Faith, in the midst of fear.

I came across this verse and quickly was thankful for the events which unfolded Sunday evening, as well as reminded of a similar event that took place over 20 years ago. I selected this image of a road with this verse to symbolize and give an illustration to a story I am about to share.


Let’s start with Sunday then we will travel even farther back in time. This past Sunday was amazing, we slept in, still went to church, the start of the service with the praise and worship songs were moving, we had a fundraiser I was assisting in, and we listened to the sermon. Everything ran smoothly. We sold everything for our fundraiser. We looked forward to getting one step closer towards our goal.


After church was an evening spent at a family birthday gathering where my children got to meet some of their cousins. A blessed day over all despite some personal reservations. I was happy with the outcome and blessings of the day and was extremely thankful. Your probably wondering where does fear strike in all of this. As my family and I were getting ready to leave, we turn on our car and this message pops up:


We were like oh my God tomorrows school, we have work, what is going on???

We had just shared a story an hour prior about the engine we had to replace for our German car. So I go on the website / blog for the cars manufacturer to see if there’s anything we need / can do while we get a hold of the mechanic. I Read the blogs and though my face did not show my anxiety, had you taken my pulse you would’ve felt it. I casually go over to my spouse and share what I have researched. Our brother in law who is into cars comes by to take a look, gives a few suggestions and then poof, the message goes away. We decided let’s carefully drive home to get the kids to bed and see about getting the car over to the mechanic, we have an upcoming road trip and we don’t need any glitches. So we begin our commute.

As we begin driving along kings highway in Brooklyn NY our car jerked then suddenly our speedometer went from 25mph to 5mph. We couldn’t shift gears, nothing worked. This road we take is usually packed. By the grace of God and only God that evening it was empty. We crawled to a side road and were unable to move. The way the car jerked we all got scared, but in the midst of that I knew I needed to keep calm for my kids who asked “mommy are we going to die?” They understood the potential danger, they understood at any given moment a car could have clipped us.

As I reassured them we were fine I kept asking God please just lead us to safety, protect my family. Once we called AAA to assist in getting a flatbed over so we can lug our car to the mechanic, I reached out to my mom let her know what happened. Let her know we were fine. The kids and I walked home in that late hour while my husband waited for AAA. I packed our bags, and went by my mothers.

God is the only reason I know we were safe. God is the only reason I know we were not clipped by another vehicle traveling 45mph or more. God is the only reason we got home safely from where we got stuck .

Despite my dread & my fear I kept faith in not only knowing that God would get us to our destination safely but that he would resolve this for us.


Now let’s travel back to over 20 years ago.

This story that I shared is not the first scary vehicular incident I have experienced.

While all this was happening I had a flashback to 1996. I remember sitting in the back seat of our family Oldsmobile. I remember my siblings sitting next to me. My mom driving across the Brooklyn Bridge headed towards Manhattan so we can pick up my dad who was working late. As kids we used to play games, sing along, talk, or sometimes enjoy the view of our iconic NYC Skyline. Then I hear my mom calmly say, guys make sure your seatbelts are secure, because I don’t know what’s going on. All she kept saying was Jesus take the wheel.

Her brakes failed her while crossing the bridge, the car jerked and her speed was reducing on its own. She couldn’t shift any gears, everything was locked somehow. I remember being in the back seat holding on to my siblings as I realized we were swerving between cars from one lane to another. My mom looked focused, despite her fears and desperation seeing her 4 kids in the rear view mirror filled with fear. All she kept saying was Jesus take the wheel, get my kids out of here safely. Jesus take the wheel.

I don’t know how many of you have been on the Brooklyn Bridge pre 9/11. But Prior to 9/11 the exit that passes by one police plaza which is currently closed did like this whole wrap around infinity like loop that brings you to the other side of city’ hall park. My mom knew if she would’ve gone straight, we probably would’ve crashed in to pedestrians trying to walk across the bridge, if we would’ve taken the far exit we would’ve been setting up to a collision with those trying to get on the bridge towards the entrance on the other side. So she navigated towards the infinite loop as I called it, knowing many drivers didn’t opt to that exit back then, unless they were heading south in the city. As we completed the loop and swerved between cars, the Oldsmobile finally stopped in front of city hall park and didn’t move. Not one scratch on the vehicle, not one scratch on either of us, not one scratch on any pedestrian. God was good. He saved us, he saved those around us.

