Monday, October 17, 2016

REFUSE TO STAY DOWN!




I go through some difficulties, 
I guess some call them trials of life, 
I seek the Lord and bring 
every burden to Him. 

The Lord comforts me with His words and my experience with the Lord ends up being something I write down to remind me that  I am never alone in the storms or the battles the Enemy lifts against me. 

As I share, I pray that if and when you face the Enemy, and he shows up to try to break you, shame you and confuse you, that you will rise up confidently knowing God is with you.  He will equip you and enable you not only to stand through the storm but to fight and overcome in Jesus Name.


"REFUSE TO STAY DOWN!"


By Angeline M Duran Santiago


Lord, I come to You.
Giving you just me.
What can I say that You already don't know?
You know my yesterday,
The wrongs, the strife.

I come to You with my heart, so heavy.
Exhausted, Tired, and I've just awakened.
Your voice is speaking into my mind,
Promising it will be alright,
To keep my eyes on you and wait,
Oh, Lord, but waiting here causes pain.
I've been waiting for so long,
And yet I know I shouldn't complain.

I've entered anew into the battlefield,
Somehow I don't ever remember how I got here.
The winds just rose
And pushed me in
I didn't understand what had happened
Until the enemy's laugh said he'd win.
I saw myself thrown on the ground,
When did this revolt take me down?
And as I lift myself to fight,
Your Spirit says, "It'll be alright."


The enemies, Lord, they scream and shout!
They holler at me and carry about.
Tormenting me with curses and threats on and on,
Breaking my heart and daring me to respond,
And when I speak back, 
They rise with their fists,
Pushing me back down
You whisper, "Don't quit."




It's through Your Spirit, Your power in me,
I rise up and stand, "Liar, you can't break me!"
As the enemy roars, I realize it's just fear,
For around me I see, Your presence so clear.
Although I am bruised, beaten and worn,
I rise up with hands holding my sword!
I run towards the mocker, the breaker of men
My mouth fills with worship
And praise to God's name.

As if in a dance, I fearlessly move
Moving my sword, declaring God's Word,
I twirl and I move effortlessly
For the Spirit of God is fighting through me.
Around me I hear the prayers that rise
Those who have lifted to God their cries
On their knees they do wage a war unseen
But, today on my feet I push through enemies.


Lord, I am tired,
My heart wants to stop.
I've prayed and I've waited,
I think it's enough.
But as I lay down my sword and begin to cry
You tell me, "Don't give up. I'm by your side."
Here on the ground banners call out to me,
"Lift them up!" You say, "Declare Victory!"

The battle for now, has come to an end
The enemy will definitely strike again.
So I clean up my sword, bandage hands and knees, twirl my worn banner, victoriously!
Lord, through it all, I will trust in You.
Only You, You alone
Can do what only You in your power can do!
My hope and my trust
Surrendered on your promises
Gaining your presences
Not looking at my loses.

Thank you, Lord, 
this dancer declares,
Thank you, Lord,
This warrior isn't scared.
Keep me strong Mighty One
Keep me firm Lord in You
Ready for the next encounter
Never alone, I have You!

I pray you're encouraged. 
Hold on to God's word and know that He is near. 
God bless you!


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

MAKE US ONE, LORD.



Ecclesiastes 4:8-12 

New International Version (NIV)


Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:  

If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
 
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.  

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone? 

 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
 
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.





Lord, help us to come together as a team that cannot be divided or broken.
Help us to come together as a family, as true friends, and brothers and sisters that truly understand the necessity to come as one into the battlefield.



Tie our hearts and our minds together and let us be of one accord, 
of one thought and one desire.
Let us hunger after your presence because you alone can give us the help we need,
You are our defense. You go before us to face the giants we see 
and those that we cannot see.






Lord, wrap yourself around marriages that are crumbling,
Where one wants to seek you and the other just wants to believe in you
But they cannot run together to the front line 
to face the enemies that rise up against them
For one is sure and ready while the other is tired, busy and overwhelmed with life.




Lord, wrap yourself around families that are hurting.
Send angels to stand back to back surrounding them and help them at this hour.
Unite the parents and let them be what their children need.
Equip them to stand in You and to fearlessly bring down every stronghold.






