God’s Voice In The Laundry

I have been overwhelmed by laundry since the birth of our first child. I don’t think I have ever completely caught up since then.

Needless to say, I am constantly doing laundry and today has been no different.

The fifth load of laundry is taking a soapy, sudsy ride in the washer as I type this post right now.

I wanted to quickly share how God spoke to me a couple of loads ago while folding and hanging the fresh batch of clean and crisp clothes.

I was on a roll folding and stacking and hanging, and then I pulled out my daughter’s little red dress and it felt damp in a small area. I ran my hands across it trying to spread it out to observe it a little better when I discovered that a small piece of thread was twisted around the middle of it. I tugged on the thin string and it broke immediately exposing the horrible wrinkles that it had left behind.

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I started to feel a bit frustrated that this dress was ruining my laundry flow and went to throw it back into the dryer, but then it happened…

It wasn’t a booming, earth quaking experience. It was the still small voice of my Heavenly Father speaking to me…

that I would have for myself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27)

Instantly I began searching myself. Oh my! What small thread have I allowed to cause wrinkles in my life? What tiny thing have I possibly looked over thinking that it’s just no big deal?

How many times has the Father had to throw me back into the “dryer of life”, expose me to the heat of trial or tribulation to rid me of the wrinkles?

This thread can represent many different things in each of our lives, but I wanted to share this today in hopes that it will encourage you to also examine your heart and remove any small “thread”that may be there.

To think that one thin, tiny thread could cause so many wrinkles…

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May we each seek to remove them from our lives for the glory of the One who lived a spotless life for us!

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14)

May God bless you today, my friends!

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Love Grows

On this day, 17 years ago

I had no idea, I did not know…

That you were the ‘one’, no others would do

I didn’t know it then, but I took a chance on you

You asked for “the hook up”, and I said “sure”

I had no idea all that we would endure

I was just a shy girl and you, a wild boy

All I knew was being around you brought me lots of joy

As days turned into weeks and then weeks into years

We grew closer as we shared our dreams, plans, and fears

3 years had passed, you asked me to be your wife

Of course I said “yes!”, I couldn’t wait to start our life

Slowly but surely, the following year went by

It was our wedding day, the 13th of July

It felt like a dream, I couldn’t believe it was true

I was finally your wife, I actually got to marry you

Marriage hasn’t been easy – actually, it has been quite tough

We now know, in order to make it…we’re not enough

Marriage isn’t between two, it was made for three

What a beautiful picture of the Holy Trinity

We’ve walked through some valleys and real dark places

We’ve seen the hurt and pain we’ve caused on one another’s faces

There were times we knew we were falling apart

This was all God’s plan from the very start

He’d let us try and we’d make a mess

No way to fix it but to go to Him and confess

He’s taught us so much and He’s still teaching us more

The lessons have been hard, at times our hearts tore

There have been times is all seemed like too much

But God has restored us by His grace-filled touch

Marriage won’t work without God in the middle

There’s no other way, no magic, no riddle

This much we’ve learned and know is true

I’m so glad that I’ve learned these lessons with you

When I think of our love, my mind goes back to this date

The day our love story began – January 18, 1998

I love you, Phillip Scott Neville!

Thank you for learning and growing with me, and continually loving me through all of the hard times that we have faced together. God has truly been good to us and has helped us understand what marriage is truly about.

Happy “Beginning Of Our Love Story” Anniversary!

I love loving you!

holinessnothappiness

Sacred Scars

Have you been marked by a wound so deep

When you think about it, inside you weep

Your life’s been damaged and your heart’s been crushed

Can’t seem to get past it, and you’ve tried so much

When you think you’re over it, your thoughts rewind

Thoughts of bitterness fill your mind

“Don’t let it go” your flesh cries out

It amps your fears and feeds your doubt

Depression sets in, your head starts spinning

The aching thoughts seem never ending

You’re at the end of yourself, ready to give up

You’ve given it your all and it wasn’t enough

There’s a voice in the distance calling out to you

Come to me and I’ll make you new

I’ll take your burden and give you peace

Come to me and depression will cease

When you remember your wounds, don’t despise your scars

They show where you’ve been, they’re not who you are

Some scars are jagged and some cut clean

But, know that ALL scars can be redeemed

Yes, you’ll still walk through valleys and you will experience pain

I’ll be right there with you, just call on My Name

When bad memories start calling and you question who you are

Remember you are Mine, love… and those are sacred scars

~Rachael Neville

sacred scars

As a teenager, I experienced a pretty difficult time of depression. Lots of fears, questions, and doubts. Even as an adult there have been times that thoughts and feelings of depression have tried to make their way back into my life, but I’m so thankful that I called out to Jesus all those years ago and He has walked through every dark valley with me. When depression comes knocking, I go to Him again and again….

I pray that if you are experiencing depression or facing doubts, fears, or even have questions that are bigger than you, call on Him to redeem you and make you new. He has the answers that you’re searching for and He can cause your scars to become sacred, to be used for His purpose in your life and the lives of others.

He is a Good Father and You are Loved by Him!

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

Isaiah 61:1-3

Learning From The Life Of Mary

The angel Gabriel was sent by God, to Mary. He said to her “Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God.”

WOW!

Favor with God…what an awesome thing!

He goes on to tell her that she is going to miraculously bring forth a Son, and shall call him Jesus.

Mary questions how this will happen since she isn’t married, but doesn’t doubt. In verse 38 of Luke chapter 1, she says “Let it be done to me according to your word.”

She humbly yields herself to the will of God for her life. What a beautiful picture of a surrendered life to God. No wonder God had found favor with this sweet lady.

How quick are we to surrender when God speaks?

No doubt she had a million thoughts flooding her mind… “what will my parents, my family, …what will Joseph think?”

“What will happen to me?”

And yet she still said YES to the Lord!

It amazes me that in verse 49, she goes on to say “For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.”

Though she knew that she could have faced terrible consequences for this, she still says “He has done great things for me”!

Great things, indeed!

Mary understood that favor with God is always far better than favor with people, but it will most likely cost you something!

Mary was willing to give her body, her soul, her reputation, her ALL!

What are you willing to pay?

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Heavenly Father

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your love, Your grace and mercy in our lives.

I pray that You help each of us to know You more, love You greater and to be willing to surrender everything that we are to You!

You deserve all that we have to give and more!

Thank You for the grace that you have given to the saints of old, who have loved and lived for You, they have left legacies and are great examples for us.

Most of all, I thank You for the gift of Your Son. The One who was perfect and sinless, yet He bore our sin and paid the price so that we could be justified and redeemed.

Oh what a gift! The most precious gift we’ve ever been given!

Thank You!

Starving Sisters

When we hear the word “starving”, there is an image that automatically pops into our minds. It is a picture of a pitiful person who is skin and bones, sickly and unhealthy. Starvation isn’t as common in the U.S. as it is in many other area’s of the world, but it is still a very sad, and real problem.

As important as this topic is, and definitely needs to be dealt with, this is not the sort of starvation that I am writing about today. The starvation that is a sad reality here in the wonderful land of plenty, is spiritual starvation. The saddest part about this problem is that there is no real reason for it. With Bibles laying around our homes and all over shelves in countless stores all across America, we choose to deprive our souls of the rich blessing of spiritual food.

Back in 2012, the LifeWay Research team surveyed more than 2,900 Protestant churchgoers and found that while 90 percent “desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do,” only 19 percent personally read the Bible every day.

“As we gather to worship week in and week out, we sense the hunger in our souls but often assume light refueling and refreshment will nourish us for the week ahead. Sadly, many of us would be better described as severely malnourished” says Jen Wilkin – Author of “Women of the Word”.

I know that this is a real problem for Christians as a whole, men and women alike. I am choosing to address the women today because my hope is that some of my “starving sisters” are encouraged to become “Women Of The Word” and begin nourishing their souls, as well as sharing spiritual food with others.

There was a time in my life, just a few short years ago actually, that I was content with hearing the Word preached or exhorted during Sunday service and very rarely opened my own Bible throughout the entire week. I would scramble through the Psalms when I was feeling low, or maybe read some of the Gospels when I was feeling a bit guilty, and at times I would just open the Bible and whatever page fell open I would read a few verses in hopes that it would be “the verse that I needed” for that day.

I couldn’t seem to get a grip on why I struggled to have the peace and joy that Christians are suppose to possess. I would pray quick prayers and count down the days to get to church again to get some sort of an encouragement. I did not realize that I was spiritually starving.

Imagine if we were to feed our physical bodies once or twice a week, or even three or four times a week. Oh my! We would look pitiful, and even more importantly we would feel terrible. When we allow our souls to be starved of the precious Word of God, we feel the effects of that choice, and do not be fooled….others can see it as well.

People know a happy, healthy Christian from a sad, starving one.

You will not be able to walk around in constant defeat, always weary about life when you are feasting on manna from Heaven. Don’t get me wrong, life will still happen! Trials will come and you will still walk through valleys, but because you will have read the scripture about the “Lily of that Valley”, you will trust that He is with you and hum praises until you reach the victorious mountain top again.

Since the day that I realized that I was a “starving sister”, I made the choice to do my best to be a “Woman of the Word” and allow God to mold me into the image of His Son through the Word of God. I’m tellin’ y’all, my life has changed! You will think different, feel different, and live different.

There are times that I don’t quite understand a passage and have to dig for a little more information, but the seeking is ALWAYS worth the find!

Jesus, himself said “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8)

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I don’t claim to have great wisdom, I’m not a bible scholar or any sort of theologian. All I am is a sister who was starving, broken, and hungry…and all the while the food that my soul was needing was sitting on my bookshelf untouched.

How many of us would have a fridge full of food and sit on the couch and starve?

Not too many of us, I’m sure.

Don’t be content with only the food that other’s spoon feed you. It’s wonderful to sit and listen to great preachers, teachers and speakers. I love it!

