Today Carlena Matthews is stopping in! I am just tickled pink that she took the time to chat with me. To share her heart for you and I. She is just so beautiful, sweet and has a kind spirit. I pray you are encouraged through our chat. With each lady who stops in the Nest, it just brings more blessings to this girl that is having such a blast getting to know these amazing ladies better. I know you are excited as well, so let's get chatting girls!
(Robin) Carlena, tell me a little about yourself . . .
(Carlena) I am a small town girl who loves Jesus more than anything. I'm a preacher's daughter. A mother, a grandmother, a sister, a friend, a songwriter, a photographer, and an artist. Every talent I have is a gift from God. I love children and am currently working as a Vision Therapist. God has put me in many interesting places! And, there is nothing I love to share more than Him, because there is nothing greater! The most important role I will ever have is being His daughter, and His servant!
(Robin)Since you have walked with the Lord has there been a time you struggled in your faith? If so, would you please share?
(Carlena) I endured a lot of abuse as a child, so in my teenage years and early twenties, I didn't want anything to do with church, but I never gave up believing in God, I sometimes didn't understand why He allowed some of the things He did, but in the end have seen His great love for me, and His promise that He will use everything we go through for our good, to be absolutely true.
(Robin) Has there been an "aha" moment in your life that has changed your perspective?
(Carlena) I think when my brother was dying I had several of those kind of moments with God, where He showed me how real He was in the depth of sorrow. But, that would be too long to share. So, I’ll say one time when I was in a small church visiting . . . they were dancing, playing bongo drums, somebody almost hit me in the head with a tambourine, it was great! I was full of joy and enjoying every moment, though I had never been in a church like that! And, then they slowed it down and played a beautiful song called “Somebody Prayed For Me” . . . as I thought of my mother praying for me through the years and so many others . . . God was reminding me of some of the places I’d been in those wayward days, and what He had done to protect not only me, but my very life; and I know He spoke into my heart and said, “If I loved you then, when you were doing the worse things you’ve ever done, how much more do I love you now, that you are living your life for Me?” I was so moved by the Holy Spirit . . . I think about 7 people came and handed me paper towels! Not Kleenex’s, paper towels!!! I had on a borrowed white shirt from my sister, I surely didn’t want to cry all over . . . but I’m telling you what, I did. It was then, that I truly realized how much God loved me, and it wasn’t about anything I’d ever done, or could do. He just did. It was a powerful moment, since I had been raised to think almost everything was going to send me to Hell. It is truly the love of God that changes our lives and inspires us. From that day on, I have wanted to love Him more, serve Him more, please Him more. Even though I was already living my life for Him and had been for years. He was taking me deeper and continues to, to this day. If our hearts are just open and surrendered, He will show us more of Himself, and there is nothing greater than to know God! And, He truly does speak to us through the power of the Holy Spirit if we’ll just let Him. His word says all wisdom comes from Him, and I believe it. I think some people just take the credit.
(Robin) Do you have a favorite bible story, verse, song or hymn that gives encouragement when struggles come?
(Carlena) You can be sure when trouble comes, and it will for everyone. I am either on my face before the Lord, or on my knees, and I am in His word. I really do love His word and believe it is the best book ever written! I usually pray for the Holy Spirit’s leading, but I think God often reminds me of Joseph in many situations that I go through. And, Isaiah 61 is very comforting. I love so many songs, since I’m a songwriter. Usually any praise or worship song, that will take my mind off my problems and get my eyes on the God that has all the answers! I do love “I can only imagine” by Mercy Me, because I love to imagine what it will be like when I finally see the one I love most!
(Robin) What is one thing you look for in a close friend and what is one quality you hope others see in you?
(Carlena) Their faith in God. My mom said something all through my life that is never very far from my mind . . . “You can only trust someone as far as they trust God”. My prayer is that anyone who ever knows me will know that I love Him, and desire to help make Him real to the ones who only know Him by name, or don’t acknowledge Him at all.
(Robin) What are a few of your favorite books you have in your collection you would share with a friend?