Lord, it's not easy. Sometimes it's really hard to walk as one,
It's hard to carry one another and bear the burdens of our brother, sister, or spouse,
Lord, sometimes they don't want to walk together
Sometimes, Lord, they want to go their own way, 
They choose their own path,
They have their own agenda to follow 
and some of us are left here alone with the sword in our hands,
We're left on the battlefield 
with bloody knees and our hearts broken,
over and over again.



What is going on, Lord?
We profess to know you and know your word but we refuse to do what is so simple
Hands let go and we walk opposite directions, Each to their own corner
We are divided, separated by fears, anger, pride, hate and so much hurt, Lord.

I don't want to fall and have no one to pick me up or lift me up from the hard ground.
I don't want to enter into the arena alone
Dear Spirit of the Lord, 
move in our midst and shake us until we have no other place to run to but You.






Unite and restore friendships.
Bring them together to pray once again.

Heal marriages and guide them in their times of prayer.
Let them be a mighty force to reckon with when it comes to not backing down
And standing on Your Word.




Call families together, parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents and babies,
Let them hold hands and cry out to You together,
Covering their heritage, their lineage, their future in prayer and praise.
Worshiping you together as one voice.

Make us that braid that cannot be undone.
In Jesus Name, Amen.




-Written by Angeline M Duran Santiago

TAKING HOLD OF THE PROMISES OF GOD



By Angeline M Duran Santiago

Life is beautiful!
You wake up like me at 4:00 am to go to work and you are greeted with an immense sky filled with the most amazing stars. Yes, there are days that we wake up with that smile already pasted on our faces. The car starts. We have a few dollars left in our EZ Pass and we left food in the house for the kids to munch on throughout the day.

Life is hard!
There are days the cold breeze gives me just a hint of the cold weather I'll be waking up to soon. I'd much rather stay in bed where it's warm. Some days, the car is my enemy, like just a few weeks ago when it got an attitude and decided to stop on the expressway or near the bridge. Yes, there are days I've gone through change looking for just enough to pay a toll or prayed that when I looked inside my purse, I'd find some cash to get something we needed. I'm not alone. I am more than positive you know exactly what I'm talking about. 



Some weeks pass by with our health in order, the bills paid, our family time is wonderful and every day fills like Christmas morning. Other weeks our bodies ache, sickness lingers, prayers seem to not reach heaven, our minds are tormented, we argue and become restless. We make decisions we are happy with and other moments we think we're so close to God we know His mind and we make some of the dumbest and biggest mistakes of our lives. I know. I've done them. I've been there. And so has God. His mercy has been extended over and over and for that, I am one happy person.



So, How do I get by on a regular basis? If I write about everything feeling so amazing, does it mean I have some kind of favor or some kind of good luck on my side? When I express that life is good, I am saying to you that in the midst of those times when life isn't so amazing, it's still good. What I want to make clear through my words is that even when the stars are shining early in the morning, and the day goes well and then something happens and everything is going well, life is still good and I hold on to the saying, "It's all going to be okay." Why? Why would I dare to be what seems two sided? 



I have learned to take God at His Word. If His Word has it written down for me as a promise, a word of hope and encouragement, then I have to understand deep inside my heart and my mind that no matter what kind of a day I have, it is not the end because God has promised to keep His Word when it comes to being there for me, my children and the million issues going on in my life. Maybe yours as well. Perhaps you're going through some rough patches in your life. Maybe you've even come to a point where you are certain God has stopped listening to your prayers or maybe never even gave you a thought. Maybe you've become angry with God or feel so let down that you can't seem to open up that old Bible in your home and just try and see if there's a word in there to remind you that He still cares, He still listens, and His is still watching over your life.



If you open my Bible, you'll find the letter "P"written alongside many scriptures. In my teens, I wanted to learn those promises and have easy access to them. Although the beautiful sun rose up each day to greet me and my life was filled with moments that were precious to me, there were so many times life was filled with hurts, disappointments and feeling alone. Being able to take the time to read through my Bible and find those promises in God's word made all the difference then and continue to be the comfort in my life today. Maybe it's time you take hold of His promises. Maybe you need to create your own way to outline those promises from the Lord for your life. I guarantee that you will not regret the time you invest in seeking those scriptures that remind you that you are not alone, that God loves you, that He has forgiven you, that He is your healer, and that He has given you power over the enemy. You will begin to praise the Lord and worship the Lord in your heart and in your home when you discover those scriptures that remind you that the Comforter is with you, He is in you, He came to set the captives free and you are His child.



My prayer and hope for you today is the same prayer I have for my own children, that God's Word will become something amazing in your life. I pray that you will discover the treasure of life and joy hidden in the scriptures and in all of God's promises. You will read them over and over and every time you will find the Lord will minister to your heart differently. God knows our needs and His word is for each season in our lives. My friend, if I were to share some of the things I've been going through, you might say, "Oh, how sad." And maybe if you shared what you're going through, I would have to stay quiet because what my issues are tiny specs of issues when it comes to what you're battling and facing each day. Each one of us has a battle, a struggle, a moment of joy but also a moment of having to fight. We are all in one way or another living each day but still passing through these many problems and difficulties that come with living in this body of clay. Sickness holds on. Financial problems seem to remain. And we can't act like it's not true, but many of our homes are just a war zone sometimes. So, what do we do? 




I end it with this. Take hold of the promises of God. Make reading God's word and speaking to the Lord a priority in your life. Lord, help us to make your words a permanent tattoo inside our hearts and our minds. Let nothing remove your promises from before our eyes. Let our focus be You and only You. Lord, let us be thankful at all times. I don't know what tomorrow is going to bring into my life or to the lives of those who are reading these words. Life is beautiful, but Lord, you wouldn't have promised to be my Strength and Help if life was not also really hard and painful sometimes. So, I surrender my life and my family to you, but I also pray for everyone who reads these words today. 
Be their Strength. Be their Comfort. Be their Healer. Be their Joy! Be their Friend. Be there.

In Jesus Name, we hold on to Your Promises, Amen.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

MARRIAGE UNDER ATTACK

 Written By Angeline M Duran Santiago





Many couples are struggling in their marriage. There are choices to make. Do we continue this way and when do we make the decision to stop trying to fix what is broken? If you're a person who has decided to live life according to Scripture principles and your faith in the God of Scriptures, then your views and your decisions are connected with the counsel presented by the Lord's Word. You tend to lean and place your hope in His Word because past experience has proven that God is true, He is faithful and His ways are always best. But, what do we do when the struggle seems to last for years? What do we do when it all seems one sided and you feel alone in the battle to restore and let God do what only He can do in your life?


I've learned early on in life that when life hurts and answers are few, there is only one place I can turn to. God is my hiding place and the only secure place to run to when the rains of life keep coming and your umbrella is broken. Our hearts go through some heavy duty searching. We feel alone, abandoned, and unwanted. Many times in a relationship, there is only silence and the communication is only when necessary. A simple yes, no or nod become the only means of dialogue and sometimes, not even those simple words exist because the world we create and continue to live in survives in the silence of our words. 


You may ask someone, "Well, are the times we are spending in counsel helping in any way?" "Do you look forward to the time others are pouring into our lives so that our world can change for the better?" The response never changes. "I'm not doing this now." "Don't start again." "I'm not in the mood for you." Silence. The wall gets thicker, wider and taller. The person in the marriage that continues to invest time to see if anything changes and the person that is always pouring of herself or himself into the relationship to see if anything is worth saving is once more torn apart. You shrink back. Your world becomes one sided again. 




When you are left to fend for yourself, what do you do? Where do you go? You realize that once again, the Enemy that has never ceased to bombard your life, your family and your environment, has once more been given the open door to meddle. Instead of coming together to pray and seek the Lord and His direction through your situation, avoiding one another and building walls with silence are just a welcome mat to the Enemy of our souls. 


If you want your relationship to prosper, you have to talk to one another. This whole silence thing doesn't work. If you really want things to get better, then you have to make a decision to either believe in God's power to do what only He can do, as you put your faith in Him as a couple or you surrender, put up your while flag and allow the Enemy to complete his work of destruction and walk away the victor. We complain. We bring up the past. We live holding on to grudges. God wants us to put yesterday in an envelope, put a stamp on it and send it away. 


Why do we hold on to hurts, quarrels, moments of disappointment and our pride? If you truly love someone, you forgive. Scriptures say that Love covers a multitude of sins. God is LOVE. If God an His love is covering our sins, why do we continue to nurture and feed the past in our thoughts?


