Wednesday, September 14, 2016
I thought I should jot a note for anyone who might wander here... I have been going through a very hard season of pressing pretty much since August of 2015. Maybe even before that. April of 2015? I feel like at some point every year, I find myself saying, man, this has been a rough year!
I had declared at the end of 2015 that 2016 was going to be ridiculously amazing!
I am ever the believer in good and hope.
It has been hit after hit since January. I don't even have time to recover from one life upheaval before the next sets in.
But ya know what has been amazing?
NONE of it has taken me out.
None of it has sidelined me. And I've kept moving forward all the while. And though I haven't been here, I have been finding all sorts of beautiful opportunities to minister to and encourage others in so many mediums.
Turns out, This Encouragement Project is a lot bigger than I had guessed. Figures. God's big. What He calls me to is gonna be big, too. And thus, the prep season for moving into it... Has been big.
What's really cool though is that all while I'm being pressed, and the junk is getting cleaned out, I'm being refined... I'm getting chances all over the place to leave a mark. Impact this world for good. For love. For hope. And yes, the mental health aspect of the ministry is starting to come out in ways I never expected.
My work with NAMI Virginia continues. I still occasionally work on graphic design for Outside In Ministries. But beyond that, I am putting my own personal message out there. Sometimes online. Sometimes in handwritten notes to single people to remind them they're valued.
I remain stymied In one relationship as to how to proceed - that with my dad. It's so broken, I'm just letting it be. There's nothing else I can do for it right now but give it space to breathe and hope at some point, healing will come. Grace will be infused in my heart where such wreckage remains for now.
I have been writing poetry. I have been creating art. I have been tending to my soul and graciously God has allowed me to tend to the souls of others. I will continue to be faithful: where He leads, I'll follow. To that end, I've no idea how active or how large a part this blog will play or even what format the posts may evolve to take... Or how their nature may shift in response to this outgrowth of what I once thought was a very centered and straightforward mission.
So if you miss me, look out into the fields... I'm out there, sowing seeds of hope and grace, mercy and light. Wave to me, but don't take it personally if I don't get to wave back. There's so much tending and planting to be done. There are so many who need to be encouraged, lifted up, reminded they matter, they are seen... They are not just loved, but cherished!
I imagine this is the best calling I could have asked for, perfectly suited for me after all I have lived and continue to go through... I am ever so grateful for the chance to walk unabashedly in my truth, scattering bits of joy and peace along behind me wherever I go.
I may not be back for a while, but I wish you love for your soul. The kind of love that sets you free and makes you whole. I invite you to read my other writings while I'm away. Until next time, I'll be out in the field... It's a long job ahead of me, perhaps even an endless one. I can certainly imagine it will well keep me busy until He brings me home. ❤️
God bless. Be good and kind to one another in my absence.
-K. Michelle Payne
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
My time with God is precious to me;
it cannot be replaced by anything.
And His words, when I'm still and hear Him speak,
are beautiful; there's nothing quite so sweet.
My Lord himself, my treasure complete,
I find in Him all I could ever need.
And when I'm faltering and failing, weak,
I'm refreshed as I pause, lean in and seek
My time alone with my Father
can be replicated by no other.
He is an anchor for my soul.
I delight in Him; He makes me whole.
Long I wandered, vainly seeking,
in this world, craving meaning.
He bid me come, revealed to me
whose I am, in Him my real identity.
God gave my life true purpose,
And finally, my heart is
At last I exhale completely in utter peace,
this love, just so remarkable.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
...and the rain keeps falling, harder now;
You shelter me
from this and all things.
I'm protected, safe here under Your wing
as life roars and rages
seeming out of control,
and all else spirals beyond.
In You I find sweet refuge and respite
from the torrent as it rolls,
assured You'll see me through
no matter what may come.
Deep within, I have a sweet and lasting peace,
in You is all my hope.
I'm blessed beyond measure
in every circumstance,
regardless what situation should arise...
