Tag Archives: life

Learning to Honor Emory

Image04Emory at 27 weeks on the inside!

For those readers who know us personally, you know that it is almost time for our first child, Emory Favor, to be born. I have carried him in my body for 9 months, and in my heart for 24. I first heard Emory’s name in late 2011, but in some ways I have known him long before then. I have known him, I know him, and I will go on knowing him in new and deeper ways.

As it’s almost time for “E Love” to be on the outside, I want to share some of how Ben and I think about Emory and his life.

In November of 2011, I heard the Father speak Emory’s first and middle name as I was waking up. I heard this not audibly, but clearly as though it were, and I knew right away in my spirit who this was, our child. I wasn’t familiar with the name “Emory” so I looked it up and found that the name means “Home Strength” and that the particular spelling I knew it was happened to be the traditional male spelling of the name. This first encounter with the knowledge of Emory communicated many things to me:

Firstly, that Emory already existed in the heart and imagination of God. Emory’s first “home” was not my womb, but with his Heavenly Daddy, where he was completely safe, known, and loved. Emory’s origin is not simply 23 chromosomes from me and 23 chromosomes from his Daddy; Emory’s origin is God, just like every single human being. When the Lord called the young Jeremiah to be a prophet, He said to him,

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

 Secondly, Emory’s life was intentional and designed and planned for a particular time in history. The timing of Emory’s coming into the world and his body being knit together in my body (whoa!) was intended for a particular time.

Acts 17: 24-27 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.'”

Thirdly, that even though Emory would start out his life having a very small body, he wouldn’t necessarily have a small spirit. Emory, like all humans, has a body, a soul, and a spirit. These components of us are distinct but still united to make us a whole human being, similar to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being distinct and yet one. I have a personal belief that the different components of us are not necessarily always at the same level of maturity. For example, a baby in the womb has a physical body that is in very early stages of development, yet his or her spirit can be very perceptive of what is going on in the spiritual realm. We know that in the womb, John the Baptist’s spirit perceived the presence of “in-the-womb-Jesus” and it caused John’s body to leap inside of Elizabeth! In another example, a person can have a more developed physical body and be quite immature his or her thinking and emotional intelligence, and even have a spirit that has not yet awakened to knowing the Father. With Emory, I knew that Ben and I did not just have the responsibility of caring for Emory’s physical needs, but also intentionally nurturing his spirit and soul by speaking blessing over him and talking with him about what was going on in the outside world.

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole being- body, soul, and spirt- be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

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Kingdom Come!

Love these words from people at the Kansas City Boiler Room. Great descriptions of Kingdom Culture! And we get to help it become reality on earth.

Kingdom Come

God the eternal Family, God alive, God inside, God the Father, Son and Spirit, Jesus all in all, sent to an orphaned world to reveal the Father, daughters not orphans, sons not slaves, saved by grace, favored not forgotten, names, faces, shared graces, male, female, young, old, wealthy, poor, kids, parents,diverse in culture united in Jesus, church as family, Home, praying from rest, living prayer, forgiven and forgiving, covenant not contract, family not company,  grace not striving, healing of every kind, honor not criticism, giving not fearing, head to the heart, dreaming not hopeless, all things possible, joy not duty, joy in surrender, joy in everything, tables with good food, weeping with losses, celebrating not competing, better together than alone, miracles and mundane, more human is more holy, serving the least, quality of life, everyone welcome, giving and receiving, thankful not demanding, neighborhoods matter, no divide of sacred and secular, social adventuring, matter matters but is not worshipped, power not just forms of godliness lacking substance, Spirit of adoption, everyone plays not just a few all-stars, sending and receiving, nations, blessed to bless, serving the least, uncomfortable hospitality, adoption not religion, the Cross and Resurrection, Kingdom not empire, devastated families restored, broken institutions renewed, ruined parts of our city rebuilt. “There is one body and one Spirit…one hope…one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Set Your Mind

“Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.” Philippians 4:8

Here in the Western church, we may not face the same type of physical persecution that threatens our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. But make no mistake, the battle for our minds, though unseen, is not without violence. It takes fierceness, endurance, and pure FIGHT to set our minds again and again and again on what is reality.

