Love these videos being progressively released (one each Tuesday) from the Helsers! See more at cagelessbirds.com. As we are waiting for Emory to be born, I think of him singing this song to the Lord.
Fast forward to the end of February this year…
I went to a women’s retreat in Colorado with 2 friends, Lisa and Breanna. At this retreat, the Lord shifted big things inside all of us! The Lord spoke many meaningful things to me during this time through pictures, dreams, words from Him through His Spirit, His Word, and His people.
The day after the retreat, I was asking the Lord to condense everything that He showed me in that time and He did! He released the reality of these promises in my life:
1. I am CLEAN– He showed me that He had washed me and I was COMPLETELY clean in Him! “Who can possibly ascend the mountain of the Eternal? Who can stand before Him in sacred spaces? Only those whose hands have been washed and hearts made pure, men and women not given to lies or deception.” Psalm 24:3-4
2. I am COVERED- He showed me that there is more than enough room for me to dwell inside of His Shepherd’s cloak, and that I never have to leave that place. I am COMPLETELY welcomed, protected, wanted, and covered by Him. When I think of this promise I picture being small compared to Jesus and running with Him in open fields under the covering of His Shepherd’s garment. We are running together with bare feet, I can feel the wind and warmth of His robe moving all around me. And we are laughing, too.
3. I have SOMETHING TO OFFER- He showed me that I am called to be a LIFE BRINGER. Wherever I go, I get to release His life through me. What I have to offer, because it is from Him and is His, is COMPLETELY good.
These promises are simple (but profound) realities, and are things I knew before. There are infinite layers of KNOWING, and He gave grace for these truths and promises to hit deeper places in my heart. He spoke precious things to my heart during this retreat, and my heart felt like it was reborn in many ways. When I got back to Iowa, my sweet husband said with a smile, “You look DIFFERENT!” I replied (with a smile), “I FEEL different!”
Since coming back from the retreat, our living room has heard a lot more music, felt a lot more dance parties, and seen a lot more of me early in the morning. More EXPRESSION, more PLAYFUL, more FREEDOM! God is breaking boxes, flipping minds, shifting paradigms, and making everything new!
I have been a little absent from the blog world lately because so much has been going on in our lives! I have been waiting for the right time to share on this blog, and I feel the freedom to do that now. There is really quite an extended story that goes along with what God has been doing lately, and I will be sharing in this space what I feel the Holy Spirit leads me to. My main reason for sharing this publicly is because I feel that God wants to use my story. It is the power of testimony, and I believe that God uses our life stories in deep ways, even to shift things inside of people.
There certainly have been a lot of things shifting in me this year.
On January 1, 2012 the Lord was speaking to me while I was at the One Thing conference in Kansas City, MO. God was showing me pictures and speaking to me about love. He showed me a picture of me kneeling down with my heart in my hands, my arms were stretched out before me and I was presenting my heart to the Lord like a gift. Also, my face was turned up, looking to God. The words that went along with this picture were “This is the posture of 2012.” This simple picture represents surrender and humility before the Lord. The sense I got was that I was holding my heart before the Lord and saying, “Have Your way.” It was also very important that my face was turned up to the Lord- I wasn’t looking at my heart, I was looking straight at God. Here is the picture I drew in my journal that day…
There was another picture that God showed me at the same conference. It was also about love. The Lord showed me 3 hearts in sequence. The first heart was healthy except that it had tumor like growths all over it. God wasn’t alarmed by this heart, but He did want to cut the tumors off of it- it was like this heart had stuff attached to it that just wasn’t necessary or helpful. The second heart I saw was large and it looked vibrant and full of love, but the Lord told me that even though this heart looked big, it was really just puffed up with human sentiment and not real love. The third heart was small, a lot smaller than the second heart, and it was made of solid gold. God said that even though this heart didn’t look big, the love it held was pure and real, it carried the Love of God. I knew which heart I wanted right away! I told the Lord, “Even if my love doesn’t look big, I want the third heart, I want to carry Your pure love!” My sister, Breanna, drew this representation of the hearts…
Hopefully you are getting the idea that the core of this story is about Love. And not just any love, but the Love of God. The center of it all is something that we (Ben and I) call The 18 Inch Journey- a term we heard from some of our favorite worship leaders. There are about 18 inches between the head and the heart, and my story is a story of the Love of God traveling those 18 inches. This is not me saying that I have “arrived” by any means, but I am also not going to diminish what God has done in recent months. Each of our journeys with the Lord is a progression, and there is always MORE! I have a lot more that I am planning to share this week, so stay tuned!
