scriptures shared the truth about God's love and how much He does love us. It was impactful to me because I had already been led to ponder all that.
As the praise and worship music started by the band on stage, the wife of one of the band members came up next to me and asked if she and her family could sit in the row of seats next to me. Of course! So, I quickly moved my stuff from the seat that was to my right, but realized that wasn't quite enough room and then I had to leave "my" seat and move to the seat on the end.
This doesn't seem like a big deal, but to me it was. It was a very big deal. That end seat was "Katie's". That was my friend Katie's seat. I sat next to her for eight years as she worshiped. So, it felt weird. It felt so different to sit there, in "Katie's seat". I was somewhat befuddled.
When the band finished, the woman's husband came and sat next to his wife, which was next to me, in "my" seat.
Suddenly a wave of emotion overcame me because it was now "official"; the era has come to an end. My entire framily is gone and Katie wasn't there and life is marching on. I've even been "kicked out" of my seat. It was symbolic. It really got to me. I think it is finally sinking in how different my life is now. I know the both of us are in God's will, and that is all good, but my heart has finally accepted that I am enduring a major life adjustment. In a way it really surprised how it all started to hit me. My life as I knew it is over. God is moving me onto new things. God is moving Katie onto new things.
Chuck, my pastor, then stood before us to present the elements, that which represents Christ's body and blood. My eyes were already welling up and as Chuck began to share a word with us, he got choked up. He couldn't speak because he was overcome with emotion. I have seen this in him before when we partake in the Lord's Supper. It is a very meaningful time and it seemed extra special today for some reason; at least it was for me.
When Chuck finally spoke he said "Have you ever just been so overcome with the realization that you are loved?" He continued on to share that he feels that way when we share in communion, when he thinks about his family, when he thinks about the church, when he thinks about his wife, etc. It was impactful to me because I was really feeling the love today. As soon as I entered the Gathering Place, brothers greeted me, I found sisters to get hugs from and talk with, listened to people share about how much God loves me and then I was about to do something that Christ commanded us to do in order to remember His sacrifice, which was totally done out of absolute, never-ending, pure love for me.
It was powerful. God reminded me that Christ took on the form of a man for me. He is the Almighty, yet He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. Can you imagine confining yourself to live in a feeble body covered with skin, when you are an omnipotent, eternal being? As a man he endured the hardships of life we all deal with, and much more. He lived a perfect life and then died a death like any common criminal of that day. The people who cheered Him waving palm branches as He entered the city at the beginning of the week were sorely disappointed by him by the end of the week and even spat on him and cursed Him. Then He laid down His life. Yes, man crucified Him, but that would not have happened without his permission. He literally laid his life down! He did that for me. For YOU! Bloggles the mind!
That is true love. Agape love. He died for the very people that spit on Him, curse His name, and nailed Him to a tree. He died for me. Me.
So, I sat reflecting on that as well as the framily that I was so desperately missing, knowing that I have loved deeply and knowing that I am loved deeply. It was so very humbling.
Chuck asked anyone willing to serve to come up and pass out the elements and so I took of the bread and I took the cup. We waited to eat together and then to share of the drink. As I crushed the bread between my teeth, I envisioned the body of my Savior, broken and dying as He hung on a cross, and as I drank of the cup I understand that He poured his blood out as a sacrifice for my sin.
After sharing the Lord's Supper Chuck delivered an inspired message on the scripture about Jesus washing the disciple's feet. I want to share more about that in another post, but one thing that stuck with me is something Chuck said about foot washing, he said "it is humbling on both sides of the water."
It was an emotional day for me as I remember life and what it was like these past ten years, and how it is now and that I can trust God for a future rich with opportunities to serve Him.
Posted by Susan L. Prince at 9:49 PM
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Well, it happened. The sisters no longer live in the same home. Although our roles are changing, our status as sisters in Christ remains forever. As of next Saturday, November 7th, 2009, this sister will be marching to wedding bells! God gave me beauty for ashes and now I will be married and I will have a new name...just like another sister in Christ prophesied to me back in March, just before I met my fiance. I was given the first part of Isaiah 62 which God had laid on her heart to give to me that day. I had no idea what it meant at the time but it is all very clear to me now as I am watching that prophesy unfold! Glory to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He has given me beauty for ashes. Labels: Personal Interest
Labels: Personal Interest
Posted by Katie at 7:11 PM
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Saturday, October 03, 2009
Author: Susan L. Prince
"I'm a hiker!"
