Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thanks for your prayers!

Without exaggeration, the morning after the last post I felt a major difference. It was as though the sandpaper rubbing against me was gone. I love it when nothing in circumstances change but the Holy Spirit moves in and the lens that I am viewing things comes into correct view. So, thank you for lifting me up. I knew I needed the help in prayer and IT WORKED.
I am going to OneThing this Monday through Thursday. I am really excited. I can't wait to be saturated in the Presence of the Lord, worshipping, praying and hearing great teaching for 4 days. With all of the moving and holiday distractions, it will be a welcomed dip in the river of life. You can also pray that the Lord would accomplish everything in me that He desires to in that time.

With it being December, and especially with having to go through so many things from moving that bring memories from life with Scott my heart has already been remembering this time last year. I obviously remember the intense pain of loss and the realization that how I pictured the rest of my life had suddenly become vague and would be drastically different forever. I also very strongly remember how it felt as though I was so enveloped in the Lord, with the comforter the Holy Spirit moving in a powerful way. I remember being so aware of the prayers of the body of Christ, that I felt as though I was literally being carried. In the midst of an already tender heart this season, I heard about another family that is now in the same situation I was in. Derek Loux was part of the leadership at IHOP in Kansas City. He was the director of the Forerunner School of Music in KC. He and his wife Renee have had a heart for adoption that led them to adopt many children. Renee is left with their 9 kids; 3 of which have special needs. I am asking the Lord to surround her and their children with the same grace that he did me last December and this past year. Not even knowing this family, it's still hard to imagine why the Lord would allow one who had such a heart for the orphan and the fatherless to be taken what would seem prematurely from the earth. In praying for them and asking this question, I really felt like the Lord said he was going to release the spirit of adoption through this man's life and death. Please take a minute to view their family blog and his vision for adopting many through the Josiah Fund. Consider giving to continue the spirit of adoption. Not everyone can practically adopt, but we are all called to care for the orphan... here's one practical way. www.louxfamilyblog.com
Please pray for this family.
My next post will be after OneThing! I'm going with great anticipation!

Monday, December 21, 2009

SOS!!! Here's my distress call!



I might be slightly over-dramatic with the SOS. BUT, I have been insanely busy. Can't lie, I actually contemplated where I might find some Prozac to crush into my coffee! :) I feel like I have been so stressed and overloaded. I need to be out of my house in 2 weeks, where I am moving has had some major issues, so what started out as small remodeling has truly turned into gutting most of the house (if you have skills with electricity or plumbing and want to help, I won't refuse :).
So, the house will likely not be ready when I need to be out which means suitcase living for a while WITH TWO TODDLERS! If that weren't already enough, I also have been planning for months to go to a conference in Kansas City, MO for four days. So I have to get through packing, the holidays, a conference (which will be an oasis to my soul!) and moving all in two weeks. In the midst of so much to do and so much going on, I haven't been getting enough sleep and I haven't been spending enough time with the Lord. I also have been having to go through all of our personal stuff with loads of memories attached. I think my grief has also turned into stress at this point and I'm so spent.


I'm posting this with a HUGE prayer request. Please pray for me that my eyes would stay set on Him. I know this will all be over in a short while, but right now I am so overwhelmed. Pray against attack from the enemy and protection for my kids. Our schedule chaos has to be hard for them too.


The REALLY amazing thing to me is how much and obviously it affects me when I haven't spent time letting my heart gaze on the One who loves me and holds all things in His hand. I love that even in my totally stressed mode, I am so aware that the ONE THING that I really need is to spend some time with Jesus. The thing that so shocks me now is that for many, many years the majority of my Christian experience was void of sitting at His feet and really getting in the Word. I love that I miss the kiss of the Word on my soul.


Thanks for praying!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2009 in Review


We’ve been through much in the past year and by the grace of God and the prayers of believers we survived. Honestly, in some ways, we even thrived. I know that isn’t the norm for most in our circumstances to say…it has truly been grace upon grace for us.


Eliya just celebrated her 3rd birthday last month. She is a ‘big girl’ now and doesn’t understand why her new status doesn’t entitle her to drive & drink coffee ;) Simeon is almost 20 months old. He is sweet, snuggly and fun. He’s starting to show more independence; which is bittersweet for Momma. I am very thankful for them. They have kept me very busy and distracted. Diapers still have to be changed and kids fed; even if there is a hard day. One of many verses this past year that has sustained my life has been Psalm 73:25, 26,28a. It says “Whom have I in heaven but You, and besides You on the earth I desire nothing. My heart and my flesh may fail, but You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever. As for me, the nearness of God is my good.”