Because You are my God and King,
my Papa, my love, and soul's delight.
Abba! My one true Father!
Praise You, my all, my everything.
Thursday, May 12, 2016
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4 AMP
God, my Papa. Jesus, my sweet Savior, closest Friend, Lover of my soul, the One who completes and makes me whole. Spirit, my Helper, my Guide and Leader in all things. YOU. Beautiful Three-in-One - blessed Trinity divine... You are the desire, the utmost want of my heart and soul. None else satisfies; nothing and no one other than You can quench this thirst, the depths of my craving hunger for pure, true love and grace - for real life, abundant, free and full - for light and peace that overflows. It is YOU... and You alone.
I desire more of You
in every part of my life
with every fiber of my being.
It is You that I want...
And I praise You that You will not ever leave me lacking.
Help me come early and often to You. Help me stop hiding and running, trying to fill all these empty places with worldly balms that will never fulfill my heart's real desire.
It's You. It always has been. It always will be.
It's You I want - it's You I need. ❤️
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’”
Mark 12:30 NIV
Who crowns me with His love
and covers me with sweet grace;
Who is bigger than all my mountains
and cradles me in His loving embrace?
Who goes before me in all things;
Whose favor prepares a way?
Who upholds me in the face of adversity
and triumphantly delivers me through unashamed?
My God, my Abba! I proclaim.
My heart cries out to You alone,
for You alone can save.
My hope rests surely in You;
I find soul peace in Your name.
I hide myself away under Your wing,
meditating in Your presence night and day.
My God, my Abba! O, my righteous, holy Judge,
search my heart and know all my ways.
Cleanse and make me whole again;
right my course anew for Your sake.
I search for You and find You;
all Your promises are just and true.
Come now and fill my heart, this place;
hide not from me the glory of Your face.
“Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. [Deut. 4:29-30.]”
Jeremiah 29:13 AMP
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
As I come undone, let it be ever and only in Your hands.
Remake me entirely in Your image alone, leaving all worldliness behind, becoming Your likeness completely.
Consecrate me for Yourself. Refine and purify me. Strip me down that only You remain. Uphold me only by Your love and grace.
Saturate and satisfy me. Complete me; make me whole and new. Bring about Your plans and accomplish Your purposes for my life. Lead me on in Your will in all I say and do.
May You be glorified in and through my life and all that I am; all I become, my everything, belonging in whole, solely to You.
Thursday, May 5, 2016
I am tired. Exhausted, frustrated,
and done beyond done. My entire being wearied from drowning in distress. I have lifted my voice to heaven and God is calling out to me. I have gone to hide myself away in my Mighty Fortress, my Father. He alone is my Strength and Shield. He is the One I need.
"Hide me away.
Hide me away, my Strong Tower. Tuck me under Your wing and grant me refuge from the storm. You are my Safe Place. In You, I find comfort and Your peace restores my weary soul.
Hide me away, Papa. Protect and cover me. Watch over and hold me close. Only You can uphold me, knit me back together and make me whole.
Hide me away, my Abba God. Let me feel Your warm embrace. Help me let go so I can rest.
Yes, let me rest that I may find renewed strength and revival in You. Nurture my wounded heart as Your grace attends my soul."
... If you need me, I'll be in *witness protection* the rest of the afternoon. ❤️
Yes, I have found the One whom my soul loves;
a love so brilliant, it's beautiful.
In Him I find my everything.
I've been made new; I've been set free.
In Him, I am at last made whole;
my Love, real and true, He completes me.
He never disappoints or lets loose His grip on my soul.
His love is forever, never blinking or missing a note.
He never leaves me to wonder or flail.
He never neglects me, leaves me hanging, faltering or frail.
When worn and weary of this world,
His love refreshes and renews my all.
I rest entirely in His good and warm embrace;
there my soul finds peace before now never known.
He offers more than any one in this world
could ever give.