This announcement comes because I completed a total of thirteen miles of trails in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These were all day hikes, which is a term I learned on this trip to The Smokies. Day hikes are, get this, hikes one does during the day! And they are not too long that they can't be completed within a day. Oh yeah! I have the terminology down! Uh-huh!
Oh, I also learned what a "sherpa" is, and teased Ellen that I was her sherpa. Actually I was more of a mule. A sherpa is a guide, I didn't guide, I carried the backpack. LOL
So I was advised to purchase special socks for hiking, socks that will wick moisture. Yep! Listen to me and my bad hiker lingo! I learned that these socks help keep the feet dry and prevent blisters. I had happy feet on this trip and I am thankful to my friend for preparing me so well.
I also had some all-terrain hiking boots which are of utmost importance when it is wet and muddy while walking rocky trails. They also lended support to my ankles which have been sprained so many times that they have little support of their own.
I got to use a walking stick, or hiking pole, as well! Woohooo! This thing was an essential because it really helps to steady your gait while walking on slippery rock surfaces and uneven terrain.
It had rained many days prior to our trip to the mountains and threatened to rain the entire time we were there, so I prepared by taking a good rain jacket. It served me well and kept me dry the first couple of days when it rained some. Thankfully, the majority of the rain cleared out for our last two days and only a short spontaneous shower crept up now and then. The weather was quite cooperative afterall.
A hat is also a good idea for many reasons. It can keep the sun off of your head to help keep you cooler and for me, my ballcap helped shield my glasses from the rain. I can't see a thing without my glasses, so I have to wear them in the rain and that doesn't always work out so well. A hat will also protect you from ticks that fall from the trees onto your head.
One more essential thing for the hiker; the backpack. We filled that pack with water which is something you should never go without on a hiking trip. We packed plenty of water and other food that would provide energy for climbing the steep, strenous mountain sides. My friend Ellen also packed things like a First Aid kit, flashlight and a whistle in case we had a mishap and needed help.
I learned a lot on my first real hiking adventure. Most of all I learned that I LOVE IT! I will go back someday. I can't wait to share the experience with Katie! It's gonna be so grand!
The previous post has some pictures from the adventure on my Flickr and you can also see more pics on Facebook; here, here and here.
Posted by Susan L. Prince at 11:35 PM
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Author - Susan L. Prince
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
When we were driving up through The Great Smoky Mountains I caught a quick glimpse of a beautiful sight through a very small opening between the trees. It was just enough for me to get a quick glance at the scene, but still left me ignorant of what was to come and what I was about to see.
As we neared the top I was getting eager to get out of the confines of the vehicle we were in to behold a scene painted by the hand of God. I leaped from the car as soon as we parked and I surveyed what was before me. I stood there speechless, looking out over the expanse of mountain tops peering up through cloud cover that left me without words.
Now and then I would muster a simple "wow". "WOW!" That was about all I could come up with.
I thought about how my friend Ellen pointed out to me one day that everything God created is visually pleasing. What I saw that morning blows visually pleasing out of the water! It was stunning! Absolutely amazing! There are no adjectives to adequately describe what I witnessed that morning. I could barely breathe I was so astounded.
I kept imagining the Spirit of God hovering there.
Below are more pictures of our trip to The Smokies on Flickr.
Posted by Susan L. Prince at 10:46 PM
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Saturday, September 26, 2009
Author: Susan L. Prince Labels: Personal Interest
I am alone.
Now. By myself in this house.
I feel weak. Poor. Broken.
A framily once resided here. We shared this home and experienced many things together in these almost nine years.
I can remember watching the neighborhood kids play in the backyard with Justin and Tiffany. I was privileged to watch the pick up soccer match between friends.
The dogwood, and Justin climbing in it and sitting there in the midst of the pure, white spring blooms. The boy loved that tree.
Now and then I hear strains of The Sound of Music and am reminded about how Tiff would watch that musical over and over and over again driving us all crazy as she would not stop singing it. Tiffany rarely stopped singing. Or making me laugh.
