Wounded, Not Broken 

A beginning is having faith

Despite the circumstances,

Trusting that God’s allowing

This storm for a reason;

Although it’s unknown to me

It’s ok because God’s still

On the throne, unshaken;

This war might bleed

Memories unwanted,

But all God wants from me

Is to allow His light

To absorb this darkness;

I’ll still be scarred

From this battle, but not dead

Wounded, but not broken;

This night can’t clothe me

Because I am a daughter of the King

He covers me with His light, always;

His love is perfect

Although mine is broken,

These damaged wings try to fly,

But they can’t until they’re mended

By the Creator who breathed

This body into existence;

As this pain continues,

So does the hope He gives

Because I know everything has an end,

But God, for He is eternal;

Although this pain and darkness is great,

I will get through it,

For He has birthed a fire in me

That only consumes His truth

Causing a light to illuminate this body,

So that when I’m in darkness,

I can’t be swallowed by it;

This ocean breathes His love,

It reflects His light off the surface,

To those surrounding it;

May this ocean always be strong

Enough to fight off the enemy,

Never losing its depth

Always keeping its rhythm

In sync with the Creator’s song


~ Bethany Anne 

Hardened To Difficulties 

Don’t you just love it when you are reading the Bible and a scripture jumps out at you? 

I ran across this scripture the other day and it blessed me so much, I just have to share it! 

When I read it I thought, “Lord this is what you’ve done with me!”

 The scripture is Isaiah 41:10 (Amp. version)-

 “Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.”

 I can look back on my life and clearly see that God has strengthened and hardened me to difficulties. Every time that something bad has happened to me, I have ALWAYS thought, “I know that someone else is going through something worse.”

I know in my heart that God put that capability in me.

 It doesn’t matter what you may be going through, God wants to help you! He WILL help you IF you let Him. Go to Him, talk to Him like you would talk to your best friend. (He likes that!) 

Just pour your heart out to Him and allow Him to heal you with His love and tender mercies! 

In God’s love,

Tracy Mason 

Stop Doubting And Start Believing 

God told me not too long ago whenever me and my girlfriend were praying over our relationship “Stay under My Will and I Will.” My first reaction was to ask “will what?” But I soon realized if God wanted me to know, then He would have told me. 

We have to come to a place in our lives where we just trust the will of our Father. We have to know that whatever is attached to the end of “and I will” is going to be more than we can imagine. 

For everything good and perfect comes from our Father. Everything to build us up to look just like Jesus and to edify our hearts to be yielded and love as He loves.
 Speaking of love, if we can get real for a second, His love is more than enough to where we can stop asking Him for anything. What He did on the cross while He hung naked with His arms stretched wide taking on the very sin in which He never committed, is the greatest thing that could be done. But our Father is so good that He doesn’t want to stop there. He wants to give us life and life more abundantly. 

He doesn’t want us to live like hell until His arrival. But rather, He wants to put heaven in us through His Holy Spirit and every good fruit that comes along with Him. He just wants us to let go of our lives and give it to Him. He wants us to seek first the kingdom and its righteousness and all things will be given to us. What is all things? It is everything that you need to live out the life that He predestined you to live and have. 

What He wants to tell you today is to stop doubting and start believing that He is good and for you to have peace and know in your heart that everything has been taken care of.  

He wants you to stay under His will and know that HE will and to know that HE has.

                  ~ Thomas Joel Trevino 

Restoration Stories – Melanie Schoenmaker 

I grew up in what appeared to be a normal and typical family. My family attended church and during my early years of education I attended a Christian school. Around the age of 13 I started to be disruptive in class and my parents allowed me to change schools. My rebellious behaviour only worsened however, I drank and partied and pushed whatever boundaries were put in place. At 15 I moved out of home and was living with my best friend’s family until they got tired of me too. By 16 I was living with a friend from work and trying to support myself but that only lasted a few months and so I moved back in with my parents. My life was out of control and I didn’t really understand why. After an emotional breakdown and thoughts of suicide I stumbled upon a card from a Christian counselor.