And because He loved me first, I give my all to Him.
He is my Beloved, and I am His.
No longer seeking, craving still, or ever left to want for anything;
I have found in Him my delight, soul rapture, and true blessedness.
My heart is full, my mind at ease,
His love washing over me continually
like a fresh and lovely, fragrant breeze.
Never left to wander on my own -
my Love, my Life, He is my Home.
All this I have in Him promised forevermore.
And it all can be yours, too; He stands now knocking at the door.
You ask His name, will you recognize Him?
I call Him Jesus, Lord and Savior, sweetest Friend.
He saved me from a life of woe,
and filled and covered all my God-shaped holes.
I hope that you will let Him in, get to know Him, and even walk with Him.
I promise not a life of roses,
but you'll not want for more surrendered to this Jesus.
He died to set you free and ever longs to hold you close.
Yes, I have found the One in whom my soul delights.
His love thrills me and gives real, abundant life.
I am off to walk and talk a while with my Lord.
He waits for you, still calling;
the choice is yours.
Even with the sky a smiling blue and sun pouring in my skylights, bright white clouds dancing along above me as I lie, I hear the faintest, long, low rumbling. Distant thunder lingers, hard to distinguish where it begins and where it ends. The ominous, unsettling messenger warns: A storm is coming. My soul stirs within me on the waiting as the unavoidable makes its approach.
Alas, I will enjoy the sunshine while it remains. Bask in the warmth as I repose. And when the storm rears its ugly head, bares its teeth to gnash at me, shows its face raw, no longer hidden away, I will find refuge in my Strong Tower. A mighty fortress, My God will uphold me as the torrent rises and the winds beat and blow. When the rain pours heavy and hard, and my flesh feels as if to fail, my heart will find shelter and safe keeping in His arms, my soul's respite in His love and grace.
Calm tranquility holds the sky for a time before ever darkening clouds roll in, all sunlight soon seemingly lost behind the threatening veil. But my heart shall not faint within me at the sight, holding fast to my hope in the face of whatever comes. My God, faithful; His word, unchanging, ever true. I will stand firm on the foundation of this Rock, this Jesus of mine. My faith, unshaken; His peace I remain resolute to retain. Clinging to His truth and light, I will stand unmoved in the midst and lift my hands in praise for He who sees me and knows my name. Though my face like to be battered by the storm ahead, determined, I lean heavy into my God, anticipating; my roots growing deeper with each trial that comes.
Though adversity sets to assault me repeatedly, I shall most certainly be delivered through triumphantly. Thus out plays the beauty of this epic grace overcoming life's opposing chaos continually; wherefore shall sing my soul forevermore God's majestic glory, my heart's true delight and most cherished melody.
Have you ever just thrown up your hands and cried out, "O Lord, my God, call into the four winds and gather all my scattered pieces together again!"
That's exactly where I was this morning.
I'm gonna be honest: life is messy. And sometimes I feel messy. Very. But God is bigger! Hallelujah!
He is bigger than the laundry, the dust, the debt, the deadlines, the death, the depression, the divorce, the stress and worry. Glory! He is bigger, and He is enthroned!
And when I pause all of my self and step out of what I'm feeling to worship Him (in the midst, as I always say) - amazing!!!
A simple chorus of Hallelujahs can realign the soul and let the Spirit move inside. A huge shift is taking place. Perspective - the focus moving off of where I am and onto who He is. There is the power, and thus I am lifted, above it all, to the higher places, right before my God.
My faith is invigorated, infused with the power of His magnificent presence while my all is attuned to His glory. And praise Jesus, all else grows strangely dim as (I'm fully aware) He's right with me in this place. I feel Him anoint me, and my heart, my cup, overflows. Yes, His goodness and mercy, they overtake me.
What divine love is this that transforms my mess into such a beautiful message of grace?
