Sunday, September 6, 2020
Saturday, September 5, 2020
|Her living area - |
|Her kitchen.... |
2018 seemed to come and go with no major hits or fears and then Dorian of 2019. Once again it was late August as we tried to start school and we sat by the TV and watched every update and notice.
Because of the FEAR that I had experienced in 2017... I was on my knees and we prayed for the Bahamas ... and I posted that meme, but truthfully, when it hit there, and turned, so it did not hit Florida and me, I was relieved and praised God.
I knew, we knew, we had missed a bullet --but still, IT DID not effect me. More Guilt. But I prayed. As I watched video and the news of the people in Abaco and Marsh Harbour....I had no idea. I had no idea that God would introduce me to one of them.
It is estimated over 600 undocumented people were lost in Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. The record states 70 for the Abaco Islands. 18 of those 70... belong to my dear friend. When I stop and think of just losing 1-2 of my family or a few more, I can't speak and the tears do not stop.
|The mattress that God used to save them.|
Sonia and "little" Taylor live next door. They relocated here last October to Okeechobee, Florida. In February, I got the pleasure of meeting Sonia and her daughter because they relocated once more from across town and into our area, right next to my cottage. Over the past year, I have now met and loved her husband Ross and their son, Landon. We laugh now, often, as the night or weekend she moved in, she brought over some food. It was a Bahamian meal. "Souse Chicken". I just thought it was soup. It was weird. I really had NO clue and she was just a strange woman being nice. I say we laugh now... we do. I called it "soup". Hey ..it had liquid and chicken - for this midwest girl - it was Chicken Soup. I didn't even try it that night. Forgive me and don't judge me -- just was a bit leary of it. So we tried it the next day -- I will now say, it is ONE of my favorite Bahamian meals. I digressed -- back to my point --
God has them here - Sonia and her daughter - next door to me - next to us - and I am beginning to get an awareness as to the WHY.
Why? Because God loves them and me. I needed Sonia next door. We all need a Sonia. I needed a reminder of what we can take for granted. However, in the past month, I have come to realize I have also been given a gift - a true friend that loves Jesus is always refreshing and such a good blessing, but she is also someone who gives and gives and gives. So much was taken from her and yet, she still gives.
Since March and the Covid shut down, instead of traveling out of town to eat - we are all staying close to home and getting to love on family and reconnect. I have had my son home since March and what I have witnessed and seen in him -- is alone enough happiness to last a lifetime. But, on top of that goodness, I have been blessed -- my husband and I have been blessed by this precious woman and her family. We have been able to have some Souse Chicken and Fish Packets and we have meet Ross and Landon and God has given us a great gift of fellowship.
I have learned and watched a person, Sonia, with great grief and loss ....struggle and smile. We have shared testimonies and laughs and we have cried too. I have watched and cried as I have heard her story. I have also gotten on my knees in shame... and reminded myself -- "GET OVER YOURSELF". Too many of us stay rooted in our our pity and problems and many others are hurting too. We can love on others and show grace to then, even in our own trials and pain. This is where the Enemy wants to continue to make me feel guilt -- "God spared your house and not hers and you still call him Lord?" YEP, I can Satan. Sonia does too.
Just the other day, Sonia was looking at a family album at my home and we were speaking and I shared with her how I used to scrapbook but I didn't anymore for different reasons, but OH how that had dominated and brought stress, but was such a treasured memory. We had the love of scrapbooking in common. She shared to how she scrapbooked and had intricate scrapbooks for each of her children and her dad.
Then as I began to think, and as she spoke, I almost told her about how I prepped for Hurricane Francis and Jeanine back in 2004 and I bought storage tubs and waterproofed them... but Holy Spirit stopped me. Praise God HE did.
As she continued to speak and tell me of all the scrapbooking she had done, I for a moment called out to Jesus in my head, as she said, " I LOST it all- I LOST them all". I was so thankful Holy Spirit shut my mouth. I have not experienced the loss she has. She lost all those scrapbooks and photographs and then we began to speak about heaven and how we won't need those photographs and books.
God's thoughts and HIS promptings are always LOUDER than the Enemy.
Anyway, Sonia has been a blessing to me.
I want to be a blessing to her.
I want to share her story with you.
I want you to pray and then GO and buy her seasoning. You can get it at our Pritchard's Insurance office. And you will know, that you are helping to restore a family and their spirit. Little did I know that when I posted the meme, PRAY for the Bahamas -- back in September of 2019 -- that GOD would bring Sonia and her family into our lives. A real life prayer request and answer.