(Carlena) I am usually encouraging them to read the Bible more than anything, but have recommended “Become A Better You” by Joel Osteen to many friends, because I think we should always be growing and maturing in our walk with the Lord.
(Robin) When life seems to go crazy, what is one thing you do to bring comfort and peace?
(Carlena) I truly get alone with The One who has loved me from the beginning and seek His face. He is the only one who really does stick closer than a brother and can be counted on to be faithful. Almost everyone in our lives will let us down at some point, but in my opinion God never will. Even when I don’t understand Him, I know He is perfect, and it’s my lack of faith, wisdom, trust, obedience, or whatever it is, that keeps me from having the joy He says will be our strength, even in hard times. So, there is always a lesson to be learned. And, I am the only one I can change, so I have to be open to hear and willing to make the change.
(Robin) What is one thing about yourself you admire?
(Carlena) The Holy Spirit in me.
(Robin) What are a few of the things you love surrounding you?
(Carlena) The presence of God, His anointing, His love, His peace, His people. Anything He has created, especially flowers.
(Robin) What are your deepest passions?
(Carlena) My deepest passion is to love well, and to fulfill the purpose God created me for . . . to love Him, to draw people to Him through sharing life experiences or what I’ve learned . . . through a song, a photograph, a painting . . . or a conversation with someone whose heart is hurting. Helping them to see how important His word is, it is the living word, and the only true source to knowing God. Even what we believe the Holy Spirit is speaking to us, it needs to line up with the word of God. As long as I get to the end of my life and He says, “Well done my good and faithful servant” . . . then, everything in between will have had value.
(Robin) What is the best advice ever given to you?
(Carlena) My mother said to read at least one verse of Scripture a day and make a habit of it. And, as I began to, I read more and more. And, now I love it as much as she did. The other wise advice she gave me was to listen to God. That if I heard something in my conscience and it wasn’t wrong, it was probably God. What a nugget of gold that was!
(Robin) In the legacy you leave, what is one thing you hope out shines before all others?
(Carlena) My love. After my brother died, I had a dream where he seemed more real to me than he ever did in life, and he said, “I just came back to tell you, the most important thing we can ever do here, is learn to love” and he was gone. It was a soul-moving experience. Somehow, I knew as it was happening that he went through a lot to get the message to me and how important it was. Almost as if it were a warning of sorts.
(Robin) What are you currently working on?
(Carlena) I an currently working on my photography and artwork, and getting ready to shift gears back to the songwriting, since one of my song's was released last September by Kris Ballerini. It's now available at itunes. It was produced by some of the guys from Sonic Flood at Zodlounge and Stormie Omartian's husband Michael Omartian played on it and helped with the production also. What an answer to prayer! But more importantly am trying to get my heart lined up with the will of God. And, keep my eyes on what’s more important to Him, when I tend to dream those big dreams and He’s put someone right before me with a hurting heart, He expects me to love. It’s sacrificial to serve God. The proof of that in one word is “Jesus”. I wish I could say I love well, but the truth is when you love, people can hurt you. And, sometimes it’s hard to understand that hurt and not take it personally, and to be brave enough to do it again. To open yourself up to what loving may bring. This seems to be a continual thread running throught the life of a believer, atleast it is for me.
(Robin) How do you define success?
(Carlena) For me, success is truly having done something that pleased God or that brought someone closer to Him. Because everything in this life will pass away, but every soul is eternal. So, we need to use our influence wisely. He is my Creator, as far up the ladder as I can go, so if I please Him, I have done my best! And, that will be my greatest success!
See, I told you she was a blessing! Carlena, your words of encouragement cover my heart today as I am in such need of it as my mother is ill. Love is one thing I pray I too leave behind in my legacy. If we don't have love what do we have? Thank you for stopping in Carlena. You touched my heart and filled me with your words of love. You are such a sweet spirit. The Lord is doing a mighty work through you. And what a work it is my sweet friend. God bless you!
If you would like to see all that Carlena is doing just follow these links: