Last night I sat on my sofa reading the last chapter of my first novel to my roommate, Erin. I giggled through most of it and she did too. The excitement was almost too much to contain and I found that I had a lot of trouble sleeping for most of the night. The reasons for my sleepless night this time, however, had more to do the pure joy of this gigantic feat than it had to do with anxiety or fear. I am prone to starting projects that I rarely finish… especially large writing projects so this was rather significant for me.
But being able to actually finish something I started wasn’t the only reason last night was significant. The Lord gave me the idea, plot and characters for this book during one of the darkest seasons of my walk with Him. In fact as I read through the whole book a few nights ago I realized just how prophetic it was and I was completely wrecked at how much the Lord was speaking through me as I wrote it. The book still needs a title and plenty of editing work but the powerful story it contains is finished and marks a very important season for me. I wasn’t expecting so many significant things to be happening all at once but I can see a pattern of the Lord pulling everything together as I follow His leading. As I get closer to publishing, I will share more with my readers.
Last night I went to see the premier of my brother’s film at the Little Rock Film Festival (the film was AMAZING by the way). As I was standing around, waiting to get into the theater I met a couple of older men. One was a very suspicious looking character with a long ZZ Top kinda beard, giant glasses and a baseball cap. When I asked him how he was doing he replied “well as good as you can expect an old fat man to be.” He made a living as a SAG member (Screen Actors Guild), as a guitar player and as a director and told me many wild stories about his time here on earth. Very interesting guy. His friend came and joined the conversation and he seemed much more “normal” and official. Apparently he was one the administrators of the Festival and got me in to see my brothers film for free (which, according to MovieMaker Magazine is one of the top 25 festivals in the world). This guy, whom we shall call Duke, was a film producer. I told him about my experiences trying to get into the industry as an actress… what I didn’t tell him is that the Lord pulled me out of the industry twice, just before I got signed with two major acting agencies (I was also in my mid-twenties then and much more in shape than I am now). Both times I had giant opportunities and both times the Lord moved me out of state before I could participate. Duke asked me what I was doing for a living currently and I explained to him that I was writer and did mostly freelance work. His eyes perked up then, and knowing my brother’s reputation (who is a full-time award-winning filmmaker and actor), instantly gave me his card and told me to call him.
At first I was really excited at this possible opportunity. I have been thinking about the possibility of using my gifts in this industry for some time now. But for some reason I was also very restless and had a hard time sleeping last night. I thought about how futile any type of business or creative endeavor is without Jesus in it somehow. Without perfect direction from the Holy Spirit, our hearts can get entwined with something that could potentially damage us. I felt heaviness even. And I wondered if this was really the direction I was suppose to go in. I saw the Lord’s hand offering me all kinds of goodies to choose from but what route was I suppose to take? Where was my heart at in all of this? I thought about how I want people to encounter Jesus. I want broken people to know the love of God. I thought about music and how alive I feel when I sing prophetically over the people of God. I thought about how I love to teach the things of God and to express His heart in unique ways. Would I be able to do all of these things? If I began acting again I would have to be careful of many many things… even about becoming obsessed with my body image again. If I acted or wrote for the film industry– because it is an industry full of darkness (let’s face it), I would have to be clearly led by the Holy Spirit with every endeavor I choose.
Life is such a tricky path. I don’t want to miss anything on the journey.
I was in second grade in Mrs. Franklin’s class when she directed us to write a fictional story about our class discovering dinosaur bones on a field trip. I remember the excitement I felt as I penned sixteen pages of glorious second-grade prose into my spiral notebook. I created an elaborate story, complete with dinosaur bones coming alive and scaring old Mrs. Franklin. I had never felt more awake in my young life than I did as I crafted that imaginary story.
