In the past I have been known to have some serious sleep issues. Anxiety is usually the culprit… worry, fear, etc. etc.. In the last several months, however, I’ve noticed a healing taking place in that area. It use to be that I could go for a couple nights without getting any sleep at all, and now for the last several months I rarely have one night where I am having trouble falling asleep. The Lord has restored a peace to me that I haven’t had since elementary school! It’s quite amazing, actually.
Unfortunately, last night that same enemy of insomnia crept up on me again. I was worried… again. I was distressed about friends that were struggling with addiction and despair. I was wrestling fear issues in my own heart. Hopelessness started to set in a little bit and the tossing and turning continued. In desperation for some sleep I asked the Lord for help. Please Jesus… I have GOT to get some sleep! It was a scene that was all too familiar as I tried to examine my heart… repent for my fear, worry, or anything else that I might be allowing to rob me of my sleep.
And then He started speaking this passage to me in Isaiah:
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called mighty oaks,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the LORD,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
I have heard this passage taken out of context and people attribute portions of it to themselves. I have to admit, when I started to hear Him speak to me that passage at around midnight, I thought maybe He was telling me what I was suppose to do… but instead He was telling me who HE WAS. This is a prophecy about the Jewish Messiah, not about the ones He came to save. My immediate reaction was… “okay! I’m in, God! Let’s do it!” But what He was really saying to me was… “when are you going to start believing that this is who I am? That I’m the only one what can heal the brokenhearted, turn broken men into mighty oaks, set people dancing who were once in despair? When are you going to let Me be that in Your life? When are you going to start believing that I am who I say I AM in the lives of your friends?”
I sat in a sideroom of the prayer room one Tuesday afternoon during a fasting meeting and listened as one of my prophetic mentors explained to me that I was about to enter one of the most pivotal, horrific, and beautiful seasons of my life. That was in November of 2008 and on the previous day I had an absolutely disrupting encounter with the Lord. Today I remembered a part of that conversation. She explained a similar encounter and journey she had years before.
“It was the most difficult season of my life. It had a lot to do with love. A lot of ‘Sermon on the Mount’ type stuff.”
A lot of ‘Sermon on the Mount’ type stuff. That sounds nice. That doesn’t sound too bad.
Boy, was I wrong.
I don’t care who you think you are, but if you think you are good at the Sermon on the Mount, you are delusional and probably arrogant. I’m pulling no punches here. I love Jesus, but this Sermon is absolutely the most flesh-killing tool He operates with not to mention the fact that it is completely offensive… in a good way :/.
This weekend I was driving down the road with my new friend Rachel who was visiting for our Winter Gathering. She told me she felt the Lord wanted to free me from the bondage of worry (ahem) and that He wanted to free me from the bondage of the ‘need to be right.’ Oh yes. That’s what she said. And the problem with this is that Rachel happens to be the sweetest person I’ve ever met in my life so I couldn’t accuse her of impure motives.
But here, I realized what the Lord was saying was that that all of this really wasn’t about who is right or wrong… it was about self-preservation. Do I care more about preserving my reputation or do I care more about pleasing Him and becoming a humble peacemaker? It’s not the question that is so humiliating but the fact that my answer is so obvious when I allow the Holy Spirit to examine my heart. It is moments like these that I don’t want to waste. Moments that I know the Father is doing something so beyond the actual circumstance I’m in. He sees so far ahead and we stand there, grasping for control when we will never really have it. We really think we’re ‘big stuff’ and then we realize that we have no idea what we’re doing. We’re idiots. Idiots with a great inheritance. Sometimes God doesn’t actually care if we’re right or not. Sometimes He just wants to show us the idol of approval in our lives.
It makes me feel like a child. Like a two year old being potty-trained.
Oh yeah. That’s how I’m suppose to feel.
Which brings me back to another incredible vision I had this weekend.
Dancing. Dancing in my pink bedroom with the ruffled canopy bed in the background. I was eight. And I was worshipping. And He was dancing too.
And then we were in a field of flowers, dancing wildly, spinning and spinning and spinning. Then a drastic change in scenery.
Suit of armor, like Joan of Arc. Swinging my sword, cutting off the heads of demons, challenging the forces of darkness.
Back the camera up. I’m not Joan of Arc. I’m a child. I’m a little child wearing a miniature suit of Armor and the Father is standing right beside me and He’s huge. HUGE.
