The God I Know

This morning while I was running, I was worshiping to “Good Good Father” and “Reckless Love”.  Both were being played during a previously recorded church worship service and had a lot of strings playing.  As I heard the strings playing, I felt stirred and I saw myself ice skating.  I was skating all around the rink and leaping beautifully and dancing on the ice for my King.  It was a beautiful and innocent moment.

Then I heard God saying to me, “You can dance before me like that because you know that I dance over you like that every day.”

It’s true.  I see God dancing over me all the time.  Throughout any given day, a smile that starts from inside my heart, will spread across my face because suddenly I will become aware that my Father is smiling over me!

Every time I see God’s face, He’s smiling or laughing.  His delight over my very existence is so intimate and loving and affirming, and I try to take time each time I see that and let it soak into my soul.

I wonder this morning, how do you see God?  Have you discovered the joy of the Father?  Have you seen Him delighting over you too?  Do you know that He approves of you simply because you are alive?  There is no striving in His love, and it does indeed cast out all fear.

Once my life was covered in the blood of Jesus, I moved forward into the depth of His Presence to begin to really have relationship with the Father, Son, and Spirit.  It has undoubtedly been the best decision I’ve ever made.

Life ends at the cross, only to begin again.  The old is laid there, but we are to then move forward, having been reborn, into discovering how deep and how wide the love of God is for us.

I challenge you today, to find a quiet moment and simply ask God to show you how much He delights over you!…….and then, believe it!!!!!  It’s truth. It’s Who He is…..God is love.

The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.              Zeph. 3:17

The weaker sex

Recently, while having a conversation with a close friend, I felt Holy Spirit fall all over me and I had some thoughts about marriage, and some of the differences between men and women.

We often hear people referencing the Bible when speaking about women being the weaker sex, as if it’s a negative thing.  Then I thought about how a woman’s tears seem to draw men to come and protect them.  Often men have a hard time with the emotion of women, but I propose that it is because they long to come to our aid and protect us and fix whatever “ails us”……then I thought of how the Bible tells men/husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church…..Christ had to come to the earth and die on the cross because of mans weakness…..So maybe the very reflection of this weakness is found in the husband/wife scenario.

Often I have felt the weight of being accused in my “weakness”….Making me feel less than because I feel deeply and cry and am all things womanly.  But really, tears are such a strength.  Releasing the tears I have stored up gives me room to process and love and to feel…That IS strength….Strength in weakness.

We ALL had such weakness that Jesus had to come save us from ourselves, but as the Bible says, “In my weakness He is strong!”   So, is it possible that the thing that many use to accuse and invalidate women, is the very thing that God uses in us to make us so strong?  If women are the weaker sex, isn’t God even stronger in us?

In my weakness, I lean into the Father for His strength and protection and He becomes so strong in and around and through me!  What a beautiful exchange!!

But let’s take this a step further, what if the very weakness that women have is what was meant to draw out the very strength and spirit of manhood?  What if it is the male/female interaction that draws out the strength in us all?  What if it wasn’t spoken in scripture as a negative or an accusation, but rather an insight into what makes the male/female dynamic so beautiful…and to help us further understand our relationship with Jesus.

I am NOT a feminist.  I am a daughter of the King and ALL of my value comes from Him alone.  I believe that true power and empowerment comes not from women dominating men, or men dominating women, but from us working together and complimenting each other.  My husband’s strengths cover my weaknesses and my strengths cover his, quite often.

I often wonder how long it will take for us to all decide to let each other be strong where we are strong, and then let those around us with different strengths come in and compliment us as we compliment them.

A true leader, whether male or female, knows that they don’t have to force anything.  A true leader is borne first in a person’s heart.  If a person is truly confident then they can let others shine and lead and excel.  It’s in our insecurities that we are threatened by another person’s leadership or strength.

As I watch different people groups in America fighting and protesting and basically throwing adult temper tantrums, I am burdened with all of these thoughts.  As I have been a part of church family dynamics for so long now, I am burdened with these thoughts….If the church is to truly take its right place, then we need both men and women to be leaders and voices.  What are we so afraid of?

What is parenting?