There are some new things since this time last year. Scott and I were part of a house of prayer getting started. He never got to come as our “open” date was set for the day he passed away. A couple of us have pressed through though and it has been the biggest blessing. Personally, to have a place set apart for worship, intercession and dwelling in the presence of God has truly been a healing balm to my soul. Also, I believe that it is God’s will and our destiny to partner with Him in intercession and we’ve been crying out for salvation and freedom for our region. I had been teaching English as a second language to adults, and loved doing that, but God clearly was calling me to the house of prayer. Now I am at the house of prayer in place of the hours I had been working part-time. God has faithfully been providing for our needs and showing Himself to be a Husband and a Father. One of the many ways He has been faithful is that I was having some roadblocks in trying to refinance the house I am in and in the meantime the renter of a house we own in the next city over moved out. That mortgage is less so I wondered if that was the Lord’s leading and setting that up. I prayed and called the realtor. I told her I could only afford to wait 60 days to see if this house would sell (because I’d have the other mortgage too) and we listed it. Day 6 on the market a guy came to see it and wanted it. Now it is a little over 3 weeks in and we signed the deal this week and we’ll be moving the first week of January!


Between the house of prayer, kids…and now packing to move; I stay pretty busy.
Thank you for your love, support and prayers over this past year. The hands and feet of Jesus have been evident in innumerable and unimaginable ways this past year.
Grace and peace to you!

Love, Jennifer, Eliya and Simeon Mason

Friday, December 4, 2009

One Year


Let me start by saying I can't think of a time I have ever been filled with so many opposing emotions. I hate that the one year mark is a looming, black date that reminds you every time you look at the calendar. In some ways I wish that I lived in the middle of the jungle somewhere where time is only measured in seasons. Obviously, that's not the case. It came and went and in some ways I'm glad to be past December 2nd.

The great conflict in emotions is the battle between the flesh and the spirit. My heart is greatly saddened as I remember the sweet, gentle, loving, funny man I committed my life to. The other side of the bed being empty every night and watching my daughter when she hears another child talk about their daddy are sharp reminders. The conflict comes when I think about how awesome and incredible it is for Scott to be in the presence of God, of love, the fullness of His presence, the fullness of joy. There is absence of pain, absence of striving. It's a little like hide-and-seek when you find the prize. Scott found a measure of all of this in part on earth, but now he knows as he is fully known. There aren't even human words to describe the glory of God and on this side of eternity we can't begin to comprehend what it's like for us to be in the fullness of the Presence of God. The same presence that the four living creatures in Revelation 4:8 do not cease day and night saying, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is the Lord God, The Almighty who was and is and is to come." Such glory, beauty and holiness that for eternity they never tire of looking at Him and discovering the depths of The Creator, the uncreated One.

When I set my heart and mind on THIS God, and THIS reality for Scott. I'm not sad, a little jealous, but not sad. There are still difficult things that his absence leaves; emotionally empty places that I have to continue to look to the Lord for, praying with everything in me that I will be able to be what my kids need and point them to God who is a father to the fatherless, decisions that I have to make about day to day life. I continue to lean on Jesus. I know He is true, He is right, His word endures forever. He is unchanging. His promises are good. He is a husband, a father, a savior, a friend. All of my hope is in Him.
( Ps 19:9, 1Pet 1:25, Heb 13:8, Heb 10:23, Isa 54:5, Ps 68:5, Isa 43:11, Rom 15:13)

So, even though this time is bittersweet and accompanied with pain and tears, I am remembering the best parts of Scott and our life together and will keep my eyes on Jesus, the one who started and perfects my faith.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"How is it REALLY?"

I got to go to a house concert tonight to hear two of my favorite people play. Karla Adolphe and Eric Kilgore. Eric is local and it was at his house. They shared some of their songs and hearts with about 20 of us there. Karla and her husband Gary said they have been asking that question a lot. The question is, how is it really. How is it through Kingdom mind and Jesus' eyes? Eric shared a little about when Lazarus was sick and and his sisters, Martha and Mary, sent word to Jesus that the one that He loved was sick. Jesus said that the sickness would not end in death. Well, the story in John 11: 1-44, tells us that Jesus remained where He was for 2 more days and Larazus DID die. Jesus went to Bethany and it says that when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet Him, but Mary stayed at home. I literally feel sadness and pain in this story as I wonder what was going on in her mind and heart that she knew Jesus was coming and chose to stay behind. Verse 2 of this story says THIS Mary was the same one who poured perfume on His feet and wiped it with her hair. She had a history with the Lord and in this hour of crisis and need, maybe she was offended at the Lord. Maybe she was angry. Maybe the pain seemed too great to even be in the presence of the One who knew everything about her. Maybe she was disappointed because her circumstances didn't turn out the way that she thought they would.