 God is powerful enough to give us a new beginning. He heals the hurts, the mess ups in our lives and He is there to lead us by the hand, every step of the way. Do you really want to save your marriage? Do you really want to share your life with this person who is at your side? Is this person someone you truly want to see every day and enjoy life with? Then you have to step up to the plate and make a choice. Will you choose God's presence in your life to help you through the trauma you have faced in your past? 




Will you choose God's Word over every other word and speak God's word  into your life, your home, your daily situation even when you still feel hurt and broken? Are you ready to take your place in the battlefield of your marriage and do what you must to restore, take back what the Enemy has stolen and broken, and fight for your relationship? Or, will you continue with your pride, your attitude and your dependence on your way and not God's ways?


If you love, then show love. If you need love, then understand that your significant other needs that love also. If you want and need to be heard, then learn to listen. If you want to feel important, then make that other person important in your life and let them know they mean the world to you as well. Invest with your time, your hugs, your words, your ears and your heart. The person in your life that continues to give you a second chance, that continues to pray with you and wait for God to work in your life is hurting also. 


Today is the perfect day to turn to the Lord if you haven't completely done so already. It is the day to surrender everything to the Lord. He is my strength. He is your strength. He is your helper. He will not abandon you. Find your help and encouragement in the presence of the Lord. I know what it's like to feel alone and I have used those moments to discover that I am not alone. God is every present. God's love will fill your life when you feel lonely and afraid. God will direct you and show you what to do and what not to do. Even when you make mistakes, and boy do we have a tendency to make many of those, God's grace and mercy will be there to lead you back on to the right path. Will you trust Him?


 Will you take your crumbling marriage and place it on the altar? Will you trust God once more? I write this because I need to tell the Lord over and over again, "I will trust You." "I give this to you, once more." "I wait on You." If you believe in God's word, then you also will cry out to the Lord and let Him lead you.


 

Lord,
Today I lift up every marriage relationship that is struggling and going through difficulties. I place before you every marriage, including mine, that is facing opposition and attacks from the Enemy. I ask You to give couples a heart and a hunger to seek You and your Spirit to fill their homes, their lives and their walk at every moment of their lives. Give us the wisdom and guidance needed to make the right choices, above all, guard our actions and our words. Forgive us, Lord, for not making you our priority when times get hard. 





Be with us as we push forward and trust you to make all things new, better, and the way they should be. Be our strength, our help, our comfort. Heal the hurts and the misunderstandings. Let us be examples to our children in our actions and our words. Let your presence fill our homes. 


 
Lord, forbid the Enemy to have any place in our environment, in our home, in our thoughts and in our family. Empower us to fight against the attacks that come to destroy our family, our home and what you have done in our lives. Enable us to see and perceive when the Enemy is attempting to come against us. Make our home a sanctuary and a place where you dwell. I ask for you to pour out your peace and your love.




Holy Spirit, 
Have your way in our lives. Be the center and the focus of each marriage. Lord, let many couples find hope and restoration in your presence today. Lord, destroy the work of the Enemy, his lies, his insults and his word against marriage and families. Heal what has been broken and unite what has fallen apart. I ask for your intervention in every home that is struggling, fighting, and ready to quit. In Jesus name, do a new work starting today.
Amen.

 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

THIS IS MY STORY


Written by Angeline M Duran Santiago

We want to write down a list of excuses to prove why we don't have time for God. Another list we want to make is one that shows why there is never enough time to seek Him. Therefore, we conclude, that He is not a reality in our lives, because if He were, He would make the effort to reach out and make himself available to us in our most desperate moments. It's funny how we complain about his so called non-existence in our present distress, but I wonder what would life be like if we could look through the magnifying lens of the past and our daily lives to witness how although we don't have time to seek and discover who God is and wants to be in our lives, He still is at work in our lives.

After speaking with some people, I've heard them say things like, "Well, that's easy for you because you grew up with all that church stuff." I smile inside because so many assume to know me or all about me. No. The woman you see today is not here because she was "raised" in church. I understand being broken and going through depression. I understand having expectations in life and not seeing them accomplished. I know life hurts, but I know God heals.