I have been doing a lot of thinking about parenting lately.  As my kids get older and older….so do I and my perspective on life keeps changing, hopefully maturing.  As I become more secure about who I am, I find myself looking at my children with a renewed perspective.  When I was a new parent, because of my own insecurities, so much of my parenting was based on how others perceived me and my kiddos.  Now that I’ve grown in confidence, I am seeing that parenting is NOT ABOUT ME and it’s not about others.  It’s about helping to grow and cultivate another human being.  Now that my oldest is a teen, and I will soon have another reaching that milestone, I am seeing that their choices are their own, more and more.  When they were babies and toddlers I ran the show.  They did what I said, when I said and faced discipline when they didn’t.  Now that I’m looking into the eyes of a teen, I am seeing that while we still have rules and consequences, sooooo many of a teens choices are made more independently.  Often times I can hear God telling me to let go, and after giving direction just wait and watch and be there to encourage or enforce a consequence, but teens get much more freedom to make choices.

This is hard for me.

I really want to protect my kids, even from themselves.  The idea of letting go and letting them walk out their way toward God with ever decreasing direction from me is, honestly, a little scary.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I will always have an influence in their lives, it’s just that as they grow they become more and more responsible for their own actions and are more accountable to God.

At the same time, I am seeing that I now have to make more room for God to work directly to bless my kids.  If I hover too much then I can actually get in the way and make it harder for my kids to see God’s hand over them.  If I never let them want for anything, then how will they appreciate all they DO have?  If I step in and fix every conflict or problem, how will they grow character and learn to fully rely on the Father?  If I never allow them to make mistakes and have to clean it up on their own, how will they learn to listen to that still small voice of Holy Spirit?

I intentionally allow my kids to have this room because I want them to grow to be fully established and confident in their Sovereign God and His love and affection for them.

I see a vision of a garden and where a seed was planted….If I keep leaning over that seed then it will never grow as it should because I will block out the Sonlight.

We can’t helicopter around our kids or they will never fully grow.  I want my kids to become fully grown and fully functioning adults who aren’t afraid to spread their wings and leave the nest one day.  I want them to see me as a mom who believes in them, and trusts God enough to let Him have His way in their lives.  I trust God enough to let Him do even the hard work inside of them.

I long for my kids to see me as a mom who returns to the Well everyday to take a draw from the depths, and pull up a bucket of fresh grace and joy for the day ahead.  I want them to see me walk out what it means to trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. To see me acknowledge Him in all my ways while He makes my path straight.

In other words, my parenting should be pointed toward raising kids that become capable to make their own wise choices and need me less and less in that way.  Then we can grow into believers who walk together and enjoy the bounty of God in one another’s presence.  I want for us to grow into friends.

One day I hope to boldly and confidently shoot my little arrows out into the world knowing that they are solid enough to land firmly, and begin to flourish in the next season of their lives.

The ground shaping into revival

The weather is changing.  The seasons are shifting.  God is on the move.

He is calling His people to warm back up!  To stop being lukewarm….but to press into Holy Spirit and become white hot!  He is the Light of the world and we are the lanterns, made to hold the fullness of His Light to shine into the world around us.

We should not be overly concerned about the state of the darkness, but rather focused on the invasion of the Light of the world!  No longer should we cower in the shadows, balancing the lust of the flesh with our walk with the One Who created all things.  No longer should we water down the gospel, the story of redemption that led a sinless Savior to the cross to willingly die for us.  How could we water that down?  How could we seek to validate one persons sin by invalidating the sinless One?

We are in the “perfect storm” right now.  Our world is filled with a great tension.  I keep seeing deep inside a volcano and feeling that tension, and God showed me that the heat would cause that volcano to erupt!  He is creating the perfect conditions for an explosion of His Spirit into the earth…and He is inviting us to be part of the white hot fire that will lend to the magnitude of this eruption.

I want to burn like a scalding hot fire full of the Holy Spirit!  Abandoning my fear of man, and embracing the purity of Him.  Listening and doing exactly as He guides me.

He is moving alright.  His Spirit is always moving.  He is calling out to us to assemble….laying face down and praising Him.  Serving Him simply because of Who He is, not what He’s done.  to be laid down lovers of Him.  Surrendered.

Worship is our greatest warfare.  Endless worship.  That’s where I will be found.  Worshiping.

