BeYOUtiful my friend! -by Traci Klein

As I sit here bundled up in my ‘comfy cozies’, a fuzzy plush blanket over my lap, I watch the sunlight as it shimmers and dances playfully reflecting off the cold waters of the intracostal waterway. From where I sit in the comfort of my home I am oblivious to the bitter cold outside. Just watching the sun’s rays’ dance across the water casting beautiful, radiant, and sparkling lights one would never know the cold mysteries that may lay beneath. 
This makes me think of life. Of my life, maybe even yours as well. Most of us, at some point in our life have experienced a cold spell. A cold spell could be a time of tragedy, a time of heartache or loss. It may be a time of great turmoil, where you feel cold and alone and in need of God’s warming touch. 
These times are different and come at different seasons for each of us. I remember the most pivotal one for me. At that time of my life, I had the head knowledge that God loved me and had a brighter warmer plan for my life, but my heart knowledge wasn't there.   I could say it, and believe it about anyone else, but there was a deep invisible barrier blocking the reality of God’s best for me that kept it from penetrating into the dark waters of my heart. 
I never understood how some women just understood, fully embraced, and lived Gods unmerited Grace without doubting just a little bit their worthiness to receive it. Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I know none of us are worthy, that’s why we need Him. What I am talking about is how I looked at myself. 
During this particular point in my life, while I knew the Word and knew it was UNMERITED Grace, I still held on to the shame, pain, and  cold darkness of past hurts and sins. The grasp I held to these dark wounds I kept buried so deep beneath the cold waters I didn’t even realize I was holding on to them! As a result I wasn’t able to let the light of God’s warming love shine into every corner of my heart. 
I knew He loved me…. but then there was that, yes that, you know the thing that says you’re not worthy, you’ll never be good enough to be used like the other beautiful bright shining light of God’s love women. No, you’re not special like her because of that. None of this is true of course but boy does Satan love to remind us of it over and over, beating us up every chance we let him. Let’s face it, we know God loves us but we are not perfect and we are not like her, or her, certainly not as good as ‘that one’! 
So we go on, and love God with all our heart and share His love when the opportunity arises, but we hold that little piece back. Because that little shame, that littler hurt, that past sin, we keep buried and haven’t let it go and grasped the realization and the truth we read in our Bibles. We haven’t allowed them to go from head knowledge to become a reality of heart knowledge in our lives. We believe it for her, and share with others, but we hold that little piece back when it comes to ourselves. This act of holding it back keeps that invisible barrier up and prevents us from experiencing the fullness of God’s love and allowing His light to shine brightly into the dark waters of our soul and warm us. 
I remember the exact day and moment when that invisible barrier was dissolved and the reality of God’s love for me became a POUNDING heart knowledge reality. Despite my past, despite my shame, and the heartaches I had experienced that very moment the walls came down and I realized that I didn’t have to be worthy, I didn’t have be like her, and I didn’t have to be perfect. It was OK… I WAS OK. He loved me, ME the broken mess that I am, the King of Kings loved me and called me by name! I was warm through and through!! 
I know all this may sound silly to some of you, but I had never let go of those things that were buried deep, I never believed I would be good enough to be used like others. That invisible barrier was like an impenetrable force shield preventing me from feeling the fullness of His grace. It is my honest prayer that while you are reading this you have NO idea what I am talking about! Because if you don’t, it means you get it and you’ve always gotten it! It means you’ve never doubted your worth, or had a cold spell in your walk. But if you do understand, if you can relate just a little bit, then I hope you look deep inside and pull out any of those things that are buried deep creating that invisible barrier. Pull them out naming them one by one, write them on a piece of paper and visualize yourself laying them at the foot of the cross. Then, on that piece of paper cross each one off as you give it to the Lord. Find a red pen, or crayon, (borrow one from the kids) and write boldly across the paper “Paid in full.” 
I pray that you be made free from anything that holds you back from feeling the fullness of His love for you so  that this year, 2015, will be the year of warmth and revival in your heart! You are beautiful and loved just as you are, so cling to Him and BeYOUtiful my friend!

Drawing Near...Get Ready!