Jesus literally took the wheel. Jesus literally guided us with strength with our faith in him. He guides us to safety.


Both incidents were quite an adventure.

Both incidents were quite scary.

Both incidents tested our faith.

Both incidents despite our concerns we took comfort in God.

Both incidents we came out unscathed.

Both incidents Jesus took the wheel.

Both incidents God immediately answered our prayers.

I told my mom that I had experienced a flashback to that evening. My younger brother who was about 8 at the time said he remembers that night, it was one of the most scariest he ever experienced.

I think as a mom this was scarier than my first time. Yet I have an even more newfound respect for my mom experiencing what I did, knowing full well what she must’ve been going through that evening 20+ years ago.

God has given me strength beyond words could ever describe. God has helped us run like a dear. God has lead us to safety. He is the music director to my stringed instruments. I will follow God’s lead, follow his guidance, because time and time again God has said “I got you son” “I got you my daughter” “I got your back”. We just need to listen, trust and always keep faith.


Father God I thank you for your love, mercy and forgiveness which endures forever.  God I thank you for your protection and guidance.  Father I thank you for helping us run like a dear, I thank you for leading us to safety.  You are the music director and I am your stringed instrument.  Thank you for always taking the wheel, for always guiding us to the right path, for always keeping us out of harms way, for always keeping innocent bystanders out of harms way as well. Amen

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Finding Confident Faith in the Face of Fear

We all have moments where we struggle with our faith in hardships, or when we are scared.
I read this article entitled: Finding Confident Faith in the Face of Fear (listed below).  The author spoke of her fears and finding confidence within her faith.  We have all had moments where we have felt we have failed.

Here is the Article:

#faith #failure

Author: Karly Grant

All of my life I’ve been a worrier. I still remember the prayer that I prayed every night before I went to sleep as a child, “Dear God, thank you for another day. Please help my family to sleep well and to stay safe. Please don’t let there be any fires, earthquakes, or anyone breaking into our house while we sleep. In Jesus name, Amen.”

As I’ve grown up, and grown in my faith, most of my fears have lessened and my prayers have become less rote (although I’m definitely not one to skimp on the “Help me, Jesus!” prayers that I often need). While most of these childish fears only return if I’m in real danger, there is one that has stuck with me from childhood—the fear of failure. God desires for his children to live in freedom, and as he guides me through my current struggles, I am taken back to my childhood where this fear rooted long ago.

Karly Grant FearI revealed the litany I ran through nightly as a child, but once a year, on New Year’s Eve, I would also ask God not to let Jesus return that year. One of my earliest memories is accepting Christ at four or five years old. While I fully believe that I was saved that day, I didn’t automatically have all the answers and that scared me. I cried to my mom one day when I was about six because I was terrified of Jesus returning. I didn’t have the Bible memorized, and in my mind, I was going to get to Heaven and there would be a test. I was afraid I would fail God. My mom lovingly explained the truth to me, but for many years, I thought God would find I failed, and if I could just postpone a little longer surely I would get there. I still haven’t found perfection, but I have found grace.

 

God was on his own level but this fear seeped down to my relationships with family as well. There was a time when I was about eight that my family was visiting friends overnight. I woke up the next morning and the lady we were staying with told me that my parents were at the hospital because my mom had been struck with a migraine. This was a semi-common occurrence during this stage of my life, but somehow, being in a different city made it seem different. I, being the oldest of three kids at that time, felt the pressure of telling my sisters and comforting them. What if something happened to my mom? Would I know what to do? I piled unnecessary pressure on myself as a child, and I was afraid I would fail them all as I reached for my self-imposed unrealistic expectations.

_On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate._ -Psalm 145_5

Now I fear failing at life in general. I took some huge steps of faith in a direction that I felt God calling me and it looks nothing like what I thought it would. I can’t help but wonder am I failing those who supported me? I am currently unemployed and still living in a place that I am prepared to say goodbye to. My timeline has failed me, and the enemy is quick to step into this area of my life and hiss lies.

Here in the waiting is where God and I are camping. I’ve been fighting against the enemy and speaking truth about who God is and who He says I am, going from fear of failure to confidence that can only be found through God. Scripture and music have been key to remaining saturated in truth. My times of musical worship at home are anything but pretty. I often cry, sing horribly, and pound on the keys of my keyboard. While I may look miserable to an onlooker, these are sweet times with my Savior and some of the strongest points of warfare against our enemy. Michael W. Smith has a song that I’ve been listening to often these days called Surrounded. Some of the lyrics are “This is how I fight my battles… It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.

I’ve been doing a Bible study called Psalms for Prayer. While I read these Psalms that I’ve read many times before, they have been hitting me anew.

“On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.” -Psalm 145:5

I find that reading scripture out loud and declaring the goodness of God is life-changing. God is so good. I realize in these times that I can be confident in Him. I don’t have to fear failure. He has a plan. He is with me. He never fails.


Karly is a single 30-something who is striving to follow Jesus and trust Him in every situation. She can be found with a cup of tea or a good beer in hand while cozied up with a good book or enjoying a laugh with family or friends. God has her on a wild journey. In the last year, she has quit her job of 15+ years and gone back to school full-time to pursue a career/ministry in the realm of adoption. She is both terrified and excited to see how God moves and what opportunities He provides in this adventure.

 

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Praise God for our failures should not be feared.  Sometimes our failures are apart of his plan.  Praise God for his word, for we should always find comfort in them.  We should read articles such as these for they the offer testimonies of struggles individuals undergo and how they have over come them. Testimonies such as these help us put into perspective our struggles, our fears, out doubts, our experiences and gives us hope in to seeing how we too can overcome our tribulations.

 

As a mom I have plenty of fears, most of them involve my family and their well being.  I pray ever so often  for their safety, well being, health and lives.  I have to trust that God will always cover them and protect them from harm in this world we are living in.  We are living in times where their safe havens (schools, churches) are no longer safe havens.  A random person with a vendetta can easily walk into these safe havens and…well we have all been watching the news, we know what has been happening.  It is sad.  Yet despite all that his been going on in our schools in America, Despite all the fight for gun control, despite all the prayers, yes there are times I want to pull my kids out of school and home school.  Fear, does that to us.  We cannot make rash decisions based off our fears.  Fear means giving in to the enemy, fear means rescinding our faith, fear means doubting our prayers we proclaim heavily to God.  SO what do I do? I pray harder, I pray firmer, Like this author I pray aloud his words so that his holy words can be used to anoint my family and loved ones for protection.  Do not let fear overcome you.  Do not let your fear replenish your faith, let your faith overcome and overpower your fear.  Let your faith grow stronger.  Let your faith guide you in protecting your family.

 

Father I thank you today for this article.  I thank you for these words and the scripture you have provided via this vessel.  Thank you for the opportunity to have those reading be able to relate to these situations, to our please, our fears, so they too can find use in our testimonies and find guidance within these articles.  May these articles be of hope, blessings and a path for others to grow in their faith and in their individual walks with you. Amen

 

 