After a year of counseling I made the decision to become a Christian. I felt transformed, a new person with a new life. I began attending church and it was there that I met the man I would marry. He was the son of a pastor and I was smitten. Six years after getting married I was pregnant with our first child and the church we were attending hosted a marriage and intimacy seminar with Dr Allan Meyer. I remember sitting in the auditorium listening to him talk about a woman who had been sexually abused and how abuse of that kind deeply affects your soul. I wanted to cry, I felt like he was talking about me. Everything he described pierced my heart but I was confused and pushed the thoughts and feelings that tried to surface, away.

Three years after having our son I became pregnant with our second child. It was a difficult pregnancy and at 15 weeks my waters broke, a week later I gave birth to a baby girl. After her death I started to get horrible migraines that lasted 10-11 days at a time. I spent three months in and out of hospital but couldn’t get any answers. I had suffered from chronic pain for the last 10 years but this was unbearable. A friend from church suggested that I go for prayer counseling to see if that could help bring breakthrough. I had no idea how traumatic that breakthrough would be.

Memories came flooding back to my mind. The first memory was from when I was only five years old, violent, sexual abuse by my father. The image was clear and detailed and as the counseling continued more memories surfaced. For almost 15 years I had been subjected to consistent, violent sexual abuse at the hands of someone who should have protected me and not harmed me.

I began to see a therapist who educated me on trauma, dissociation and flashbacks. I was finally putting the pieces of the puzzle together. The stress, rebellion and anxiety of my teenage years and the chronic pain of my adult life were all symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and a deeply wounded soul. As I slowly remembered the horrific events of my childhood I was able to gradually let go of the shattered pieces of my soul. It is a long and painful journey but I know that eventually I will be whole again.

I’m so blessed to have a loving husband who supports me and a heavenly father who knows my every need, who created me in love, for love and who is capable of restoring every part of me. As I slowly untangle the lies and deception that the abuse has deposited in my life God is revealing to me his plan for my pain. He gave me a clear vision for a ministry that heals, restores, and revives women who have suffered the pain of sexual assault in their lives. He gave me the words Strength & Dignity. Out of this birthed our ministry Strength + Dignity, a non for profit organisation dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual assault and educating the world on predator behaviour.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11. 

I believe God wants every survivor of sexual assault to know He has a plan and purpose for your pain, and He wants to restore you to wholeness. ~ Melanie Schoenmaker  

Connect with Melanie at Strength + Dignity 



(Strength and Dignity) Instagram 




Worthy Thought:  

He transform my weakness into strengths.  He produces the fruit in my life. 

I am blessed to know I don’t have to do it all by myself.~ Angela Lipe-Pattengill 

And he said to me, “My Grace is sufficient for you, my power works best in weakness.” So I am glad to boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

2 Corinthians 12:9  

Jesus said “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 

John 15:4 NIV

Travelled So Far 

Great encouragement today from The Bottom Of A Bottle Blog.   Enjoy! XXOO Michelle Bollom

Travelled So Far (Proverbs 30:5) Days become harder Our thoughts become clouded The stresses of life Lay a heavy burden Upon our fragile souls Our feet so tired We’ve travelled so far Now it feels we can’t go on Yet there is a place Our tired feet can call home The Father’s arms Our refuge […]


Old Wineskins 



Matthew 9:17

Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.

Have you ever felt like the old wineskins?


During the time that Jesus taught, bottles or flasks were made of animal skin, usually goat, sheep or ox. Wine or grape juice was stored in these flasks. The juice or wine was full of wild yeasts and natural sugars that fermented over time. They produced alcohol and carbon dioxide during the fermentation process. As the carbon dioxide was released during fermentation, the flasks would expand and stretch. Flasks that were made of newer skin retained their elasticity and would stretch easily to hold the fermented wine. As flasks aged, they grew more brittle and “dry”. They were not suitable for storing wine as it fermented because the lack of elasticity would cause the skins to split open during fermentation and spill the wine inside.