In the natural, it seemed as though Jesus had let her down, broken His promise and maybe not even cared enough to respond sooner. Her anguish is evident in that when He called for her (Jn 11:28) she went to Him and fell at His feet and said if He had been there her brother wouldn't have died. Jesus was a real man with real emotions. Jesus wept at their pain from loss. Those watching said, "see how He loved him!" Others watching the same events said could this one who opened blind eyes not keep this man from dying. With the "How is it really" question in mind and the end of the story laid out for us... we know that Jesus didn't break any of His promises. After four days of being in the tomb, Lazarus rose from the dead at the command of Jesus.

In my life and in my circumstance I am learning to lean heavily on how is it really. That specific way of stating the question is new to me, but not the concept. I have to REJECT the notion that I have to be able to use my five senses to believe in a God that I cannot see who sent a man that I have never met to die for me and pay for the wickedness of my own heart. It takes FAITH. Without faith it is impossible to please God. There have been many things in life that haven't gone the way I thought they would. I intentionally set my heart to the eternal and not just the part that is staring me in the face all day every day and assaulting my senses. I choose to believe that God's word is supreme over any of my own thoughts or emotions concerning any topic. God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8). God is not man that He should lie (Num 23:19). His Word is the measuring stick. His Spirit leads us into all truth. By God's grace, no matter what I walk through in this life, I will do it all the while with Jesus, staring at His face or lying at His feet, whatever I have to do just as long as it's with Him. I think it is so tempting or easy when we don't understand how to walk through pain with the Lord, to just shut it off and close that door. I don't know all the reasons why God didn't heal Scott... I know that He is able to do anything. I don't know why many other believers have to walk through painful experiences and loss. There are even those verses that seem to promise long life and goodness and it's hard to understand sometimes when our circumstances don't measure up how we think they should.

If you are one who loves the Lord I just want you to ponder two encouragements, RUN TO HIM NOT AWAY FROM HIM. Let the Word and the Spirit be your Counsel. The Lord is good, He is loving in all His ways and kind in all of His deeds. He loves you. Your pain is not unnoticed by Him. He is the only one who can heal your heart. Search your heart and ask Him to reveal any offence at Him or incorrect view of who He is. Secondly, THIS IS MOMENTARY. This life is like a vapor. Here today and gone tomorrow. THAT is hope for the hurting. The physical tells me that my husband is dead and I'll never see Him again... this is reality, final and there is no hope. But the Word says that absent from the body means present with the Lord and there is life after death for those who are His. That means that Scott has only preceded me and his children to the presence of God in seconds. We already planned on that destination together, he just arrived a little earlier than I expected but I'm only 5 minutes behind. We're all only minutes behind in view of eternity. So I will walk different, I will live different, I will think different, I will see different. When my mind is assaulted with the logic of the physical realm... I will ask the Lord, How is it really?!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Major Oil Change



I'm not sure I can even adequately communicate what the Lord did today, but I will try. Today was very exciting. We expanded the House of Prayer hours and are now open from 9am to 9pm (12 WHOLE HOURS!) on Thursdays. It is so encouraging and exciting to have made such a big step forward. We are now "keeping the fire on the alter" for 15 hours a week! So this morning I woke up so excited about today. I have scheduled to be at The Well from 11-4. Within minutes of being there, the Lord suddenly began stirring my heart. I hadn't been emotional at all, and in His presence became weepy and wanted to confess sin. Literally, my Bible opened to Psalm 73 and I saw a verse I have thought of so many times, v25 "Whom have I in heaven but You, and besides You on the earth I desire nothing". It is a comfort and a challenge all in one. I HAVE Him, but I want to desire nothing but Him on this earth. He was already working in me. After maybe half an hour though, I looked at my watch and thought, "now what?". My mind was sort of reeling through all the things I needed to do, and the first thing was that oil change I had forgotten about several times in the past couple of weeks. I wrote it down so I wouldn't forget, but hopefully not be distracted by it. It was just about then that the Lord said, "you are in for two oil changes today!". So I started thinking about oil changes :) It is extremely important to the life of the engine and it's purpose is to flush out of the impurities that collect in the oil and replace it with fresh, life giving, life sustaining oil.

