I travel the country full time from the west coast to the east coast and everything in-between. I visit small towns, big cities, thriving churches and some congregations that are just barely hanging on.
I see joy.
I meet women and hear their stories. I see bits of their pain, their brokenness, their hurts and their longings.
I see joy.
I hear a woman tell me she wants something new and is leaving her husband. And then I turn and see another women broken because her husband is leaving her for something new.
I see joy.
I see a 50yr old grown women who was locked up and tortured as a child just now learning how to breath. I see her broken and curled up in a ball.
I see joy.
I wipe my face from the tears of a 70 year old women's sobbing because she feels so alone and doesn't know how she is going to pay her rent. I see in her a 5 year old girl just wanting her mommy to hold her.
I see joy.
I see and women, angry at the world and nothing will soothe her, so she hurls insults because that is all that has ever been hurled at her.
I see joy.
Then, I look in the mirror and I see in me a women whose body tires easily, wanting to be home where it is safe and warm in the arms of her husband, but God has different plans and keeps sending her out to hold the hurting, to hear the stories and to be a Herald for His voice. I see a women who carries the pain of others deeply and has to hide away each night and release them to the Lord for Him to carry.
I see joy.
The JOY of the Lord is my strength.
Joy is our ability to see past our circumstances and look into the face of the Son, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, disregarding its shame and now sits victorious in honor at the right hand of God. Jesus is our joy. Jesus is our victory. JESUS. JESUS. JESUS.
This is Joy. And it is my absolute Joy to do it, to see past my own circumstances, help others see past theirs and point people to the face of Christ in the best way that He sees fit.
Today and everyday, May you see the joy in all He has called you to do day in and day out. The joy of the Lord in YOUR strength. Keep pressing in!
Mia Koehne- Here to hear, hold and herald
Christian Denominations handle Mary (the mother of Jesus) in different ways. In some denominations, she is given a lot of play, many props and huge kuddos while in other denominations she is given a mere high five and an "atta girl" and "by the way, thanks, for birthing the King of the world."
Wherever you are in the spectrum, let's meet in the middle and just stand in awe of the example she was and is to us as Christians today.
I am going to chew this passage apart in three (but, I feel an itching for more) segments. So come back each week as we take time to simply marvel at our Great God through the woman He chose to be the mother of His only begotten son.
"In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
There is a lot going on here, but I will just share with you a few of the elements that jumped out at me.
"Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be." She was greeted with the title of being highly favored by God. In her humility, I can only imagined this young girl wanting to turn around and check to see if anyone else was in the room. Maybe the angel was talking to someone else and got confused.
How many times do we as redeemed Christians walk around thinking the same thing when a call is placed on our lives and a task is placed directly in our path.... "God? You call ME favored? You are with ME?" then we look over our shoulder convinced He is talking to someone else because we feel unworthy and we convince ourselves that there is someone more qualified and better suited to do the task at hand. The key is not in what we incorrectly think about ourselves, but in the truth of what God knows about us. He is with us. And if He is for us WHO can be against us?!?!
Just as Mary was troubled, wondering about this greeting and call on her life, she was immediately comforted by the words of the angel...words which we still hear today...words that can calm the storm...."Do not be afraid"
Guess what? He is not calling you to the mighty task of birthing the Savior of the world. It's already been asked and answered, done and accomplished. But, He may be calling you to other Kingdom building work. "Do not be afraid." These words come straight from the heart of God. Know today that He speaks this truth over you.
Do not be afraid. The Lord, your God is with you. He goes before you, He is beside you, He is in the rear guarding your ways. Do not be afraid. You, as a child of God and follower of Jesus Christ are highly favored. You are a friend of God.
Take the example that Mary gave and be comforted sweet friend.
I love you in the Lord and I look forward to week two with you.
Feel free to leave your comments and insights.
This article originally appeared on
(deliberateowmen.org) Deliberate Women July 3, 2015, written by, Mia Koehne
“Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it!” Have you ever heard that or some variation of this sentiment before, or better yet has anyone ever said that to you? I don't really have a problem with "taking it", but please don’t fact check this with my husband. In my defense, I only use the pouty lip as a tool of self expression and creativity, not weakness.
I’ve learned over the years though life experiences (and the music industry) to grow a pretty thick skin and not take critique and opinions too personally. As a friend once said to me “let it roll, like water off the back of a duck.” So when things come at me, I repeat the words “water off the back of a duck, water off the back of the duck” and then I tend to waddle on.
What I do have a more difficult time with is this “You can take it, but you can’t dish it out!” This reversal of the old saying in my life is referring to GRACE.
By the grace of God my husband and I own (ok, lease) two new cars. One for him and one for me...... and by me, I mean, the three other adult drivers (my babies) in my house who eat my food, have jobs they need to get to (so that they can pay for college), have weekly servant events, go to mid week worship and love to socialize.