Called 2 Serve

called-to-serve

I have a Testimony I want to share with my fellow bloggers and readers.
I shared this with the Pastor of women’s ministry, but I had to share with you.
As many of you may know from one of my recent posts, I have been fairly occupied on relief efforts and family within these past few weeks. I have been working on some of my writings but I haven’t focused in them as mush as I did.
Despite being busy I have been documenting things because I want to share how amazing God is.
In planning my relief efforts with my church I reached out to 3 organizations to help transport the goods to the islands.
I spoke with the Lead from the group who was sending relief efforts for the islands (st Martin and neighboring islands).
I spoke to a local legislator and grassroots non profit organization whom have been mobilizing to send goods to PR Dr & Mexico.
I have also spoke to a friend who’s in s fraternity which I will not disclose for privacy reasons and respect, who with his fraternal organization and fathers missionary are sending goods to the remote hard to reach mountainous regions of PR.
Since Maria hit I have been reaching out to these individuals
I’ve been calling them every few days to make sure we still are a for distribution / pick up after our event.
So a few days prior to the event, I left another message for the coordinator, that day she called me herself and was like “hey, the staff said your church has begun separating and boxing everything ahead of time”.
So I explained to her what’s the game plan for the event we had on the 14th and how schools and the church will be collecting and we will be dividing the goods between both relief efforts for the other islands and Pr.
She then was beyond humbled and grateful because everyone else who’s donated directly to her haven’t separated anything which has taken a lot of time from the staff.
So she was going to send an email to patients not to bring clothes, but she said since we’ve already begun to separate she will take all the clothes we collect, plus whatever else we give them. She then said to me “I am curious what church is organizing this?”
When I told her our name she said “oh wow, God is so good, and works in mysterious ways.” I said that he does, then she said “she goes to (she stated the name to her church) In SI.”
I got emotional as well. She said “wow God using fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to help with this mission, she said she is beyond humbled. It is amazing how God unites people for a reason.”
Her original intention was to meet us at our event. Unfortunately conflict scheduling didn’t lead to that but what did happen was oh so magical.
As we got closer to the date we kept in communication to coordinate drop off/ pick up. She was so eager to meet the Pastor for opening the doors to the church to help with these efforts! She kept saying she wants to hug us all.
God is sooo good.
I’m crying again just retelling this …: this was my third confirmation that week that what we are did was worthwhile.
The Sunday prior to having this conversation with this woman of God to continue to work on logistics, I asked God to please tell me, did I bite more than I can chew? Can you (God) guide me?
I continued to ask God “Tell me something to know that I am doing what you called me to do.”
  • Twice on Sunday he said only one word. Patience.
So I asked for guidance. He answered Patience. I had to sit and be patient.
The next two days was a Monday and Tuesday one of my sisters in Christ not knowing my plea sent me devotionals indicating that we are meant to serve.
These devotionals were the answers I was looking for.
I cried instantly…. because I knew he was telling me was true.
The first devotional she sent me was this:
By Rick Warren
10-02-15-woeaihf-we-serve-because-we-are-saved_mini
“It is he who saved us and chose us for his holy work not
because we deserved it but because that was his plan.” (2 Timothy 1:9a
TLB)
What struck out from this devotional were the following: (hyper linked the title for your review the whole
“You were saved to serve God. The Bible says, “It is he who saved us and chose us for his holy work not because we deserved it but because that was his plan” (2 Timothy 1:9a TLB).”
“God redeemed you so you could do his “holy work.” You’re not saved by service, but you are saved for service. In God’s Kingdom, you have a place, a purpose, a role, and a
function to fulfill. This gives your life great significance and value. “
While I read this I cried.
My friend stated that this whole devotional reminded her of me.
She stated this is what made her think of me “If you have no love for others, no desire to serve others, and you’re only concerned about your needs, you should question whether Christ is really in your life. A saved heart is one that wants to serve.”
He told me to be patient.
He answered my question.
I am a saved heart that wants to serve.
On Tuesday my same sister in Christ sent me the following:
By Rick Warren
10-03-15-woeaihf-god-has-work-for-you-to-do_mini
“It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us
