I have just returned from Guatemala and am trying to recuperate from a virus that has kicked half of my teams butts in the last few days. It feels good to be home but I happy to say that this was the most amazing trip of my life… despite the terrible sunburn and flu bug of course.
Two or three years ago I received a prophetic word from Luke Holter from Prophetic Sheep Ministries that I would be taking an adventure in the jungle. At first I thought this was supposed to be some kind of metaphor because missions, especially in a third world country, wasn’t even remotely on my radar at the time. I was with a ministry that didn’t really talk about that stuff. We traveled within the states but that was about it. So when I heard that my church was sending a team to Guatemala I felt the Lord on it. I waited a couple of weeks thinking I didn’t have enough time to get the money together and wondering if it was really from Jesus but I felt Holy Spirit say to me one day that in order for prophetic words to be fulfilled, we have to take steps to see them happen. Within a week I had my plane ticket money for the trip and had more than enough for the rest of my funds.
It was truly a powerful experience and much needed at the time of departure. The last couple of months have been confusing and difficult for me as I’ve struggled to resist some decisions that weren’t lined up with the will of God. I felt fresh vision and new perspective for my life which helped me move on and rediscover His promises. I had a lot of fun getting to know my team. As much as an introvert as I am, I was able to not completely lose my mind being around the same people 24/7 for ten days and it was great getting to know them all in a different setting. Most of all, I loved ministering to the people. I loved to see mighty miracles but even if they didn’t occur, I always felt the presence of God and saw broken hearts being healed. Sometimes, this is even more powerful to me.
This past month has been one of the best that I have had in a long time. I’m finding my life reflecting the title of this blog. Life is coming full circle. How strange. Eight years ago this month I was moving from Little Rock (the town that I now live in), wanting to escape a relationship break-up. I know I’ve covered most of the journey the Lord has led me on but I find it so strange and coincidental how much has changed in my heart and yet how there seem to be so many links and connections to significant moments in my life… it seems to all be coming together.
If I went into all of the strange things that have been happening this month or this summer even I would probably take up most of the space on this entire blog. So I’ll spare you most of the details. Connections between old friends and new friends, old dreams (since high school) that He has replanted in my heart, relationships that he is helping me to evaluate, and new prospective relationships that I am learning to enjoy and relax in… I am really taking joy in my life right now.
I went to World Mandate this weekend. It’s a church planting conference in Waco, Texas which is the fourth one that I have attended over the years. Antioch Community Church has planted house churches all over the world and it wasn’t until this fourth time in attendance that my heart was actually stirred toward what the Lord was doing on the earth… though I am thinking about these things for the future, I realize I’m not entirely ready for whatever my role is in this.
Instead, I had my usual favor from God that I seem to be getting a lot of lately. I had heard that there would be sign-up sheet for prophecy rooms at this conference and signed up for a slot on Saturday afternoon. I just needed encouragement, direction… anything that might help me to move forward. The fascinating situation I discovered but was not told until later, was that these rooms were only for pastors and missionaries. I asked my friend, a leader at Antioch if I should go back and take my name off the list. She encouraged me to keep it on, thinking it was probably just a ‘God thing’ that no one had told me the rules.
So I did go to the rooms on Saturday and basically wept through the entire ordeal. No direction really… just a confirmation of my calling, His heart for me, my identity in Him, divine protection over my life (yes please!), and a specific anointing that was called out again and confirmed (music). There was an even an incredibly awkward moment where all of the people in the room stood up and applauded me and celebrated me, signifying how proud the Father was of me and how He delighted in me. Yes, I blushed a little but I very much needed that awkward moment.
I guess right now I’m not excited about all of the adventures He has in the future… or the tasks or assignments He has for me… or the leadership positions He might give me or the bands that I get to sing with. I’m just excited that I get to rest in His arms and be loved by Him. I’m excited about the ways He is going to meet me in the future. I’m excited for the late nights I’ll get to spend with Him speaking to me in my dreams. I’m excited for the ways He’s going to speak to me through others and how I’ll hear His heart for them as well. I’m excited for all of the people He is placing in my life right now and how we’re walking out our friendship with Him together. I’m excited about the increase of joy I’m receiving just because He’s beside me.