But, please do not stop there! There is so much more!!!

God can and will reveal things to you in His Word. Put forth the effort of knowing Him through His Word and He will reveal Himself to you, it’s a promise. Jeremiah 29:13 says this “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

I challenge each of you sweet ladies to feast today!! Hold that precious gift in your hands, open the pages and seek Him there.

Your soul will never be truly satisfied until you do!

 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. John 6:35

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I HIGHLY recommend the book “Women of the Word” by Jen Wilkin

It will help you get a good start on how to read and study the Bible!

What To Do When We’re Worlds Apart

We see the pictures and hear the stories of people who live in poverty but it’s really hard to actually imagine living in such conditions every single day.

Some of us have had the privilege of going on mission trips and actually meeting some of the precious people but there always comes a time, the end of the trip, where we get to pack up our things and head back home to America.

America, where our lives are (for the most part) much more comfortable than theirs and even the “not so wealthy” here in the U.S. are much more wealthy than these families.

Just yesterday, our family along with some of our church family went to the “Compassion Experience.”

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It was very eye opening and heart wrenching to actually walk through a couple of personal stories of children who lived through such horrible conditions.

As we listened to their stories and saw just a little of the life that they had to live, my heart broke.

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Our children had many questions afterward about why children had to live that way and we did our best to explain that unfortunately, other countries aren’t as fortunate as ours. But that is no excuse, as born again believers who love and live for Jesus, we MUST do our part.

Those who live in extreme poverty are desperate. Some are so desperate in fact, that they send their children out to steal food so that they may live for one more day. Others make an alcoholic drink from dangerous ingredients that will speed up the process of dying, just so they don’t have to continue living in such miserable conditions.

So, what can we do? We’re worlds apart….

I’m writing to tell you all about a wonderful program called “Compassion” where you can look through multiple pictures of children to sponsor. Before you stop reading and think that’s not for me…consider this! It is only $30 some dollars a month. For our family, that is 1 dinner out a month that we can sacrifice to help pay for MANY of a child’s basic needs, including medicine and school. The best part is that they also get to learn all about Jesus through the Compassion program and many of their families end up getting saved and witnessing to others about our wonderful Savior and His love!

It is a beautiful thing to be a part of. Please take a look at the website and pray about sponsoring, if not now, then possibly sometime in the future!

http://www.compassion.com/

If there is no way you can sponsor, please still pray for these precious people! God loves them as much as He loves us and wants them to know it!! We are His hands and feet, so let’s reach out in anyway that we can and share His Great Love with them!

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Colossians 3:12

The following link is a previous blog that I wrote about Yelson, the child that we have the honor of sponsoring, loving and praying for.

https://rachaelneville.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/it-feels-like-were-worlds-apart/

This is a recent picture that we received from “Compassion” of Yelson…

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It’s funny how you can love someone you’ve never actually met, so very much!

May God Bless You, my Friends!

I Give Myself Away, But Do I Really?

The other day while sitting at my piano, spending a little time in worship, I began to sing “I give myself away, so You can use me.”

I know this has been a very popular song in many churches, it is one of my favorites! I was about mid-way through the song when I felt a whisper in my heart, to stop and really think about what it was I was singing. Have you ever considered the lyrics?

I GIVE myself AWAY!

When we give something away, we are transferring possession or handing it over to someone else. It is no longer ours. We can no longer make the decisions about what is to be done with it.

A lot of the time, I have found myself singing about giving myself fully to God but then when it comes time to actually do it, I want to make my own decisions. I want to control what parts of my life get to be given to Him for use.

That song is beautiful and the meaning of it is even more beautiful, when we grasp what it is that we’re actually singing. It’s easy to sing about, but it’s not so easy to live out.

One of the hardest things I have ever done is sharing “Our Story” …the previous blog that my husband and I wrote together about how God healed our broken marriage.

So many times, I have sang that song to the Lord “I give myself away so You can use me” , but in my mind I was thinking “well, not that part of me, I don’t want anyone to know that.” But these are the parts that God will USE, if we let Him.

The parts that are hard to give to Him are the very parts of our lives that He wants!

If He can’t have ALL of us, He will take NONE of us!

So yes, many times I have sang “I give myself away”, but do I really?

Do we really give ourselves, when we refuse to allow Him to use ALL of us? Even the broken parts. I have learned that God uses broken people.

Just take a look…

broken

Yes, it is hard to give God the broken pieces of our lives for use. It’s easy to sing “my life is not my own, to You I belong” but it’s hard to mean it sometimes. A few days ago, when God spoke to my heart that it was time to share the testimony of how He moved in our marriage and lives, I was tempted to again say “not that part, God” because it’s hard to give those parts of my life to Him for use.

But today when I sing “I give myself away so You can use me”, I can look up and smile because I mean every word. My life is not my own, Lord, to YOU I belong, I give myself to You!

I encourage you today to give your whole self to the Lord. Let Him use Your life for His glory, it’s gonna be worth it!

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1 Corinthians:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

God Bless You, Friends!