“Since you have been raised with the Anointed One, set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2

Notice the past tense of that verse… “you have been raised”. What does this mean? It means that RIGHT NOW, in the Spirit, you are seated with Christ in the throne room of God. Paul is reminding the church of Colosse again that their PRESENT REALITY is that they are seated in heavenly places. This is wild! Because this is reality RIGHT NOW for followers of Jesus.

Here is another charge from Paul concerning our minds:

“Do not allow the world to mold you into its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind.” Romans 12:2

How does this transformation take place? It takes place by the power of the Holy Spirit as we partner with Him and choose again and again to set our minds on Him. It is the daily journey of a thousand “yes’s” to Him. It is in the turning of the glance of the heart. Looking to Him for everything, in everything. You were made for this. You were made to gaze on Beauty Himself and be held in perpetual Love. No matter how mundane life is on the outside, this Reality is available if you will choose to set your mind.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.” Philippians 4:8

In His Grace,

Daniella

Holy Daddy, I release GRACE GRACE GRACE for our minds to be set on You perpetually! Come, help us great Helper! Come and be the Lifter of our Eyes, come and be the Lifter of our Minds. We need Your help to look up. Thanks that you are a Loving Papa and You love to help us.

Honeycomb Tombs

It is getting close to Autumn. I adore Fall. Cooler temperatures, gentle breezes, warm drinks, cozy clothes, and snuggles. Wow, I could giggle with delight just writing those words! Another thing that complements Autumn well is folk music. Lucky for you (and me!), my dear friend Morgan just shared some music with me… an album that is available for free through mp3 download!

If you have an ear that turns towards earthy acoustic music, then you will probably love Karla Adolphe. She has partnered in music-making with Enter the Worship Circle and this year, she released an album called Honeycomb Tombs.

The heart of the album comes from walking alongside friends in the midst of grieving the loss of a loved one. But don’t think all of the music is a downer. The purpose of it is comfort, and there are lots of sweet melodies, soothing rhythms, a little jazzy at times, and… cello. Yep, if you’re like me, that last word was all you needed to hear and you’re sold.

Actually, I don’t need to sell you on anything. Did I mention the album is FREE? You can get a free mp3 download HERE.

Enjoying the cooler nights,

Dani

Checking In…

Just wanted to say “hi!” and that I haven’t forgotten about the blogosphere… even though posting clearly hasn’t been 0n my top priority list lately! I have been soaking up some new things lately, so I wanted to share.

One of my top priorities lately has been reading… books, journal articles, and listening to interviews and podcasts. I have been researching and preparing to help equip some midwives with heart preparation in their line of work. I have a real passion to see women healthy in body, soul, and spirit. I have enjoyed being present for the births of one of my friend’s children, and I look forward to being a support to other women as the prepare to be midwives and mamas. I have been finding that my heart comes alive when I think about helping women and their babies (and my teacher’s heart comes alive, too!). A couple of the resources I have really appreciated so far are this book and this article.

Another thing that I have been pressing into lately is the reality of Jesus as THE KEY for everything. He is really the One Thing needed. I love the simplicity of being able to come to Jesus with anything and everything and asking Him questions… and listening for His response. He always has the solution… HE IS the solution. I found a simple key at an antique store and I have been wearing it on a necklace as a reminder of this reality. I have been soaking up a teaching from Heidi Baker that highlights this truth. If you have never listened to a teaching by Heidi Baker, I encourage you to! She is so fun and authentic, and she has great stories! Check out parts one, two, and three.

 

Thanks for your faithful following!

Love,
Dani

All Things New (Part III)

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!

All Things New (Part II)

* It will be really helpful to read “Part I” if you haven’t already.