Even though my dreams from high school might be very similar to the ones I have now, they are coming from a different place in my heart… a different place of rest… a more developed purpose. And some day, I will share with you exactly what those dreams were/are.
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.
It is no secret to most people that know me that I am massively passionate about the love of Jesus being known in the city of London. I believe that God has given me even a supernatural affection and burden for this city to encounter God and I know that I have clearly heard from the Lord through not only His own voice speaking to me but through dreams and prophetic confirmations from a couple of seasoned prophets .
I am currently in the 6-8 Sunday night set which is an intercession set focused on the salvation of nations. We had what we call at IHOP a “rapid fire prayer cycle” (a line of people who pray 10 second prayers on the mic) tonight where we were exhorted to pray for any nation/city on our heart. Of course I chose London! As I stepped up to the mic, I prayed for a 24 hour house of prayer to be raised up. I prayed that the spirit of God would be poured out on the young adults of the city… and then something slipped out… “Holy Spirit, I pray that you would crush the head of humanism in the city of London.”
As I headed to the back to pace (which is nicely dim on Sunday nights while everyone else is at church), I realized that “the head of humanism” was about to be crushed just as I prayed. In lieu of the economic crisis, this seems very likely. Humanism is very prevalent in London, a city known for it’s affluence, style, education, intellectual esteem and general influence on the world’s population. Humanism, most of the time, is due to the falsity that we already have our needs met, we are successful, and darnit… people like us… therefore… our needs don’t NEED to be met by “religion” or as we who know Him, by an amazing Jewish man that redeemed our sinful lives by shedding His blood, and then giving us power to conquer that sin through His resurrection from death and our leaning into His love daily.
The props that are keeping the people in the city of London (as well as the States and the rest of the world) in deception are about to pulled out from under them. Who will they turn to once their comfort is taken from them? Once the economic crisis hits this city in a profound way, many will be quite aware that if they weren’t created to be a success, popular, a deep intellectual, physically attractive etc… well they can make two choices: either they wallow in despair or they turn to Jesus the Author of Life and receive understanding that they were created to enjoy God and be enjoyed by Him and the simplicity of this truth is so much richer than they could have imagined. I’m praying that they make the latter choice.
So I had a dream awhile back.
It was shortly after I returned from England. It was very symbolic and I have been dissecting it for months and months when Jesus this weekend gave me some pretty interesting insight on it.
I was a nanny for Paul McCartney and Elizabeth Hurley (don’t laugh).
They were on their honeymoon and we were all together in Egypt.
We are all in a jeep and it is a really hot day.
They hand me their tiny newborn baby to take care of and I take it and walk down the streets of Egypt with it.
I wind up walking right into a city in England. I’m not sure if it was London or not but it was England.
I was on a street lined with shops and the baby is suddenly about 2 or 3 years old.
In this particular part of the city, they were having an art festival.
I went inside a store and it was full of classrooms where people were working on various art projects. I’m carrying this toddler around and we are inspecting all of the art projects.
At the end of the dream I see a closed door and I go to it, curious to see what is inside. When I open the door, my dream ends.
I’ve figured out that Egypt was here in Kansas City. This is my wilderness season. The baby is my vision for London. It was newborn at the time I had my dream. When the baby is older, I figured out this means that I will be in England around the time my vision is about 2 or 3 years old. So basically I’m sticking it out here for 2 or 3 years. Let me tell you… sometimes it sure feels like Egypt here.
What I didn’t understand for a long time was all of the artistic stuff. For one thing I’m carrying the baby of two English celebrities. McCartney, a musician and Hurley an actress. Then I end up in an art festival and then in a store full of classrooms with people working on various art projects.
I believe that when I entered the closed door that this was prayer and intercession. But what is all the rest of it?
Saturday, I woke up with a start. I suddenly realized what this meant… well in part anyway. There is a school in New York City called “The New School”. It’s a place where adults can go and take classes on various things. Anything from dance to history to writing to foreign languages.