And there are many Sonia's .... many.
There are dear families in our community that are still suffering great losses because of a hurricane or some other crisis. I feel so deeply that we must always tithe ( that is another story and request of God) but we must also give.
Pastor Robert Morris speaks and teaches of love offerings and then 'painful' offerings. What could we give up or not spend...to give to another?? Another friend of mine, her name is Sara, lost her home through a hurricane in the Keys. She posted a reminder a few weeks ago, that so often, many are willing to help right away -- but then those suffering are forgotten. We get busy and back to our own lives.
It is the AFTER where they need continued prayer and support. I am asking you to pray and look and maybe God is calling you to some 'painful offerings'. ??
Jesus just took the loaves and fish and multiplied for the need. All God asks of us is to pay attention and help that ONE or pray for that ONE or listen to the ONE, HE brings to us and HE will multiply it.
Sonia has had a rough week with the anniversary of Hurricane Dorian. Her hubby, Ross, has remained in Marsh Harbour, in a camper near their destroyed home. In the past month, he got electricity. Think... it has been a year! Since the hurricane, he has been using a generator that can only be used at night, at the cost of $500 a month for the diesel. He is working at the Boat Yard there - still in clean up as it is only now that the insurance companies can get in there and really begin to assess and give out the claims.
Meanwhile, he watched as their home was leveled a week or so ago and he wants to begin again. I give him much credit. Sonia is praying, she'd rather just start over here and that is a real prayer request. He loves Jesus and continues to know and believe that God will provide. We pray for the Lord's leading. Daily.
Meanwhile, "little" Taylor has begun College here and Sonia wants to push through and move forward as she knows she is called by God. God gave her a ministry. Those details are below. I pray you will read, share this and her story. Maybe even contact her and let her know, you are praying for her.
She did catering back home. She is an excellent cook and caregiver. Our family wants to help the Albury family so you may see us push some 'meals' for purchasing. In this time of Covid and all, people are skeptical of sanitation and we get that, Sonia does too - but if you want an authentic Bahamian meal or some REALLY good fish prepared and brought to your door - Private message me and you and I will chat. I believe Sonia will bless you.
Please read her story below, I have permission to share it. I would ask that you share it if the Lord leads - and thank you for taking the time to read my Labour of Love today.
This is Sonia's story:
Hi, All my Labour of Lovers.
My name is Sonia b. Albury. I am from a small town, Marsh Harbour, on the island of Abaco, in The Bahamas. My greatest loves in life are cooking and family, and without them I would be lost. In order for you to better understand what my business labour of Love is, I feel as if you should know why these things matter to me, and where my passions sourced from.
I lost most Mom to Leukemia on Christmas Day 1988. This loss was very hard and unexpected for my entire family and I. My dad then became remarried to Cindy B. Albury, and soon after I became married to my husband, Ross, C. Albury in 1995. Being from a small island, I had known Ross for a very long time, but who knew that two crazy teens would fall in love and grow a family together. We proceeded to have two kinds, Landon R. Albury, and Sharon Taylor Albury, and just recently celebrated 25 years of marriage. These 3 people are my world.
I graduated high school in 1994 and worked for my Dad directly after, for this was the normal for most teenagers on a small island in the Bahamas. IN 1999, I started to work for a bookkeeper named, Julie Cates (T/S Abaco Bookkeeping Services), three days a week while beginning a family. Julie and I became great friends and even after leaving her company in 2008, she is still someone I can call and laugh with. In 2008, I went back to work for my Dad to manage some of his properties and I came to realize this still was NOT my passion but it was my source of income, and I had to take care of my family. I knew I had greater things to come. My Father passed away in 2012 and I was faced again with the challenge of what next? I felt as if my world was completely flipped once more. After some time, I was then able to put my head back in the game, and decided to go out on my own to look for work. I pretty much worked any little job that came about no matter what it was. My only solace was I new that it would help me to bring food to the table and that was all I desired.
In 2016, my son Landon flew off to Tech school where he became an Aviation Mechanic and is now living in Florida working for a prestigious company. With him going off to school, I needed to bring more to the table than I had, and began to think more and more about what my passion truly was. Well I " LOVE" to cook and be in my kitchen, that I knew. I would always cook extra so if anyone should pop by I could share. I used to always help out at our local church with meals when we had mission teams on the island Most of my friends would say to me, "Sonia you need to open a restaurant", and I would say, "NO way! that is way too much work." After countless remarks about opening a restaurant, I had one friend say something that stuck, "Bahamian cooking is a labour of love". She was right. We in The Bahamas always pour as much love as possible into our pots filled with various local seafoods and ingredients.
In 2017, I decided to start really dwelling on what it would be like to pursue my passions. I tossed and turned ideas in my head for months. I kept suppressing my dreams of cooking in my soul and I would say to myself, "you can't do that Sonia, it is not going to work!" I believed this, until someone finally told me, "you will never know if you will fail or succeed if you do not try". This was my final motivation. I was going to start my own catering and meal business, just like I had been dreaming about for years. I drove to the local print shop and showed them my sketch of a logo, and she put it together a few ideas for me and we came up with the final product and logo for Labour of Love Catering.
In 2017, I began by making my special breakfast sandwiches at 4 o'clock in the morning, which I would drop off to two local gas stations to sell at 6 am. I would always make a few extras that I called my "Love Sandwiches,' for the people I loved to enjoy. My 2018 New Year's Resolution was to always go with your gut as to what you should do, and let the Holy Spirit move you as you go. The word spread through our small town about what I was doing, and Labour of Love started to blossom I had people calling me to cater for birthday parties, graduations parties, small weddings, family night dinners, mission teams coming into other churches as well as going to local farmers markets and selling my goods. My success made me realize, I had truly found my passion.
After about a year and a half of working hard and loving work, our lives were flipped completely upside down. My daughter was in her senior year of high school and my husband and I were working on the island. We were happy and content. But God had some different plans. These plans were out of our control. Hurricane Dorian, the strongest hurricane to land on the Bahamans devastated our island. After enduring the first half of the storm, our house was one of the few that was still standing in the neighborhood, and everyone came into our home for shelter. The second half of the storm, was a different story. My family and 6 others took shelter in my daughter Taylor's 6x5 foot bathroom filled with water, with her mattress over our heads. The storm lasted over 24 hours and continued to dump rain on us for three days. We were on full survival mode, while my son in Florida had no clue whether his parents and sister were even still alive. Three days later, I was finally able to talk with him and say seven words. "We are alive but have lost everything."
After six full days of complete panic and devastation, we were able to board a fight to Florida where our son drove down to pick us up. I cannot put into words the feeling I had when I was able to hold my son. We then went to his home for a few days and our mission at that point was to find a temporary home and a school to put our daughter Taylor in so that she could graduate. With a lot of help from friends we were able to move to Okeechobee, Florida and stay in a house so Taylor could finish school.
In March of 2020, after I had lost all hope of my cooking dreams continuing, I decided that it was time to get back on my feet again, and see how I could bring back Labour of Love. Taylor and I then flew back home to the Bahamas for ten days for her spring break as well as to see my husband who is still working and helping our island. While we went back home to cope and reunite the family, COVID-19 arrived, to throw another hurdle at our lives. What was a 10 day trip, turned into a 6 week stay.
In those six weeks, in the Bahamas, I told myself over and over I am not gonna let myself down, and not giving up again. We were able to return to Okeechobee and I have hit the ground running. During this pause in everyone's lives, I am getting my plan in order and to get things rolling with Labour of Love Catering. I will be navigating many different obstacles than the ones I faced in The Bahamans, but I know that I can come out even better than before. I have also come up with a special seasoning blend that I am selling. I am going to walk out of this with strength as well as a zeal for the dreams I have been trying SO hard to accomplish. My labour with be full of passion and love, and I am so excited to share that with you.
Stay tuned as to what will be coming up next!
Sonia B. Albury
Food for Thought: "Families that eat together, stay together"
1 Corinthians 10.13
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of god.
Saturday, August 22, 2020
This one will be LONG. Just letting you know. You will need some coffee of caffeine of some sort. This is #38.
I started this Faith over Feelings series back in June of LAST year. Little did I think it would take me a YEAR to truly get through this series. Writing about FAITH over FEAR. But, God has me here. It has been a YEAR of FAITH over FEAR.
I blog. I have blogged much, most of my blogs came about because of therapy. I found myself alone - a lot. I had "NO one" to talk with. So I blogged. Now my life is so different. And I still hear from God and want to blog and talk ...but HE has me in a different season.
I miss that. Blogging. But, I know that we ebb and flow in seasons. And, God created me to be a writer and HE will use my voice when HE wants. However, I am, or my flesh is determined to FINISH this 40 days or blogged prayers -- sooner than later. I just am.
I feel or believe another reason why it has been a SLOW season of writing is that when God moves -- HE can move FAST, but often in my life, it is a SLOW process. I am learning to be slower and taking the time to listen rather than get that quick answer.