In Biblical times, water was a scarcity in many regions, and wine was a part of day-to day life. It was used with daily meals. It was poured out in sacrifice. It was shared in celebration. In the Bible, wine often symbolizes sustenance, life, covenant and blessing. In Jesus’s parable, the wineskins or vessels, both old and new, are symbolic of us – God’s people. (2 Timothy 2:21)  


So who are the old wineskins? After all, they are the ones who are unfit to hold new wine, wasting the very thing they are meant to preserve. Are old wineskins veterans in ministry? People who have been doing the same thing for such a long time it becomes almost repetitive? Are they people who never quite made it to the next level? Are old wineskins people who are resistant to change and the new thing God is doing? Are they the previous generation of believer who ushered in the previous move of God? They certainly can be.  


And the new wineskins – are they the next generation? The people who God is going to bring to the forefront of the church? Are they new converts? Possibly. These are assumptions that I, along with many others, have made in the past. But recently God began to change my thinking on this simple parable in Matthew.


The Elders

Modern American culture is heavily focused on the newest, latest and greatest. The preoccupation with agelessness is apparent in the surgeries and cosmetic adjustments that attempt to simulate youth as we grow older. I myself have plucked and moisturized, dyed and spackled in the pursuit of beauty. But when wrinkles begin to form and bald patches begin to grow, where does that obsession with youth leave us? Feeling irrelevant and abandoned. Past our prime. Overlooked. Old.


There is a drive within the Church to be on the cutting edge of what God is doing. That is as it should be! We should constantly be in communication with the Holy Spirit, eager to be an active part of what He is doing in the earth. However, one thing we have to be guard ourselves against as we experience the new thing God is doing (Isaiah 43:19) is a mentality of “out with the old and in with the new.”  


The secular culture’s passion for progress has carried over into the church, but one of the detriments brought along with it is the loss of honor and respect for elders. Instead of seeing the value of the previous generation’s wisdom, we are in danger of seeing simply dated traditions and old school mindsets. Old age does not equal old wineskin. In fact, Jesus Himself placed an importance on the elders. In James 5:14-15 He says “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” Although He referred to them as elders, this was not necessarily an indicator that He meant elderly.  


Just as in the natural we see people of the same physical age with varying levels of maturity, there are varying levels of maturity within the church. This is not determined by length of time spent as a believer or by physical age but by the progress of spiritual growth. The elders of the church were the veterans of the faith. People who had both wisdom and experience spiritually.


Sadducees and Pharisees – The Spirit of Religion

The honor and respect that Jesus taught toward the elders of the church was in stark contrast with how He viewed the Sadducees and the Pharisees. The Sadducees and the Pharisees held most of the positions in the ruling class and Jewish court system known as the Sanhedrin. The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme religious body, comprised by 71 sages, that met in the city of Jerusalem in the Temple. There were also smaller religious Sanhedrins with 23 to 71 members in every town in Israel. 


The Sadducees were the aristocrats of Israel. They were usually wealthy and held power, often the positions of chief priests and high priests. Since Israel was under the reign of Rome at the time, they were often more concerned with politics than religion in their attempts to keep peace. Since they were wealthy and accommodating to Rome, they were not as favored by the common man as the Pharisees.  


The Pharisees were held in higher esteem because they were mostly comprised of middle-class businessmen. They were also part of the ruling class of Israel, and although they held fewer positions in the Sanhedrin and as priests, they were in control of decision making in the Sanhedrin because they had the support of the people. Unlike the Sadducees, the Pharisees were focused on religion over politics.  


The Sadducess and Pharisees were rebuked numerous times throughout scripture by Jesus. (Matthew 23:2-9, 13, 23-24) Remember, they were the chief and high priests in the church at the time and their lives revolved around God and religion. However, their single-mindedness in their pursuit of the Law blinded them to their recognition of the Messiah and prevented their acceptance of God’s grace and mercy. The relationship that God wants with His people was reduced to a legalistic list of rituals and rules. Their misguided loyalty to their traditions and doctrines made them the most bitter and deadly opponent of the very Messiah they were waiting for.