This is the power of praise and the efficacy of heartfelt prayer that connects us to the very heart of our God.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Having read my devotion (First5 by Proverbs 31 Ministries) this morning, I was encouraged to pray for a heart open to God's truth... Truth that is not always easy to hear and receive, but inherently needful to accept and internalize.
"Lord, I humbly ask that I may always be sensitive to conviction that I can readily confess & repent, seeking the Spirit's guidance on how to live in Your way. May my heart be fertile ground that all of Your truth can sink deep in and take root. May I be as soft, wet clay in Your hands, moldable and pliable as You shape me.
Please keep reminding me by Your Spirit to seek You early and often for revelation in all areas of my life - that I may be continually submitting to Your lordship and sovereign governance so I may live the full and abundant life Your Son came to give me. Help me to trust You completely.
And Lord, as You use me to present Your message to those You place in my path, set a guard on my heart from judgment when others resist Your truth. Help me to be faithful to continue to sow diligently. Let me trust You to convict and convince their hearts to repentance that I may be a messenger of grace even when my words seem to fall on ground of stone.
In Jesus' name. Amen."
This is what I prayed this morning - this is where I am.
Lord God, overwhelm me with Your love. I want to be overtaken. Thick and heavy, I want to wade deep in Your affections poured out over me. Cover me, I beg You. Rewrite my love map according to how You love me, so perfectly, completely. Saturate my life with all Your love and reminders of who You are and who I am to You. Help me to know, unmistakably, whose I am and to whom my heart belongs. Let me not be ashamed, for my hope lies in You, my God. My true Father. I cry out - I need You. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Lord, I confess (with all that's going on) I am shaken, but my faith in You is not.
I am so thankful I am not defined by manifestations or disappointments of earthly love. I am defined in You alone.
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
I received some devastating news yesterday... It shook me right to my very core. And it's just one trial in a series that has been coming at my soul to unravel me outright.
But my faith will be unshaken.
The only way I can be confident of such is a constant connection with God. I knew the instant I got the news that it was too much for me to carry. And though I wept in an emotional breakdown when it hit me, I immediately turned to prayer... Yesterday, then later in the afternoon, again in the evening and overnight in the wee hours... And still I continue. It has been and will remain a constant turning over.
This is how I prayed this morning... I share here that it may be a blessing or encouragement to some passerby:
"Lord, Lord, I am such a mess. This moment - so many emotions, so many questions, so much uncertainty. But I know it is You who holds my future. And Your plans for me are greater than what is currently in front of me. I know You will use even this to draw me nearer to You. To strip away my security in this world even as we speak. I know it is You who upholds me.
And in the face of these giants, I will keep my hope in You. I will rest in Your embrace, not striving of my own to keep up. Knowing the battle is the Lord's and not my own - I need but be still and know - know You, Your presence surrounding me, Your Spirit indwelling me.
In my utter weakness, Your strength and power are made and shown to be perfect. Let You and all You are shine through my life now, in this troubled time, and always. Less of me increasingly, and all the more of You.
Ever more, call me to Yourself in the midst and let my faith be unshaken, an immovable trust in who I know You to be and Your unending, flawless love for me.
I will take refuge in You, my God - I will find my comfort in Your peace and the power of Your mighty name. When my mind wanders and my flesh falters, I will breathe the name of Jesus and focus on my sweet Savior and His overwhelming grace. I will pause and let His mercies sweep and overtake me - wherever I am, whatever situation.
I will keep turning this over to You, my Papa God, by the Spirit guiding me. He will remind me when I grow weary to exhale and lean all the more into You.
Let me now feel the warmth of Your good and kind embrace. You anoint my head with oil as Your chosen one. I am Your precious daughter, Your beloved, Your treasure. I am highly favored and Your grace goes before me in all things and prepares Your way for me. Surely Your great goodness and mercy chase me down constantly.
I am flooded with reminders of how You love me. I lift mine eyes to You - You are my great Redeemer, my Deliverer - and You provide all just as I need.
