PhotoQuote #132




When I don’t get it!?

I didn’t ask for the position I am in. I didn’t even consider myself to be a candidate to be there. I was appointed! I didn’t get it! That was almost 3 years ago. ( that is mindboggling to me) What are you talking about, You ask? Being a youth leader. By far the hardest thing I have ever done. Also the most amazing privilege I have ever had.

Last Sunday, I lost it! I broke down crying during youth worship. The youth team was leading the song Your love never fails. I just couldn’t help it. These tears came streaming out of me and I couldn’t stop. I am not a crier. I had become deeply awakened to the heartache of my teens, heard from Momma’s struggling to connect with their kids. Bullying, cutting, rebellion, the fight for acceptance and attention, self-image, self hate, pain, rejection…. my heart broke for the them right in the middle of worship. God moved on me, giving me His compassion for them.

Our prayer ministry time turned into a crying out to God time for healing and a space for encouragement. In that moment all I could do and say was “I don’t have the answers God, but You do! You know what you are doing in them!”

I went to talk to my Pastor about it. I asked “ How do you do this?” “How do you stand all the pain and struggle?” He simple said “God has giving you a sliver of His heart for these teens, you cant fix it, you cant bear it, you can only accept it and give it back to Him!”   Those were profound words and the best words I could have ever heard to how I was feeling.

We are having our youth jam night at the end of the month. It is a night the teens put on a worship service and minister to the people. We invite other youth groups to come and it is open to anyone who wants to join us for the evening. Our theme is faith. When I asked the Lord what to teach leading up to this event He said Jonah. I didn’t get it! I remembered reading Jonah and seeing him as a man who ran from God, got swallowed by a fish, who finally submitted he delivered the message and the people turned to God. God relented from what He was going to do and Jonah was angry. He had a bad attitude and declared “ See I told You! I knew You were a loving God! I knew you wouldn’t destroy them!”  So I am thinking how is Jonah a picture of faith?

Well…. learning from others mistakes and seeing how God is able to do what He does with or without our co-operation is pretty amazing. God knows the end from the beginning! We can believe that God knows what our best interest is and that following, obeying, and trusting Him is the right move. It takes FAITH do that. We can’t see the end result but He can. We have to trust Him for the outcome no matter what we think, see or feel. God is good and His will…it will be done! It is interesting to me now that we (Christian peoples) say things like God is Sovereign and yet when something happens in our life that we don’t like, agree with, or understand we pray against, stand against, sometimes rail against, walk away from, or some other response. Anything other then “God help me see what You are doing in this, through this, about this even though I don’t get it, I trust You!!” I understand this thinking! I have been there! When a flood hit our home and we went through some really tough times, loss of a child, loss of jobs, God knew what He was doing and working in us. I didn’t get it. But I can see it now in hindsight. Just like reading Jonah when we get to see it from a different perspective we understand that God is good all the time even when we don’t get it!

So we are believing for God to speak to those who come and to us, our faith steps. That He would enlarge our capacity to trust Him no matter what it looks like! I am excited to see what God will do through these teens at this youth jam night. All Glory to Him in advance.


Advent…living by faith

I will bless you …and you will be a blessing to others.

Gen. 12:2

The ultimate faith I guess would be to absolutely believe this God we serve is GOOD.


To believe with all my heart that HE IS GOOD…..He will bless me.

Advent …the blessing that blesses has come

That is a trick and a half to hang on to when this world throws its curse on us.

That hanging on….. that …is …FAITH.

When we know this then we wont live in scarcity.

We will live as a blessing.

We Give because He gives and the cycle repeats.

Ann asks and will you join me in answering:

How has God blessed you?

In what ways have other people overflowed God’s grace into your life?

What are some ways you can be a blessing to others?


The blessings are many His hand has given

uprooting me from a world I was dying in and planting me in good ground

right upon the Rock called Christ

giving me a un-manipulatable man to try and vex my very flesh

giving me the sweet and gentle anointed with peace daughter of my heart

giving me the high energy and full of life tender hearted boy of my dreams

BLESSED He has called me.

BLESSED He has made me.

BLESSING I am when I open to others.

He reach’s to me through others.

Hugs, smiles, laughter, joy, kindness

Words in due season, of caution, of peace, of rest

How this world wants to rip us raw and cause us to fall

but not at all when the arms of His body hold us

I lay down my fears and doubts and worries

these do not foster a way to living

these hinder my hands and feet for the giving

its back to faith then

back to HE IS GOOD

a knowing I can trust

rooted in such a way that allows me to open my hands and give

without holding because I can trust He will fill them again

Its Christ cracked open bled and died for me

Its me cracked open giving and pouring for Him



Faith and Slavery

This is the team that I lead at church for youth group called SMAC



These are amazing people to work with…

This past Sunday we had what we called a SMAC JAM night – a night of worship with the SMAC Worship Team.


Two leaders in the back – Dave (left- my husband) and Patrick (right), in front our 3 youth teens from left to right Tristian , Sarah ( my daughter) and Jade. 

When beginning to think about this SMAC JAM endeavor the Lord said to couple this night with Human Trafficking Awareness. At first I was very unsure as to how to mesh these two topics. So I started praying and put my Trust in GOD knowing  that all the pieces would line up just how the Lord wanted them, if I waited on Him. When I brought this topic to our Pastors for approval they were all for it but admonished us to be praying since Human Trafficking is a highly demonic activity. We ask a few ladies that were prayers with prayer groups to pray for us and why and of course they went to work. Well you can bet that the enemy doesn’t want you to expose his secrets and he also doesn’t like it when you pray and trust GOD. …more on that in a minute.