Like many Hispanic families, my family was one of those who made trips every now and then to the botanica. I remember the number and dream books, the scary statues that stared at me reminding me of the statues I stared at when I went to church, the music, the big leaves, and I remember the smell of incense that filled the botanica. Those same scents were later transported into my home. I remember soaking in a bath filled with leaves to heal my legs. I remember a room where people danced and chanted and came together for something spiritual, but it wasn't God, not the God of the Scriptures that was being envoked or praised. I remember clearly the room of statues with the many altars in my Grandma's home. There was such a fear and a cold, scary feeling each time I had to pass through that room in order to go to the bathroom. Sometimes I felt as if those statues called out to me and I just wanted to run out of there.

As a child I was exposed to many things that formed me. Some of my life moments were negative, but some were amazing. One of the things I remember was that in the midst of being surrounded by family that encouraged us to follow the religious traditions of our culture, through all the different voices coming in and out of our lives, my mom seemed to be able to plant the seeds in my life that told me, "God hears." "God is real." Although my early prayers as a child were mixed from praying to God, reciting learnt prayers and praying to God, Mary the mother of Jesus and my guardian angel all in the same night, God truly knew my seeking heart and heard me. He would have that moment in time where He would pull me out of the pit, out of the miry clay and place me on the solid foundation of His truth.

 My *Catholic upbringing allowed me to be exposed to the belief that you go to church on Sundays and still have additional beliefs on the side, because they go together. So, to be in a conversation where someone would tell you to light candles to a saint, visit the botanica, and pray to God all in the same paragraph, was normal to my environment because that is what we knew. But, when I attended mass on Sundays, I always felt like something was wrong. I struggled with the fact that I wanted God to speak to me and all He did was stare at me through those cold, stone eyes. I struggled with the image of the statues and people lighting candles to them because I felt if they were real, why didn't they come out and heal my brother who was suffering so much? I challenged the statues to hear my mind and I would mock them but none of them came back at me. 

I remember visiting the mummified nun, Cabrini. The nun sharing said that if you were in the church garden and the swing moved, that her spirit was present and that if you went and sat on the swing, healing took place, miracles happened. So, I went. The swing moved. I sat. I challenged her to show herself. She still hasn't showed up. Through all the religious mumbo jumbo I was exposed to, there was still a spark that had begun in me and it was through the gift of a bible that the spark began to grow. I read the ten commandments and saw it there in my face, "You shall have no other gods before me." I read all about the worthless idols and handmade gods that people chose rather than choosing the God who reveals himself to us when we pray and seek Him. I read about the power of God and how He healed people.  

*Please note and understand I am not putting down anyone that is Catholic, just merely sharing my own experience.

I was nine years old and I read the whole bible in merely months, only to read it again and again. I wanted to learn more. So, I was placed to take communion classes with my brother and as the teacher taught us lessons, the words I had been reading would come into my mind. I would raise my hand to ask questions about the books we were given and the lesson we were taught. I was told my questions were inappropriate. One Saturday, the lesson was about the "day of the dead." I couldn't understand why we had to celebrate the day of the dead. The nun said she'd have to speak to my mother about my behavior. I stopped going to the classes, and oh yes, never continued with those holy communion classes. I didn't want to touch the feet of the statues or kiss them. I didn't want to light a candle or take holy water and place it on my head. I wanted them to show me in the bible where it said I needed to do that. No one could answer me. I went to the priests and asked questions. I went to the nuns and asked for help. No one could help me. One nun told me that if I believed reading the bible was helping me, then I should continue to do so but not tell anyone.

As I became a teenager, I continued with a passion for the scriptures. When I had a need in my life, I had learned that scripture was filled with times when God's people fasted and prayed, taking time out to seek the Lord. My early teens were devastating. Most of the time I had wished God would have taken me and not let me live. There were more days I longed for death than life. A dark cloud hung over my head night and day. I barely slept. Times of great fear filled my bedroom at night and I prayed myself to sleep. No longer were my prayers to anyone else but the God I had been reading about. My mom was a great source of inspiration and faith. Although many "Christians" were in our lives, not one of them ever spoke to us about inviting Jesus into our lives. We lived and associated with "Pentecostals" in our neighborhood and I just thought they were different, sad people who couldn't let their daughters were pants. Never did one of them speak to my mom about the Lord, that God heals and transforms, that there was hope and that there is power in knowing the Almighty God. It wasn't until my mid teens when someone finally reached out to my mom and left a scripture tract under the door. That was the seed, the beginning of my mom's encounter with God's presence and power. But, until that day, life was hard and I would pray that I would not wake up to face the next day on a regular basis.