Jesus said that He came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. (Matthew 5:17) He taught that our standard is not the letter of the Law, but the perfection of God. In fact, Jesus called for an even stricter adherence to the spirit of the Law than was seen in the Law’s most fervent followers! (Matthew 5:20-48) The key part of the Law that Jesus wanted to teach God’s people was that relationship and love was imperative. Obediance to the Laws set by God was meant to be obtained through loving Him and others. (Matthew 22:34-40) By obeying His commandments to love God and love our neighbors, His people would be following His Law as a natural byproduct.  


The Sadducees and Pharisees tried to please God by simply following a list of rules instead of obeying Him because of the love for Him that they built through relationship. They saw salvation as a prize that they could win through their adherence to rituals, social standards and rules. They saw righteousness as something they could earn. This is the core of the “spirit of religion.”  


The spirit of religion is the identifying difference between the Elders and the Sadducees and Pharisees. Trying to attain righteousness through adherence to the dictates of the Law written in stone is an impossible task. (Romans 2:12-16) Instead, we are called by Jesus to live according to the Law of God which is written on our hearts. (Hebrews 10:16) Our relationship with God should be less about what we do than who we are. When we walk in intimacy with God and who He says we are, the things we do become a natural reflection of our relationship with Him. It is only through the righteousness and grace of Jesus that we are saved. (Acts 4:12) Our attitude and actions should reflect the law of love, not a love of the law.

Traditions are meant not to be given the same authority as Scripture, but they are meant to be respected. It is ironic that we are able to respect the moves of God we read about in our Bibles, but are able to discard what God has done within our own lifetimes because it is “dated.” We should never, even for a moment, look with scornful eyes on what God has done in the past. Whether it be hymns sung accompanied by an organ or flag banners waving as people are slain in the spirit – God was doing something in His church. Some things that God has done in the past may have been intended for simply that time and place, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t valid then. Just because something was done in the past doesn’t exclude God from moving in that way again. We don’t determine the move of God. We are simply the vessel, not the wine.




At one point in my life, I was very irritated by the importance that was being placed on God doing a new thing. Why is the old thing not good enough any more? It worked just fine in the past! God was quick to correct me in my thinking. If God is doing something new as He states repeatedly in the Bible and proves throughout history, I’d better not be resistant to it! But I ended up feeling a measure of sorrow and loss because I then labeled myself as an old wineskin. After all, I had been a Christian for a long time. I had participated in the church in “that” move of God and ministered during “that” outpouring of His Spirit, but now it must be time for me to step out of the way so that the next-generation, new wineskins could do the new thing. 


This skewed way of thinking was exactly what prevented the wine of God’s Spirit from being able to work in me the way He wanted. By abandoning God’s way of thinking and labeling myself as irrelevant, I prevented Him from working in me. I was an old wineskin… but only because I chose to be. I allowed a spirit of religion to color my way of thinking. I lost my way because I forgot that God’s laws are not man’s laws. I forgot that God can make old things new again.


Revelation 21:5 

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

Throughout the Bible there is story after story of people who were past what they perceived to be the prime of their life and God renewed them and began a new work in them. Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 21:2), Moses and Aaron (Exodus 7:7), Joshua and Caleb (Joshua 24:29, 14:6-11, Daniel (Daniel1:21) and Paul (Philemon 9:9). At a point in life where reason and circumstances would dictate that they should be declining in ability and ministry, many of them were just beginning! Although the Bible likens believers to the branches of a vine (John 15:1-5), we are not meant to follow a cycle that allows for our fruitfulness to dwindle once we have reached maturity. Instead, we are supposed to grow, reaching maturity, and through our connection to the vine, be constantly receiving life. 


Psalm 92:12-15 says The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. 