The big weekend is drawing near.  Yes, I am a little overwhelmed, anxious, nervous, excited, ecstatic, in awe, short of breath at times, yet cannot wait for the time to come.  When I see your cars puling in the driveway and the smiling faces on our volunteers and team members as we prepare, I will not be able to stand it! God has truly taken us on a marvelous journey with this conference since we said "Yes" to HIM! Lots of planning, dreaming, creating, praying, meeting, and we will witness his work in a mighty way as well share his love with beautiful women of God.

I would like to thank in advance all of our team members and volunteers for their hard work and sacrifices.  I could honestly have never walked out this event without you all! I love you from the bottom of my heart! Thank you to my fabulous hubby for being the wonderful daddy he is, and taking care of the kids so I could prepare for the conference. I am so blessed! :)

As we prepare these last two weeks, please join me in praying for the entire conference. Pray for all attending that they may receive comfort, strength, healing, or whatever they are needing in their lives.  Pray for the speakers and leaders that we may bring the word of God in a way HE so desires to be the most effective for his glory.  Pray for the band and the technical team that our work would be of his excellence.  It will be an AMAZING time in the Lord and the first conference of this level in Eastern NC! We appreciate and welcome your prayers and if you have a friend that is not registered, please encourage them to not miss out! Lives will be changed! Prepare to meet the NEW YOU!  You're an OVERCOMER!   *You still have time to register for the 5K/1mile "Run to Him" God, girls, & glitter  (www.active.com)    See you on May 16th!  With love-Candida

 

From the heart..One Proud Mommy!

Just want to share my heart a little...

I never realized giving birth to a baby and being called Mommy could be so life changing.  From the moment I knew I was pregnant with Chandler, I was so happy.  If you know me at all, my massage therapist self thought I could have a birthing plan and have my dim lights, candles burning, soft music playing in the room, etc.. Well, God had other plans and you know those babies have a mind of their own.  They induced me on my due date, August 5th, 2003.  After 24 hours of labor, talking out of my head and freaking out my husband(drugs and I dont mix), I had to be rushed into an emergency C-Section to have the baby.  She was born at 9lbs 8 oz. and was a healthy baby girl! I will never forget that feeling of COMPLETE JOY (laughter & tears all at once)as long as I live!! 

Chandler was my EVERYTHING! I honestly lost myself in her when she was born. I gave her my all and I wanted nothing more than for her to live a beautiful long God-filled life.  She did and is doing that, but not the way I had planned of course.  She did no wrong. My sisters and Mom used to pick on me because I would talk to her non-stop driving down the road, or sing with her continually.  I did this from probably 6 mos. old to 22 mos. old. I didn't see what the problem was. :)  Oh, and she never cried! I used to tell everyone, "Chandler didn't ever cry that much!" What a funny joke! She had a temper and a strong-willed mind, and of course that girl cried her heart out at times! :) As mommys, that's just what we think. Our babies do no wrong! 

To have only lived on this earth 22 1/2 months, Chan impacted so many lives! I will never forget little things like grocery shopping and she would speak to strangers and say, "Hey!"  and make them speak to her.  She was so outgoing and acted so much older than her age.  At her funeral service, 54 lives accepted Jesus and will live eternally because of her precious life and the impact she made on them.  Some of the people were my friends I grew up with since I was in kindergarten and were my closest friends through high school.  My baby girl brought them to Jesus! What a blessing!  I knew she was special, obviously I was a little prejudice, but even after she passed away, people told me all the time how special she was.  When you lose a child, one of the many things you struggle with is the question of why this had to happen.  I fully believe in God's word and that we are here to share the gospel and bring others to Christ...but still that's hard to tell our flesh.  Our flesh suffers and feels pain.  We are human.  I knew in my spirit there had to be more.  I have known that the whole time, just not sure what that purpose was of us having to lose our baby girl!  

In 2011, God began speaking into me to do a local women's conference, similar to that of the Women of Faith.  He spoke very specifically to me to share my testimony, the location of event and the month to have it, and songs that should be shared.  He dealt with me over a two year period, about doing this! One specific thing was I kept seeing the numbers 333. Whether it was on a clock, a gas station price, it just always appeared.  Then one Sunday, the scripture came on the screen at church, Jeremiah 33:3. It was like a light bulb went off! I looked at my sister with a huge smile on my face and said, "That's it!" "Call unto me, and I will show you great and might things that you do not know."  I still didn't know what the great and mighty things were, but I knew God was making it clearer now.  This conference is definitley a "great and mighty thing that I did not know!"  In Spring 2013, when I felt like I had failed him and hadn't obeyed...he began to speak louder and very clearly to me! (When I say he is speaking to me, I didn't hear an audible sound.  Some say they have experienced that, but I have yet to.  He speaks to me through people and when it keeps coming up all around you and wont leave you alone...lol..thats God!) He has a sense of humor too!  Sometimes I hear him so LOUD, I feel like HE is standing right there with me... He is! :) 

