Hello there! It has been awhile since I last wrote. Where has the time gone???? Life has been moving at a fast pace lately and writing on my blog hasn’t been as large of a priority as it use to be. Life in Little Rock has been an amazing journey. I thought I would be moving to Waco Texas at this time last year but figured out that God has me here for reasons I’m not entirely sure of yet. I’m fortunate to live in one of the coolest areas of Little Rock at the bottom of Cantrell Hill. On one side we have long bike trails, tennis courts, parks and the Arkansas River and up above us, in Hillcrest and the Heights there are a number of art galleries, coffee shops, yogurt shops, and cute boutiques. Summer has been a lot of fun as my roommate and I have a pool to cool off in during the sweltering southern heat and have also enjoyed a couple of eight mile bike rides with friends (one resulting in a seriously painful sunburn).
In late January I moved in with my current roommate, Erin. Erin is a professional ballet dancer for a Christian dance company (how fun is that??). She has been a great addition to my life and getting to live with her is a little kiss from Jesus. Last night we discussed what would be happening when our lease was up in October. Do we stay in the same apartment or get a house with some other girls? The thought of living with more than one female roommate has me a little skittish due to a previous experience but if God is ordaining it, and I get to help pick out housemates, than I am much more open to the idea.
Although I am still very connected with many of my old friends at Summit, I have felt the Lord leading me in a different direction and have been looking for another church body to plug into. This has been a complicated task trying to figure out where I fit in the body of Christ and what my role is. Finding a church that has healthy, sound leadership but is still walking in the gifts of the Spirit is very important to me. I have a couple of great choices I have been looking at but that is the problem I guess… which CHOICE do I make?
In addition, I have also been involved with a group of people who are planning to raise up a house of prayer in this city. Valerie Mezel, the director, has invited me to come on board as a staff member for Pray Now. The thought of leading worship again is exhilarating. It is something I feel born to do… lead people into worshiping Jesus. But there is one determining factor that keeps me from leaping into this venture full time. That is the issue of finances. With a heavy-duty car payment, student loans and paying rent sums much larger than I am use to, going into full-time ministry again is a little nerve-wracking. But as I was reading Isaiah yesterday I saw the Lord rebuking Israel for trusting in Egypt and in their idols. I saw how much He hates unbelief and how much He desires for us to trust Him. So though I’m not quite ready to quit my job anytime soon, I am paying attention to His voice and His leading for my life. We’ll see what He says!
And that book I keep talking about? It’s still in the works but I am finishing up the revisions for the last few chapters of the first draft before I pass it onto a professional who will look it over for me. Can’t wait until I can unveil it for all of you!
I went to hang out with some friends in my new church tonight and came home so encouraged about the sovereignty of God in my life. The Lord has clearly placed me in this community for the season I am in and I believe these people are just what the “Doctor” ordered. The entire night consisted of us talking about the things of God, praying for each other and ministering the prophetic word to each other. It was all about love and everyone was seeking to encourage each other. Every time I have hung out with this particular group I have felt completely at ease without having to deal with a cloud of judgment, jealousy, competition or control looming over me. This is what FREEDOM truly looks like.
I got to thinking about what an amazing journey I have been on since 2003. How the Lord has divinely directed me and that each moment of my life has been entirely orchestrated by Jesus. He is such an amazing leader. I remember my friend and old roommate once telling me… “Brooke. I have never seen anything like this before. The Lord has you on such an amazing journey. He has sovereignly directed your steps… sometimes without you even knowing it.” My heart fully agreed with this statement.
Aug 2003: Devastating personal event. Moved to Dallas/Fort Worth. Was about to go off the deep end as my life seemed to be getting worse and I was drowning in sin. Went to the wrong church by “mistake” where a pastor stopped his sermon to prophesy over me. Gave me word of knowledge after word of knowledge and then prophesied about the call of God on my life as well as my future… umm… family.
Dec 2003: Roommate suggested I check out a church called Resurrection Center in downtown Dallas. I was still not walking with the Lord but was desperate for some hope in my life. I thought I would be able to hide in the back and observe the service from the sidelines but instead a group of girls virtually attacked me. A day later they called me and continually called me days after that including showing up at my apartment spontaneously and kidnapping me.
Spring 2004: Friend Karissa started to disciple me and speak into my life about my destiny in the Lord. I told her I was not at all interested in “going to the nations” or doing ministry of any kind (No one in my church knew I could sing until right before I left for Kansas City). I did, however, begin working at our church coffee shop on Friday and Saturday nights. The cafe was on the down-low and was not located in the church but was a part of the other businesses in Deep Ellum. It was fun building relationships with people in the neighborhood and serving my church in this way.
Jan 2005: I am living with Karissa’s sister, Missy and my other roommate Denise. We later move into another house with three other girls. Karissa has since moved to Waco, Texas where she went to missions school. She is now a missionary in India with her husband, Blake. I went through an intense spiritual battle during this time and my roommates loved me and cared for me all the way through it. Relationships weren’t always perfect but we remain close friends to this day. I would have never been able to make it through this time period without those two girls in my life. I am so grateful for those two girls.
During this month, also… I went to World Mandate in Waco, Texas. It is a missions event that Karissa’s new church, Antioch, puts on each year. I didn’t go because I loved the nations. I went because Karissa made me. As everyone went to the classes on missions in the Middle East, I felt God speak something very clearly to me during worship– “Go to the class on missions in Europe”. I felt it so strongly that I obeyed. During this time a British woman came up to me and gave me a word, “You have been on a very difficult journey. The Lord has brought you out of so much. He wants you to know that He is going to keep His promise. It is going to happen but it will be quite some time from now.” I am writing this with tears in my eyes.
Fall 2005: During the summer my friend Nathan harassed me about joining staff for his intercession ministry “Save Dallas”. I told him no. Then something really bad happened. I knew it had to do with spiritual warfare… I decided that I should probably join an intercession ministry. On that exact same day he called me again (2 months after he first asked me) and asked me again to join. This time I said yes.
Dec 2005: As a ministry, Save Dallas went to the Onething conference in Kansas City. Nathan had asked me to join this ministry because he knew I secretly loved to pray and spend time with Jesus. He knew I was an intercessor. So we went and I was completely rocked. The moment Shelley Hundley began praying, I began crying. I cried through the entire first service as they talked about the “Anna calling”. I knew this was exactly who I was. A woman that was called to sit before the Lord night and day. I decided to do an internship in Kansas City… which was completely beyond my realm of comfort, btw.
April 2006: Huge devastation regarding a relationship. It was the beginning of the end of a huge spiritual battle in my heart. I was to leave for IHOP a month later.
June 2006: Began the Fire in the Night internship at IHOP. Was completely offended by a lot of things at first (except the Endtimes teaching which I had secretly believed since high school). God began to change my heart a lot. I saw male leadership that would fight for my heart and truly had compassion and concern for healing in my life. The Word of God opened up to me in a new way. I thrived on six hours of prayer in the middle of the night. It felt like this was what I was made for.
However… instead of choosing to move back to Dallas in September the Lord spoke to me to stay in Kansas City and come on staff. My friends and pastor in D were not too thrilled with this but I knew it was the Lord.
Jan 2007: Officially moved to Kansas City. Homesick for my friends and wanted to move back. God taught me complete trust in the area of finances. What a powerful lesson he took me on in this season. Went on an intense healing journey with the Lord for two more years.
May 2007: Had a powerful encounter with the Lord as I was walking to the prayer room one day. The Lord spoke to me and said “you are going to the nations.” I told Him, “no way. I want to stay here.” He said, “you’re going to Europe. So there.” I was floored. That night I had one of the most powerful encounters of my life. Have NEVER felt the presence of God like that since. Felt Him open up my heart and pour in compassion for the nations. I felt His emotions for myself and the lost. I was stuck to my chair for four hours. Couldn’t move. Sat and wept the entire time. This was the beginning of a series of prophetic happenings about the UK which continued through the summer until I made my way to England in September of that year.
2007-2008: Received a series of powerful prophetic dreams almost every single night concerning my destiny. Summer of 2008 God spoke to me and told me I would be leaving IHOP in a year.
Fall 2008: Went through an intensive inner healing program at IHOP where God did a major work in my life and continued to teach me so much about His heart for the broken. I began to really love ministering to those in my group, praying and prophesying over them. I was later asked to be a leader for the program but didn’t feel the Lord was releasing me to do this.
Summer of 2009 to Spring 2011 : God told me I would be leaving IHOP very soon. Confirmed clearly where I was suppose to go. I moved to a small town for reasons only He fully knows and I am just beginning to understand. We’ll skip over the rest of it.
Present: Waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting. My plans are to move to Waco and become part of Antioch but I will not go until He tells me. The Lord definitely has interesting plans for me where I’m at right now. I love the community I am a part of and it has already been a very healing time for me. I’m excited to see what God will do in my heart in this season.