What does that mean for me, a stay at home mom who works from home? It means I'M STUCK AT HOME WITH NO CAR. My new car ..... I can't even remember the last time I filled it up with gas. I do however know that it is being filled every few days as evidenced by my bank records.
I'm stuck.... at home..... ALL THE TIME. I have to submit in advance and work around others schedules if I want to use a car or even take my son to the ER. It all requires strategic planning. Thankfully, my husband, Bob, has a Doctorate in "Family Logistics." All requests and scheduling go through him. He's amazing, what can I say!
Today, as I made breakfast for my son, who tends to also be confined to the house due to transportation issues, I prayed this as we sat down together... "Dear Lord help us today as we remain in this home, to be lights in all we do. Help us, even in are stuck-ness, to do your will and your work. May being stuck not stop us from being a light and bringing glory to your name. Amen"
After I prayed this, it dawned on me that there IS so much I can do in my stuck-ness that I couldn't do if I were out and about. So much!!
So today, I re-dedicate my time bound in this house to love, to serve, to clean, prepare meals (we are having pot roast tonight), to plan, to pray and to give glory to God in all I do. May this offering be an act of worship, may I be a living sacrifice right where I am.
Wherever you are, even if you feel like you are stuck..in that job, in the kitchen, wherever you are, remember that God is sovereign, He is in control and He cares about where you are and what you are doing.
May you fix your eyes on Him, the author and perfector of your faith and run a good race right where you are even if that means doing laps around the kitchen. Give glory to him in what you are being called to do today in preparation for what He may call you to do tomorrow.
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31
Bloom where you are planted!
So these are a few of the titles that I carry, Worship Leader/Singer Songwriter/Public Speaker, and honestly I have very little clue about how to do any of them except that I know God has called me to glorify Him through these means.
My husband and I had a wonderful night sharing our testimony of God's healing in our marriage. I loved leading worship with my Celebrate Recovery family. I loved sharing a song of encouragement that I wrote and I loved standing next to my husband and telling our story. It all went well....really well....And I am always in shock when that happens. Let me explain that.....
As my husband and I talked on the way home, we both marveled at how there is really nothing that special about us, there is nothing extraordinary about my worship leading or our presentation when we give our testimony. Nothing, but the fact that we ask God to strip ourselves away and help us to present what we have without expectation and sit back and watch God's spirit move among His people.
As a worship leader and speaker there is, at times, a pressure to be on, having to be so spectacular and dynamic that you move people into an amazing experience of worship. What I KNOW to be true is that I have none of that.... all I have, by God's grace, is the ability to simply go before the Lord (with a microphone in hand and people watching me) and present what I have, as simple as it is, and leave it at that. Worship leading, singing, writing and speaking is simply an offering of being present, being honest, being transparent before the Lord SO THAT He can do what He does so perfectly.....Move the hearts of his people.
John the baptist had nothing great to offer physically (in fact, I'm sure people thought he was insane...and coincidentally there are times when people think I'm crazy too, but that's a different story), but He was present, submitting to the Father, testifying of the promise to come and the Spirit moved through him to prepare hearts.
The apostle Paul was spoken of like this.."For some say, 'His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.'" To which the apostles Paul says "such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present." II Corinthians 10:10
There was nothing spectacular about the Apostle Paul, yet I don't think anyone will argue the impact He had on the world and spreading the gospel.....so that had to be the power of God working through a humbled man present to be used by God.
This is what was said of Jesus..."He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire him." Isaiah 53:2. Jesus was simply present in the most powerful way. He, the perfect example of being present and submitting to the Father's will.
My encouragement from Christ is this. I don't have to be concerned with being spectacular, having the worlds best set, a full band, wearing just the right outfit to speak or worship lead in or a fog machine with amazing lighting (ok, the fog machine does hide wrinkles, just sayin...but, I'm not concerned). My concern is that I am humbly present before God, worshiping Him alone, speaking boldly the truth that He shares in His Word, trusting that as I put out my best and honest worship, that HE WILL show up and move the hearts of His people, because I am not the Holy Spirit, nor do I want to be.
Friends, I am NOTHING and I am happy with that. My prayer this night was that God would strip away everything that I am and the only thing left was only what resembled Christ.
God is faithful, God is amazing and He is amazing in and through us. That's the only reason people can look at us and say we are amazing, because of who is in us. "Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world" I John 4:4
May you be encouraged that God can and will use you no matter what. Come before Him and lay it all out and watch what He does with your offering and sacrifice. Sometimes you may be blessed to witness it, other times you may be blessed trusting that God is doing something EVEN IF you don't get to see it on this side of heaven.
A collection of writings from a life based on the truth that about midnight anything can happen.
As an imperfect servant of the Lord, I often feel I am fumbling my way through life, looking upward for guidance and outward to love. So, I write about it, to break up the noise in my head.