Today, Holy Spirit awoke me - writing a letter to another in my head. There I was writing again. But that letter will wait, for HIS timing, today -- this photo was like a flashing LIGHT in my head and my heart. Whose children are those?
THOSE are two kids. Two young adults that had NO clue. NO clue of what they would walk through...no clue of what they'd be ask to do...no clue of HOW God truly loved them. No clue of God's power and authority.
I marvel -- 33 years.
My heart breaks as a few very dear ones around me are mourning and grieving their marriages. Some will read this and wonder, will my marriage survive this? Others will read this and relate -- as they are in a season now where they are asking themselves as well..."How did we do this?".
As far as those close around me who are in a hard marriage or in the process of a divorce, I have prayed for miracles and I have asked God to give me insight...as if "I" could help -- but, God knows best.
Why we survived a major earthquake - is by the GRACE and WILL of God. I know, it was a miracle. I KNEW HE placed a love and thought in my head that I HELD onto. I would not give up. But, I also believe it took faith over fear.
Today, I am playing on REPEAT --a Kutlass's song -- " THAT is what FAITH can do". I have played and sang that song SO much that I can literally get MUCH work accomplished and sing at the same time. About every hour, I break down in tears and recall a few times this song was literally my lifeline and then I go back to punching some numbers on a computer screen -- ( my weekend job ).
God moves through HIS Word and HIS music -- worship music.
THOSE two kids in that photo - had NO clue of HOW much God would allow nor, what GOD would do -- "even when we fall.... we will have the strength to rise".
Today, I wanted to blog and remind the one reading this - that GOD sees you. He is the God that sees. El Roi -- the God who sees. HE knows. HE has seen your heartache and the new news of pain. He knows what you must do today - what you must confess and He knows HOW it will go down. And HE is faithful. THERE is no fear that when we walk in obedience to HIM -- even when it looks like it has all failed -- HE will still win.
"Impossible is not a word. It is just a reason for someone not to try."
- I want to remind you TODAY, God takes the initiative by causing us to WANT to pray or for us to NEED to pray.
- I want to remind you TODAY, the Holy Spirit takes the WORD of GOD and reveals it to you and God's will.
- I want to remind you TODAY, that as we pray in the Spirit - we pray in agreement with God's will.
- I want to remind you TODAY, we must then ADJUST our lives to that truth.
- I want to remind you TODAY, we look for and listen for confirmation for our decisions and directions from the Bible, our circumstances, and the body of Christ - other believers.
- I want to remind you TODAY ...THEN YOU obey.
- I want to remind you TODAY, God will work through you today to accomplish HIS purposes.
- And finally - I want to remind you TODAY that YOU will experience God as you pray and communicate with Him.
- Remember, God does not NEED you to pray -- that is our way to have communication with Him.
"It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."
"He will not speak on his own: he will speak only what he hears, and he will tel you what is yet to come."
"When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice."
Today I am most thankful for the prayer warriors that spoke into me, for the body of believers that prayed for us. I am thankful for family that accepted and loved from afar, but mostly for God's timing and I know that I obeyed. I can't put my finger on the exact formula -- as I have watched many obey and fight for their marriage and it did not end the same way. God knows those hearts and those circumstances and I don't credit ANYTHING that I did - it was ALL GOD.
God did answer my prayers and HE gets the glory and THAT has increased my faith. My faith to pray for another and encourage another to HOLD on and GIVE God the time .....the time needed to change your ( my heart) and then the other.
Faith over fear.
I was reminded today of a Word of Knowledge that was given to a prayer warrior on my or our behalf. God orchestrated it. This man - his name is Morris, saw me and saw or knew what had transpired in my marriage. I was at his church on a Sunday night. He also was given a picture or vision. He inquired to the people I was attending church with and shared what God had showed him about me.
He is a sailor - a ship captain. He saw a braided chord. A BIG rope on a boat that had been severed. With frayed edges and it was no longer ONE chord. So, he asked God, "what does this mean and what is she to do?." God replied to him "well, you know how to repair it or she can get a new rope".
He shared this with me, several weeks later. After I had decided to wait out my marriage and believe for a miracle. I had decided not to get a new rope. So Morris shared with me, " Michelle, now you know that it will take a lot of work, you have to recut each end and it will take time but if you repair it correctly and mend this chord -- it will NEVER break there again".