new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should
spend these lives in helping others.” (Ephesians 2:10 TLB)
“God calls you to a service far beyond anything you could ever imagine. You were put on Earth to make a contribution.
You weren’t created just to consume resources — to eat, breathe, and
take up space. God designed you to make a difference with your life. You
were created to add to life on Earth, not just take from it. God wants
you to give something back.”
I think it is safe to say he answered my plea.
Despite these confirmations the enemy was working. Closely too. He was using my loved ones. My husband then mentioned “what if you collect all these things and they refuse”.
So that night I prayed, really prayed, and while praying god said call I called the two locations we were working with to drop off goods. To reconfirm al lthe details I was working on and reconfirming what they needed, what was missing, what we had, what we were doing etc.
I rebuked the devil for instilling doubt, and said God you will provide… you will pave way to a solution, and we will get these clothes to those in need as was promised….. my confirmations all started with a request. He told me to be patient. Then after receiving doubt from my husband and receiving the many confirmations he told me to call. When I reached out to all the parties involved my nerves calmed. My thoughts eased.
By Thursday of that week (one week and two days before the event) my sister in christ sent me a message with another verse. She stated ‘Reading my daily morning bible readings, Mathew 20:28 came up. I wasn’t going to tell you but something told me to tell you, that once again the Lord brings these versus to my readings and that I should share with you. Its just confirmation after confirmation. Whatever happens on the 14th is because its how the Lord permitted it.”
Mathew 20:28 states: “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The following day she sends me this:
By Rick Warren
10-06-15-woeaihf-spiritual-maturity-is-never-an-end-in-itself_mini
“Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did
not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for
many.” (Matthew 20:28 TLB)
“For Christians, service is not something to be tacked onto our schedules
if we can spare the time. It is the heart of the Christian life. Jesus
came “to serve” and “to give” — and those two verbs should define your
life on Earth, too. “
Confirmation after Confirmation of How Great God is in answering our please.
The days leading to the event was running smooth.
Packages were being received in the mail from those whom ordered online.
Donations were still trickling in.
Many members have helped non stop on several occasions to get things done.
over 200 boxes were prepped, sorted and sent to both locations.
200 boxes which included food, clothing, feminine product, hygiene products, toiletries, elder care needs, medical supplies, school supplies, baby products water etc.
200 boxes which we hope will make a difference to the lives whom receive these goods.
The day of it was all hands on deck.
Members of various ages from the youngest of the crop to some of the elders.
All hands were on deck prepping, sorting, folding, boxing.
The men made the first trip towards the PR aid.
It took 45 minutes to load up the van.
The men onsite were plentiful and it took 5 minutes to unload all the goods for PR 110 boxes and 25 cases of water went to PR.
As the day continue we finished packing.
By the end of the day (4pm) We had 90 boxes ready to go.
The second site was unable to secure a vehicle big enough to pick up all the goods we obtained for them, so we took a road trip.
We got to meet our sister in Christ helping St Martin and the other islands.
90 boxes of essential items were dropped off to her.
Tears were shed.
Prayers were made.
Glory to God was proclaim.
My prayers were answered. We did not plan this event in vain.
We did not let the enemy win.
We succeeded in helping many for a great cause.
We are called to serve, and serve we did.
I am beyond humbled beyond words could ever compare with everything this experience has taught me.
Despite my fear and worries for my families back home.
Despite logistical planning and constant phone calls.
I am glad that God provided.
He showed yet again that all will happen in his time.
He showed that we need to patient.
He taught me a special lesson.
I am called to serve.
Father God thank you for this humbling experience.  Thank you for the lessons you have learned. Most importantly thank you for the reminders that Patience is needed and that I am called to serve. You are most kind dear Lord, you are compassionate and your mercy is beyond comprehension my Lord. I am thankful for guiding me through this experience which was stressful. Thank you for not allowing those seeds of doubt take over my heart and my mind.  I fully trusted in you then and I fully trust in you now. As in all I do; It is all for your Glory and your will to be done.  May others use this testimony as an example that in the midst of one’s storm we are to be patient and confide in you to lead the way. Amen