I praise You for You are most faithful, and Your word unchanging is always true. You are my God, and my confidence rests solely and entirely in You.
Your will for my life, I ask You; lead me along Your way. In Jesus' name, Amen."
Monday, May 2, 2016
This is a confession in response to my convicted heart. Reflecting on the events of the prior week: I have pushed ahead in and of myself, and neglected to seek God FIRST in *my* plans.
It all settles in - a sober remembering that it's His work I've been called to do - not just any old thing I've come up with on my own, no matter how good the ideas or how noble my intentions might have seemed at the time. It's HIS plans I want for my life, not anything self-conceived or contrived.
This is me, seeking forgiveness and His means to redemption and restoration.
"Lord, forgive me. Have mercy on me, a sinner, out of your unfailing love for me. All these things recently I have up and taken upon myself, concerned about going about it the wrong way in and of this world, and I have neglected the most important. The one thing. I have neglected to seek You first in these endeavors.
It is no wonder I have been stressed and frustrated and worried. I have faced opposition and doubts and failure. I have not sought You in prayer or been in any way submitted to Spirit leadership in these pursuits. I have been pursuing these things rather than pursuing You.
I'm sorry. I praise You for showing me yesterday morning and for confirming today by Your word.
Help me surrender it all to You. All my plans, hopes, dreams... Any scheming I've come up with on my own. I want to please You more than anything. More than anything I've put before me, I want You.
Show me how to make these things right by Your power and grace to restore and redeem. Teach me and mold me so I can learn to come after You in all things,
Papa. I want to go where You go and join You in Your good work. Not push ahead in and of my own, in vain out of ignorance or arrogance.
I do not want to neglect our relationship for striving to achieve or "make things happen." I want to walk in trust in all things. Your plans and purposes, in your timing.
Help me, Jesus, to lay down all self, crucify the flesh, and take Your yoke upon me to come after You.
I thank You so much for showing me my errors and for Your corrections. Lead me on in Your way for my life. Your will become my very own. You, Lord, above everything. In Your perfect name, amen."
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
Faith is a gift from God, not anything we come on of ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9). It flourishes as we hear His word (Romans 10:17) and allow it to renew and transform our minds (Romans 12:2). Any who desires faith should ask of God, who responds and rewards our us as we seek Him with all our hearts (Jeremiah 29:12-13).
How Faith Transforms My Mess into My Message...
This morning I woke up and my first thoughts were that I wanted to be done. DONE. Completely done.... with all of it.
Let me put this in context: I have lived with bipolar disorder all of my life. I am 36 years old.. And that is a long time.
So this morning, I went back to sleep hoping I would feel better when I woke up, knowing that there was no one in this world that I could tell that I had woken up with suicidal feelings who wouldn't freak out and call the cops or take it upon themselves... and I didn't want anyone else to carry this burden.
I knew God knew where I was. I knew wasn't totally alone with it. So I exhaled. And I went back to bed.
I woke up a couple hours later,
and it wasn't the first thing on my mind, but within a few moments of being awake, it settled back in on me... and instead of calling someone (because there is no one I could call with this & I knew I really needed to take the express lane to prayer central) I just started to talk to Papa God out loud. Tears welled up and streamed down my cheeks as I said "I know you're not mad, and it's not that I don't love this life because I do I love this life... I'm just so tired. And it's so hard when I have these thoughts. And I know, I KNOW that you will bring something beautiful of this. I know and treasure that you work everything together for my good and that your precious promises mean that you will use even this broken hard heart place for the greater glory for your kingdom..."
And even though it's scary to share this publicly, I know You allow us to go through these trials because they're part of something bigger. And I know it's important for folks to realize when we go through trials that You are not upset that we feel, and You aren't upset when we struggle... You just want us to come to You honest and open and candid.
And I wondered as I got my vitamins out when David was writing the Psalms did he ever feel this way when he was running from Saul for his life, did he ever cry out I just want to be done... This is not what I signed up for!! And then remind himself how great his God was and how wonderful..
