Identity and Father Heart

This week (Week 3 of our DTS) was absolutely amazing in so many ways. Where to begin. I keep coming up with potential beginnings and then thinking of something else that happened beforehand. This week has been a sort of accumulation of my testimony. I don’t have the time, the patience, or ability as of yet to type out my entire testimony but a lot of it is already in this blog and much of it will be posted in later days. So again, I’m processing by writing. I hope this makes sense to some degree.

Jesus has been changing my testimony steadily and quickly. An interesting combination. I’m comfortable in his timing as I’m learning to trust Him. It hardly ever makes sense but the more I experience it, the more I just let go and say “you do it, Jesus!” Cause I sure can’t. The events, words, and story itself have not changed. My story is the same one it’s always been. Except now I see it’s His story. The way that I tell it is different. Sickness, violation, and pain are no longer my story but just the backdrop. My story is redemption, healing, and freedom. It’s the fact that He’s been in every moment, pursuing me since day one. It’s the way He moves even when I can’t see him and how He doesn’t need me to cooperate to have an effect on me. It’s the way He loves and that I can love out of overflow of his love.

This week was Identity Week. I thought I had my identity figured out. Ha! Yeah no. Well, I had a very strong sense of who God is and who I was in Him. What I had not realized is how much healing I still needed. I hadn’t seen yet some of the lies I still lived by.

We spent a few hours in small groups, declaring truths, claiming freedom and defeating lies. It was so fun. Lots of tears, fighting, laughing, and yelling for freedom. Lots of strongholds were broken that day. Jesus has been replacing unhealthy soul ties and lies with himself and it has been so so good. As it’s been nearly a week since I began this post, I can say confidently that I am walking in truth that I had not yet walked in.

This week we are in now is Father Heart of God. It’s been good too. I didn’t expect going into it to gain very much from it. I’m comfortable with God as my father. My earthly father is an amazing man after God’s heart. I don’t have any major healing or anything to sort through. I realize this is a blessing. That’s what he’s been teaching me; I take for granted the wonderful influence my father is.

This week is not done yet, I’ll try to talk more about it in a later post.

Tomorrow we begin outreach ministry. Our teams (mine is 10, including two leaders) will be dropped off in town and we’ll just minister. We’re gonna talk to and love people. Meet people on the street, buy them coffee, pray or just be a friend. I’m so excited to make new friends and grateful for the fact that we can make friendships through YWAM.

There is definitely more to come. It’s been a super busy week but I’ll be posting more starting now. Jesus is good. He pursues and He’s a good dad.

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Trusting His Direction 2/2/18

It’s Friday afternoon. It’s actually pretty chilly (60f) and we’ve been graced with a consistent light rain all day. This morning it was just a foggy mist but slowly and surely the skies have been breaking. I wasn’t expecting to feel so cold while I’m here but I’m stocked up on a whole bunch of Abuelitos which my family sent me.

This week, Hearing the Voice of God, has been beautiful and sweet. I went into the beginning of lectures excited. I’ve been comfortable with hearing God for a while now. I know his voice and I can recognize it among my own thoughts, other peoples ideas, and worldly distractions. I was expecting to learn and experience new ways of communicating with God. I didn’t really know what to anticipate or prepare for but I was ready. God, being God, decided to take and on a different rout. He’s been teaching me about trust.

I’ve had to make a couple of big decisions lately. These were things that normally I’d go to other older and wiser people and essentially have them make the decision for me. But, in hearing God, I knew he wanted it to be him and me. He is beginning my journey of trust. It’s been incredibly sweet to watch him move in these ways. He’s convicted me of places where I thought I could do better than him and thinking I’ve got it under control. I sure as heck do not. But he convicts kindly and replaces all lack with himself. Where I lack wisdom, he provides protection. Where I lack humility, he provides a lesson. Where I like stillness, he provides a patient invitation.

This week there’s been so much time to rest and get to know him and listen. We’ve been busy but we’ve had a lot of allotted time to be intentional with God. In my quiet times he’s been teaching me about how I can trust his direction. And that he will, in fact, direct me and never leave me hanging. He’s got me where he wants me. And I’m learning to be okay with that. He’s so good.

Week Two Begins 1/29/18

Today begins our second week of lectures. Monday here brings excitement and expectation to most everyone. I think it’s safe to say we’re all motivated and ready for whatever these next five days will bring. Last week was incredibly rich and wonderful and so we all eagerly anticipate the coming teachings, activities, and growth ahead.

We are studying Hearing Gods Voice this week. Our speaker is base director, Micheal Bingham. We ate breakfast, some groggily, some fully awake and rearing to go. Then we piled into the community room and sat at our folding tables next to family, laughing, chatting, and maybe still waking up.

Micheal began by sharing his testimony. I really appreciated hearing it. He and his wife are incredibly busy, running this base smoothly and letting Holy Spirit lead them. We don’t have as much of a chance to get to know them as we do some of the other staff. So I liked that he took the opportunity to let us get to know him. He talked about growing up, his journey with YWAM, and how God has been faithful throughout his life. It was an introduction to him, the heart for this base, and to the subject of hearing God. After his story, he jumped right into his God speaks. I plan on posting notes towards the end of this week’s lectures and y’all can see what we’re learning.

I am so in love with these people. They’ve been talking about how it’s a special group (in all honesty, at first I thought, “Sure that’s what you’re supposed to say.”) It really is. Literally every person here has an immense amount of talent and passion and love. So many walks of life and diverse stories but so much connection and so many dreams coming true together. Despite it only having been a week together, we really are a family. It happened much quicker and deeper than I knew to expect. I’m really grateful for all these brothers and sisters. We’ve laughed and cried and dreamed and learned together.

I’ve discovered that living in community is probably my favoritest thing ever. I truly enjoy waking up with 50 other people and eating together and sharing life together. You can only be open and vulnerable and there’s only kindness and growth in this place specifically.

Gods crazy cool y’all.

When He Partners With You

I’m sitting on a huge, soft leather chair in the covered sunroom of the community house. It’s one of the hottest places on the base but also one of my favorites. It’s bright and lively with laughter and clattering from the kitchen around the corner and people having DMCs (Deep Meaningful Conversations) at tables and sofas all over the room.

This is a family. I was expecting to make some sort of close friendships along the trip but I did not anticipate the bonds that would form so quickly. We don’t know each other well yet. But we’re comfortable. I trust these people. I’m grateful for the way the staff has cultivated such a haven. For some of them, this has been their home for years and I know everyone I’ve talked to feels welcome. It’s easy to share this space and life with them.

Yesterday was our first lecture. The speaker was incredibly inspiring. He shared his heart and his story, got to know us personally, and dropped truth bomb after truth bomb. This week we are studying The Character and Nature of God. There’s no way I could type out all that I learned in that short session but I’ll put up some of it.

Jason (speaker) began by talking about how we communicate and connect with God. He’s talented as a communicator and was very interactive in his talks. We did an exercise of sorts where we sat across from someone and looked them in the eye. Literally that. No laughing, no talking, just looking.

I think it taught us all a lot. At first it was awkward. Intense eye contact is usually reserved for serious moments and even the used cautiously. Then as we got used to it, it became easier. We started looking and not caring about being looked at. I learned a lot about the person I was staring at. I began to be able to tell when she had an interesting thought or when she relaxed or when she seemed to have found something in my eyes.

Jason told us to stop and we all looked it him and laughed partly out of “that was awkward” and partly “oh my gosh that was cool.” He asked us how long we felt like that was and most of us said about a minute or two. Turns out it was almost five.

He then began to explain how we don’t need to use words to communicate. Language is one way, and often a very important way, of communicating but, by no means, the only. He continued to explain how God can use a look, a smile, a feeling, or anything else really to get his point across. The sunrise can say I love you just as well as an audible voice. He knows how to get to you. He knows your heart of hearts. He created you, thus he knows how to speak to you.

There are many attributes to God. He’s so many things at once. Just as I am daughter, sister, friend, artist, etc. I am all of these things but I don’t have only one way of operating. God is many things but works from the place of a father if you need it. Or counselor. Or friend. Or lord. He is all of these and more and he communicates and partners with you and where you are to talk to you.

I really love that about him. He meets you where you are. In all of his glory and vastness, he takes the effort to know you. He sees you in where you’re feeling, believing, operating and moves accordingly.

An Overview 1/21/18

Today will just be a basic overview as my third day in Toowoomba begins. I woke up to a slightly chilly morning and walked to a table on the edge of our cliff to watch the sunrise. It was incredible. Never have I seen so many colors in the sky at one time.

It’s so incredibly easy to connect to people here. The staff has done an incredible job of cultivating safe space in this camp. There’s so many walks of life. So many ways of thinking. I’ve talked with people who believe things that I believe and others who have given me completely new perspectives. I’ve seen tears and laughter and freedom in me and in others. We’ve had multiple jam sessions. There’s so much talent in this school.

Yesterday we walked up and down hills in the heat to a garden park. It was beautiful and the weather slowly but surely became cooler and we played and danced and ate barbecue. Some of us went to a coffee shop and got black longs (which most of you will know as americanos). We got excited about the Holy Spirit and the Bible and who he is in our lives. It was good and a lot of clarity and freedom happened for me in that coffee shop.

Worship at this school is so good. It’s all completely led by the Holy Spirit. I’ve had so much fun through these leader’s singing and playing. Im excited to see all of these artists and musicians grow over the next few months in this area. The amount of growth I’ve seen in just two days, even before school actually starts, has been incredible. I can’t imagine what it’s going to look like in a few weeks.

Lectures and homework begin Monday. I am so ready for that all to begin. But today is the second half of orientation and a rest day that we’ll all enjoy.

In Flight 1/16/17

Nearly done with 14 hours and 30 minutes of flying. I can lean against the cold window and watch clouds above the wings of this monstrous aircraft. There’s an empty seat between me and a grandmother from Bangladesh named Rahla. Through a slight language barrier, she told be about her children; a scientist, an engineer, and a neurologist. She’s proud. There’s lots of young children on board this plane. Three babies are being passed around to different cooing, grinning adults. I don’t think they’re all family, or even more than acquaintances, yet babies are cared for and played with until they get tired and restless and return to mama’s arms.

I’ve seen a majority of this flights passengers pray at specific times, bowing, humming and rocking peacefully. Rahla told me a little bit about what the Korah means to her. I told her a little bit about what the Bible means to me. She didn’t know I was praying when I was.

There’s been two meals so far and I believe breakfast is on its way as the flight attendants begin rushing back and forth through the aisles. They smile, nod and dodge the parents who are calming small children through the walkways. One of them I haven’t seen lose his smile this whole 12 hours. He’s been making friends with the passengers near his station. Another one hasn’t smiled very much this flight. I’ve been trying to decide whether it’s her resting face or she’s not having her best day. There’s an old Indian man across the aisle from me who makes her laugh though. He’s been cracking jokes for anyone who will listen.

I am ready to stand up again. My knees are beginning to feel like they’re screwed permanently bent. My lips and fingers are dry and clammy. I could probably use some more sleep. But ultimately I’m really happy. I love traveling. I love getting to meet people who’s lives I don’t understand and they don’t understand mine. People always find something to relate to on though. Always. Rahla and I both come from big families and both of us are interested in arts. I met a man while in line for boarding who was from Kenya. He was traveling for the first time in his life at 46 years old. He asked me if I’m a friend of Jesus and when I said yes he told me he could tell because Jesus has a way of putting His face in others faces. We related on our savior and I’ll most likely never meet again. But most likely we’ll always remember that conversation. How cool is that?

Just a couple of hours from Dubai. Completely man made. I’m excited to see a city that is pioneered and built on ingenuity and engineering. Millions upon millions of minds have been a part of the process of building Dubai. Artists, architects, futurists, scientists, travelers work displayed at every corner. Cities get me excited about people. People get me excited about God.

The War Is Over – A Testimony

“The war is over”

A perfect way to describe my night. Sabrina texted that sentence and it kinda wrapped the whole experience up with a bow. Tonight was quite a victory. I’m still processing it and don’t completely understand it, but yet here I am.

Let’s start from the beginning. For my entire life time, I don’t remember not being in pain. Pain in my joints and muscles, constantly. I was often foggy-brained and lethargic. My physical health seemed to only deteriorate for the longest time. I’ve been frustrated and angry for so long. So so long. I was frustrated that I was so young and so incapable of feeling young. I was angry that we couldn’t find a solution or figure out the issue. I was angry at myself, at modern medicine, and really at God. I had not realized the extent or impact anger makes on you until I wasn’t angry any more.

Tonight I was healed. After 17 years of pain and frustration. Tonight I was healed in body and spirit and soul. Tonight I was healed and it’s my turn to pass it on. Tonight I was healed and I receive it.

Church began. I walked into the sanctuary as worship started and stood in my usual place against the back wall where I had room to move. As I worshiped, soaking in the tangible anticipation, I asked Jesus for hope. This morning I’d accepted that maybe I’ll live the rest of my life in pain. “I guess that’s okay. I guess that’s who I am,” I thought.

Abba began to show me a sort of flashback on the past two years. There have been many very hard moments and many very wonderful moments in these past couple years. He took me gently through seasons and circumstances, showing me where He was in each one. I gained some understanding and peace about places where I’d missed Him. Then He took me through a vision of the next two years, sharing His heart for me and my ministry. He broke my box I’d placed on my future. He shared His excitement for me and the people in my life. He showed me specifics and He showed me holy ambition.

After this I was feeling pretty good. I was excited and intent on being in His presence. I continued to worship, now smiling, and then listened to the message. Throughout all of this I’m in pain, as the last whole of my life has been. Nothing new. But here I am and I’m happy. I’m grateful. I know who I am. I’m sitting with Jesus.

God loves surprises.

Honestly, it’s all a blur right now. Probably because I’m still in shock. But after the message, we were praying together. Pastor John Arnott begins to talk about healing and I lose it. I then realized I’d lost all hope for healing. I didn’t believe it was for me. In my visions He’d shared how I’d be a healer, which is truly my heart. But I thought that must look different than I’d thought because I don’t get healing.

“He wants to heal all of you,” says John.

I tear up, thinking, “God, I want healing.”

Then he starts to talk about forgiveness and prompts us to forgive those who hurt us and owe us. I do so. And I decided to give up the anger and hurt I was holding on to. I said “God, I need you to take this” and forgave. That’s when the healing occurred.

Ooohhhh.

My anger and hurt were getting in the way of me letting Him in. To be healed, I needed to let myself be touched. I’d been hurt and angry and put guards up. I had no idea they were there but that doesn’t make them any less strong. To forgive I had to take those down. I had to let the intimate, raw places in me be opened.

My Jesus is gentle.

My pain is gone.

Then he walked us through forgiving ourselves and I forgave myself for having walls. I realized my pain was gone. I could move my fingers without aching. I couldn’t feel it in my chest, my joints….it was just gone. It was new. It was freeing.

I lost it. I started sobbing mostly out of shock. I didn’t know until that moment what it’s like to not be in pain. Sabrina prayed and asked me what happened. When I finally got the words up, she helped me to the front so I could declare my healing.

The declaration of healing in front of a congregation was important to me. The fact that I could have confidence that this is it was overwhelming and exciting. The war is over. I can be at peace. I can rest in victory.

After that I was prayed over and Jesus continued to love on me. I’m still in shock and processing. I probably will be for a little while. I’ve got a lot to learn about this experience, about healing and about sharing what’s been given to me. But right now I know all that I need to.

I know I am healed and pain free. I know I am whole and who I’m meant to be. I know He sees me and loves to give good gifts. I know I am at peace. I know the war is over. I know this is for good.

I’ll be writing more about this in the near future. Damn, God is good.

A Night in White Sep. 30th, 2017 Part 1

Here I lay in my bed, swaddled in blankets, listening to music and settling the words I heard tonight deep into my heart. My mind is still but my heart is racing, it’s so much better than vice versa. So much easier to breathe in, rather than endure. Heart racing and mind slowing is a sign of peace and passion. Mind racing and heart slowing is resistance and stress. 

Anyways, tonight I went to a Night in White for Bochy’s Place. It was an all white gala fundraiser to support a ministry which is a restorative home for girls who have been rescued from the human trafficking industry. They focus on reimplementing them into society, giving them the tools they need to get steady jobs, education and community. They teach the girls how to date, mother, and be a wife by teaching them how they should be loved. They instill the mindset of knowing the value and worth that is already there. They cherish and befriend and parent the girls. 

Tonight, as hundreds of men and women elegantly piled into the hotel, hearts began to stir. Laughter, confidence, and hunger to learn filled the halls and, as the gala began, soon tears fell, decisions were made, and hope restored. It was a night of change. 

I learned a lot. I learned things like 90% of girls who are rescued, brought into rehabilitation homes and given families return to the streets after they finish the programs. That’s why Bochy’s Place exists. They stand to equip and empower the girls for success so they can move on their own.

I learned that people -dear people whom I love incredibly- are in danger of trafficking and that it does indeed affect my life and the lived around me much more than I imagined. 

I learned that there is hope. And that personal choices matter. When I take a step with a ministry, when I give my resources, these girls are offered another step of their own. 

There’s a lot of power in saying yes. There’s a lot of power in forgiveness. There’s a lot of power in hope and trust. These are the things that make a leader and I have been given a heart and a position to lead with my action. When I say yes, I give up my rights. When I forgive, I let go of all offense. When I trust and hope, my expectations come to fruition. 

Its Okay To Not Be Okay

This has been a week of discovery. Breaking and being broken will teach you an incredible amount about yourself and the world. Letting go of someone very dear to me, I let go one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. It was important to both of us that we move forward and on, even though neither of us completely understand why. We’re learning to trust Abba in a deeper way than we’ve yet had to.
Its been a week of comfort food, dreaming, crying in the car, mourning, laughing and hugs. I’m learning to remember without sorrow but with no less fondness. I still have hope that I’ll be with him again someday. But to continue I know we have to lay each other down, let go completely.
When we broke up, it was very sweet. I expected a short conversation that was sad, abrupt, and painful. Instead we had closure, sweetness, and yes, it was sad, but we were able to say what we needed to say and that was good. We cried, held each other and prayed. We gave each other’s hearts to God out loud and expressed what we wanted the other to live by as they move on. I’m grateful we could lay it down even when it hurts because we trust our Good Good Father.
I learned its okay to not be okay. Not masking hurt allows for it to heal. Trying to be okay for other people holds no benefit, it just requires digging. I’ve learned that God is my refuge. He’s sweet and intimate, He doesn’t poke or prod, he just opens Himself up to you completely and lets you be safe when you’re ready.
I’ve learned there are days where I’ll be fine and it’ll be easier to laugh and be with people and listen. Others won’t be so easy and I’ll need to lean on God, Butterfingers and a good cry. And that’s okay. Being strong all the time isn’t healthy. I’d have no time to process or mourn or discover; all of which are good things.
I realized how much identity I put into being the strong one and being okay so others can process, mourn, and discover. And through that, I never let myself collapse into these emotions I so desperately needed to feel.
Our youth group, a strong group of brothers and sisters, has a bunch of young ones joining and older ones (me) graduating. Its a transition in the family and its good but there’s some ache. We are studying identity, our own, God’s and the connection of the two. Its powerful to go through this again, having learned as much as I have. Yet there’s always more. There’s always new ways of relating to God and finding new, wonderful sides to Him. I am excited to help these young ones go through what I have and watch them glean and grow. I’m excited to learn how to fall back into God daily. To daily say, “I am Yours, You are mine and that’s all I need.”
There’s so much change happening in and around me right now. I’m job hunting, fundraising, learning to take care of myself physically and emotionally, learning about boundaries and healing, teaching, sewing, reaping, sweating, planning a future, creating newness, cleaning, feeling excitement, sorrow, joy, fondness, missing, dreaming, making new friends, valuing new things and old ones like never before.
I’m not always okay. Its hard to go through these things without him. I will not sugarcoat what hurts. But I know I am loved and, because of that, I am capable of these things. I have my God holding my head up, my Creator pulling me up and forward, and I trust Him to do the same with those who have touched me so deeply.

Tell All My Friends by Will Reagan and the United PursuitĀ 

Processing Summer 2017 (in short)

Its been a long time. I have done a lot since I last blogged and I’ve missed it a lot. I’ve known for a long time about the importance of writing/spilling my thoughts as process. I let myself be too busy to process though and I can see the effects it has on me, spiritually and emotionally. There’s a lot I need to process at the moment. I’ve done and been a part of many good things the past few weeks; big things with big impacts but I didn’t let myself rest and glean from it till now.
This is the end and the beginning of seasons. Summer is closing and it truly is bittersweet like never before. The last four months held so much newness and growth. I’ve met people who became family, strengthened relationships and worked hard. I’ve learned about commitment, the way people think, and more of who God is. I am rooted deeper in who I am and what I can give, knowing Who’s I am and what I’ve been given.
There’s also been much hardship and spiritual warfare that I’ve kept all too silent. When I didn’t process these wonderful things, I avoided warfare and thus have not conquered.
So here is my Summer processing. This is probably more for me than for anyone else, but seeing other’s sowing/reaping is encouraging so take what is yours.
Camp Thurman is my favorite place on earth. I’ve truly fallen in love with that place. Every year from now till whenever I’m called somewhere else, I’ll be eagerly anticipating going back to the beautiful 14 acres where fears are conquered, identity is found, and God is discovered around every corner. Its a place where you can’t escape Jesus if you tried. Every day we pour into kids. We teach them, love them, play with them, listen to them, laugh with them and cry with them. Its a summer camp but the impact it has on these kids and staff alike can only be God-driven. I love the people there who love like crazy. I’ve learned a lot about how to love well from them.
GetAway is the only stay-away week we have at CT. I had the honor of working it and its safe to say it changed me quite a bit. I worked with a counselor and our 12 eleven to thirteen year old girls. Each one of them taught me so much. Our bible studies and one-on-ones were heartfelt, sometimes teary eyed, and always ended in hugs and a sense of peace. They taught me how to love when I don’t understand or can’t relate to a circumstance. The counselor I worked with taught me patience and how to have an ear to hear at all times. I learned how much I need to be poured into when I’m pouring out as well as how important processing is. Worshiping with kids who have no hesitation to love their Abba is so refreshing. I decided there that I am committed to this place and to loving kids in this way. I am blessed to be a part of such a beautiful ministry and I will be for years to come.
Multiple times this summer I’ve had the chance to catch up with old friends. Each time brings something new to the relationship as we each grow separately. I love being able to love someone far away and come back with old love and refreshing words. I’ll probably post separately about what I’ve learned from these people. They have blessed me beyond measure.
Through the summer I’ve developed quite a hunger for the word of God. This is relatively new to me. I’ve grown up with God and church. I’ve known the importance of reading and understanding it. But for the first time, I’m genuinely interesting and craving it. Its fun and way more adventurous than I ever could have expected.
This summer has been chock-full of big future decisions. In 6 months I’ll have held a job, finished highschool and started college, began my journey to YWAM, made important choices for the No Fear in Love conference and pursued music and people more than ever. All of this is sometimes overwhelming. But through it all, as long as I give myself time to process, I am excited and in love with life and God.