A massive dragon flies toward me. It was not nearly as big as the Father but it was A LOT bigger than me. I thrust my sword through it’s belly and it was forced backward with ease. I threw that silly creature back so effortlessly as the Father looked on in pride… even though I knew He was giving me all of the power to do it in the first place. It was more like He enjoyed the very sight of me… not so much that I was some crazy, skilled warrior.
There happens to be more to what I saw but I’ll keep it to myself for now.
The point is this– He’s God. I’m man (lady). Whether you’re a retired 78 year old worldwide evangelist or a four year old child, we are children of God and children have a very limited understanding of what our Dads are up to; why they do the things they do. We just go with the flow and let Him handle it, knowing that whatever happens it is for our good…
Last night I was speaking with a group of friends about the issue of fear when someone made a profound statement: “Fear and faith are the same thing. They are both expectations of something. Fear expects something bad to happen while faith expects something good.” Romans 8:14-16 says,
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
It all comes down to whether we really believe who God says He is. Do we believe He is a good Father who wants good things for His children or do we believe he is a neglectful, passive Father who doesn’t care about the needs of His kids? Truthfully, the Father wants extravagant things for us. He wants to see us succeed. He wants to provide for us. If we continue to expect bad things to happen, we will become self-fulfilling prophets.
We have to believe that we are no longer slaves to fear but are adopted by a generous, kind Father in heaven. We cannot believe the lie of self-protection any longer. Trying to protect ourselves with resistant, emotional walls is sin. It is sin because we do not trust in God’s protection or leadership over our lives.
Last week I had a dream about the subject of fear. I was invited to go swimming in a pond with someone. We were both excited about hanging out with eachother but as soon as I got to the edge of the water, I started to feel that familiar hesitation. I was terrified to get in the water with my friend. What was underneath the water? Would something hurt me? Was the water too dirty? Fear consumed me. My friend went out a little ways into the water and waited for me to meet them. Finally, I faced the fear and waded slowly in. Eventually, both my friend and I were swimming through the water that I had once been so afraid of.
Taking steps to face our fears is a crucial passageway to wholeness. We have to first remind ourselves who God is and that He is much bigger than our fears and we have to worship and declare who He is even while we’re facing those fears.
Because we have all been born with a sin nature, we cannot expect others to treat us perfectly at all times and others can’t expect the same from us. If our identity is grounded in the love of God for us, than the actions of others should not affect us.
I was reading 1 Corinthians 13, or what is also know as the “love chapter”. One of the verses has been on my mind all week: “Love believes all things”. So much of my fear comes from my expectations of the pain I may recieve from others. With certain friends, I am always expecting to get hurt– always expecting to be disappointed. But instead of expecting that they will treat us badly, we should instead believe the best about them– to see them with the eyes of love, through the lens of Holy Spirit, rather than with our own fallen eyesight. In a way, when we expect unkindness from our brothers and sisters, we are walking in judgment, when the Lord has asked us to walk in love. And we must walk in love without walls and without hardening our hearts in self-protection.
Late Saturday afternoon I arrived in my new home of Ottertail, Minnesota. The stormy sky accented the surrounding colors of the pine trees, green fields, wildflowers and crystal clear lakes. It is good to be surrounded by beauty again. It is good to be able to breathe in clean, fresh air. It is even better to be surrounded by a new family and new friends who care about eachother and who want to go after God together… and who sometimes just want to have a little fun.
I have to say I was experiencing a little hesitation… okay a lot of hesitation about moving into a house full of girls that I have hardly spoken to. Saturday afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised. I was welcomed with a handful of hand-picked wildflowers, warm smiles and great conversation. Almost immediately I felt like I was home. My heart was at peace and I was thankful that Holy Spirit had spoken to me so clearly about this new venture.
I am not sure what this adventure holds for me in the future but because Jesus is in it it, I know it will be good.
I unfortunately missed about half of Shelley’s class Friday (prophesying in the end-times) but have been savoring all weekend, a little nugget of wisdom she imparted to us this afternoon. She spoke about how Holy Spirit, in the early years of her redeemed life, confirmed over and over again her assignment to a few dangerous countries. Shelley went on to explain that she thought at the time, that she would be sent out immediately. In fact, she told of a time that she had her tickets and was ready to fly out with some leaders when the Lord prevented her from going. There were several instances when she tried to make the move herself and Holy Spirit would not allow her. She relayed that it was a frustrating experience but she also realized that it was not in the timing of the Lord yet and that she, as a follower or Jesus was not yet prepared to accomplish the task Jesus had for her in the future.