In school I was not the mathematician or the scientist. I never did well in those areas but when it came to writing and literature, my teachers would often tell my parents “encourage her with this! she has a gift!”. I was a daydreamer and instead of listening intently during 4th grade math, I would spin fairy stories in my head, come up with character names and even details about their 19th century clothing. This daydreaming would come back to bite me when I received my report card but it paid off when I would win the county creative writing contest or win awards in the Duluth News Tribune for my creative narrative and eventually, in high school, become student editor of Speak Out, a column for local teens in the Ashland Daily Press.
I went on to study English Literature at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock but three years into my degree, a personal tragedy struck and I dropped out of college, heart-broken. It would be years before I was able to be focused enough to write again… or would even have the desire to do so.
Being in the prayer room while on staff at the International House of Prayer began to stir something in me that was akin to that feeling I had in second grade. That feeling of heat in my belly, probably even aroused by Holy Spirit, that would urge me to communicate ideas that were on His heart. I began writing in a blog truths that the Lord had been teaching me, but in my head, was still hesitant to acknowledge myself as a writer again.
After moving to Ottertail, Minnesota and joining the Firestarters writers group, I felt a pressure to create that I had not felt in a long time. Unfortunately, working full-time as a legal secretary, didn’t offer me a lot of time to ponder and think and create. I felt miserable at my job, exhausted all the time, and trapped into doing something that I hated just so that I could get by with my very meager income.
Then it began with a dream (as it usually does). I walked into a bedroom where both of my parents (who are no longer married to each other) were sitting on a bed. They asked me what I was reading and I responded that I was reading Journey of Desire by John Eldredge and Dreaming With God by Bill Johnson. My mom began asking me what I wanted to do with my life and in the dream I replied that I wanted to write and preach the Gospel. My mom then informed me that I needed to quit my job and said some other things that I don’t care to write about at the moment. Huh. Well I couldn’t just quit my job…. could I?
A couple weeks after that dream I had another. It was simply a snapshot dream where my boss came to me and let me go from my job. I woke up, knowing I would be let go, and that it was for a specific purpose. Three weeks later, it was exactly as I expected… my boss pulled me into his office and told me I was no longer needed at the office. Instead of distress I felt absolutely relieved. I knew it was the Lord directing me into a better path… one that fit me perfectly.
Days after my last day at the law office I traveled to Kansas City, where I still am, for a time of prayer and re-focusing. Thoughts of inadequacy plagued my mind. I’m not good enough to do this. How can I ever pull this off? Does God really desire to bless me enough that I actually get to do something that I love to do for a living? At the Awakening Service on Wednesday night, a woman from the prophecy teams spoke to me and said that she saw something creative around me. She said that I didn’t feel that I was good enough to do what He was calling me to do. I knodded in agreement. She looked me straight in the eyes and firmly told me that what I did was powerful and it would impact many. If that wasn’t enough, the Lord knew I needed some specific confirmation. So this morning, I went to check my email and noticed a message from a nightwatch leader at the House of Prayer. This is not someone that I communicate with much at all and in the email he tells me he has a prophetic word for me and that he has been thinking about it all week long. He blatantly tells me that I am called to be a writer. How is that for confirmation?
I am very eager and excited to start this journey and I know from this day forward, my life will never be the same. Aside from my primary calling as a lover of God, this is the day I know myself as a writer. And that, my friends, is my journey into this knowledge.
In a farm house (think ‘wizard of oz), looking out the window… only to see several black tornadoes in the distance drawing closer to the home I was in. I walk outside and suddenly start floating into the air and then soaring above the tornadoes with none other than my… laptop? I am moving fast flying over and even THROUGH some of the tornadoes. It is an exhilarating feeling. I then land in front of the house again, rush in and hide in the bath tub (good place to go durning a tornado if you don’t have a basement). I wake up.