Who will join me?

A Message of Healing, A Message of Hope

Today, as a treat to myself, I rented a movie to watch during the day while the kids were at school.  Ever since yesterday I kept seeing in my mind the cover of the movie “The Shack”.  I love the book and the movie equally….but I know it’s a commitment to watch something that I know will provoke a myriad of strong emotions.  Still, I went to redbox and checked it out.  The movie had barely begun when I began to have my own encounter with God…..

I am reminded that God is always eager to heal us.  We only need to be willing.

For healing to come, we often must tear off the band-aid of “I’m fine” or “I’ve already dealt with that” or “I’ve already forgiven”……or whatever your default of stiff arming the Lord’s tender arm of healing away happens to be.

In a flash I saw several moments of severe wounding that have occurred in my life, and God reminded me that the only way that I was able to receive His healing there was because I made myself willing and vulnerable to revisit each instance and let Him navigate me through it.

We often must return to the “scene of the crime”.  If we cannot physically return, then rest easy….God can return you there in your heart.  The origin moment of the pain. Look it straight in the eyes.  Invite God into that place.  Ask Him to speak/show you the truth.

His Truth. The ultimate Truth.

In my childhood I had a moment where sin was committed against me and it was so hard for me to process that I blocked it out.  But the Father, in His loving kindness, knew it was hindering me from growing and living life to the full…..so He revealed it to me when the time was right.  And He also walked me through forgiveness and healing.

He never reveals a wounding to us without the intent of bringing full closure and restoration to it.  The only problem is that some of us choose to stay in the wounded place instead of moving into what’s on the other side of the pain.

I KNOW what’s on the other side……Jesus.  Friend, I promise, it’s worth it to move forward in Him.

Another moment of wounding happened within a church body I used to be a part of.  After a meeting with the pastor, he (for reasons I still don’t understand) began lying about our conversation and as a result I lost, not only my church home, but a whole group of friends who chose to believe him without even coming to me and asking for my side.  I swore I would never return to that place.  My heart grew cold to it.  Then my husband asked me to return to it during one of our visits home.  He was also hurt there, but he loved my parents so much that he wanted us to go to church with them anyway.  We went, and while sitting in my seat there I had a vision.  I saw a chalk outline on the concrete.  Just like what you see when the police come across a murder on T.V., and God spoke to me that I was returning to the scene of the crime.  I knew it was significant, but I still felt no closure.  It wasn’t until the next time we visited, at least a year later, that I saw the circle become complete.  As I stood worshiping there, I began to sing out in my fullest voice, focused solely on my Great God.  All of the sudden I saw myself and what looked like a backpack on my back.  Then in an instance I saw a giant set of wings come breaking out of the backpack.  I could literally feel the wings flapping back and forth on my back.  I had been set free!  I have soared in that freedom ever since…..I even had the opportunity to sing with their worship team once……an even greater full circle moment.

God is so very good.

And yet another healing moment occurred when God healed my father wounds.  I have written about that in the past……But it was another time when I had to return and look straight at my pain in order to receive His full healing.  This moment not only brought a great reconciliation to my relationship with my earthly father, but also paved the way for me to truly encounter Father God.

I ask you today, do you have a pain that you are hiding from?  Are you angry and don’t know why?  Are you depressed and unable to move forward in life?

These are just a couple of the signs that you too, need heart healing.  An encounter with God the Father to bring healing and restoration to your soul and mind.

Will you take a moment and press into the Father’s heart and ask, “Father, where do you want to heal me today?”  And then, simply listen or see as He will show you exactly where He wants to bring fullness to your life again!

Breathe in His healing and you will be better equipped to breathe out His love to those around you!  Our world needs what you have to give.  Our world needs the love that God wants to place inside of your heart.

Why prophesy? (part 1)

(I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy.  The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.  I Corinthians 14:5)

Lately, a memory keeps circling my mind.  It was many years ago, and I was attending a mom’s book study group.  We were having an open discussion about whatever the topic of the day was, and one mom was speaking about dealing with her kids and some of their “bad” behaviors.  I commented that when my kids would act in a way that was negative, I would say, “This is not who you are.  You are …..(kind, gentle, faithful,….. or whatever God had told me about them during prayer times).  The mom quickly and sharply scolded me saying, “I do NOT lie to my children.”