 My escapes, if you could call it that, was a passion for dance. I would go to the library and take out books on dance and try to learn foundations of dance on my own. I could pick up any dance I saw without a problem. When I heard music, it seemed I knew how to dance it even though no one had taught me what to do. That love for dance opened up many doors for me that allowed me to live my escape from my dark moments as a teenager. I was able to be a cheerleader, be part of dance groups that performed in different shows and places, and I was able to partake in what was then popular street jams put on by the radio stations. My love for dance opened the doors for me to choreograph dance for many events and it was those moments where I felt I was happy.

Although I didn't go clubbing, I enjoyed the weekend dance parties that were thrown in the neighborhood. Those jams usually ended up in fights and having to leave for safety reasons. A few times I had to run as gun shots were fired towards our way, all because of someone from the opposite neighborhood being present, someone with the wrong color beads or the wrong color shirt, or the other dumb reason that people make up to have an excuse to fight.  I didn't care about the drama at the party. I kept going because I wanted to "just dance". Dance was my outlet. Music was my medicine. God was calling me through the darkness. I cried out to Him. In my dreams He showed up and showed me my tomorrow. I would dance in my dreams. "God, really?" I would not die but live to declare the glorious works of the Lord.

One day, in a moment where my mom was attempting to finish her own life, God's Mighty presence and power stepped in and cancelled her plans. God's healing power rained into my mom's life, beginning a transformation that in time would also bring my brothers and I into God's Kingdom. I quickly learned that I didn't want to be a part of the church. I knew I wanted more of God, but not the way I was seeing it in the church. Still, the Lord was at work and when the Spirit of God begins to move in your home, you have no choice but to either get out of the way or surrender to that love.

In time, God's tugging could not be ignored and I gave my life to the Lord. I accompanied my mom to a street service in a huge lot in Bronx, NY. I never heard the message. I had no idea what was going on. All I knew was that I walked into a street service that was finishing, the man said, "If you want God to do something new and different in your life, give him your life tonight." My body stood motionless in that open lot and under the rain. Someone touched my shoulders and encouraged my forward, but no one was there. My brother and I walked forward and surrendered our lives, our brokenness to the Lord. I hadn't cried for a long time. That night, I cried. Liquid love fell like rain upon my head and my heart was lit up with promise. God had finally showed up.


"Lord, if what I have done in giving you my life and you want me to just live for you, take away what is not needed in my life." I prayed and asked God to show me what to do next. The dance group I belonged to wrote me a letter telling me to never return to the rehearsals. The dance group I had auditioned for and had passed to each new level, let me go and decided to only use dancers with previous dance training. The DJs and the Rappers that had once wanted me to help and choreograph dances for them kicked me to the curb like a sickness. My so called friends pushed me out of their lives. I was alone, more alone than usual. God had allowed me to be emptied out of all that was in my life that was in His way so that he could fill me with all his goodness.



Church folks were quick to tell me how to get holy and close to God by giving me lots of advice, most of it not even biblical. I delved into my bible again to see what was true and was not. I got rid of my earring, my pants, my make up, my music and dance. If the church leaders told me to do something, I did it because I wanted to please the Lord and I wanted to serve the Lord. The more I prayed, the more I loved the Lord. I also learned the hard way that church leadership is not all trustworthy and that the only one we can place our trust in is God. We should always pray even for guidance who to share our lives with or go to for counsel. I dreamed almost every night I was dancing, but not the kind of dancing I knew. I would dream my brothers were with me in the dances and many times we had swords in our hands. Other times my dance included speaking out certain scriptures and I'd be transformed completely from my clothing to the place I was in. As I shared my dreams, I was told that the world was still in me and that God wanted me to get rid of dance completely. I was told that I still had sin in my life and that I had to never think of dance again. 

As I sought out different ministries and looked for ways to grow in the Lord, I witnessed a group of dancers performing in the street. It was then I knew my dreams were not a sign of my sins, but a call from the Lord to use my gift for Him. It was very hard to put forth the Arts in the Spanish church when I first came to the Lord. Everything was seen as sin and bad. My early experiences in the church was very difficult and pushed me towards feeling alone. But, through it all, I pushed back and continued to do dramas, songs, artistic expressions through painting and drawings and dance. Most everywhere I went, doors seemed to close. I began a clown and puppet ministry as well and that also made many pastors tell me I was bringing the world into the church. 