I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for His leadership in my life… through the good times and the really difficult times. Even in this last tragic episode in my life, I was reading through some dreams I had just a few weeks before the event occurred and saw that I had dreamed about the exact scenario without realizing it was really going to happen to me. Even then he was preparing my heart for what was to come. He is so GOOD like that.
Today I was talking with Linda, one of my spiritual moms from IHOP and she, who is a violin player, told me that the Lord has been speaking to her about joining a worship team again. The Lord specifically told her whose team she needed to be on… though the person was not even leading a team yet. Two weeks after the Lord spoke this to her, the person whom the Lord spoke to her about started a worship team. She thought this was a sign from the Lord, for sure. When she emailed the person and asked them if she could join their team, they responded that since their team was so new, they didn’t want to establish more members then they could handle. Linda was disappointed because she felt this was positively from the Lord. But she spoke to me something that made practical sense: “just because you feel like something is from the Lord, doesn’t mean that you or anyone else doesn’t have a choice in the matter. It’s okay to say no and it’s okay to move on if someone else says no. The Lord doesn’t always give us just one option.” Little did she know what had been on my mind for the past couple of weeks.
For months I’ve been getting the same prophetic word from one of my spiritual fathers– “Brooke. The Lord is going to surprise you. You have a choice and the Lord wants you to know that you can’t mess this up.” I guess there is the security factor that I like… I like it when the Lord speaks to me very clearly about things but I think what makes God such a great Father is that He gives us options… he lets us have a choice… we can disobey Him and choose the wrong thing but I think that He often asks us what we want… like, “Brooke… do you want the pink dress or the white dress…” both are good options… and would be good choices, but He wants us to really want what we choose. We actually get a say in things sometimes. This is part of what makes life with God such an adventure.
I often find myself wildly surprised by God. So surprised, in fact, that I question if I am hearing His voice correctly. Sometimes I think I have everything figured out and have years of dreams and prophetic words lined up, all indicating a certain direction when suddenly, He grabs my shoulders and steers me in a direction I would have never expected.
This weekend at our the Young Debs Conference, I spoke on the subject of Hearing God. I spoke of having faith that God speaks to us and to not to second-guess what He is telling us. But this morning during a lengthy conversation with Jesus I found myself doing just that. Am I really hearing you correctly? I asked Him.
I’m figuring out that in all of life, we don’t have to know exactly what is going on. He may steer us and give hints and direction but rarely does He always tell us exactly what is going to happen because there are so many factors that play into every decision we make and every circumstance we find ourselves in. That is why following God is so fun. Not knowing every detail of our future is what makes life exciting and adventurous. And I feel confident that even if I don’t know the end of my story, He has the perfect ending lined up.
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.
I began to write a whole other blog today. I thought about sharing some personal information but instead, chose wisdom and decided to go a whole other route this afternoon.
I have a good life- a great life, in fact. I could easily dwell all day on the things I don’t like about my life, the pressures I face, the people that annoy me, the betrayals and frustrations that surround me… but I won’t do it anymore. I won’t even look at the supposed “good” things in my life (and there are many of those, too!). Why? Because we are in a fallen world and even when we begin gazing at all the good happening around us it is just inevitable that something bad will happen to it or at least that things won’t always be easy… well not until our King returns at least.
I’m still going through the Song of Songs… I’ve technically been on this journey for two and a half years now but really, in essence, I’ve been on it a whole lifetime. There have been moments and encounters that have changed my life forever. I have come to know Jesus in a way that I have never experienced Him before… but I’m not going to lie. It’s been hard. There is a lot of death involved and sometimes you don’t die soon enough and then it’s even more painful when you have to die later. No one enjoys a slow death.
But this journey isn’t all about death and misery. It may sound like it, but really it’s a journey of love– a journey of desire– a journey of longing. So right now I’m at this moment in the journey. This moment that is spoken of in chapter 3 verse 11 come out,
and look, you daughters of Zion.
Look on King [Jesus] wearing a crown,
the crown with which his mother crowned him
on the day of his wedding,
the day his heart rejoiced.
You see, the Shulamite had just been through a rough time. She chose to not go with her Beloved to the mountains. She chose to not make the difficult decision to obey, even when she was afraid. So she searched and searched for her Beloved as she remained in the wilderness until she saw her Bridegroom coming in a cloud of inscense. The safe Savior… the one she could rely and trust because who else could she trust except for the one that gave His life for her? She is captivated by Him. She sees his strength and the joy on His face as He sees her, the one whom His heart adores.
The answer to our cycnicsm, pessimism, and general grumpiness is to look at Jesus. To see His beauty, to be mesmerized by His wonderful attributes and to not… ever stop.