I watched Katie earn two degrees and graduate from Union University with honors last spring. I've seen her do what it takes to raise her kids to the best of her ability, sacrificing many material things to see to it they had a good education and everything they needed.
Katie, the best friend I've ever known, is gone now and will be married in November.
Justin is in the Navy.
Tiffany in Alabama with her dad.
These people have made imprints on my heart that I carry with me always. It was not always easy, and in fact, the past few years have been difficult, but there is restoration and there is love. All is good. God is working it all out for good, for His glory.
I understand that the season of our framily sharing this home is now over and a new one has begun. God has moved us all in different directions. I am making the adjustments and embracing the future.
God has always taken care of me and He'll continue to do just that.
I'm gonna take some time to hurt though. Nothing wrong with a little hurt.
Labels: Personal Interest
Posted by Susan L. Prince at 9:19 PM
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Sunday, September 13, 2009
Author: Katie Labels: christianity
This blog is supposed to be about what God is doing in the lives of two sisters. The lack of posts may convey a message that He isn't doing anything. To the contrary, He is doing much. What He is doing is taking these two sisters down different paths in life. One of us moved on some time ago...the other is finally aware of what is going on...duh...and trying to do adjust and do the same.
Letting go is not easy but in life there is a time, a season, and a purpose for everything and He works everything out for good! The season for the "Sisters" has passed. As for this sister...I am getting married! This is very very good.
So, I guess this "disconnect" as we take two different roads explains the lack of posting seen here at the Sisters' Weblog. What an awesome adventure and journey we have travelled. Now that our paths are going in different directions, for this sister...the taste is bittersweet because it is sad to see our journey together come to an end...it was so sudden and unexpected... but it is so sweet because God is at work all around us every day and nothing happens that He is unaware of.
One final word of encouragement for any readers who still may be with us....
All I can say is trust Him even when things don't look like you think they should..especially during times when everything seems hopeless. His love never fails. People come and go in life, God gives and takes away according to His own good purpose. He is the one sure constant and His love is steadfast...always. He is everything we need to get through a life filled with unexpected twists and turns. Apart from Him we can do nothing.
One thing I have learned more than anything through all the experiences written about about in our blog and more.....this life...my life...life itself...it's about one relationship and one Person...God. I will continue to strive to live in a way that brings Him glory. I will fail at times...but then I will grow. This is the good of Romans 8:28. My suffering is what makes me like Christ and I want to be like Him so I will learn to find joy and praise Him during those hard times that purify, mold, and grow me more into His likeness...this is good. And as for suffering...it only lasts for a night... I can get through the difficult times by remembering that joy always comes in the "mourning" and in the morning.
Each day brings with it new trials and new blessings. The great news is that we can focus on the blessings as we go through the trials...and count the trials as blessings as they mold us more into the loving, holy character of Christ. It's not easy to do this...but with God all things are possible..but we must abide in Him because apart fron Him we can do nothing.
My prayer is that He will manifest Himself you, beloved readers and that you will understand the surpassing greatness of Jesus Christ and that God will fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. It is our hope (I think I can speak for Sue as well) that the posts you have read on this blog have helped point you in that direction.
Philippians 3: 7-14
7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Many of you have been such as source of wisdom, challenge, comfort, encouragement and growth to us over the years. Thank you..each and every one for your contributions. God bless you. Amen.
Posted by Katie at 2:52 PM
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Posted by Katie at 9:26 AM
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Thursday, July 30, 2009
This is a link to my daily devotion. I found it interesting that it seems to follow up on what I posted yesterday...for those who might be confused....I hope it helps.
Posted by Katie at 9:15 AM
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Fellowshipping in the sufferings of Christ….
This is a blessing but it doesn’t always feel like it because what it means is that I have to be willing to be wrongfully accused, be willing to take on the punishment of those who persecute me. I must be willing to experience rejection from those I love the most (excruciating)…and I have to understand that often I will be the last on the list of important relationships/people in the lives of those I love. I have to be willing to accept that the people I love will be too busy to spend time with me and that they might see me as a fairy godmother of some sorts…only there to meet their needs, hear their requests, and make them as comfortable as they desire to be…to receive praise when I do something that makes them feel good, ignored when everything is going well, and cursed when I don't give them what they want or think they need. I am learning how much God suffers at my hand every day because everything I am experiencing is what He goes through because of me. I reject, I get too busy doing things that don't matter and focusing on things that are temporal and will never love me back to the neglect of my relationship with Christ who truly loves me. I get angry when things don't go my way. I ignore Him when I am comfortable...and He takes it. His love doesn't waiver or become more or less. I want to love like that...but it hurts so bad.