Now all of us, with our faces unveiled, reflect the glory of the Lord as if we are mirrors; and so we are being transformed, metamorphosed, into His same image from one radiance of glory to another, just as the Spirit of the Lord accomplishes it. 2 Corinthians 3:18
God is CRASHING OVER PEOPLE with the WAVES OF HIS ENDLESS OCEAN LOVE!
Do you ever have times when you feel like you can’t go on like you have been going on? That something HAS to change? It is the feeling of that moment right before something is born. It is like, “GET THIS THING OUT OF ME!” The pressure is intense. Natural birth is like this, and spiritual birth is like this, too.
I’m not just talking about becoming Christian, but breakthrough in new territory in the Spirit. This can look like a lot of different things: truth being replaced with lies, revelation of the Love of God, new freedom in places where there was constraint, expression of life where it felt like things were dead.
In this season of corporate fasting at our church, it isn’t surprising that hunger is being stirred up. Hunger for deeper things, hunger for more. It’s painful to feel hunger, but if we press through and stay focused on Him, He WILL bring breakthrough!
Last week, the Lord spoke to me through remembering a scene in the movie, “Hunger Games.” If you aren’t familiar with the story, the main plot is young people fighting for their own survival, in this case, the setting is a mostly a forested area. After about a day and half, the main character, Katniss, is in the woods, and she has not yet found water. She is becoming dangerously dehydrated.
The unique thing about this setting is that there are cameras in the woods that monitor her activity, so there are people literally watching her struggle to find water on their TV screens. One of the people watching is her mentor, Haymitch, who is in charge of rallying people to send needed items to Katniss in her fight for survival.
Katniss is so desperate for water that she thinks she is going to die, and she knows that Haymitch knows this. She feels like he is watching her die and not doing anything about it! Then she has a realization. Haymitch wants her to live, he wants her to survive, so the only reason that he would hold out on sending her water is only because of one reason…He knows she is so close to finding it.
She presses through her desperation and finds what she so desperately needs.
When you feel like you are on the brink, remember these things:
Your heavenly Daddy is GOOD- all the time
He loves to give good gifts to His children
His highest concern is not your level of comfort, but the yielded-ness of your heart to Him
The highest intensity of pressure comes right before the birth
I feel like it is music central around here lately, and that’s okay, because there’s just so much good stuff out there!
“Safe Place” is a sweet and energetic album recently release by Kristene DiMarco, who is a part of the Jesus Culture worship crew at Bethel Church in Redding, CA. As I understand, a lot of the songs on this album were written while she was pregnant with her first baby girl. If you are looking for breakthrough in expression, intimacy with God, and freedom, then you would probably be really blessed by this music. Yep, that’s about it.
Here is a sample of the album, one of my favorite songs on it, “Awaken.”
And if you are like me and love the “back story” on albums, check out this video on Jesus Culture’s website.
If you are a regular around here, you have at least heard the name “Toth Ministries”- the name of the ministry that I went to for a women’s retreat with 2 of my closest girlfriends. The atmosphere at Toth is full of liberty, freedom, healing, and the affection of God- it is a beautiful thing. There are only a few things that could be better that that, like being in atmosphere like that for eternity (so come on back, Jesus) or being in an atmosphere like that for, oh, let’s say, 60 days.
The “Favorite” that I am sharing today is not something I have personally participated in, but it sounds just glorious. Seriously. Glorious. So… the worship leaders that I shared about last week, the Helsers– they have this 2 month long school in the summer called the 18 Inch Journey. The name comes from the distance between your head and your heart, the long 18 inches of space between realizing something in your head and believing it in your heart. Here is the promo video for it:
If you watched the video, you see that this experience is for 18-25 year olds, so I don’t qualify anymore- ha! So, the purpose of this post is to let people know about what seems like an amazing opportunity for young people. If you have children or know of young people who would be interested in something like this, would you consider asking the Lord if He might want them to have such an experience? So here is what I am asking you to do, for reals:
1. Ask the Lord if you know anyone that He would like to prayerfully consider participating in the 18 inch journey.
2. Ask the Lord if He would have you help get them there, either financially, through intercession, or spreading the word about the 18 Inch Journey.
I am asking you to do this because a friend of mine being obedient to do these 2 things is the reason that I found out about and went to the retreat at Toth, and I am SO thankful for that! A simple thing like an opportunity made know to me in an e-mail from a friend that led me to a ministry where God met me in a new way and rocked my world. It’s worth it to take the time to ask Jesus simple questions and be obedient to Him!