Did he feel this way ever after he had committed such a great sin with Bathsheba? Did he ever cry out with these words and struggle just pleading for a break because it was so hard... knowing because his faith was so strong in his God that he could come honest, raw, totally bare, not covering up the truth of his emotions, not having to pretend that it was better than it was, but being viscerally real about how he felt...
I am so thankful especially in these moments of weakness to have a mature faith that understands that I don't have to put on "big girl panties" and pretend I'm fine for my faith to be proven. My faith is not shaken in these hard places - No, these are the places where my faith SHINES!! Where You uphold me... where it's nothing but You upholding me.
These are the places where Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. These are the moments that You take my mess and make it my message. You turn my tests into my testimony.
And I just praise you for giving me the ability to go beyond my own self, being so tired and worn down of this world.. to share this... Because I KNOW there's someone out there that needs to hear it.
That is OK to have a "day" - to have the moments where we just feel broken down... and that God, our great GOD does not need us to pretend for Him, and we don't need to pretend for one another in order to prove our faith.
Our faith is shown in that we keep going even when we're honest about how hard it is.
So yes, I'm still struggling, but my faith is SOLID. I know my God is with me in this very room. In all these dark moments. And on every mountaintop. And I know that He will walk with me in every hard heart place I face. He will not only redeem my story but deliver me victorious. In all things, in every way, He is for me and He will never, not ever, let go of His hold on me. And in that I stand firm.
"You have written and redeemed my story..." 🙌🏻
This message brought to you and made possible by faith, a gift from God.
P.S. Please let me assure all who read this, sharing my words is very healing. I no longer want to die. Or to leave. I have been there before. This is very different. I get these thoughts at times.. Trailing. They're complex, and it's heavy. And after writing all that, it's more than I have words for at the moment. But this morning when I woke up... Yes, it was all too much. Trust me, and thank you for your love and prayers. I am not going anywhere ❤️ God has so much left to do through this life... 🙌🏻 Sharing this candidly is just part of being faithful to the ministry He's growing in my life. God bless y'all. 💗
Text for this blog © K. Michelle Payne 2016
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Saturday, April 2, 2016
We are God's set apart people. We have been called to be in the world but not of it. Throughout scripture we find God's expressed longing for our hearts to be aligned with Him so that we can pour out His love as we walk, serve, and love others - persevering where we are planted - so that others may know this Jesus who gives us hope, who gives us life.
"God chooses the times & places we live."
We are intentionally planted with purpose to walks and serve and love others.. To persevere where we are placed so others can see Christ in us not because we are preaching but because we are loving - others will see the hope and be drawn in the spirit to God himself, and He is so pleased. Even if I never see the fruit, the results, God is faithful... I plant the seed - I'm the messenger of grace, and I trust God to see through every good work to completion (not just in me but in all that I sow). I can thereby let go of the worry & work and move in trust, knowing God is in control as I submit & come alongside and partner with Papa where He is already at work. ❤️
Oh, what joy! To know I don't have to wring my hands & worry or fret, but just be faithful to plant and tend as I go - stay tethered to and grafted in to my Jesus & His power will accomplish the *work* - the conviction, the changing of hearts... All of it. I just need to be faithful with what's in front of me, my part. I'm not meant to accomplish it all... Whenever I'm stressed or feeling strained (in my kingdom work, following through in my calling), I need to do a serious spirit check and make sure I'm not falling into working in the flesh & trying to make more happen than what God has put before me to do.
I do my part & let God be God. That's how it's designed. That's how it works best for all involved, including the recipients of this ministry... That's what pleases His heart.
I am a messenger of grace. I'm not the provider of it. I'm not the compeller to take hold of it... I'm just tasked to walk fully in it and share it freely wherever I go.
© K. Michelle Payne 2016
[about this blog]
© K. Michelle Payne 2016
[about this blog]