My heart sunk into my stomach. As most of you know there are two cities that God has confirmed over and over in dreams, prophetic words of the exact cities from three very seasoned prophets and even a couple of open visions. The last year I have realized my lack of “readiness” to be sent to these cities. It was almost frustrating to hear from Shelley’s own mouth that she was not ready for what God had in mind for her. If Shelley is not ready (she’s been waiting for ten years), than I am most certainly not ready, either. The process of maturation is going way… too… slow. I almost can’t take it and have to remind myself daily to not give up.
God has given me abundant grace in this season. Last week when I was having an especially rough time and felt like I didn’t have an ounce of endurance in me, he brought along three leaders to come alongside and encourage me and pray for me. Intercessors need prayer as well!!! I first recieved an e-mail from my prophesy team leader explaining that the Lord placed me on her heart in the prayer room and asked me if there was anything wrong. I spilled my guts to her a bit and then she promptly signed me up for prophecy team that Friday night. Guess what the team prophesied over me? ENDURANCE! It was perfect. On Sunday night I recieved another e-mail from my fasting team leader who has been out of the country for three weeks. She basically sent me an identical e-mail with the same statement followed by the same question: “you’ve been on my heart a lot this week. How are you doing?”
See… this is what I’m talking about. A community of intercessors who go out of their way to encourage and uphold each-other through the storms of life. Both of these women are great examples of good leaders who strengthen those around them even when they don’t feel strengthened themselves. They set an example for me to follow and provoked me to do the same for others around me.
I am an INFP according the the Meyers-Briggs personality types and I would like to add that I am a very very high I. This means that I process things internally for awhile until I feel comfortable to share them with others but because I am an F (Feeler), when I get to the unleashing point, I let it all hang out.
This past weekend there has been a lot of internal processing going on. As I had mentioned I spent some time in Texas. As I have spent some quality time with old friends, there have been lots of questions I have been asking the Lord about. Many of them have to do with the issue of community in the church. How important is church community to our daily lives as believers? What does true fellowship look like? Is community essential in every season of life or are there times when the Lord is asking us to withdraw from friends in order to strengthen us in other areas?
Initially, I was having a emotional conversation (again… I’m a big F) with an old friend, Karissa, about my frustrations with my current community. On one hand, I’ve had dreams that have led me to believe that I should remain at IHOP but that I needed to remain hidden while I am maturing but on the other hand, if I had a strong community of friends to back me, hiding from the rest of the world wouldn’t have to be an option because of the intense accountability and discipleship that takes place at Antioch in Waco.
I still don’t know if I’m going to end up at Waco. I haven’t felt in leading from Holy Spirit about this. I love IHOP and am thankful for the time I have spent here and believe that it has led to much fruit in my life yet the community I’ve experienced here (and maybe it’s just me) is seriously lacking.
In the last couple of days I’ve come to only one conclusion and that is to remain standing before Him, remaining confident that He will tell me what to do when I get to that point. After another dream from Him last night I have felt once again that it is not the time for “doing” anything beyond what I have been doing. In this inaction, He is teaching me to feed on His faithfulness and remain in His love. So the only place to go from here is… nowhere.
I don’t really have anything profound to say but I will say that I am so glad Holy Spirit is a constant companion. If He didn’t exist, I doubt… no, I KNOW that none of the significant happenings in my heart lately would well, would be happening.
I went to Old Chicago with a friend tonight. It’s a great KC pizza place on 119th and Metcalf. I go out with this friend often but we always come to the same conclusion each time we get together: two people couldn’t possibly be more different than we are. We are night and day complete opposites but we have one thing in common; we are both madly in love with Jesus, can’t wait for His return and are passionate about reminding those around us that a new King is about to come to this earth.
As soon as we met, this friend had a dream that we were standing on the edge of an ocean and there were crowds of people around us and we were desperately sharing with these people that Jesus was in love with them and was coming soon: no one believed us. No one listened to us but we kept preaching. Here we are, two years later, and still telling these things to our loved ones and still getting the same reaction: apathy.
It’s not a fun thing to know that everyone thinks your insane when you are just simply sharing the truth of God’s Word… but when you have someone that is just as insane, standing beside you. Well things are just easier that way.