Recently, Jesus (my best friend) has been speaking to me about writing again and I actually feel like I’m getting more oppurtunities than I have had in awhile. I believe that spirit-led writing and art and music are going to be part of the epic end-time battle… God vs. evil. However, I’m feeling deeply insecure about it. I haven’t written a short story since college, five years ago. I believe that as a prophetic messenger, God will not only be using our voices but elements of art that convey the power and beauty of God. This art, inspired by the spirit of God will have an anointing on it, far more powerful than the demonic anointing that comes from music and media tainted with the spirit of this age. I still feel insecure about it… to the point that I think I will vomit. Ridiculous, huh?
Being in inner healing is bringing a lot of junk from my childhood to the surface. It’s stirring up a lot of past insecurities and pain that God has finally begun a process of healing on. I think it’s for this reason… so that I can contain and receive ideas and dreams from heaven. It’s not a fun season but it is definitely one that is valuable and necessary… but it’s still killing me!
Yesterday was a fasting day. I was in the prayer room during the 4-6 set, taking in all the sights and sounds of a few hundred Jesus lovers gathered to cry out for mercy and pour their hearts out at His feet. I took note of my posture as I was observing the Lord moving on various people in the room. Standing up, I had one hand in my pocket and another grasping an Ozarka water bottle. For a brief moment I had a flashback of myself in this same physical posture at a show in perhaps Dallas or Little Rock, a Bud Lite or a Heineken in hand enjoying the idolization and glorification of the talent of human beings… not to mention the seduction of rampant immorality in these bars and clubs.
Now, I do have to mention that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having fun and enjoying an art form. I have been to shows that have actually inspired me to love God more (though these were performances by Christian bands) and it wasn’t just words but music that awakened something in me.
I think of King Herod in Acts 12 “On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a mere mortal.” Immediately , because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.”
Not that audiences in most concerts are shouting at the muscians “You MUST be a god!” (though I have to mention that some of them do scream things similar to this), but the majority of bands are completely idolized for their talent. If you think about the hundreds of women (whom most of the musicians take advantage of) that follow them from town to town, this might conclude some of your questions. What about the posters plastered all over the walls of teenage bedrooms? These kinds of things don’t happen to normal folks.
What I love about IHOP is that when outside people visit, more often than not, most of the people don’t have any idea who is playing on stage. They haven’t come to oooh and ahhhh over the musicians (though they might respect the gift God has given them), they have come to seek the living God.
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.
It has been a somber yet clear and beautiful day after Mike’s exhortation yesterday during the staff meeting. Actually, I don’t know if exhortation is the right word… but I’m very grateful for Mike’s leadership and I’m grateful for the leadership of the Holy Spirit who prompted Mike to give this word of correction. There is nothing more destructive to the body of Christ than sexual immorality. It not only affects our own hearts but it affects the hearts of those we love. Trust me on this when I say that it can absolutely DESTROY the hearts of those that you have made vows with.
One thing, specifically, that I felt the Lord highlighting in my heart was the secular media. I have felt the pang of guilt as I watched a show on TV or watched a movie that was not particularly pure. Why am I watching something that Jesus would clearly frown on? We can make all the excuses we want by saying that we can’t seclude ourselves from the world and “we are in the world but not of it” but the truth of the matter is Jesus might go to a movie if it were today but He definitely wouldn’t sit through a bed scene or laugh at the raunchy humor of an effeminate charector. He wouldn’t consider a promiscuous couple to be “cute”. He wouldn’t embrace wickedness like we do when we let ourselves be entertained by it.
Art and film are beautiful things. I LOVE a well-made, well-written film. That’s why when the Lord started speaking to me last night during the meeting, things began to click in my head. Consider this a prophetic word… blog-style. Once we take the position of severing our connection with wickedness and embracing righteousness… God will honor it. How will he honor it? By filling the void that we think we have with divinely-inspired creativity… which can only be the best kind of creativity. I don’t think the believing community has done a great job with asking the Holy Spirit for ideas for higher-level artistic expression. It’s already inside of us, we just need to tap into it. IHOP has been prophesied over that we will be producing films… so let’s start believing God’s promises about this and not use the world for inspiration. Let’s use Him!