Lately, during praise and worship I have found myself at a loss for words. Struggling to convey the depth of my emotions, my love, my gratitude… all the things that are so very real within my heart, seem impossible to express with words. I often find myself in the presence of God, overwhelmed and speechless. And yet more than anything, I want to tell Him everything. 

I think it’s because words have so much power. And because words “speak to me” (no pun intended) in a way that others may not understand. I know how badly they can hurt and how immeasurably they can help. 

Words have always had a powerful place in my life. I live to read the written word and often find it easier to express all that I am, in what I write. I live and die by thank you cards and I experience more love in a handwritten note, than I could ever explain. For me, words have a whole life all their own – an undeniable power that can make or break me. 

Words can literally bring life, strength and fulfillment, encouraging the deepest parts of who we are… or they can crush even the strongest person, destroying all that they believe to be true. 

Words can devastate the wounded. 

Words can cheer the weary soul. 

Words can convince us that we are not enough… or push us to reach for greatness. 

One word can literally change everything. 

All too often, I find that within my own inadequacies, it’s all too easy to hear and accept what the world (and Satan) may say about me. After all, those words are so much easier to identify with… broken, worthless, not enough, failure, defeated, hopeless. Those are the words that have a way of etching themselves into the very core of your being, challenging all that God says is true.

I struggle with some of those words more often that I’d like, my own insecurities taking hold and boldly serving to remind me of all the things I want to be, and all the things I’m not. 

But God. I sat in His presence. (Which is hard for my type C personality, who always has a million Martha type things to do, to just do.) I sat there, speechless at who He is and all that He has done. Once again struggling to find the words. Struggling to silence all the words that would speak so loudly over His voice. 

And I heard in my heart, “All words lose their power in My presence.” 

All the words, the negative, deafening words that can crush me… all those words lose their power in the presence of God. There is freedom in His presence. Freedom from failure, freedom from insecurity, freedom to be all that, and only, what He says that I am. 

Fear fades away. Failure is forgotten. All of the bad, the hurt, the shame… it all loses its voice when the King of Kings begins to speak. 

In His presence, is fullness of joy. In His presence, is peace forever more. 

Tonight, as I stood in a room here in Thailand, surrounded by Staff and kids from Life Impact, I found myself overwhelmed to the point of tears. God reminded me again, that all those words that I allowed to define me, no longer had power because I was in His presence. And as the negatives were silenced, God just began to speak His words over me. With every word, each tear fell harder and faster than the one before.

My hearts cry tonight is for those of you who may read this. Those who may be undone by all the negatives spoken into and over your life. You are not the sum of your failures. You are not worthless. You are not broken. The chapters in your story may not have gone the way you’d like, but your story isn’t over yet. And with every battle comes another opportunity for Victory. Don’t listen to what the world (or Satan) may offer to you. Listen to what God has to say. Find your way into His presence and allow Him to speak life into who you are.

And if you’re reading this, and you don’t know my Father God, through His Son, Jesus, you can.

The very God who created the entire universe and everything in it, chose to create you and to love you. But because of sin, we were separated from His great love. Our sins demanded a price that we couldn’t pay. Money and good deeds can’t take sin from our hearts and lives. Only the sacrifice of the sinless, Son of God, Jesus Christ, could do that. 

Jesus came for you, for me, for the entire world; those alive today and those yet to come. And He died on a cross, bearing the death that we deserved. Paying the price for our sins and making a way so that in receiving Him, we could receive forgiveness.

Three days after He died, the power of God came into the body of Jesus and He rose up alive! He is still alive today! When Jesus conquered death, He purchased forgiveness for all who would choose to simply believe in Him and call upon His name, inviting Him to be Lord of their life. 

He did it all… for you and me. Because of His great love for us.

There is no greater love than someone laying down their life for a friend. And Jesus did that for us all.

He made a way so that we could once again have a relationship with the God who created us and one day spend eternity in Heaven. 

This is the God I serve. The one true and living God who speaks life into my soul. He constantly reminds me of His love for me. 

And the love He has for me, is the very love He wants to give to you.

If you believe what I’ve shared about Jesus, and you want to step out and give God the chance to speak over your life, all you have to do is ask Jesus to come into your life. And in your heart, allow yourself to give all that you are to Him.

There is no perfect prayer to pray. No set words that must be spoken. Simply call out to Jesus.

If you are at a loss for what to say, you can pray this prayer:

Dear God, 

I believe in Jesus and what He did for me. I believe He died on the cross to pay for my sins. I believe He rose and is alive today. Jesus, I ask you, to come into my life. Forgive me of my sins. Speak over me. I chose today to give my life to you. Amen.

I know it sounds easy, and it is. Now I won’t lie and say you’ll never face another problem, but at least you won’t face them alone.

Allow God to speak into your heart and life. Allow Him to redefine all that you are. Let His words set the course for who you will become. 

He will change everything, if you’ll let Him. Give Him a chance.

*If you prayed that prayer or something similar, I want to hear from you. Message me or send an email and let me know about your decision. I want to help encourage you in the days ahead. And if not me, tell someone what you have done and find a church you can get involved with, and a Bible that you can read. It will change your life! And I’m here, message me with any questions you may have.

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Writing Myself Out Of The Story // Asia 2018

Sometimes I write out of necessity, other times it’s out of a desire to get better at what I do. Most often though, it’s out of a need to come to terms with my heart – the realities of life, the fears I face, my hope for the future… all the intangibles that I often keep locked away.

If you read my last blog, “Finding My Way Again” you will remember that back in April (Yes way too much time has passed since I last wrote all of you) that I went to Thailand and volunteered with an incredible ministry, Life Impact International. They work to rescue children out of slavery and prostitution and prevent others from ever entering that world. They give these children a place to call home and hope in Jesus Christ. They are literally rescuing children and training them to take the Gospel of Jesus back into the world. It was during this trip that God opened my eyes and reminded me that even though it might appear as though I was counted out, that He wasn’t finished with me yet.

When faith meets FEAR.

To be completely honest, coming to volunteer with Life Impact scared me. My initial call with their founder went well – too well. We talked about the things I could do… how I had led multiple short-term team mission trips and also loved media/graphic design. She told me about how her team of missionaries and staff had literally been praying for me – someone with my exact gifting and talents and how they could have used me as early as “yesterday”. This news terrified me. What if I looked like the answer to their prayers and ended up being nothing more than a huge disappointment? I couldn’t bear the thought. I had disappointed more than my fair share of people in life and I wasn’t about to add to that list. Even though I had self-imposed reservations, I booked my ticket, packed my bags and went to Thailand. And I had five glorious weeks that changed my life. (You can read more about that trip in my previous blog.)

Before I returned to the states, I got the opportunity to have tea with the founder, Lana Vasquez and simply dream together about the future and what that could look like. We talked about the possibility of me becoming a more permanent member of their team, in the days to come. No date was set and nothing was written in stone, but we both dreamed big about what this could be, how it would work and when it would happen. All of that, we placed in God’s hands, trusting that as always, He would bring things about in His perfect timing.

And with that, I packed my bags again, flew out the next day and headed home. I was filled with hope for the adventure that I knew was just over the horizon. From the moment my feet left Asia, I started praying. Not praying for God’s will to be done – which would have been good on my part… but rather earnestly and sincerely begging God to bring things into alignment. I wanted this – more than I had wanted anything in a long time.

The months seemed to drag by at an unbearably slow pace and yet at the same time, they seemed to go by with such rapid speed that I couldn’t accomplish all that I needed to. That may not make much sense, but it was my reality nonetheless. Finally, it happened, roughly four months later, I was on a phone call discussing all the details with Lana. This was the moment where it was all becoming a reality. In just a few more weeks, I would officially be a member of the Life Impact International team.

When You Question Everything.

And here is the part of this story where I should be able to say that “all the pieces finally aligned” and “all my dreams came true” … and they did, but amidst the fruition of my dreams, was this overwhelming fear (I didn’t recognize it for what it was, but it was definitely fear). I spent many nights awake, beyond my normal late hours – trying to reassure myself that this was God’s plan. After all, the pieces fit so perfectly, that only God could have made this happen, right? And even though I was literally walking into a fairytale of all that I had hoped for, I still struggled. Unable to piece together what was wrong, my heart was heavy. This heaviness was tangible and because it felt so real, I persuaded myself that maybe I had missed God. What other explanation was there? This opportunity may have seemed perfect, but once again, I had messed up. And to make things worse, my worst fear was becoming a reality. If I walked away, I would be letting Lana and the others down. I would be disappointing even more people in my life. Fear was taking me out of the game before I even stepped up to the plate.

There it was. FEAR. Disruptive. Overwhelming. Unexplainable. FEAR. I was afraid of disappointing others and in that fear, I almost wrote myself out the next chapter that God had so perfectly written for my life.

Exactly Where I Am Supposed To Be.

Thankfully, God knew. He knows how crazy I can be. He knows how I overanalyze everything and undervalue myself. And yet He never gives up on me. He had people praying and thankfully my eyes were opened to the real problem. Once I could see the fear for what it was, I could deal with it. I could face it. And I did.

I have now been in Thailand for a little over seven weeks (excluding my five-day trip to the Philippines) and I’m amazed daily at how God is bringing about my heart’s desires, carefully crafting each day to challenge and stretch me and bring me more joy than I could imagine. I’m so unexplainably thankful that He didn’t give up on me and grateful for those who prayed for me, some not knowing why they were praying. I’m here, smack dab in the middle of exactly where I am supposed to be. The adventure has only just begun, but each new day brings forth the possibility of far more than I could have ever hoped for.

Moral of the story – FEAR can ruin the best of things but only if we let it. Fear has no more power in our lives than we allow it to have.

2 Timothy 1:7 The Passion Translation

For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control.

(I have so much more to write about including miracles – all that God has prepared for me and the incredible things I’ve gotten to take part in… but it’s too much for one blog. I promise to write more and share all that has happened. Please be patient though and I promise to include you in all the excitement.)

Jamie Lynn Sivak Signature