I am so excited about this place and I have not even been there, but wow, it sounds amazing. Who knows, maybe I can round up some yahoos and get an 18 inch journey (or something like it) going in Iowa. And just FYI, Toth and the 18 Inch Journey are not the same ministry (I don’t know if they know each other or not), I just imagine in my own personal imagination that the atmosphere is similar at both places and that they would love each other and be BFFs. That’s all.
I had a dream last week where there was a table before me with many different bottles of anointing oil. Most of the bottles were quite small, the common 1/4 ounce size that can be carried in a pocket. Labeled with bright colors, I knew that these oils were not just fragrances but actual anointings in the Spirit that carried authority (healing, freedom, hope, etc.).
Three bottles were bigger than the rest, and their labels were not the names of fragrances but the name of the anointing. The first bottle that I was shown had a yellow/goldish label and the name on it was “Joy Instructs You”.
After I woke up I was meditating on this dream and asking the Lord to help me understand what it means to be instructed by Joy. I felt like this anointing was an invitation to have Joy in every circumstance, whether mundane or mystical. I felt like the Lord was saying,
“You will know you are walking in the Spirit when Joy is there. You will know that you are not walking in the Spirit when you can’t find Joy there.”
I talked with Ben about this dream later in the morning and I was able to explain a bit more about what I felt the context was. Being led by Joy does not mean only doing the things in life that don’t bring you pleasure. For instance, I can’t tell Ben, “I’m not going to clean the house anymore, because it doesn’t bring me Joy, and God told me to be led by Joy.” This invitation to Joy is not to only do the things we “like”, but to let Joy join us in everything we do. There is a sweet quote by Brother Lawrence that sums up this reality with beautiful simplicity…
“I don’t know what God wants to do with me. I am always very happy.”
This quote reveals the heart of Brother Lawrence, a man obsessed with the Presence of God and not distracted by outward circumstances.
Letting Joy join us in what we do is simply acknowledgment of the Lord’s Presence with us in everything we do. Sometimes we don’t have joy because we choose to agree with having a bad attitude, complaining, self-pity, or boredom. Sometimes we don’t have joy because we are just going through the motions to get a task done and we don’t allow for creativity or new ways of doing something.
So, next time you are doing something and there is no joy in it, go ahead and take a risk- ask the Holy Spirit, “How can I invite Joy (His Presence) to be with me right now?” Joy isn’t just happiness, a smile, or a nice emotion; joy is the fullness of His Presence. I declare over you today that fullness of joy is available right now because of the finished work of Jesus!
“In your presence is fullness of joy!” Psalm 16:11
I turned 26 a couple of weeks ago. I decided I would share 26 things about myself that you may or may not know about me…
1. I am small in stature, but I don’t often feel like it except when my husband hugs me…or carries me around.
2. I love saturated milk fat. This means heavy whipping cream, ice cream, whole milk, custards…
3. I am learning to be more expressive.
4. I want to write books.
5. I have a very keen sense of sound, I can hear lots of details in music and in life that others seem to overlook. I can mimic sounds and movie quotes well.
6. I was an only child until the age of 18, when my mom remarried and I got an awesome step-sister, Alex.
7. I am a guitar player but I have a musical love affair with percussion…don’t tell my Taylor.
8. I like bright colors for decor in the kitchen.
9. I am A LOT sillier than many think.
10. I am not afraid of public speaking.
11. I don’t think that my grammar is very good in writing. I like to use dashes and …s in writing because it feels like how I think and speak.
12. I have a HIGH value for clear, honest, and compassionate communication.
13. I am an INFJ.
14. I LIKE TO CAPITALIZE WORDS TO SHOW HOW I FEEL, I realize this may be obnoxious to some.
15. I love the Pioneer Woman’s confession section of her blog. (Showin some P-DUB love!)
16. Half of me would love to live a nearly totally secluded life in the woods.
17. Ben and I don’t have television or internet at home. (But we do have smart phones) We are not anti-tv or internet, we just don’t have it for this season of life.
18. I dream of recording music with an amazingly talented and anointed worship team, in a big living room, with hard wood floors, lamps with soft light, comfy leather furniture, filled with a background choir of people who love Jesus.
19. I am unbelievably kind if I “wake up” while sleeping. My kindness is demonstrated to Ben by pulling his covers up, patting his back, and making sympathetic noises like “awww…”
20. I am a bike horn in a sea of flutes.
21. Ben and I have our own language made up of shortened and repeated words.
22. Our car is affectionately named “the pimp mobile” because of it’s low ride and gangster good-looks.
23. I love herbal teas…peppermint, chamomile, and my new fave apple cinnamon (Celestial Seasonings is my favorite brand).
24. I highly appreciate a good beard.
25. I navigate my world by smell.
26. My name means Beloved.