We serve a God who is a giver of Life. The Source of all life. (Psalm 36:9) Like wine being poured into a flask, He is continually pouring life into His children. When we walk in relationship and obedience to Him, He renews us. His Word over you declares that the righteous will walk in a state of fruitfulness, reaching peak maturity and continuing in their fruitfulness. In waiting on the Lord, His life is placed into us and literally makes us new again. (Isaiah 40:31)


Our right-standing with God enables us to be fit vessels for the wine of His Spirit in us. Seeking Him with a clean heart immediately stops the growth of the spirit of religion in us. Communication with the Holy Spirit and love for God prevents us from becoming old and stale spiritually. In fact, it removes the dry, uncompromising nature of the old wineskins and renews us. When God renews us, we are not just perked up a little bit, looking just a bit fresher and livelier. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that when we belong to Christ, we are literally a new creation. You are constantly being given His brand-new life. 



The New Wine

No matter where you are in life, there is a place for you in the kingdom of God. No matter your age, experience, or background, God says that you are a vessel for His spirit in the earth. The signs and wonders, miracles and life-changing power that Jesus said would accompany believers (Mark 16:17-18) were not an exclusive privilege awarded to the elite. Jesus said that they were an identifying mark. Believers in Him will, without exception, show and experience these miracles! This is because the fruitfulness, miracles and power are not because of us, they are because of what we carry inside of us. The limitless power of God is contained within us! What a revelation! Imagine the new levels of ministry and relationship we might begin to walk in when we fully realize the power that God has not only allowed us to carry, but deemed us worthy of!


Love comes through having a relationship. I encourage you to look at your life in a new way. Set aside any preconceived ideas of what it means to be a christian or to follow Jesus. Start at step one. Ask God to show you how to love Him. As you pursue a relationship with God, He will begin to change your way of thinking. He will change the attitudes of your heart. Ask Him to teach you to love others the way He does. His Word promises that living your life according to this Law of love will ensure that any other relevant rules or stipulations will be met.  


We need to be in constant pursuit of God. The amazing thing is that when we pursue Him, He promises that He will be found. Although the laws of time say that everything ages as time passes, you don’t ever have to become an old wineskin. God’s way says that you are meant to live ageless. In the end, the wineskin is just a container for what really matters: the wine.  


We are only responsible for our condition as vessels. There is no pressure on you as a believer to perform! When you walk according to the law of love, you will be a fit vessel for His spirit. Your productivity in ministry, the fruit of the Spirit in your life, miracles and signs – these are all natural results of God living in us. When we concern ourselves simply with the state of our own hearts, obedience and relationship with God, there is no need to worry about those things. They can only be created and manifested by God. When we carry Him within us, they will be present, because He is the source.  


God has given you the ability to live a life rich with spiritual encounters and manifestations. You can see God’s hand at work with your own eyes. You have the opportunity to witness first-hand the power and strength of God. Live your life dedicated to being a new wineskin for Him. He is the wine,and not only does He never leave you, He is within you.

                      ~Dana Smith 


The Definition of Mother 


Moth’er – n. A female person, esp. one of the human race. b. Ancestress. 2. That which produced OR nurtured ANY thing: source of birth or origin. 3. a. A woman in authority or dignity like a mother, b. used specific as a title of a woman head of a religious house. 4.a. maternal tenderness or affection. b. to adopt or care for a child. c. To acknowledge affection and care for a child.

Mom, Mommy, Mother, Mama. The name holds strength and stability. As I studied each definition of Mother, I realized only ONE gave the right to birthing a child. The name means unconditional love and a place to fall, rest ….. without judgement, it means to teach and lead in spiritual truth. It means to love through every phase of rebellion, through any disagreement.

To this day, this very moment ….. I’ve never had that safe place to fall. I’ve never had that Mama I could go to with anything. If you’ve had to do without that kind of joy and stability, you surely know what a lost feeling that is.

God has tremendously made up for this loss in my life. I am Mama to four beautiful and wonderful boys. But I have other children too. Although I’ve always thought boys were my expertise, it’s amazing to me how out of all the other “kids” who call me Mama, almost all of them are young women. That’s not to take anything from their maternal moms. Not at all. But somewhere along the way, I’ve acquired something I can contribute to their lives. I can be a place of refuge and hopefully of Godly, sound advice, when there’s no one else who understands.