 The Lord would do great things through the Arts in my life and I continued to press forward. When I finally had the opportunity to do more, God opened the door to train and raise up other dance ministries in many different churches and denominations. It was a time where the Arts were seen as something worldly and sinful. The more I sought the Lord, the more I was sure God wanted to use the Arts through the church. But, life has a way of allowing waves to come crashing down and my life is no exception. Many things happened in my church life and in my own personal life that took me into a dark place where I felt alone and broken. 


Many moments I just wanted to give up and even wished God's mercy would take me away from it all. I went through disappointments, being used, lied about and having all I had created and done taken away from me in seconds. I went from thinking I had my life together to opening my eyes and seeing that my family was falling apart. My marriage was on a downward spiral and on full speed. My career was going well but soon, everything hit me and it hit me hard. I questioned God. I prayed. I cried out. I lingered in the darkness alone. I know He was present but my heart was so numb that nothing could break through. I was left to deal with my hurts alone. I closed myself up inside of my room and my bedroom became my prison. I wanted to sleep and sleep some more. One night, God stepped in and showed me how my kids were hurting because of the depression I was in. He gave me a choice. "Stay this way or get up." I remember I was alone in the house and I said, "Lord, help me get out of this dark place in my mind and in my heart." All I felt in my heart was, "Worship. Praise Him."





I went downstairs into the living room and I looked for some music that I had used many times to worship the Lord. I sat down on the sofa and decided to sit there listening to the songs. I pushed my heart to praise the Lord. I told my heart to acknowledge the one who was my deliverer. My eyes were on Him and no one else. "Oh, that you would set me free!" I cried out. "Rise and dance." Those words were clear in my mind and in my ears. With aches in my body and my life falling apart, I got up and on to the middle of my living room and I began to dance a prayer out on to the Lord. I lifted my hands and I cried out with each step and each movement became a declaration of my need for His Spirit to step into my pain, into each shattered area of my life, and for the Spirit of the Lord to restore me, renew me.

The presence of the Lord entered my home and began to heal me through the dance. Yes, in each step there was renewed purpose. In each twirl, God's Spirit set me free! I began to cry out and sing. I spoke out as the Lord gave me words to speak out until my words were not mine but His. As I recognized God moving in my life, I stood up and began to take authority in Jesus name and I began to walk through my home and command the Enemy to leave. With God's anointing upon my life, I went through each room, even the backyard of my home and I praise the Lord and I commanded every assignment of hell against my family and my life to be broken and done. I prayed in each bedroom. I invited God's presence into each corner of my home. I didn't stop until I was knew it was time to stop. But, it was the beginning of my life coming back.

I'd like to say that things completely turned around. No. They didn't. But, my life was restored and I was back where I needed to be. God is still at work in my life. He is still at work in my home, with my family. I still live with the choices I made, mistakes I made with leaving my job and mistakes I made as a mom, but I have placed all those mess ups in the hands of the One who can make all things new.

Wow! I wrote so much and yet, I've written so little. You see, if I were to write everything, I need to sit down and write a couple of hundred pages to share not only where I was, but what God has done. He took the hunger of a little girl to know God in a real way and He satisfied her thirst because she believed and cried out to Him. I was not raised in the church. I was a few days from turning 16 when I invited the Lord into my life and I was about 17 when I truly understood what that decision meant. But, as a child, my mom planted those seeds I told you about and oh, how they've blossomed. 



This is my story. No. This is just part of my story. You have a story to share as well. Maybe you are hurt. You need to believe God listens and cares. Pray and call out to the Lord. He answers. He will. He will give you peace and help you along the way. You will not be alone again. If you are in any kind of dark situation, invite the Lord Jesus into your life and let Him show you what an amazing transformation will take place in your life. I promise you will never be the same especially when the Enemy comes against you. You will have God Almighty to fight on your side and be your help. I pray you have been blessed in some way. I'd love to hear from you if you have. If I can pray for you in any way, let me know. As many of you who share or ask for prayer, you know I will pray with you. But, you have that same ability to cry out to the Lord. Get up and seek the Lord. Cry out to Him. Read your bible and you will see, He loves you more than you can imagine.

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