So, I began trusting him and obeying him about the conference, and he just showed up and showed off in a HUGE WAY! Doors opened all around me! He makes our way easy and he surely has it all laid out, waiting on us. I had been dealing with the enemy coming against me for months and tearing my heart out through ones I loved dearly.  My heart was hurting and I was at the point of breaking, and I did many times....but then my spirit would rise up and remind me, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.(Ephesians 6:12)  So, I kept on walking and did as he said. "You take the baby steps, I will do the rest!" :) 

One of the things God spoke into me which I will never forget is that Chandler is looking over me and cheering me on! She is my biggest cheerleader! She is saying, "Do it Mommy! Do it BIG!" When God shares something like this with you, you have no choice. I honestly felt my heart blow up and swell with joy and with an overwhelming desire to make her very proud!  So, on my hardest most difficult days, I remind myself she is for me and cheering me on, as is my heavenly Father! I am determined to make you proud babygirl! I am determined to do it BIG and the absolute BEST for YOU and Jesus! You both deserve my best! With the help of many friends and family, we are gonna make you so super proud that I know you will be all over that building with us, just shining bright! I know you will fill that room with your presence all around us! I know you will comfort all the other Mommys who have lost their babies. I know you will comfort and hold tight all the others who have lost a loved one so dear to their hearts also! I love you thiiiiisssss much(as you used to say to us) and I am BESIDE MYSELF WITH EXPECTATION AND JOY FOR WHAT IS TO COME!  

I am one proud Mommy! I thank God for choosing us to be yours, if even but a short time. You are FOREVER with us! I am thankful for the lives you continue to touch and I LOVE YOU!

-Mommy

 

 

 

Hear..Trust..Obey..(repeat)

God began speaking to me about this conference and imparting it into my spirit in 2011. As the months went by, it continually kept coming up in me and confirmed all around me this is what I am to do. Through his word mainly, at work with my massage clients,and through friends and family.  God kept showing me Jeremiah 33:3. "Call unto me and I will show you great and mighty things that you do not know." Sometimes God has to slap us over the head to get our attention and after a while...you finally "Get It!" As God's voice became louder and more clearer to me, I battled with walking out this conference, mainly for personal and fleshly reasons. In mid September 2013, I consulted with a friend on the idea of the conference and how to get some things in place, and he just happened to have some paperwork on how to get a tourism grant through our town.  As he handed this to me, I knew God was saying, "Go get this done!" As I drove away, this little voice said,"This is too big of an event for you to do." Then I heard God say, "Of course it is..that is why I am doing it and you just need to take baby steps, I will do the rest."  I had only two weeks to apply for grant and decide whether or not I was going to do what God says do. Again, I battled. I put the paperwork on my refrigerator...and stared at it for two weeks. The day before the deadline, I filled it out and prepared the details the best I knew, and turned it in.  I said, "Ok Lord, if this is meant to be, you will make it happen."  I then contacted the Swansboro Rotary Civic Center to check on availability. When God showed me this vision originally, he said to hold it at this venue, and do it in the month of May, in the spring.  God will be very specific.  This venue is pretty popular to say the least, so they tell me the only availability was June 6th.  I say, "No, I really want to have it in May, specifically May 16-17".  But, I booked what was open and TRUSTED God.  About two weeks later, I stopped by to pay the deposit and was told May 16-17 was now open and we were free to have that date! Praise the Lord!! I laughed and celebrated because I knew he was just testing me.  A week later, I was invited to the tourism board meeting and I presented the 1st Annual Eastern NC Faith & Beauty Women's Conference.  I was incredibly nervous, didn't have hardly anything at this point to share with them, but I had FAITH!  I presented the information and was approved for the deposit amount to get the venue locked in! Hallelujah! God is so good!  

In January, the tourism board had their meeting in which I attended to be approved for the rest of the grant.  I presented the details, and was approved for the remaining amount. (Although the gentleman on the board were sad they could not attend....)   :)