So, I ask myself…how can this be good for me? The pain is excruciating and tests my endurance and ability to stand strong in my faith every single day. Why do I continue to ask God to allow me to experience the suffering of Christ? Because It allows me to better grasp how deep and wide and far the love of God reaches for me. This is the glory that comes from the suffering…the glory of God. I experience His love and love others the way He does... like I cannot unless I am willing to accept this call…and so when I find myself in a place where I want to throw in the towel…I will not give up. I will trudge forward and press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
So even in the midst of this suffering…my God…I will try my best not to hang my head low. I will strive to not complain. I will continue to praise You! I will rejoice in the love I am experiencing in the midst of it all…I can do this because I know, Father that You are bigger than all of it and that the joy of the Lord is my strength. I praise You for this call to fellowship. Suffering is the path to truly experiencing Your love...a love that is beyond human comprehension and can be found only in You. I cannot represent you accurately to the lost unless I experience accurately the cross.
The price I pay is nothing compared to the price You have paid. Help me to stand.
Posted by Katie at 10:47 AM
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Monday, July 27, 2009
Every year God gives me an area of my life to focus on...one that needs growth. This year He gave me joy. No, He did not make me happy (which is what I thought would happen when I understood where He was planning to work in my life). I expected that finally, everything in my life was going to come together and all the things I have been praying for would all fall into place and finally I would have happiness.
I should have known better. Happiness is temporary. Joy is forever. If I have learned anything over the last several years, I have learned that His ways and thoughts are most certainly not like mine. So, after I returned from the retreat in which I discovered the theme of my life this year, I suffered many many attacks on my faith which resulted in great loss in many ways. However, I am learning in the loss that there is so much more to gain.
I am learning that I trust in circumstances and relationships too much...earthly things that I am learning more and more every day are very temporal. Even the strongest relationships can change in a moment's notice and be lost forever. Circumstances rise and fall with every change of wind and my emotions rise and fall with them.
God is teaching me that true joy does not depend on circumstances or earthly relationships...or any eartly thing for that matter. Joy is found hidden deep beneath the circumstances and in only one relationship. I will have joy when I find that place deep within and let my relationship with Christ be at the core of my being and the complete source of my joy...not people...not circumstances.
I am also learning that it doesn't happen overnight. I still have ups and downs but the hills and valleys of this roller coaster ride are becoming smaller and smoother...yet I know the ride isn't over yet. I still fear loss and I still have a broken heart and I still focus too much on relationships that really shouldn't matter at the expense of those that should matter more. I try to hold on to what I should let go of...what doesn't belong to me nor ever did to begin with. I want Philippians 3: 8-10 to be my testimony.
I want to live to consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I want to consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death....
This is the path to joy...the path through suffering...it begins with dying to my flesh...to selfishness. The more I strive to reach this place...the more I see how selfish I really am. God, help me to die in a way that brings You glory and resurrect me to find eternal and consistent joy in You and You alone. I know this road will carry me through suffering and as much as it already hurts...I know that I will find strength in Christ and joy in praise. And so I praise you for this storm that will lead me on the path to pure joy that is only found in You. Mold me...strengthen me...make me holy that I can be a purer image of You. To You be the glory for the work that You never cease doing until it has been completed. For You work all things for good as you mold those who love You and are called according to Your purpose.. into Your perfect image! I am called. I am being purified. I am growing. I am being emptied. It hurts...a lot...but I shall continue to reach for the goal which is in Christ. Blessed be the name of the Lord!
Posted by Katie at 5:57 PM
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Thursday, July 16, 2009
Author: Susan L. Prince
I have much bigger issues than Internet addiction and a cluttered life.
I have sin.
It is called bitterness.
It is eating me alive and destroying relationships.
Pray for me.
Posted by Susan L. Prince at 6:01 PM
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