In preparing for writing this, I googled a few things and watched a video of "HOW" to repair a broken rope/chord. There is cutting and burning... interesting. Both Bren and I were cut, we have had to cut away some of the old and broken pieces and frayed edges. And there is burning... fire. Interesting in that too - I think of the fire of God - right away. Beauty from ashes. WHAT comes after a burning of woods or a place -- new growth. ??? !!! Anyhow, today that end part of the Word of Knowledge -- "it will NEVER break there again- if it was mended correctly."
BAM - Truth. WOW.
THOSE kids in that photo had NO clue -- BUT God still won. GOD knew.
With that -- may this just bless you and remind you that -- nothing is impossible with God.
Lord, thank you for this inspired word and insight. Lord, you know I must give credit for some of this to my present BIBLE study - Experiencing God - unit 5 -- has WRECKED me in a good way. Lord, for the one or many reading this today that took the time, I pray it would inspire them to believe and get closer to YOU. Lord for the marriages that are hurting right now - especially those close to me. Lord, for the marriage that is dissolving right now, Lord - lead and guide. Lord, for our Nation and all of this trouble - the birth pains of the end. As a mother in labor says.. and feels..."it is getting closer"... I believe YOUR return is getting closer. May we be the witness of your LOVE and MERCY to those fearful around us... especially me Lord, may I be an instrument of YOUR peace - thank you for the 33 years of marriage and for my man. I DO love him and trust him more than I could of ever of imagined when we walked into that church back in 1987 -- with that BIG hair and Jessica McClintock dress and that BLACK tux... OH he is still as cute! Lord, bless us and may our story give another the hope to fight it out -- as on the other side of that mended chord -- it is good. REAL good. IJN Amen.
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
The CONTENT below isn't available RIGHT now:
I see that often now. Even this past week, I was censored by FB.
As Pastor Cary reminded us this past week, it does seem I, scroll past the 'yuck' others post but the moment I, post something that disagrees with another's opinion - they attack.
GRACE -- It seems I give much grace but it is not given to me.
This AM...early, I posted something that I felt needed to be shared and immediately a family member attacked - in a "nice way".
After a few moments, I could hear the HS say - "delete"
So, I deleted my post, deleted my rebuttal and justification and sent a separate message and asked for forgiveness. AND then I deleted a link I had shared to 'justify'.
Obedience brings rewards.
Earlier - 2 weeks ago, I woke and immediately heard HS speak -- "come under authority". There were several situations that presented themselves over the past two weeks and those words or impression to my spirit rang true.
In the situations where "coming under authority" was a fight -- I had to ......
I had to remind myself of Ex. 14.14.
I have had to remind myself that HE is the one that draws us in.
HE will guide us. HE will guide you.
I sought God today as I felt HE has been silent when it came to a particular ministry group that I belong to.
So I asked God, am I coming under authority in this ministry that YOU birthed?
Today in my bible study, HE reminded me that HE is the one who has the purpose and HE invites us in.
God is wanting to DO something through us - to others.
He calls us to be Titus 2 Women.
HE still wants us to speak life to the ones around us.
HE still speaks.
HE will direct and lead.
THAT gave me great peace.
I was reminded that an Encounter with the HS is an Encounter with God.
Maybe YOU have not heard from God lately.
Maybe you are reading this now and questioning...?? Lord, am I posting stuff that aligns up with Your Word?
Am I posting on Social Media for the purpose of being heard?? What do YOU wish me to post?
These are all questions going ON in my head and thoughts over the past week or so. I haven't blogged in a long time. God has me doing other things, but I find joy which I can come back and just blog a prayer that may bless another.
"Come under authority"... I wonder if that is something God has impressed upon you?
With that -- I wrote this prayer - as I believe many of us are called to extend MUCH grace, and be that Titus 2 example to the people around us. May you hear God speak LIFE into you and may you speak life into another!
Father - may they SEE you as you are the God who SEES us. SPEAK to each of us -- We are reminded that YOU are the GOD Almighty. Lord, you are HOLY, YOU are unchanging and forgiving, and YOU are our Living BREAD -- may each of us KNOW and FELL that this week and may we share that within our circle of influence.
Father as we encounter Holy Spirit, we are encountering You - remind us that YOU are WHO YOU said YOU are -- the GREAT I AM. Lord, for the ONE reading this -- may she or he know that they are coming under Your authority and being obedient.
Lord, speak -- lead and direct but also, for the one that is reading this right now, I pray she walks with you in her daily steps, I pray she will have opportunity to be that Beloved Titus 2 woman that YOU have called her to be -- to another - I pray she will reach out if there is a spiritual crisis at the moment and seek a mentor or sister in Christ to pray with. May we listen well and then be obedient to what you ask us to do. In the name of Jesus, AMEN