Precious Words

Have you ever looked out of an airplane window and marveled at how small the people, cars and buildings are down there. In fact, it doesn’t take long to get high enough that you can’t make out the people at all, even though you are still well within the atmosphere of the earth. When I was young, on one of my first flights, I quickly took this revelation of my smallness and expanded on it to think, how small I am from the perspective of space, just outside our atmosphere, and then from the perspective of God who is far beyond the outer reaches of space.

When you get a few minutes, about 8 minutes actually, check out this video, Our God Is Indescribable by Louie Giglio. Louie takes this little revelation and makes it visual for us.

Dame Julian of Norwich was a 14th century saint whom Catholics would call a mystic, but us Charismatics would call prophetic. Simply put, she was a woman who was in constant conversation with God. During one of her many “shewings” the Lord showed her all of Creation…ALL of Creation, contained in something the size of a hazelnut. Here is a quote from her writing entitled, “All Shall Be Well,”

“And in this he showed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand, as it seemed. And it was as round as any ball. I looked upon it with the eye of my understanding, and thought, ‘What may this be?’ And it was answered generally thus, ‘It is all that is made.’ I marveled how it might last, for I thought it might suddenly have fallen to nothing for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it. And so have all things their beginning by the love of God.”

— Julian of Norwich

In the book she goes on to describe how God holds this little hazelnut, ALL of Creation, in His pocket and cares for it, because He loves it.

Over the years since I first read the book that came from her journals, I have marveled at the fact that God loves us. That He has relationship with us, conversation with us, that He knows the full content of our thoughts, emotions, history, future, the number of hairs on each of our heads.

Recently, as I sat in a lovely shaft of light coming in the window of our home, I saw the many little particles of dust that I could only see because the light was shining on them as they drifted by. It occurred to me that God’s relationship to us humans could be likened, quite literally, to me having an intimate, lifelong relationship to each particle of dust in my house.

If I knew the deepest thoughts, longings of heart, questions of the soul, desires, loves, wounds, pleasures, memories, dreams, favorite relationships, every relationship, every word, every thought, every breath and which would be its last, the number of days of its life on earth, every detail of the life of this speck of dust. If I cared deeply about all of that, so much so that I would lay down my own life for that speck of dust to live and be free. If I communicated in every possible way to the speck of dust and told it how I see it through my eyes of love and if I spoke life and a future to it and I did this with every speck of dust in the universe of my house and then did ALL so that each speck could live with me forever in intimate relationship, this would be a little bit like what God has done for us, each of us, the dust He formed and then breathed His life into.

In this light, consider that the God of the Universe, the Maker of all that is, the Lord of Heavens Armies, I AM, speaks to me and to you. That He cares enough to speak life to us, to prophesy our lives and tell us of the good plans He has for us so that we have hope.

Consider that this same God gives us commands, assignments, and requests. I find that first amazing, but then too, somewhat daunting. This BIG God trusts me with the other specks of dust whom He loves and cares for too. This BIG God has called out a destiny for my speck of a life and He desires to see that destiny fulfilled…AND, He gives me a CHOICE about whether or not I obey Him! That might be the most amazing thing of all!

Recently I talked with a friend who was struggling with the bigness of the words that God had spoken to her. It just seemed too much for her to believe she could work that out in her lifetime. Actually, SHE can’t. It is often the case that the word of the Lord to us brings up in our minds (and too often out of our mouths,) the negative self-talk that we see Gideon display in Judges 6. But the truth is if we are not agreeing with God and partnering with Him toward the words He has said are for us, then we are partnering with the enemy instead against our own destiny. In that moment, it is our role to help our friends see themselves through the Father’s eyes and agree with who He says they are. My friend is a mighty warrior like Gideon. Her life doesn’t currently fulfill all of what God sees, so she was struggling, but I’m pretty sure, and now so is she, that He is probably right. 😄 We are practicing together to speak the truth and hold each other accountable to our true identity in Christ.

Most of us at times care deeply for the opinion of some of the other specks of dust in our lives, and yet, we often receive a word from God and either deny it or forget it just as quickly.

Until a few years ago, I had only learned how to give a prophetic word; how to hear from God and translate it into a word of edification, encouragement, or guidance for someone else. However I had not been taught what to do with those same kinds of words when they were given to me. If we assume that they are initiated by the Holy Spirit, then they are God-generated and therefore valuable. Shouldn’t we steward these words and cherish every word to us much-loved specks from the lips of our glorious God?

What would it look like if I truly believed that the destiny and plans that God has spoken forth for my life would come to pass? What would it look like if His words to me are precious? If I know and believe that God is not a man so He doesn’t lie, nor a son of man so He doesn’t change His mind,” (Numbers 23:19) what steps would I take toward the truth of His word? How would my prayer life change? Would I be constantly inquiring of the Lord for the next step, and then the next one? Would I stop worrying about whether or not it seemed right to anyone else in my life. Would I stop worrying, and instead, in times when the dream looks like it is on its last legs, proclaim from my mouth what God has said instead?

In the vastness of God’s plan, His design of all that is, He has a dream in His heart for my life and your life, because He loves us and He loves those He will touch through us. If we’re listening, He shares His dream with me and with you. In that moment of receiving His precious words, His dream for my life, my own words fail me. But when my voice returns, the most important thing I can say is, “Yes Papa, I agree with you. I don’t know how to get there, but I trust you.”

The Wilted Rose

Aimlessly, I wove in and out of the rows of rose bushes in one of the grandest gardens in our country, the Biltmore Gardens. A dear friend, who breathes flowers, trees, and anything green, had tagged along, as I had invited her to join my family on our afternoon excursion knowing how much it would bring her joy. My hopes had been that the roses would still be in full bloom, but they had begun their seasonal dying off process. Instead of vibrant pinks, yellows, reds, and fiery oranges, fading colors with browning edges and wilting petals surrounded us.

My heart sank with sadness and disappointment at the changing of the season, the dying off of the old to make way for something new. I couldn’t see beyond the present decaying process, but my friend on the other hand almost skipped through the garden enjoying the beauty that still lingered and anticipating the new life on the horizon.

My eyes brimmed with tears that rolled hot down my cheeks. “What’s wrong?” my friend sensitively inquired.  “It’s my grandma. I keep thinking of her as I’m walking among these roses. I thought they’d still be in full bloom, but they, like my grandma, are at the end of their life.” I paused and took a deep breath of the lingering fragrance. “I’m also disappointed you didn’t get to see them in their glory.”

I looked away to hide the embarrassment of my flowing tears and red, swollen eyes. My friend swung her arm around my shoulder, comforting me with all the right words about why seasons must change, and how this has to happen for there to be new growth, new life. The seed must fall to the ground and die for new things to spring forth.

Two weeks ago, the seed finally fell. My heart broke, as I threw a single, red rose on my grandma’s coffin awaiting her burial in the freshly dug earth. Even when death was expected, necessary, and even in some sense a relief because she is no longer in pain and with Jesus instead; still it has left a hole in my heart.

I’ve been met with many comments of well meaning friends. Some have offered comfort, and some have added salt in the wound. In our American culture, we simply don’t handle the topic well at all. Most want to ignore the idea of death altogether, as if we will live eternally here. Our spirits do live eternally either in heaven or hell, but our bodies will die, until Jesus makes that right.

Others just want you to move on with it, saying: “What’s done is done.” “She’s in a better place.” “You should be happy for her!” Only a few weep and mourn with you, as Jesus would. Jesus said in the sermon on the mount, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”Jesus didn’t say don’t mourn.In fact, He put value on it, and gives us hope on the other side of it, “you will be comforted.” In Jewish culture, they even had professional mourners who would come to add to the affect.

Even though it was never God’s original intent that anything or anyone die, He uses it to birth beautiful things, and somehow, He values the mourning process, because He calls us blessed when we have to walk through it.

Faithfully, Papa places people in our lives that we need at the right times. My grandmother was one of those special people. From the time she first cuddled me in her arms, I knew she loved me and was safe in her embrace. As I grew up, it was her house I longed to be at for it was a haven from the life of traumatic chaos I had at home.

Obviously she had her own woundedness to work through, as she had been raised in some extremely abusive environments herself. Many times, she told me stories of her and her half sister hiding under their front porch when her drunken stepmother would come home from the local bar. They were afraid of what she might do to them. She also shared heart warming stories of kind nurses who taught her how to make a bed with hospital corners, as she spent two years in hospitals recovering from a broken arm that left her crippled for the rest of her life.

As I’ve contemplated her influence in my life, I’ve realized that most of the things I now love, came from her in some way. My love for prayer, writing, painting, and even my professional choice of teaching came from summers I’d spent with her talking, dreaming, and creating on her back porch on the side of a mountain. If it weren’t for her intercession over my life, and the safe, loving environment she offered me, I know I’d not be here. She was the first on my mother’s side to accept Christ and thus change the course of generations.

Legacy. She left a legacy with her life of faithful love. Few came to her funeral, an unsung hero, but she did not go unnoticed in the courts of heaven.

Once, I asked Papa about eternity, and He told me that trying to understand eternity was like trying to look at the world through a knothole in a wooden fence. We simply can’t understand all the why’s of life, joy, love, sorrow, suffering, eternity. And yet He takes my hand, inviting me to trust Him to make something beautiful of my sometimes-muddled life.  He makes beauty out of this ball of clay.

I wince at the pain of loving, but loving is better than the alternative. Feeling better than numbness. I’ve lived in the numbness for decades, but this time, in this season, I feel. And Jesus sits with me in the waves of emotion that seem to overwhelm me in the moment. This time, I’m not afraid of being sucked under, but I sit with Him in it, like a child with her daddy sitting on the edge of the sandy beach with the waves washing over us.

I look in His eyes of compassion, and I hear Him say, “One day, dear one, you will understand. One day, you will see fully. For now, sit with me here, for blessed are they that mourn, for they will be comforted.” I see a glimmer of delight and joy in His eyes, as He says the words. In it, I don’t understand all His purposes or ways, but here with Him I’ll sit, til it’s time to go play in the waves with Him again.

My mom handed me a plain envelope today with my name scribbled on the outside. My grandma had left me a poem written by her. I leave it with you.

I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk

Learned lessons old and new

And now this wisdom of my life

I’m blessed to leave with you.

Let kindness spread like sunshine

Embrace those who are sad

Respect their dignity; give them joy

And leave them feeling glad.

Forgive those who might hurt you

And though you have your pride

Listen closely to their viewpoint

Try to see the other side.

Walk softly when you’re angry

Try not to take offense

Invoke your sense of humor

Laughter’s power is immense!

Express what you are feeling

Your beliefs you should uphold

Don’t shy away from what is right

Be courageous and be bold

Keep hope right in your pocket

It will guide you day by day

Take it out when it is needed

When it’s near, you’ll find a way

Remember friends and family

Of which you are a precious part

Love deeply and love truly

Give freely from your heart

The world is far from perfect

There’s conflict and there’s strife

But you still can make a difference

By how you live your life.

And so I’m very blessed to know

The wonders you will do

Because you are my granddaughter

And I believe in you.

By Mae Elizabeth Tatum

 

Taking It By Force

Have you ever wondered why Jesus chose fishermen for the majority of his first disciples? Not exactly the most respected, refined, educated group of guys to represent His Kingdom. Then there’s the fragrance! Hmmm?

Today as I was doing some manual labor, the Lord dropped some revelation on me:

Fisherman were tradesman. A fisherman learned his trade by working alongside his Dad or someone who didn’t just tell him about fishing, but showed him how to fish on the job! They were natural hands-on learners.

In our circles, many run to Prophetic conferences and Healing Conferences and Kingdom conferences, and they gain lots of knowledge, but we are not seeing the world turned upside down. I know there are some out there doing the works of Jesus, but compared to the number going to conferences, a meager few.

So, here’s the thing. Jesus had the disciples watch only for so long. Then he sent them out, without him, to DO the works of the Kingdom! This Kingdom lifestyle, it’s hands-on!

No doubt they too were nervous. They weren’t sure they could do what Jesus did so easily. But they stepped up and applied their knowledge and transformed it into experience.

When the 70 were sent out for the first time, they “returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name!” Luke 10:17 NIV. They were surprised! They didn’t know if the stuff would “work.” But they went out and gave it a try.

After He sent them out the first time, they worked right alongside him. Sometimes without great success. Even that was a learning experience. (See Mark 9:17-29) Our modern culture likes to have methods. Winging it is worrisome. But when you realize it is not the least bit about you or your performance, it is entirely liberating!

Doing the work of the Kingdom is not about your expertise or your certificate that says you know how to do it. It is about the Holy Spirit demonstrating through you, an earthen vessel, HIS power and love and you demonstrating your faith that He will be there for you. It is about Holy Spirit demonstrating what the finished work of Jesus Christ bought for us; the fullness of salvation.

Here’s the thing, sisters and brothers. If we are given this amazing authority and commanded to go and do everything we have seen Jesus do and we bury it, who can complain that the hospitals are full, our friends and family are suffering from all the works of the enemy and the world is getting worse and worse. It’s on us.

I propose that instead of going to one more conference, you first put to work what you have already received. If you have a Bible and read it, you have enough to get started.

In the ‘Parable of the Talents’ in Luke 19;:11-27 more is given to the one who does something with what they are already given. The one who buried it lost even the little he started with. Jesus has already given us access to the ‘talents’ we are supposed to steward and make multiply. He has given us His authority to heal, to deliver, to cleanse, to raise the dead.

If you want to heal cancer, start praying for someone who has cancer. The worst thing to happen if they are not healed is that they still have cancer. But if, instead, you bury your ‘talent’ and won’t even start there, out of fear that the Lord will punish your imperfection, you won’t ever have something to give him back. That did not end well for the servant in the Parable of the Talents.

The story of Peter and the boys fishing all night is an excellent example of expertise not affecting the outcome. Peter, a professional, earning fisherman is thought to have been a business owner with many boats. This same Peter had been fishing all night, using all his knowledge and experience and yet had caught nothing. Then Jesus came and told him to throw the net on the right side of the boat.

I’m sure Peter was thinking, “Oh! Why didn’t I think of that!? The right side? Brilliant! Thanks Jesus!” By that point he had probably thrown the net from every possible side with no catch. None of his known methods had worked… until, led by the Spirit (who led Jesus), he was astoundingly successful!

What better way to increase the Kingdom than to demonstrate it to the afflicted. The guy who was possessed by a legion of demons got set free and became an instant evangelist. We are not simply healing people, we are enlisting them!

When the 70 returned joyfully elated that even the demons submitted to them in Jesus’ name, he told them not to be amazed, because the greater miracle was their salvation. The victory of Jesus’ suffering and death is already accomplished for us. We need to put our hands forcefully to catching the abundance netted for us in the resurrection.

The enemy is advancing on your family and mine. It is a time to grab hold of all that the Kingdom of Heaven offers to us and to the world. Stay focused on how you have seen the Kingdom of Heaven demonstrated (if only in the Bible). Grab hold of it with your two hands and take it by force!

 

 

Editing God

In the beginning, God was edited. The serpent initiated deception in Genesis 3:1 by asking Eve, “Has God said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’”. The serpent twisted what God spoke to Adam, with a little truth and a lot of lie. The original instruction from God was in Genesis 2, “Of every tree of the garden you may eat freely, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it, or you will die.” Eve counters the serpent with an addition to what the instruction had been, “You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, or you will die.” We have been editing God ever since.

What do I mean by editing God? Editing God is making God in our own image. It’s manipulating or changing what the God of heaven says and does, to fit what makes us comfortable. We pick and choose pieces of His character or parts of the Bible that make us feel good enough, a nice pat on the back, but stay away from the parts that convict us.

A few years ago, my husband and I sat side by side in a Sunday morning church service, as our pastor began his sermon on the Holy Spirit. As he began describing the Holy Spirit, he asked us to imagine the Holy Spirit as a friend standing next to him. He raised his arm in the air, as if to put his arm around his imaginary friend, as he said, “I’ve given the Holy Spirit a new name. His name is Buddy.” He went on to describe friendship with “Buddy”, but the more he spoke the more nauseated I became. Honestly, I thought I would vomit, and it was as if in my head I could hear the boom echo over the speaker system, “The Holy Spirit has left the building.” Within months, we were forced to find another church. Our probably well-meaning pastor placed the precious Holy Spirit in his parameters of “Buddy”, his friend, and it felt like the real person of the Trinity took a polite bow and left. Holy Spirit is my best friend, but He is not my buddy, my home boy. He’s not in any way on the same level as me. Like the rest of the Godhead, He is far above me, and I highly respect and honor His presence, not wanting ever to grieve Him.

Yesterday, my daughter came home from public high school relaying to me the brilliance of her English teacher. In class, they are discussing the Scarlet Letter, so her teacher decided to put the answers to her well thought out questions in a statistics format on the their laptops, allowing each student to remain anonymous. Painfully, my daughter came to the realization that she was in the minute minority on every question asked. Basically, she was one of the three in a class of thirty with any moral compass at all. The overwhelming majority cast their votes to do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, as long as it felt good to them. Basically, they wanted to be their own God, and saw no direct consequence to that way of thinking. They couldn’t even begin to understand why someone would want to “do what’s right”, because after all there is no right or wrong.

When we edit God, making Him in our own image, we put ourselves in a place where we become our own God. We craft our own sacred poles (idols) bowing down in worship of an image we’ve constructed. Many would say we have no idols today. The truth is anything we depend on to bring us comfort or to take the place of the true God, becomes an idol. We have placed it as a God in our lives or, at least, an edited version of God,

In my own life, my friendships with others has been the place I’ve run to for safety or comfort instead of to God. As He has shifted many of those relationships in the past year, I’ve found myself an emotional mess, wanting to hold onto things I shouldn’t. I love people, and I want to love like He does, deeply, purely. But when I run to them to fill me instead of Papa, I’ve made them into an idol.

One story that the Holy Spirit has reminded me of a lot lately, is the story of Gideon. When God came to him, the first thing he was instructed to do was to take down the altar of Baal and the sacred pole his father had erected to worship false Gods. God spoke to my heart, “If Gideon would have failed to destroy the altar and pole, he would never have fulfilled his destiny; defeating the Midianites.”

God is love. He cares for us and is compassionate beyond anything we can imagine. This is why He’s developed the relationship with me as my Papa. He is my loving father. Out of that love, He is also the great “I Am”, the Highest King, the Potter, my Maker, the Creator of the Universe . He doesn’t ask me for my opinion on how to run things. He puts me in situations often that I don’t like, that make me very uncomfortable. He asks me to trust Him, when nothing makes sense. He demonstrates His power in me when I am completely powerless. He signs me up for classes that I didn’t ask for, and gives me tests that I don’t want to take. He’s the Lord. He’s the boss. I am not.

He does let me partner with Him to do things on the earth that He wants done. I still think that is crazy; that He loves us enough to include us. That’s family. We are His kids, and He wants us to partner with Him to take dominion on the earth. We are Priests in His courts and can come before Him interceding for others, just like Jesus does for us. Even in all of this though, I am coming into agreement with His thoughts, His plans, His intent. He doesn’t consult me, I agree with Him.

He’s not my genie in a bottle, that I just run to when I have a problem, rub the bottle, and poof He answers my request. He does want to be involved in every aspect of my life, so when I misplace my keys for the tenth time today, yes, He wants to help me find them. And often He does, but if that’s where my relationship ends with Him, and I treat Him like a convenience store, I have reduced the Holy of Holies to a lucky rabbit’s foot.

In worship, recently, the Holy Spirit jolted me. I felt like He said, “My children choose masturbation over the real thing.” Well, that honestly kind of shocked me, but I leaned into the voice and asked for understanding. In a marriage, obviously, the most intimate time is sexual intercourse. Many times, lovers chose an imitation to the real thing like masturbation and/or pornography, because it’s something they can control and manipulate, satisfying the flesh without exposing their heart. In the intimacy of the marriage bed, flesh to flesh, heart to heart, we can’t hide. God awakes us to His love. Jealous for our affection, for our naked heart, He will not settle for an imitation instead of the real thing. He is done with His bride running to everyone else for what they should be getting from Him. He is drawing His bride into his intimate love. He’s jealous for us. Nothing can substitute for the real thing.

My friends, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah is coming. I believe He is bringing the passionate, relentless, fire of His love, but He is also restoring the fear of the Lord. You can not have one without the other. You don’t get to pick and choose. He is bringing both. And if we get uncomfortable with that, and we try to edit God, fitting Him into our own little box of expectations, He will leave and go elsewhere. He will not be placed in neat little boxes of our own making. If He leaves, we will be left with an empty, meaningless program. That may look good for a while, but in the end will leave us with nothing but a dead, hollow imitation that won’t fulfill us, but will suck life from us.

Graham Cooke says “I started to understand some things about the nature of God – that He is not like any other human being I have ever met. And the reason for that, He is not human. He is divine. He is altogether different. And so I thought for me what that meant was I should never try to make God in my image. I never try to make Him like all the people who have ever disappointed me or betrayed me.”

Yesterday, I woke up in the middle of the night with the song, “Tightrope” from the Greatest Showman gently playing in my head.

“Some people long for a life that is simple and planned. Tied with a ribbon. Some people won’t sail the sea, cause they’re safer on land to follow what’s written, but I’d follow you to the great unknown. Off to a world we call our own. Hand in my hand, and we promise to never let go. We’re walking a tightrope. High in the sky we can see the whole world down below. We’re walking a tightrope. Never sure, never know how far we could fall. But it’s all an adventure that comes with a breathtaking view. Walking a tight rope with you.”

He loves us. He’s wooing us to take His hand and let Him lead us on this grand adventure, but we must take Him fully, as He is. Unedited.

Trembling Yet Rejoicing

Yesterday a few of us spent a couple hours praying in the Spirit together. It was a beautiful time and and at one point our host felt the need to play the song, “Fly” by Jason Upton. You can find it here on Youtube. In the live recording, Jason is apparently accompanied by the voice of an angel. As I lay on the floor listening and praying, my body trembled at the beauty of the close-yet-far-away sound.

This morning as I was thanking the Lord for what He did with us yesterday, my mind went to a favorite passage in 2 Samuel 5, when David has been freshly anointed King of both Israel and Judah and had made Zion his fortress by crushing the prideful Jebusites. Then the Philistines, Israel’s old foe came against him.

The intel was that they wanted to take him personally, so David fled into hiding. Being a man of action, He asked the Lord, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines?” “Yes,” the Lord says, “I will surely hand them over to you.” So David went and defeated the Philistines. But being slow learners, after awhile the Philistines returned. In one of the many great examples of David’s wisdom and humility, He did not immediately go out to fight them again, but asked the Lord once again.

23 And again David asked the Lord what to do. “Do not attack them straight on,” the Lord replied. “Instead, circle around behind and attack them near the poplar[f] trees. 24 When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, be on the alert! That will be the signal that the Lord is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army.” 2 Samuel 5:23-24 NLT

As I considered my physical reaction to just the voice of one angel singing yesterday, I asked the Lord, “How did they go forward Lord?” Trembling yet rejoicing when they heard the mighty sound of the angel armies in the poplar trees. The great loudness, at once far away and yet reverberating in their very beings.

The fear and trembling of acknowledged power and immensity, and yet the great joy of knowing that your vast power was for them! Trembling legs carried them forward as joy welled up in their bellies giving them your strength.

Tears of joy on the battlefield as they saw their enemies kill one another and flee before them. 

Wonder in their hearts as the victory was theirs as they stood on the battlefield as spectators of the war on their behalf, and yet they were allowed to claim the triumph as their own.

The time is upon us when we will again see the power of God work mightily on our behalf. Father let us have eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to understand. Give us the steely resolve to wait until we hear the heavenly troops marching in the poplars above us on our behalf. Give us eyes to see the forces engaged before us routing the enemy, hearts to receive your love, and legs to run into the triumph you have already won for us.

Bread In the House

 Then he said, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’11-12

 “So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.12-16

 “That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.17-20

 “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’20-21

 “But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.22-24

“All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.’25-27 

 “The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’28-30

 “His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!’”31-32  Luke 15:11-32 The Message (MSG)

I home school two of my children. Last year for our Bible class, I read the book, “Compelled by Love” by Heidi Baker to my girls. While finishing it up, we saw an ad for a conference where she would be speaking, so we loaded up the kids and headed on our family vacation to attend.

One evening while she spoke, she announced that the next great reformation would begin with the prodigals coming home. She kept calling for the church to have fresh bread to give them, that if the churches don’t have fresh bread when the prodigal children come home, they will go hungry and go elsewhere. Her message really resonated with me, for I had just had a friend of mine run away from her family.

There have been times in my own life that I felt like running away. Sometimes, I’ve thought those I love would be better off without me. Honestly, my fear of what the consequences would be is what held me home. Deep down, I’ve also had an abiding desire to please God. I’ve known how that would disappoint Him. Sometimes, after people hear my story they are amazed I’ve not run, rejecting the church, God, and everything Christian. I suppose I had every reason to reject the “religious institution” of “church”. For whatever reason, fear of the pig pen and having to eat pig slop, or really wanting to do what is right, I stayed and have painfully wrestled out my relationships and healing.

As I’ve watched others bolt, there have been times that I’ve even played the part of the older brother, with quick judgment of why they left, and more judgments when they have returned. There have been times in my life that I’ve avoided at all cost the broken, because I was afraid if I got close my own brokenness would be revealed. But the more I’ve pressed into my own mess, and let Jesus come and heal me, my heart somehow more resembles His heart, and I’ve longed for the return of my brothers and sisters. Some have returned, some have begun to wake up and think about coming home, and some are still lost. When they do decide to return, they face what I did as well, if I reveal my brokenness, if I come back home, will I be welcomed, or will I be judged and shoved away?

I was tested in this recently, when across from me sat a woman with large piercings, colored hair, and dark tattoos. I heard the whisper in my ear, “Go sit by her and talk.” I didn’t hesitate, but got up and sat down with a smile. A couple of years ago, I may have obeyed, but would have done it shaking on the inside. She told me her story, and said it was the non-judgmental love of her husband that had brought her to Christ. She struggled to know where she fit in “church”, because so many “churches” wouldn’t accept her. I could tell she still had icky residue left over from her life before Christ. She had been a witch, a pagan and still was dabbling a bit with some questionable things. But all I felt towards her was the compassionate heart of the Father. All I saw in her eyes was a little girl who wanted to be loved.

This leads us to the heart of the Father. I love the heart of the Father. He gives us free will and let’s us walk away, yet every second we are gone, He waits patiently for us to come to our senses and come home. And yes, it cost Him. Not just the loss of our inheritance. It cost the life of His son, Jesus. And yet, He waits, He longs, He expects us any minute. And when we show up at the end of the driveway, He doesn’t just walk out or stand at the door; He, the God of the universe, runs to meet us, throws His arms around us and smothers us with kisses. He reinstates us as sons and daughters, even before we can ask His forgiveness. He throws his robe across our shoulders, and puts His ring on our finger. He celebrates us. What was lost is now found. What was dead is now alive. There is much bread in His house for the ones coming home. In fact, He throws a feast!

I believe that Heidi Baker’s words are true. The next great reformation will begin with the lost children coming home, The question is will God’s children be ready to receive them. Will we have Papa’s heart towards them? Will we be willing to embrace them with the pig pen ick still caked on their legs? Will we celebrate them, and love them back to life? Will there be bread in the house?

Lord, Lord…

Last night my family and I relaxed at home as we waited out the arrival of Hurricane Florence.  We had spent time out on the porch in the cool and breezy evening and then watched a few hours of TV.  I didn’t find anything we watched all that interesting, yet there I sat like a roasted potato on the couch.    At one point I felt the Lord call me to the study to read and even to read with my daughter, but I was feeling lazy.  I walked into the study and picked up my bible and laid it back down telling myself I would bring my girl in in a few minutes to read together.   Then I went back and sat down in front of the TV, bored, but there nonetheless.  Later, as I walked by the study on my way to bed, I saw my Bible there, waiting for me still.  I turned off the light and went to bed.

A few hours later, I woke up and then tossed and turned for a bit.  Unusual for me.  Then I heard some familiar words, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.” Matthew 7:21 NLT  As I began to think on this, a lengthy, mostly one-sided conversation followed.

I was reminded that I call Jesus my friend, my savior, my lover, my brother and many other names.  He fulfills each role more noticeably at times, but I always call Him my Lord, and yet, I don’t always treat him as such.

My “Lord” is the sovereign King of my heart, whose authority I live under.  Though I serve Him and minister to others most every day of my life, is He really Lord if I don’t move every time He calls?

Google Dictionary defines Lord as: Someone or something having power, authority, or influence; a master or ruler.

synonyms: master, ruler, leader, chief, superior, monarch, sovereign, king, emperor, prince, governor, commander, suzerain, liege, liege lord

These definitions and synonyms come down to the same idea: He is greater than me.  His worth is greater than mine.  His will is greater than mine.  He has authority over me. His command must be obeyed.

In our culture today, many of us bristle at the thought that someone can tell me what to do.  Yet Jesus, who IS GOD, willingly submitted His will under the authority of the Father.

If He is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, then to resist his command is treason.  If He is the Sovereign King, then to resist his command could be a death sentence.  Yet…He is merciful, patient, long-suffering and always kind.  Kind enough to wake me and remind me of who He is to me and who I am to Him.

He is my Lord because He purchased me, forgave me and brought me into His Kingdom. (Colossians 1:13)

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,[a]
16 for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
    which is his body.
He is the beginning,
    supreme over all who rise from the dead.[b]
    So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. Colossians 1:15-20

Not picking up my Bible in a given moment may seem like a small thing, but the God of the universe asked me to do it.  Do you think He might have had an important reason for me to do it?  When I cross over to see Him face to face, I don’t want to find out that I missed out on the fullness of my destiny because I sat in front of the ‘Lord of the Living Room’, the TV, instead.

In the prophetic culture I live in, we tend to lean in to words that speak of our destiny, our calling, the will of God in our lives and then wait and pray rather impatiently for their fulfillment; but it is these little moments of obedience or resistance that determine whether I fulfill that destiny to its fullness or not.  That choice is mine.  This wondrous God allows me, his servant, to determine how fully I live out His good intention for me and His good intentions through me.

I am thankful for the kind and gentle reminder of His desire to live in the little moments with me.  I am thankful that He would bother to lead me and draw me in to His heart.  I am also thankful for the reminder that even though He has done everything necessary to save me, make me right in His Father’s sight and to bring me into His Kingdom, He still allows me to choose how much I want to engage with Him in the fulfillment of my destiny.

Lord, Lord make my heart like yours.  Strengthen me and give me the wisdom to trust you EVERY moment with my obedience. Amen

 

Circles of Family

Ding. The elevator slid open to the second floor of the hospital where a waiting room loomed full of family members anxiously awaiting news of their loved one’s wellbeing This was where I found myself sitting this morning, with my step dad on my right side, and my daughter on my left, waiting for my mom to come out of surgery to find out if cancer has returned.

Two weeks ago, my feet were padding across packed, wet sand, as waves lapped up against my ankles. I swung my sandals in my hand, as the wind whipped through my greying hairs. On vacation, my morning ritual has been walking the beach as the sun peaks over the horizon. Conversations with my Lord flow from my heart to His and back again, much like the tide surging in and out with ease, which is why I treasure these moments.

We came on this trip with two other families, all from very different cultural, ethnic backgrounds, a total of fifteen people sharing a small, three bedroom beach house. It was amazing to experience us all pull together, cook meals, love on each other, share some heated discussions, worship, wake up with bed hair and bad breath, and learn a swing dance arm in arm on the beach in the rain.

Turbulent waters, churned by thunderstorms each day of our retreat, caused white crests to appear long out into the sea, bidding me to step a little further into the high waves. One morning the dark clouds encircled my daughter and I with flashes of lightning illuminating the sky, as we ran towards shelter. No matter how dramatically threatening the sky appeared, each day, the sun rose despite the storms. Walking back from my second morning out, “Papa” began to speak to me about family.

My husband and I have always put a high value on the family that God has given us, but more than that we have dreamed of helping other families to grow healthy as well. Oftentimes, we’ve been barely able to pull out of the rip tides that have threatened to pull us under the raging sea. Somehow though, God has walked us through many troubled waters and taught us to keep looking to the horizon above the waves.

Growing up, I never saw myself as a big dreamer. I couldn’t even envision myself getting married, much less having children of my own. It was beyond my comprehension that someone would fall in love with me and want to spend their life with me. Even so, deep inside, my one dream, my one longing, was to one day have a healthy family, a home where we would accept each other for who God has made us to be. More than that, a family that would provide a safe place to grow and mature. The Bible says that God will place the homeless in families.

Though I had grown up in a family and a home, it was not a safe place. My family growing up was shrouded with fear, hidden secrets, evil intentions, and repetitive abuse. We also moved constantly, so as soon as I’d find myself connecting with others at school, church, etc., we’d be moving on, and I’d have to disconnect again. The relationships that should have been safe were toxic, so I had no grid for what healthy family looked like. As I got older, I sought refuge at friends’ homes, so as a teenager I began to experience healthy family life. Some of my greatest struggles as an adult have been to feel connected to my own family, to feel safe in those relationships, to see myself as a safe person, and gain the ability to love and be loved. It’s been ironic to me that the one area I often feel like the biggest failure in is the area God chose to highlight as a place for us to minister.

My most heart breaking moments as an adult have been when promises have been made for family, commitments made of we’ll always be there for one another, and then promises aren’t kept. I’ve watched the enemy come in and tear up family, separating people, with selfishness, or fear of being vulnerable, or other times just the need to be right. The list of “whys” is long. Just thinking of the many friendships I’ve lost through the years makes my chest hurt. It just hurts. Separation hurts. Divorce hurts. Sometimes it has to happen for people to be safe from abuse, and sometimes God must reposition us in friendships for greater reasons, but it was never God’s intention for the family to break up. It takes courage, forgiveness, and intimacy to walk-out well the whole meaning of being family.

There are times when conflict does arise. In my personal family, with two teenagers and one preteen, all of which are girls, that could be every hour, depending on the amount of hormones coursing through their bodies on any given day. I have found it’s super easy to to judge the intentions of each others’ heart, and then to hold onto that offense, but that only leads to division and heartache. In a healthy family context, communication and vulnerability are huge keys. We as the parents could force obedience with the “obey me or else” model. Honestly, when they were younger, there were times they needed to learn that they must obey quickly and without question, because that could mean their safety.

As our children have grown older though, the need for communication and vulnerability has become imperative. In order to thrive in a family model, we need to have freedom to share our hearts and not feel we will be judged or manipulated into something. On the other end, offering understanding and a true listening ear to hear the heart behind the action, goes a long way. Being quick to listen and slow to speak also prevents us from making quick judgements, and gives us the ability to foster relationship. A model that demands respect and obedience, without respect and love being offered from the one in charge, just ends up being a dictatorship. In fact, in my opinion, if parents or leadership must demand it, then something is already broken in the family. 

Ephesians 4 and 5 gives the recipe for healthy family relationships, and clearly talks about submitting to each other. It’s mutual submission, out of love for one another that brings unity. Family doesn’t thrive in a dictatorship; it thrives in love. Hearts respond to love, not judgement, not to being pushed away for poor performance. Love doesn’t hide offenses, but it forgives, and then doesn’t hold it against us. If we have no room for mistakes, then we have no room to grow.

As I talked with my maker on the edge of the ocean, leaving footprints behind that would soon be washed out to sea, I looked back to see if Jesus left footprints beside mine. His presence felt that real. As his words rang in my heart, my eyes filled with tears. This is what I perceived Him saying to my heart that day.

He whispered in my mind. “The structure for my children to live by is family. I began with family in the garden with Adam and Eve, and it will end with family. That’s what I have wanted all long. The Israelites wanted distance, a go-between, a king, because they didn’t trust Me. They lacked the intimate relationship with Me.”

He continued, “Intimacy demands accountability. You cannot have one without the other. Family looks messy. It is intimacy, accountability, acceptance, love, fluidity, a circle structure, interlocking family units together as one, humility, a place to grow, mature, spread wings and fly, safe, community, reproduction, fruitfulness, and belonging. It’s what all long for, but most have only experienced family in and through brokenness. Every system was supposed to have been centered around the family unit, family structure. When you remove this structure, you have dictatorship, hierarchy, control, manipulation, exclusivism, entitlement, and a welfare mentality. Kingdom is family. Family is kingdom. All play. All are valuable. Every voice is important in a family. Father and mother lead and guide the family, but they are not more valuable than the children. This is reproducible, teachable, circle centered, woven together family, known by love.”

As He finished, I saw a picture of circles intwined creating cellular structures, membranes, and then a body. Each of them interlocked with one another, building a healthy structure, life flowing together in life like fluid between the cells. I believe this is what His body, His bride, His church should be, family. In this structure, we will be known by our love for one another.

In a family structure we will be able to provide a safe place for each other to be who God created for us to be. We will build one another up into the body He intended for us to become. In the end, this what I believe we are all looking for, a family, a place to call home, and Jesus is the center from whom that life flows from, drawing His children home.

Brokenness has marked my relationship with my mom. I came today to offer her some comfort, some presence that I’ve not been able to offer for a long time, because of my own process through pain. With the comfort He has comforted me, I can now offer that to her. I don’t have answers, but I was there to just “be” for her, to be present. Now I can reach out to her and maybe begin a healing process between us as well. I don’t know, but maybe part of being family is just showing up, just offering a smile, or a tear, or a hug and a prayer. It’s saying I’m with you no matter what, because we belong together in family. This is what I believe God created us to be.

Net-Work

I see my friends; Mama-bears all. So strong, so willing to hold, willing to hear, willing to speak truth, willing to nourish, willing to heal.

Still each one has days when she needs a Mama-bear too. Each one has moments of weakness, each one sometimes listens to lies, sometimes feels alone. Then, at the moment of need another woman of strength; full of compassion, full of life comes alongside to hold up her arms in the battle.

We are at our best when a few of us come together to hold up each other’s arms for the duration of the battle. We gather to confront the enemy TOGETHER. Two hold up the arms of another, and the arms of those two are held up by two more, and on and on until we form a network of strength.

Yes, this is the picture of love and strength we are meant to represent to the world. A network of ‘family’ holding one another up in the battle. We do not fight alone. We do not struggle when we lean on each other.

This “Net-work” of strength for one another is also our best “net” to haul in the men and women we are called to love. We are called to be a demonstration of life as Kingdom Family. We are called to be the light that attracts them up from their dark places. We draw them from the murky depths to the light.

Holding up one another’s arms in the storm, we form the strong and flexible net to draw in the catch from the chaotic and lonely sea. Then in a twist not found in analogy, those who have been caught are made family and woven in making the net larger and more flexible still by their loving presence with us.

Freely you have received. Freely give.

The Lies We Believe

The lies we believe and the truth that sets us free!

For years now, I have struggled with my weight, I have also struggled with clutter. During much of that time I have appeared to have my life altogether. I had an amazing career in TV news for 29 years. I was the first in my family to go to college. I am the daughter of immigrants who gave up everything, even their identity as citizens of another country to become citizens of a country where they were not necessarily wanted or appreciated. To many I seemed to have it altogether living the American Dream.

But I was tormented by lies; lies that stole my identity, that robbed me of who I really am. Those tormenting lies kept me defeated and overwhelmed. I felt overwhelmed by my weight, overwhelmed by my clutter. The weight on my body, people could see, but the clutter in my home most did not see. I would only allow them to see areas I worked diligently to keep organized, clean and clutter-free. I wanted to have the appearance of having it all together but deep inside the hidden places, there was torment that was keeping me imprisoned. I was imprisoned in a body, and imprisoned in a home that is beautifully constructed, a truly beautiful home. But in the hidden areas my home was not beautiful because it was full of clutter and junk everywhere, sometimes hindering the use of a room, or its purpose. We have a 3 car garage but have never used it as such because it is literally full of boxes and stuff that we have not used in the 6 years we have been here. I hate going in there because I hate how I feel going in there.

For years, I have read many books on clutter and organizing. I have also done a lot of praying for change, for revelation, for the why of this continued disaster, helplessness I feel to do anything about it. I’ve been through lots of counseling, lots of ministry, lots of deliverance. I’ve even identified ungodly beliefs that I was believing about myself and replaced them with God’s beliefs about me, but they were not MY truths, I didn’t OWN them. The lies were entrenched and hidden even deeper than I knew. But this season of my life is coming to a close as God has brought true revelation to what is going on in the hidden places.

I listen to and follow many Christian speakers. I’ve also gone to many conferences to learn new things. Recently, I was watching a Facebook Live post done by Jennifer Eivaz. She was praying for people for supernatural weight loss. I went through the prayer and didn’t think much of it. Then the next day she made another post sharing testimonies of people who had dropped weight overnight and one thing she said really stood out to me. She said she found that many, many women said they had gained weight to protect themselves from the stares of men. When I read that, it made me realize, oh my that is me, and quickly my mind went back to the many times men would look at me and I felt like they just wanted to devour me with their lust. I remembered how as a little girl I was molested by my cousin, and I had no choice in the matter, I had no voice, I was helpless. No one came to my rescue, no one knew what was happening to me. I learned to hate my female body that God had made, because to have that body was to be taken advantage of, to be hurt, to satisfy someone else’s passions, and there was nothing I could do.

I remember as a teenager, being at a family funeral with lots of people I didn’t even know, and this man was looking at me with such lust I wanted to crawl under a chair. His wife saw what was happening and looked at me angrily, like it was my fault that he was looking at me like that. I felt dirty, I hated my body and I hated my breasts, because that’s what he was staring at, and it’s not like I was dressed provocatively. It was such a horrible feeling.

As a young teenager, I helped my dad at his restaurant. Unfortunately, that coffee shop was just a block away from a science and engineering school where most of the students were young men. It seemed like my Dad’s coffee shop was the place for them to hang out. I hated being there, I felt like a slave with no voice, a slave with no choice, and it was there I learned to numb my pain with food.

Time to come back to the present, Jennifer Eivaz said she was going to pray again this time on Periscope for supernatural weight loss focusing on the pain and hurt for the women who had gained weight as a means of protection. I never listened to the Periscope because I knew I would probably cry my eyes out and I was afraid to feel that pain.

That same day I watched a webinar on clutter, put on by a Christian group. The woman on the webinar asked the question: “Are you believing a lie?” She said, “When you believe a lie you empower the enemy!” Then she said, “The only pre-requisite to getting rid of the clutter is the willingness to change. Are you willing to change?” Wow! I don’t know why these words hit me deep into my core. I knew the lie I had believed about clutter and that overwhelmed feeling was “It will never change, so why bother!”