Every hardship, every trial, every thing we believe to be an injustice in our lives, can be used to God’s glory! 

I would encourage each of us older ladies to seek out at least one of these young women who are beginning the journey we started long ago. Keep in touch. Encourage them, show them the way and give them advice.

When Godly women lead the way, we can make a difference ,,, in turn, when the blind lead the blind, the world is also changed. 

~ Sandra K. Yates 

Strong Girl

Once upon a troubled time, along life’s bumpy road,

A woman found herself alone, beside a heavy load.

Burdens tossed, abandoned; she stood in disbelief 

And for a moment, dropped her head and sobbed amid her grief.

But tears, she learned, did nothing to make the burden light

And so she reached, and grabbed the burden – tugged with all her might.

It barely moved, she didn’t have the strength that it would take

To carry such a burden; there was so much at stake.

“What do I do?” she whispered, peering through the mist

But alas, no one appeared.  She was alone in this.

“Chin up, jaw firm, eyes ahead!” This chant became her theme,

And suddenly the load was not as heavy, so it seemed.

She put her back beneath the weight, and slowly then, it moved

And she began to walk along.  Her own strength she proved.

With every step, her strength improved, and she began to smile

Her confidence began to grow with every passing mile.

The brilliant sunshine warmed her face, then faded into night

But she kept walking, knowing with the dawn, there’d be more light.

The night was long and very dark, and danger lurked nearby

The woman kept on walking, scared to death but head held high.

The storm would come, the wind would blow, and whip the load around

Sometimes she cried and yelled aloud; sometimes she made no sound.

And all the while the strength that once was too hard to obtain

Grew and grew and she stood taller, strong beneath the strain.

The road could be so merciless, sometimes a storm’s attack

Added to the burden that she carried on her back.

Another weight, another task, a trial to be borne

She cried and staggered, almost falling, discouraged and forlorn.

“But wait,” she said, remembering, “I’ve walked this road a while,

And I have gained a lot of muscle, along each grueling mile.”

And so she put her back again, against the load she bore,

And much to her surprise, it lifted, easier than before.

The days wore into weeks and months and soon, when troubles came

She would eye the trouble, smiling, “Are we doing this again?”

Travelers who met her, as they journeyed on her path,

Would say, “How do you do that?” and she would simply laugh.

“I want to say I do not know but that would not be true.

I simply keep on walking, just the way you do.”

You might know a woman who seems to be so strong

She didn’t plan to be that way, but then, walking along

She very simply chose to live in joy instead of pain

She may not even think of it too much, unless there’s rain

Or storms, or falls, or bruises, but just as she’s done before

She’ll stagger, gain her balance, and carry on once more.

In her heart, although she’s strong, she’s still so much a girl

Strong girls bring the best of strength and sweetness to the world.

So if you are a strong girl friend, I know you understand.

If you know one, you don’t have to ask to lend a hand.

Just pray for happy traveling, and a mostly sunny sky.

And if you like, snap a salute when she goes marching by. 

~ Alane Roberts 

A Gift of Awakening 

Weariness is overtaking me.                  Surrendering to this force of darkness                   Is a temptation I may not resist.                              I long to find some sense of strength.

This cloud is hovering much too low. 
Do I dare take a step forward,
Lest I fall into a blur of hopelessness?
Oh, to have not lost the desire to dream.

The sting of failure is too much to bear. 
Falling, tumbling, spiraling into the pit
Is inevitable as the world closes in around me. 
The thought of being snatched up in time is no longer.

As I hit the bottom, Your presence overtakes me.
The sound of Your voice extinguishes despair.
Your words lift me to a place of no resistance.
Your brilliant light brings me renewed strength.

The sky is clear and my spirit weightless. 
I am made new as I rise with You.
To succumb to darkness, You allow me not.
With dreams You fill me as a gift of awakening.

The stench of fear no longer suffocates me.
In my failure, You stand in my place. 
Victorious not in my own right,
I call you Abba Father, Daddy God.
You are my cloud of strength, and I dream of no other.


S. Gable 2/24/15