When I got back from that conference over New Years, I pressed into learning more about the love of God. I work at a House of Prayer, and the primary theme of the Prayer Movement is “the First Commandment as first place.” Intimacy with God, loving God, the knowledge of God- these are all things talked about, prayed about, sung about- all the time! I began pressing into 1 Corinthians 13, the classic love chapter. I asked the Lord to give me fresh eyes and heart to receive what He wanted me to from this chapter. It is easy as Christians to get overly familiar with the words of Scripture and miss the opportunity to let them pierce us in new ways. I used a website to start digging into the Greek and discovered a broader understanding of 1 Cor. 13.

And I was pierced. As I read words like “Love is not self seeking…  Love is not proud… Love does not boast…” a deep awareness of my heart began to well up and I realized how desperate I was for MORE of the real love of God to take up residence in my heart. A realization of spiritual poverty came over me- the heart level understanding that without Him I really have NOTHING GOOD (Matthew 5:3). I thought I could do a pretty good job on my own (even as a Christian!!) without Him. Yikes! As all of this conviction was coming up in my heart, there was no harshness or condemnation from God towards me. There was a grieving and a sadness, but it was a feeling that made me run TO God and not FROM God.

I would then enter into that place before the Lord of holding my heart before Him and mediating on the realities of His love. In these times with the Lord, I would not fixate on the “lack” of my heart, I would fix my eyes on the One who is Manifest Love- the One who is the VERY DEFINITION OF LOVE (see the video below). When my heart would become discouraged with my own lack of love, I would lift my eyes again, and again, and again. And until I see Him face to face, every time I am discouraged, I will lift my eyes again, and again, and again.

 

All Things New (Part I)

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

Children of God

Romans 8 is a “fully loaded” chapter of the New Testament. WOW! This is one of my mom’s very favorite chapters, too, so it’s neat that we have that in common. The main themes are some of my very favorite things… walking in the Spirit, being adopted by God, and the LOVE of God.

When a child is born, everything changes. The child gets a new name, the family grows and expands, love is not divided but multiplied!

“You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, ‘Abba! Father!’ as we would address a loving daddy.” v.15

This adoption does not involve the legal system, but it is infinitely more binding than legalities. The adoption of us into the family of God involves the Spirit, the witness of the saints, and the blood covenant of Jesus. Things in the Spirit are really MORE REAL than things in the natural.

Here is another passage from Romans 8:

“For all of creation is waiting, yearning for the time when the children of God will be revealed. You see, all of creation has collapsed into emptiness, not by it’s own choosing, but by God’s. Still He placed within it a deep and abiding hope that creation would one day be liberated from its slavery to corruption and experience the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that all creation groans in unison with birthing pains up until now. And there is more; it’s not just creation- all of us are groaning together too. Though we have already tasted the firstfruits of the Spirit, we are longing for the total redemption of our bodies that comes when our adoption as children of God is complete- for we have been saved in this hope and for this future.” v.19-25

First of all, this passage blows the box that creation is inanimate and passive- creation actually has longings! How amazing! And what does creation long for? It longs for humanity to know and step into the reality that we are dearly loved CHILDREN. It doesn’t say that creation groans for the “priests” of God to be revealed, or “leaders”, or “apostles”, or “perfect Christians.”

Why would creation long for humanity to know that we are children of God? I’m sure there are many reasons, but one I felt the Holy Spirit highlight to me has to do with Malachi 4:5-6.

“Keep watch. I am sending the prophet Elijah the prophet to you before the arrival of the great and terrible day of the Eternal One, and he will return parent’s hearts to their children and the children’s hearts to their parents…” 

The essence of  this verse is that before Jesus makes His second, final, and permanent return to Earth- there will be widespread relational redemption- specifically the hearts of the generations turning in love towards one another. When creation sees the children of God being revealed, it is a sign that the return of Jesus and it’s liberty from decay is JUST AROUND THE CORNER!

It is my desire to hasten the day of the Lord. One of the primary ways I do that is seeking to maintain a heart posture of surrender before the Lord, saying, “Here is my heart, do what YOU WANT to do with it! Turn my heart and let it be in complete alignment with YOUR WILL.”

“We are weak and do not know how to pray, so the Spirit steps in and articulates prayers for us with groaning too profound for words. Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God?” Romans 8:26-27