​ Bless others with your light

Bless others with your light.
Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
There is this trend where many gather to sip some wine and paint with friends. It’s actually a pretty cool way to DE-stress from a crazy week by painting your worries away in good company….. in some cases with a good glass of wine.
I like this concept of hanging out yet doing something therapeutic. One evening my friends and I decided to take a much needed mommy break and the 3 of us decided to join one of these sip and paint classes. We painted, we fellow shipped and we drank soda lol. So we technically “sipped” and painted.
After our fun evening we all felt this is something we could do with our fellow parishioners and friends. We approached our pastoral leadership, once we got the approval, we asked our members and when we got enough interests we decided to go ahead and plan the event…. but in our church’s basement, as a fellowship/ fundraiser.
On the day of the event I opened up the church to begin getting things in order. A few members began cooking so we can have additional food for the potluck. The instructors for the class arrived, we went to help them unload, we helped them arrange the furniture to ensure not only the instructors were comfortable and had space but that when the painters arrive there’s space for mobility, space for them to view painting and of course comfort.
We helped them set up and prep. The instructor kept saying sit, relax, our agreement is we do all the work. He obviously doesn’t know me I can’t sit idle …. ever, and our parishioners are the same, always helping, always of service.
Our initial agreement was we pay for 20 painters up front. Minimum for a mobile event is 20.
I paid for the 20, but knew X amount of people where going to come. The Instructor said in the event of cancellations individuals 21& on will pay day of. I agreed and we proceeded to set up for the x amount of people whom stated were coming.  Though I just wanted to pay for everyone up front.
As people arrived, we started feeding them fruit salad on this hot summer day. We also fed our instructors. When all the participants arrived I asked the instructor hey let me give you the money for those participants. He stated don’t worry about that now we will discuss that later on. So the class began.
We painted, sang songs while painting, we cracked jokes that even the instructors partook in our fellowship. Mid way we took a break. We ate, fed our instructors and again I approached him about the remainder of the money, he told me don’t worry about the money we can talk about that later.
We went back to painting. After we painted and when it was time for clean up, we helped him dismount and put away the materials. As the members were gathering their tip, I again approached the lead instructor regarding the money. He said ma’am, we’ve done several of these types of events, there are times that we don’t even get offered a glass of water, our agreement was that you sit back, worry about your painters and we will set up and clean up. Yourself and many of your guests have not sat back, from the moment we arrived up until now you have taken really good care of us. You’ve embraced us, you’ve fed us, you’ve hydrated us, you’ve included us. We were supposed to take care of you, and instead you took care of us. Call us even. Give the money for those individuals to the church with whatever was raised for today. We thank you for your hospitality and love.
I will not disclose the amount of painters he did not charge me for. But that amount will be of a blessing to the church. We raised all together a good amount. Double what I had anticipated. God is good!
Lesson here:
Your actions, how you treat others are a testimony of who we are. Your actions, how you treat others are a blessings to others. You actions, how you treat others can bring back blessings to you, even when least expected. I wish the business we partnered with for the event much blessings, love and success. They blessed us more than they could even imagine. I am glad at the end of the day it was a mutual blessing. For them, for the church and myself, who was touched and moved by his words and his generosity. He didn’t have to donate money for those individuals to the church, yet he did. To God be all the Glory! Once again I humbly thank them.
I shared this testimony with the church the Sunday following the event, not to gloat at how much we raised, not my good deeds, for it wasn’t just myself who helped it was many others who rolled up their sleeves and helped. He didn’t see one person doing all the work, he saw a team of people working together for one same cause, to God all the Glory. It was our actions, our love, our kindness not my love, not my actions nor my kindness, but all of our actions that led him to his decision.
Father God I humbly thank you for your Constance guidance and love. I thank you for my church and the light of love, the light of compassion and the light of your grace overflowed that Saturday. We were able to touch this mans heart for him to bless us in your name. Lord we thank you for allowing our gestures to minister to his heart. We thank you for using all of us, despite our age differences, we all showed the same love and compassion. We all ministered…. even this man ministered back to us, with his actions, with his love and his emotions. Thank you Lord, for we will continue to give you all the glory. AMEN.

​ Importance of testimony

Importance of testimony
“Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered.”
(Psalm 105:5, ESV)
We are instructed in this psalm to testify. We are to remember the works, the miracles and judgments God has done. How best to do that than to testify on the blessings, miracles and wonders he has provided in your life.
We are to remember what he has done.
We are to share these memories so other can learn from them.
We are to remember and share so others can be inspired.
We are to remember and share so that others’ faith can grow.
We are to remember and share so that our faith can grow, sometimes we need that reminder.
Remember What He Has Done.
When I had lost all hope, I was in my own personal despair.
I had threw in the towel.
I had decided that its over.
He said no!
I have just begun.
At first I wasn’t sure he was talking to me.
He kept talking.
Kept showing signs and my miracle happened.
Ever so often I talk about it.
I’m doing so it reignites that fire within me.
Reignites my faith.
I give him praise and glorify his good deeds each time I remember.
Lord I thank you for the blessings you’ve given me. I thank you for allowing me to witness your works. Today as I remember the marvels you have blessed me with I glorify your holy name. It was you who made it all possible. You are good, mercifully and loving. Thank You for
loving me. Thanking you for your mercy, though I do not deserve it. Thank you for your. Blessings. Thank You for setting me free. Love you always. Grateful always, and always I will life your name in praise, love, admiration and gratitude. Amen