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  • Friday, January 18, 2019 3:16 PM | Joycelyn Lewis

    In 2014 I had my thyroid removed and a couple of the side effects is hoarseness and not being able to project my voice.  You can imagine how difficult it was for me because I am a talker and I am a teacher. Those side effects made it difficult for me to do both.  The fact that I am a former speech therapist didn't  even guard against my feelings of frustration when I notice that I had been talking too much and it was causing my voice to become weaker.

    While I was recovering from my thyroid surgery my voice became too hoarse for me to speak, so I had to text.  I prayed about this area of frustration in my life I asked the Lord "What are you trying to reveal to me through this experience?"  I asked because I had discovered that I was picking and choosing who I would text and who I would talk to.  This led me to discover several principles that I could take away from this experience.  Perhaps it will help you to discern when you should use your voice.  

     The definition of VALUE value:  to consider with respect to worth, excellence, usefulness, or importance; to regard or esteem highly:(taken from Webster's Dictionary)

    My Lessons:   

    “Don’t use your voice to talk with people who do not value what you have to say. When you are silent with those people (the ones who do not value your voice) your voice will be stronger when those who value your words need to hear you speak.”  This “valuing” of your voice is not about agreeing with what you say, but a willingness to consider what you’ve said.”

    other revelations:  

    • Your voice is never wasted when you are speaking with someone who is willing to listen.  Even if the two of you disagree. 
    • Choose wisely to whom you give the strength of your voice to.  
    • Being silent is oftentimes the best way to give strength to your voice so that when you speak, your voice is strong.  
    • People who value your voice will help you protect your voice when necessary.  

    What is the invitation?  The invitation is to only speak when you are in the company of someone who values what you have to say.  This requires you to wait and to listen to the Holy Spirit say, "you can use your voice now". 

  • Wednesday, November 21, 2018 11:49 AM | Vache King

    Have you ever already set your mind to how something would be; only for God to completely change your plans?  Well, that was me last Friday on my way to Virginia to watch my son play ball.  I had in my mind, I would spend “some” time with God on the way down there, the rest of time talking on the phone.  But of course, as I got started on the highway, I quickly learned the reception would not allow me to have a conversation to anyone; needless to say, my time spent with the Lord, was going to be way more than originally planned. 

    Before my phone cut out, I was able to share with my girlfriend, food I had the night before which tasted kind of funny, did not set well with my stomach, and I had been feeling bad.  I had no idea how pivotable that meal would be on my 4-hour journey to Virginia.  This one is for free…We have to be careful and cautious of what we put into our bodies; sometimes the food is great going down, but a whole other experience the days after.  That is how we are with our life decisions, right?  I mean, we make some decisions that are pleasant to us at that particular moment of our life and they feel good to the flesh; however, the consequences the days after are a whole other experience. 

    Remember, I mentioned the food was funny tasting? Well, we are constantly sent signs from God not to continue with certain actions, BUT because we like the way it feels for the moment, we continue in the activity and ignore the signs…HMMMMM…  Moving on…cause this was not even the lesson within the story, just a bonus!

    Continuing on…so I am on the highway and since my phone conversation was interrupted by no reception, I now am spending some time with the Lord.  Travel with me.  Yes, my intent was to spend time with Him; however, on my terms and in my time.  This is our approach sometimes with the Lord, huh, our terms, when we “feel like it.”  Anyhow, I proceeded to listen to a sermon series of Pastor Mike, from Transformation Church in Oklahoma,  called “Planted Not Buried.”  I was so encouraged through in this segment of how Gideon’s obedience to God allowed him to conquer the Midianites through faith; Judges 6-8.  During the sermon, I got hit with major stomach pains.  And I mean unbearable.  Now mind you, I am on the highway, passing through Clay City, Kentucky, not a restaurant, hotel, nothing in plain sight; but I am experiencing this pain beyond belief.

    Being I was unable to pull over anywhere, I began to talk to the Lord.  “Lord, now You know I am not feeling well, right?  You know there is not a stopping point in sight and I can’t pull over?”  Then I got specific, you know how we do.  “Lord, I would really appreciate it if you could give me a clean hotel to stop at, cause I am really not feeling well.”   On my way looking for the hotel to appear, because that is what I asked for, I missed the multiple restaurants along the way.  STOP!  There are many times God is answering our prayers, but due to our specific expectations looking for God to respond a certain way, we miss Him.  His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts; Isaiah 55:8. To make a long story short, the pains became so bad, I ended up at a gas station.  I will leave the rest to your imagination…but it was NOT a pleasant experience. 

    Forwarding ahead, I am only an hour and a half into the drive and get sick again.  I am like WHAT!!  I cannot have another experience like before, but was feeling so bad, I began to second guess this trip all together.  I mean, I was by myself, my husband wasn’t able to get off, my other son was unable to go, it’s a total of four hours away, not to mention, the drive back home would be late, and OH, there are all types of hills and valleys.  Turning around at this point, is a viable option, right?

    Isn’t that how we are?  Extremely excited to start the journey and anxiously anticipating the arrival, but don’t want to experience the travel to get there?  How many times have we allowed our excuses (being by ourselves, it’s too far, it’s too hard), the valleys, the twists, and turns, prevent us from moving forward?  Here I was knowing my end destination but had become so discouraged in how I was feeling, my end destination seemed distant.  For a quick moment, I was ok to turn around, not completing my course, and giving up.  God never told us our journey would be easy or comfortable, but He did promise He would never leave or forsake us; Hebrews 13:5.

    With the pain and discomfort, I was feeling, the Lord spoke to me saying while you are on the journey, I have called you to, it doesn’t matter how many times I have to stop.  Just don’t stop completely until you get to your destination.  The things that He has deposited into me, He will see through till completion; Philippians 1:6.  Yes, there will be peaks and valleys, good and bad, but I am to press on toward the goal to win the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus; Philippians 3:14. 

    Be encouraged, He didn’t call me or you to quit, but to continue on the journey through Christ by Faith!

  • Thursday, July 12, 2018 8:19 PM | Equipping Lydia Administrator (Administrator)

    It is hard to put into words how my time with Equipping Lydia has truly impacted my life. I know the impact will continue for years to come as I have not fully unpacked every facet yet. 

    I should start with my first encounter with this ministry. I came in to meet with Joycelyn. We began talking about my life and future ministry. Some areas surfaced that I had been blinded to in my own life. You know the passage about having the plank in your own eye, well that was me. I had struggled with certain aspects in my life specifically grace and rejection. The two seemed at odds with one another. As we talked more, it was as if a light had been shined on a deep and dark area in my life. It was obvious to me that it was the work of the enemy to keep me in the dark, lonely, and volatile place as long as possible. Throughout my time with Equipping Lydia and meeting with Joycelyn, I learned the true nature of God. I had had it all wrong for so long. Because I had rejected myself and so many others had rejected me, I assumed that God must have done so as well. 

    It was around this time I had my first experience with healing prayer. I was still struggling through a breakup and was in a season of depression during my time in seminary. I felt so alone and wanted so badly to leave. As much as it hurt I knew God had a plan for my life and wanted me to be at Asbury, even when it didn’t fully make sense. In one of my classes I met a woman who offered to pray with me. I was so open to anyone helping that I didn’t even have to question it like I normally would. She lead me through a prayer that delved deep into my past. We went to the deep dark places that we often try to hide. And it was in those places that healing came. I couldn’t even explain what happened. It was a transformation and it was also a time where truth penetrated my heart. This initial healing was the springboard for the healing that would occur through Equipping Lydia. For three years of seminary I had learned a great deal intellectually. I had taken my challenging classes and struggled with many of them. But it was spiritual formation that was an area I had not had the pleasure to learn about. I had the opportunity to lead a spiritual formation group which I learned more from my shortcomings than any forms of so-called success. I learned about what it looks like when no one comes and how to not equate that with being a failure. I learned that creating a space for people to be heard and to hear from the Holy Spirit is a gift. I also learned that you never know when it was intended for no one to come so that I could have time alone with the Lord. Learning to listen is one of the areas I never really paid attention to. I am a talker through and through. But I needed to learn how to quiet myself and listen to others and listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd. And when you start listening, you start hearing. God wants to speak to you and lavishes his love on every facet of your life. And once you begin to hear that voice you crave it and yearn for it. When you don’t hear it, you miss it. It is as if a piece of yourself is missing. 

    Another aspect I learned is trusting that I heard the voice of God. I grew in my understanding of discernment. However, this is an area where there is always room for growth. It is easy at times to get mad if you may have heard the voice wrong or things didn’t pan out the way you would like them to. This is an area I am still working on. But the times I cling to are the retreats that I attended. The voice of God was so tangible on those retreats. I had the privilege to experience color prayer and to serve as a prayer partner. I could not believe the intimacy that comes from praying for complete strangers who become Sisters in Faith. I will always cherish the time I had with Equipping Lydia. I don’t think I will ever view the color purple the same way. For me, royal purple immediately triggers a connection to Equipping Lydia. It is a royal and beautiful color. And it is one that will continue to hold great meaning in my life. And I know my life has forever been changed. This ministry is a gift and a blessing to my life and so many others. I am eternally grateful to Joycelyn and to Equipping Lydia for equipping me for ministry in ways I didn’t even know I needed. 

    Blessings to you along this journey,

    Equipping Lydia
    Mentored Ministry Student
    Spring 2018

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