I had a friend named Jennifer on my heart to ask to help us with this night. She runs JOY POURED OUT. God had given her a vision on how to help this cause after she had attended a conference a few years ago. When I asked her if she would partner with us in this night and she was happy too.


I had heard of a local group Wind and Fire Ministries just north of town that worked with victims of human trafficking and the Lord said send an email and ask them for information. I did and I waited. I got a email back from DJ. Steen. Several times it seemed the enemy would hide the emails, we had a difficult time connecting with each other. He ended up calling my husband and I found that very strange since I never said who my husband was and didn’t give his phone number to call. lol but eventually we did connect and I asked if they would partner with us for the evening in raising awareness for the evening. He was also glad to help. He would bring information pamphlets for anyone who would like to step in and help in some way.

Then the Lord inspired the vision for the night in the form of a picture in my mind and I set out to express that . I asked my daughter to stand in front of an old wooded door and put her hand in front of her , then I tweaked the photo cross processing it and inverting the colors. I also heard clearly a theme: WE UNITE. Then I ask my daughter what is this photo represent to you. She said LOVE THE LOST.


Then Jennifer called and had asked me if I would like to join her at a conference called Preventing Abuse and help her out at her booth there. I was happy to help her. I also was gifted the cost of the conference and lunch. I learned so much about the topic we were about bring awareness to…. GOD was equipping me! just amazing!! While at this conference I heard a women give short but powerful talk about her organization and why she got involved with this cause. Her name is Lenchen Raeside of CR GIVES.


I was on the edge of my seat the entire time as she spoke I could feel her energy and hear her clear call and desire to do something to help stop human trafficking. I heard God say go and ask her to come and share. I thought WHAT?? seriously!! So I took a deep breath and walked over. I briefly introduced myself and asked..SHE SAID YES!!

I was like GOD ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!!!!!!!! I was awed at what He was putting together.

After that it was all about what are the details of the night. And again we waited until each detail revealed itself. When I would start thinking about what to do on that night God would lay certain people on my heart. I asked and they said yes. It was all coming together effortlessly. Then I saw giant decoupage boards in my mind. So I gave a general description to a man in our church who agreed to make them. I had team members sending me info and articles and videos and through those we made video slides and printed papers out for these boards. My mother in law and I went to work putting them together on her break from work each day the week before the Jam.

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These went on each side of the stage.

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The week before SMAC JAM my son spent the entire week getting into trouble at school, my daughter caught some kind of throat bug, my husband got wacked in the face at work by a tree he was cutting on and I got cold sores on my upper lip. FUN TIMES! We had a practice where the sound guy wasn’t able to make it and the battery charger blew up on the tech leader. All around it was as if the enemy was working hard against us. I started to frazzle a bit and decided to go talk with a friend to pray and the Lord led me to begin fasting for 3 days. I am not a fasting kind …I LOVE FOOD!!! But I understood what the Lord had said and did all eating and drinking His way for 3 days and I prayed. I trusted what He was telling me. I was going to do what He said do, He said to say and go where He said go. I didn’t even know who to have speak first or when until two days before the night!

Well all I can say is GOD IS GOOD!!! It was an awesome event and I am so thankful to have been a part of it. 77 people attended our little youth night and it was great! I blessed by the speakers as where many others.

Joy Poured out came with Coffee , T-shirts and Mugs to sell to raise funds for CR Gives – We raised 242.00 for them. Would you like to help?? — go to Joy Poured Out!

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I am not a great speaker but I thought it important to tell of why this cause!

Here’s what I had to say:


Good evening…

When we first started putting this night together the Lord said couple the night with human trafficking awareness. I was aware that human trafficking was in the world but when Tina and I attended a conference in northern Iowa we heard from a speaker who told us of the plight of little girls in Asia and a group called Rapha house and what they were doing to in that area of the world to help , setting up safe houses and reaching out to girls on the street.

As time went on we had learned that American Major football games like the super bowl are a major attraction for human traffickers to sell girls to customers. I was shocked. I was enlightened to the problem all over in big cities Human trafficking is in America! And not just in New York or San Francisco or Miami but also in places like Oklahoma .


A few weeks ago I attended the Abuse prevention conference. We heard stories of Internet grooming, kids being targeted and relationships built over the internet in effort to gain trust and meet and eventually force them into being trafficked.

Then the more we searched the more we found that this issue was here in the Midwest. brittanyphillipsCapture

Click photo for source

This is Brittany Phillips when she was 14 years old she ran away from home. One day when at a Cedar Rapids Hy-vee she was approached by a man with an offer for modeling and making some money. She agreed innocently thinking of making some money to afford food to eat and a place to stay. She was taken and trafficked to Chicago.

We tell you all this to make you aware! I look at the SMAC group teens and think these could be next so we have spent the last month and a half talking about human trafficking and what to watch out for.

We have a God who seeks out and wants to save and love the lost. With our help we can be a part of that work ! I know these are somber words …. But thankfully we have HOPE in a GOD who is GOOD and who is ABLE to do the work and for that we Praise HIM and this is why we are here tonight to declare that WE UNITE for HIS KINGDOM ‘s cause. This is why we will lift our voices and sing and worship the GOD of Heaven tonight!



How can we do nothing? We couldn’t …so we did what we could!


DO what you can DO and watch GOD bless it!!!

With much Rejoicing,

Starla Smith

Here are some highlights click to enlarge: