No Longer Forsaken

When I was in college, a friend of mine challenged me to start memorizing scripture with her. I learned in that season that writing the word of God on my heart changed the way I thought of Him, the way I talked to Him in my prayer life and the way I worshiped Him. I’ve been feeling challenged recently to start writing scripture on my heart in this season — to make it a normal part of my devotional life again. So every Monday, I’m sharing the scripture I’m memorizing that week, with a story and song to go with it. Because it matters that we write the word of God on our hearts, and that we think of Him and worship Him from that place.

SCRIPTURE:

Isaiah 62:2-4

The nations shall see your righteousness,
    and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
    that the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
    and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
    and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
    and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
    and your land shall be married.

STORY:

I heard someone say once that history belongs to the intercessors. That those of us who pray are the ones building and writing history with God & in His kingdom. What walking closely with Jesus for almost 10 years has taught me is that there is so much truth to that statement. That something powerful happens when we write these promises from scripture on our hearts and call them forth in our lives.

Church planting is not for the faint of heart, y’all. It is the hardest and most amazing adventure I’ve ever been on with God. We literally moved into a desert valley, just because He asked us to, believing Him to bring streams to the desert & rivers to the wasteland… and He’s doing it!

I started praying these words from Isaiah 62 over Salt Lake City a couple of years ago, when God first spoke that this was the land He was calling us to. I started believing Him to redeem and restore this place that’s been so long forsaken by the Church. I started imagining that perhaps the mountains that encircle our city are the prophetic picture of that crown of beauty mentioned in this scripture.

I prayed these words over Salt Lake City like they were a promise written just for this place.

A couple of Sundays ago, a lady in our church pulled me aside after the service and asked if she could pray for me. She began to quote these exact words from Isaiah 62, and I wept as I realized in that moment that me and Salt Lake City are not so different.

Broken and barren. Desolate and discouraged. Marked by a long and exhausting season of feeling forgotten about or overlooked or outright neglected by God.

And then I began to recall all the ways I’m seeing God fulfill these promises from scripture in our city. Transforming lives that will transform a city. Renaming it for all the rest of history: A city no longer forsaken.

I felt challenged in that moment to believe the same is true of my story. That I shall no longer be termed Desolate. That I could believe and declare this promise from scripture is true of my life also — the same way I spent years declaring its truth over our city, and now am seeing God do exactly what He promised.

I felt challenged to believe again that a God of miracles is the Author of every piece of my story. That it is far from over. That my Champion is not dead, but alive — and that He intends to bring life to everything that feels dead in my story.

So, here’s to making history, believing that everything He says is true. Even when we can’t see it. Even when we don’t feel it. The miracle is on its way. It has to be — it’s just what He does.

SONG:

“God of Miracles”
Chris McClarney
Everything and Nothing Less

(Listen on Apple Music or YouTube)

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In the watches of the night

When I was in college, a friend of mine challenged me to start memorizing scripture with her. I learned in that season that writing the word of God on my heart changed the way I thought of Him, the way I talked to Him in my prayer life and the way I worshiped Him. I’ve been feeling challenged recently to start writing scripture on my heart in this season — to make it a normal part of my devotional life again. So every Monday, I’m sharing the scripture I’m memorizing that week, with a story and song to go with it. Because it matters that we write the word of God on our hearts, and that we think of Him and worship Him from that place.

SCRIPTURE:

Psalm 63:6-8

“On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.”

STORY:

Remembering Him through the watches of the night took on new meaning for me this past spring. I will never forget sitting in my living room late one night in April, as we’d been believing God to deliver our boy, Judah Rise, as he was growing inside the womb of an addict who was losing a battle to a meth addiction.

I sat in my living room at 2 am on April 13 and cried out to God, and I felt like he said, “Let Psalm 63 be your hope and your prayer for him.” I opened my Bible and when I saw the title of the Psalm, I wept.

“A psalm of David. When he was in the wilderness of Judah.”

There I sat in my own Judah wilderness, and I read this psalm over and over, praying it over our boy, declaring victory and vowing that, no matter what, God would be praised. That I would sing praise to Him, in the shadow of His wings, as I walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. No matter the cost. No matter the outcome.

We fought a losing fight for Judah’s life. It still aches every day.

That page of my Bible is so soaked in my tears, marked by my eye makeup and wrinkled with watermarks that it has become naturally bookmarked. It’s the first page that falls open when I go to open my Bible every morning, and for the last several months I’ve ignored it. It felt too tender to revisit this psalm I’d prayed day and night, without ceasing, for those two months that we fought so hard for him.

But it is good to remember the things that have marked us — even when those marks are the scars of our deepest wounds. So this week, I’m memorizing these words from Psalm 63 again. Because I want to be a woman who, like Jesus, is familiar with suffering and acquainted with grief. And I want to know deeply that even in those places — especially in those places — He will still be praised.

SONG:

“Even When It Hurts (Praise Song)”
Hillsong United
Empires

(Listen on Apple Music or YouTube)