If there is anything that that can get the humanistic culture in London to have an interest in the church (other than a sovereign move of the Holy Spirit, which is of course ideal) it’s the arts. My crazy, nutty plan is to eventually start something like “The New School” in London where teachers (who are secretly prophetic messengers) are interacting with adult students daily. In the back of the school somewhere I foresee a furnace of prayer and intercession for the city and small grassroots church plants sprouting in various homes around the city… or maybe just one big one. I don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like yet.
I know I sound like some kind of crazy idealist nutjob but I really think this might be Jesus. There’s no way I could come up with it on my own.
Last summer I was given a word that I had my finger on a particular country and that the Lord would be sending me there. She said she saw Jesus and He had this sheath at His side, where you would normally put a sword. She saw me inside the sheath and that it represented IHOP and that the Lord had me hanging out here until He was ready to draw me out.
Last night, day six of the fast I was in the prayer room late at around 11pm. I had been pacing most of the night, feeling the Lord wanting to speak to me about something while feeling a little bit antsy. I sat down and almost immediately felt the weight of the Spirit on me. I then had a vision of a man standing and at His side was a sword and he drew the sword out and held it in the air. The Lord then spoke to me and said “I keep my promises.” I knew I would be leaving IHOP in the somewhat near future. The time was drawing close.
I whipped out of that chair like a firecracker. I’m so not ready to leave this place. Jesus I’m scared! But as I calmed down I knew it was still at least a year off. I already have an idea of what the next assignment is that the Lord has me on. I believe it is one of two options that I have had rolling around in my head for awhile. I’m not ready to reveal those options yet. These two options have to do with a series of prophetic dreams the Lord has given me over this past year.
I know that IHOP is my wilderness season and that is what I am here for. To meet God in the wilderness and be made whole and perfected in love. This fast in particular is crucial to the places God is taking me to. I am so grateful for His perfect leadership in my life.
It is true that those without a vision perish. If any of the few of you have suspected, for the last couple of weeks I’ve had my blog set to private. I’ve been trying to sort out things and attempting to learn how to restrain myself in my writing. It’s difficult discerning where to draw the line of vulnerability. It’s the dilemma of every artist. Back to the initial sentence. I have been feeling rather glued to a comatose state for awhile now. I’ve not heard any yes’s or no’s in regards to my hopes and plans about England and my future. I’ve not heard any specific direction whatsover in this arena; only that I will be there some day and I’m not yet ready to go as a permanent fixture. This has been answered through many dreams and prophetic words explaining that I was in need of much maturity before I could take any steps.
This is still true, however, God has lately become a bit more specific with me… or at least my heart has become more specific with Him. I’m not sure which of these is the true statement. Regardless, my heart is being stirred. A friend of mine, who I have mentioned in the blog I wrote yesterday, Aaron Kennedy is helping to start a house church in Brighton England, which I also mentioned in the post below this one. Anyway, I found myself this weekend, out of curiousity researching living expenses and rent in Brighton, having registered for free on several flatmate sites. I’ve been finding my heart burning intenseley for this area of the country as Aaron explains the things that the Lord has already begun to do in this area. This is exactly the kind of community I want to minister in. I didn’t really think much of it and wasn’t totally sure why I was doing. I know, even while writing this that I am not ready on a number of levels.
However, I was speaking again with Aaron today on MSN Messenger. I made the statement, “I am so jealous. I know I will be there one day.” He responded with “you will. I’ve already been asking around, trying to find a place for you to stay when you get here.” This may or may not have been a prophetic conversation but it was suprising considering how I had spent my weekend. Nonetheless, I’m learning that it’s all about going back to the basics. I have nothing to offer, if I don’t know Jesus, if I haven’t allowed Him to create in me a dwelling place for Him. If I haven’t figured out that this destiny is really all about His plans and ideas and purposes for the nations. And with this I have got to learn, somehow, to love and be loved. I’ve got to learn how to love his bride and his future bride without fear or resentment or anger. I’ve got to live from the heart Jesus gave me. I’ve got to confront my barrenness, my desperate wilderness self that refuses to let Him in. And I can’t be longing for these things so that I can become great. I have to be longing for Him because I’m in love with Him. I want an authentic, sincere, relationship with the Maker of Heaven and I don’t know how it’s going to happen but I know it will.