Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Even When It Hurts {Praise Song} : Hillsong United

take this fainted heart
take these tainted hands
wash me in Your love
come like grace again

even when my strength is lost
I'll praise You
even when I have no song
I'll praise You
even when it's hard to find the words
louder then I'll sing Your praise

I will only sing Your praise

take this mountain weight
take these ocean tears
hold me through the trial
come like hope again

even when the fight seems lost
I'll praise You
even when it hurts like hell
I'll praise You
even when it makes no sense to sing
louder then I'll sing Your praise

I will only sing Your praise

and my heart burns only for You
You are all You are all I want
and my soul waits only for You
and I will sing till the morning has come

Lord  my heart burns only for You
You are all You are all I want
and my soul waits only for You
and I will sing till the miracle comes

I will only sing Your praise

even when the morning comes
I'll praise You
even when the fight is won
I'll praise You
even when my time on earth is done
louder then I'll sing your praise

I will only sing Your praise

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Arizona Experience {2015}

Thanks to everyone who prayed for us while were in Arizona this summer.  It was an amazing trip for our group and for the Navajos we visited.  Below is what our family shared with our church about our time there.  You can listen to the entire Arizona Experience here {07/12/15}:
Bill - 00:00, 08:47, 21:14, 47:43, 1:01:52
Espy - 08:02
Gianna - 20:14
Grace - 52:17
Otis - 58:32

Good morning.
My name is Espy Manning, and I’m 11 years old. 
I have been on this trip for 3 years. 
I first would like to thank you for your love and support. 
My favorite part of Arizona had to be the VBS.
Even when I had to switch to K5-1st, it was still amazing.
Now I think that if I didn’t switch, I wouldn’t have met those wonderful kids in that class.
What I did not like was when I saw the kids being rude, and that brings me to what I learned.
I learned a lot about patience. 
I had to be patient with my sister.
I had to be patient with the kids.
But more importantly, I had to patient with God.
Now that I’m home, I think God wants me to do exactly what I did there:
Love Everyone.

My name is Gianna Manning, and I’m 9 years old.
This is my first year going to Arizona. 
I learned that Navajo kids and adults don’t have everyting that we have
so it’s nice to treat them with respect and kindness.
My favorite part of the trip was VBS and playing with the kids.
Thank you for all your help and prayers.

Good morning, church - my name is Grace, but I'm actually going to be sharing some thoughts from Regan Mosely.  We're so thankful that she was able to go on this trip with us even after her recent move to Louisiana.  So, from Regan:

"I've been going on this trip since I was 12 years old, and this was by far the hardest year. I had no idea what I was expecting to learn this time. I feel like God really showed me how selfish I am, and how amazing he can be. Dropping kids off at a different house every night bc they couldn't go home to their parents was heartbreaking and eye opening. I have been so focused on myself lately, and feeling like my world has fallen apart when really I have it so good. I think I have such a hard life, and then I see children going through things so much worse. I have an amazing family and wonderful friends, and I have a God who is always there for me. I want the Navajos to know this God too, and every year that I go I feel like they are a little more open. Thank you so much for your prayers & support. I could not have gone on this trip without your help."

Good morning, church.  My name is Grace Manning, and this is my 4th year going to Arizona.  I was fortunate enough to go on the short Christmas trip this past December, and the last summer trip I was a part of was in 2004.  I firmly believe that God wanted me to go on this trip.  He answered lots of prayers.  The finances were generously given for the four of us to go.  Someone graciously assumed my work responsibilities.  Loving friends & family took care of our Isabella & Evangeline while we were away.  He provided a way for me to attend my cousin Joel’s memorial service in Atlanta & Otis’s sister Belinda kindly picked me up in Phoenix late Friday night and drove me three hours to the Reservation that same evening.  He also gave me the physical & emotional stamina to be “almost normal” for the duration of the trip.  He is good.

Currently, we are going through a rough patch in life.  Our close friends have had to deal with some major life changes, broken relationships, and unexpected loss.  Our family has been processing the deaths of two special people whom we love very much.  Bill has shared with you how he has been dealing with depression.  In light of these things, my heart has been broken and my faith has been worn.

However, being on the Reservation reminded me of the Truths that I have known in my mind but have had a hard time believing fully with my heart…
*God made us.  God knows us.  God loves us.  God forgives us, and God is with us. 
*He made each one of us here.  He made each one of our Navajo friends.  He made us exactly how he wanted us to be: no mistakes, no accidents.
*God knows everything about us: the good, the bad, and the ugly…
*and, He loves us.  He loves me.  He loves Bill.  He loves our girls.  He loves our family & our friends.  He loves the beautiful Navajos that we love so very much.  He loves them much more than we ever could.  He’s loved us all from before the beginning & His love is indestructible.
*God forgives us over and over and over again.
*And, He is always with us.  When life is good, He is with us.  Where there is loss - where there is darkness - where there is heartache, He is with us.  On the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, He is with us all. 

So despite my selfishness & self-focus, He is still God.  Still true.  Still my rock & the only thing I can count on.

Now I ask all of you to continue to pray for our Navajo friends: that they would know God & know these truths, that relationships would continue to deepen & that friendships would continue to grow.  Please pray for our group – that we would remember what it’s like to love fully & freely, to not be selfish & distracted, to continue despite our mistakes & our failures, to keep God’s love & purpose as our focus.

Thanks again to God & to you, church, for allowing me to be a part of this experience.  Your children are amazing.  They are capable young people who stepped up when necessary and were willing to help out whenever we asked (or asked again).  They are hilarious & ridiculously fun to be around.  I’m thankful for the example your children are for me & the example they set for mine.  We’ve known some of them for many, many years, and it’s really been a privilege to watch them grow.  They truly personified Jesus’s love during this trip: through piggyback rides, Gatorade sips, shared meals, water balloon fights, endless hugs, and on & on.
I’m proud to call this group our family.
Thanks again for your love & support - we certainly could not have done it without your encouragement & your prayers.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Happiness in a Cup

At times - life is not pretty, fun, or easy.  Pain, brokenness, and loss have been flowing in our lives for quite some time now.  Our family & friends have been walking through some hard things lately, and it's wearing on all of us. We are sad, heartbroken, and confused.  While the heaviness seems to be almost stifling - there are glimpses of hope to which we cling.

Weary souls make for lonely moments - but I'm thankful for the amazing people who surround us, love us, and encourage us during these times. Coffee is a plus. Thank you to our sweet, sweet community - here & all over the world. Your love, thoughts, and prayers mean more than you know...