Like an arrow to my heart, this bold faced assault struck my spirit.  Instead of reacting, I began to speak to God about it and let the conversation in the room move forward.  I began to feel a deep sadness for that mom.  The burden of living under the heaviness and oppression of that kind of religious spirit must be totally overwhelming for her.  It showed me that she had no real value for hearing from God what His heart was for her children, so I became grieved for them too.  We ALL need affirmation and encouragement, and when our own mother cannot see the truth behind our hearts, that’s truly a sad thought.  I also saw that she must live under a great amount of condemnation about herself.  And that made me sad.  Oh the freedom that I have found since allowing God to speak His loving kindness to me.

I don’t know why this scenario keeps circling me, but I am convinced it must be because at least one other mom out there needs freedom from the thoughts and actions of self condemnation and self righteous judgment of others.

That flip comment she made could have made me think that I must be a liar, or it could have caused me to seal up my lips and not speak out the truths that God shares with me in private.  But instead it made me more certain that there is a deep deep need for His truth.  I need Him.  I need Him to frequently remind me of who I am and how He sees me.

I pray that today, you take a moment in quiet to allow Him to speak to your heart about who you are to Him.  About how His heart sees you.  And then in another moment, ask Him how He sees your husband, and believe it….even if he doesn’t look like that right now.  Then press further and ask Him how He sees your children.  Write it down and pray over it.  Return to all these words repeatedly and let them soak into your heart and mind.  I promise in time you will begin to see yourself and your outlook transformed by His Truth.

(Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.  His good, pleasing, and perfect will. Romans 12:2)

The Narrow Road

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.  Matthew 7:13-14

I have been thinking about this verse a lot lately.  I was watching the way different types of believers interact with each other and wondering why some feel they must force everyone around them to believe exactly as they do and follow in submission to any whim of their thinking.  It’s actually shocking and very disturbing behavior. It’s not unique, however, it’s something I have encountered during my entire walk with God.

One day while considering this behavior I had a vision.  I saw those types of believers criticizing others who follow Holy Spirit and then I saw the far left liberals criticizing the same group and from both sides I felt pressed…..All of the sudden God said, “This is one thing that makes the road narrow”

Those who don’t believe in God have never really changed.  They are doing the same things and using the same tactics.  They are loud and forceful and brazen.  The controlling pharisee believers are also still the same.  The same behavior that led the pharisees to crucify Jesus, is the same behavior they use today to try to end moves of the Holy Spirit.  They are loud and forceful and controlling.  That is NOT Holy Spirit.

Holy Spirit, in my experience has been very gentle, and has always given me free will. Holy Spirit has always led me with peace, and when I surrender to Holy Spirit, I die to my need to be right.  I instead walk in the shadow of His wings and let Him validate what I do.

I follow a God Who wants to have a one on one, personal relationship with me.  He wants me to learn to listen to His voice.  I endeavor to only speak out only when He prompts me to do so.  To use self control and not interfere when He is working in someone else’s life.

I often see this when I am dealing with my children.  One way I am currently growing is in allowing my kids to have more freedom to make mistakes and more opportunities to learn how to listen to His voice.  They need to know Him.  This world is so noisy, and I must equip my children with the wisdom to stop and listen to God and learn how to discern a truth from a lie.  I see this as a large part of my role as a parent.  I also see that I cannot step into every disappointment or hard time that my kids experience. In fact, God has told me in several circumstances to not interfere when they are wronged by someone.  He did allow me to encourage them privately, and then pray with them, but He wanted them to learn how to deal with negativity on their own.  It is a hard thing to do, but I have seen the fruit of Him using each instance to speak His truth to their heart!  How humbling it was to see that He was trying to use a bad situation in their lives in order to bring them closer to Him. (And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28)

Imagine if I had not listened and instead done what comes easy…..step in and “make it right”….It wouldn’t have been right at all!  These are lessons that I will NEVER forget.

God has repeatedly reminded me that I am to be NO ONES Holy Spirit….HE alone is Holy Spirit.

It is so important to frequently assess our own hearts and our true motives.  That can only be done in the quiet place.  I return to that place frequently.  I hope you do too.