I stopped the webinar, because it was just so overwhelming for me – I realized that lie I believed had me imprisoned.

Well, this past Friday, I had decided to go to a prayer meeting where they were going to talk about the healing of emotional pain. This woman, who is about my age, got up and shared her testimony. She shared how she had been molested repeatedly by five different men when she was a little girl. She shared how she had become a tough woman, who pretty much depended on herself, because God was not answering her prayers. She shared how her life changed when she got pregnant and realized she wanted to protect her baby. She turned to God, she was born-again and spirit filled, and sought God with everything she had.

She said she asked the Lord to show her how to heal the pain she had. As part of her healing the Lord had her in prayer place each of her abusers in a chair and tell them what she felt. She shared all that she felt, and how she hated them because they took away her voice, and there was nothing she could do to protect herself. Suddenly I realized wow! That’s exactly how I felt. I have no voice! 

The Lord let her know she has a voice, and he was restoring it, she chose to forgive those child abusers, and God restored her voice! Now she is helping others with their pain, to get healing.

After her testimony people were asked to go up for prayer. I sat and prayed that Father would let me speak to her and thank her for sharing her testimony. I wanted to let her know how much her testimony meant to me and how I had found out through her testimony the lie that I had believed all my life, “I have no voice! Things are done to me but I am not allowed to say no.”

When I was done praying I saw that she had just finished praying with someone, so I went up for prayer. I shared with her what had happened to me. She prayed for me, and then she asked if she could just hug me. I said sure, and she told me Father loved me and cared about me and wanted me to release all my pain. Inside I felt like there was a dam holding back so much pain that if I let it forth I would not stop crying. And then suddenly she just started crying, and crying and crying, truly she was wailing in pain, I knew she was feeling my pain for me. I’ve had that happen when I’ve prayed for people, but I’ve never had someone feel my pain and cry like that for me. Eventually I was able to cry and let out some deep pain, but I felt like Father was taking what I could not handle and letting this woman cry in my place. I felt so loved by God.

I felt so very thankful that I finally discovered the real lie I had been believing since childhood! I believed I had no voice! But God! He is restoring my voice. It was such a powerful experience I pretty much went to bed as soon as I got home.

The next morning, I got some text messages from a couple of friends who wanted me to go to hear this guy Jonathan Welton. The name sounded familiar and I realized wow, I think that’s the guy I saw interviewed by Patricia King & who has a bible college. Recently, I’ve been feeling like I want to go to bible school, but I didn’t know which one, and I remembered the guy I had seen interviewed by Patricia King and had asked the Lord to help me find him again. Voila, Father had two friends let me know I needed to hear this guy! They didn’t know I had asked God to help me find information on his bible school! And now here he was in town, and I could go see him speak in person! Wow! I had no idea what he was going to speak about but I wanted to go, and felt like this was one of those God adventures!

I have to say, the worship was so powerful, I felt God’s very presence in the room with us. Dr. Welton had us do an exercise on the three greatest lies that were holding us back. As my first most powerful lie I wrote “Nothing is going to change, so why bother.” I wrote that because for the longest time, this is what has come up for why I don’t lose weight, and why I have so much clutter in my home. It pretty much was my excuse for everything I thought was too hard! Dr. Welton wanted us to counter the lie with a truth. I was thinking, o-k I’ve done this many times, in healing and deliverance sessions, and usually I come up with a scriptural truth of what God says about me, but this time it was different. Dr. Welton said, “You need to own it.” He even had people share their lie and their truth, and then helped them own it. As I saw and heard him transform their original truth into a truth each person could truly own, and feel empowered by; a light bulb went off in my head. It’s like God was shining light on my lie which was partially true, but the true lie was “I don’t have a choice! I don’t have a voice!” That was the basis for all the lies that have followed. That little girl didn’t have a choice, that little girl didn’t have a voice! That little girl for decades now still believed that nothing was going to change because I had no choice! 

The revelation was so, so amazing to me! I also felt like this was the biggest God set-up ever! The biggest answer to prayer EVER! But it took time, and each of these different people played a part over several days in me getting this life-giving truth finally revealed to me! It’s like he wove a tapestry together using different people who had no idea what was going on. That’s my God! That’s my Dad! He loves me so much! He knows what I need – he hears and answers prayer!

Then this morning I woke up from a dream which, by the way, I’ve been dreaming regularly, nearly every night since I first heard Jennifer Eivaz pray on her Facebook Live post. In the dream I was walking through what seemed to be a massive resort with not a lot of people, but lots of paths. There were pools of water for swimming, There were spa-like places for relaxing and being pampered, but what stood out were the many walking paths without signs or directions, just paths. Anyway, I was walking along a path, and realized I had been living and sleeping in a room there at the resort that I really didn’t like and I decided I didn’t want to be in that room any more. I decided I’m getting out and going somewhere else. So I did, and suddenly I was walking on a path and it was beautifully landscaped with lots of flowers and I was excited to see where I was going.

 The next thing I know I’m working in a room with cubicles. I was working on a computer and there were other people I knew. One person in particular stood out. For some reason, she was leaving, and I was going to work on her computer. So I was working away, don’t know for how long, but her husband comes by and says wow, what are you still doing here, why are you working away? And then his wife comes by and is astonished I’m still there. I said, I wanted to get the work done, and I’m leaving now.

So, I’m going out of the building and I run into some people that I either worked with or knew from my past. They smiled and waved goodbye as I walked along the path, and then I realized I need to go the bathroom. Just before I get to the door of the bathroom, my pants suddenly fall off, because they are too big on me. I was suddenly slim and healthy! I quickly grabbed my giant pants, looked around quick to see if anyone had seen what had happened and ran into the bathroom. While I was in a stall some of the ladies I had run into earlier came in and said – are you ok? We saw your pants literally fall off your body in an instant! Then I woke up!

I am so thankful for this great work God is doing in me! Nothing could be better than the love and truth He is showing me about my life, my hurts, my pain and how the enemy lied to me. I now see how I gave away my power to the enemy by believing that lie. I was blind but now I see and can truly say and believe I DO HAVE A CHOICE, AND I DO HAVE A VOICE! THANK YOU JESUS!