My mind started going to all of the biblical oil references I've heard over the years. I thought about Jesus having the oil of joy (Ps 45:7). I thought about the 10 virgins and their lamps (Mt 25: 1-13). I also thought about what it represents and how it was used. Oil was an expensive commodity in ancient days, it was used for cooking, medicine, cosmetic and as a lubricant among other things. It was used to anoint someone, to represent the Holy Spirit. It was also used to anoint things (Gen 28:18). Because of it's cost, when it was poured over something, it showed that thing was valued. When the Lord reveals His love and pours it out over me, over us... He is showing how valued we are. He anoints us with His presence and with His love. When we sit before Him and love Him in return, pouring out what little we have; we are reciprocating that love and saying YOU ARE VALUED MORE THAN ANYTHING, MORE THAN EVERYTHING ELSE!

This alone was great today. I felt like there was (and still is) more that I need to understand that the Lord is trying to say about oil. A couple of hours after I had been pondering the oil, a friend brought me something someone had given her. It was an encouragement for the House of Prayer, but the Lord so pierced me to the heart. It was about the widow in 2 Kings 4:1-7. She was widowed and in great need (her sons were soon to become slaves to pay off debt). She cried out to Elisha (a prophet) for help and he asked what she had in her house. She said "nothing at all...except a little oil". What she had was seemingly insignificant to her, but his instructions were to collect as many jars from neighbors as she could and to close the door behind her and pour her small quantity of oil until all of the jars were filled. Her small quantity of oil continued to pour out until she ran out of jars to pour it into. The sale of this oil paid her debts and supplied her needs. While I recognize this is a great word for our house of prayer (supply, anointing, etc.), personally this meant so much. Many have said oil also represents intimacy with the Lord. The house of prayer journey began just before Scott passed away. I have entered into this very needy and broken without much to offer the Lord or anyone else. I came to His feet again and again because of great need and knowing He is the only one who can do anything for me. I identify very much with the widow in saying, "I have nothing at all... just a little oil". Oh the promise IS that as we pour our oil out before the Lord that it will multiply and fill many, many jars. Psalm 34:10 says The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

Oil is so important. We have to cultivate the oil of intimacy. We have to value the Lord enough to pour ourselves out in worship, devotion and prayer. It is NOT one sided. We are so valued by the Lord. He, who is UNcreated, Created because of love. He is spoken of as a husband and a father many times in the Bible, because we who are truly His, are in relationship with Him. I go to the prayer room with the intent to pour out all of my oil, and I end up coming home with more jars than I can carry! It's beautiful and wonderful to be in His presence and have Him fill you with fresh oil! I need more oil changes like today. Instead of every so many miles, it has to happen every so many hours!

If you're wondering if I got that oil change in the natural (b/c it def. happened in the supernatural), I did. The guy told me about a new synthetic oil that doesn't break down and lasts for 15,000 miles. When he asked me if I wanted to try that kind, I was definitely over enthusiastic and said YES, I'LL TAKE IT!!! I thought about trying to explain my excitement about the better than synthetic oil I received from the Lord, but he was really busy ;)

"Lord, flush us and give us fresh oil today and every day! You are so good. Reveal the true character, nature and love of God to us so we can rightly value that time with You. Draw us to Yourself, let us cultivate the oil of intimacy as we offer so little to You...You continue to multiply what we bring as You give us more of Yourself. Thank you Jesus!!"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The beauty of dying leaves.









God is downloading so many thoughts these last few days/weeks that I feel like I am struggling to keep up. I love it. The biggest thing is that I have a real burden for the lost, I have been asking God for salvation in this region a lot. I have also been confronted with the immeasurable, unsearchable vastness that God is, and my small vision of Him. I am longing for a faith in action, a life of abandoned surrender to God in all of these things. With each revelation of the Word, each new conviction, burden, and vision... He is asking for more of me. He is answering prayers! I am saying MORE Lord, and He responds with asking that I lay my life (comforts, time, finances, dreams/goals etc) down more and more, with the promise of more of Him. I'm not sure if any of that makes sense, but for a short post, I wanted to say that today when I was seeing all of the beautiful fall colors I thought, it's so God to make the leaves the most beautiful as they are dying. When we lay our lives down for Him, His Kingdom, His purpose, His glory, His people... that's when He is the most beautiful IN us... as we are dying.
Lord, let Your splendor and majesty be on display in my life as I learn what it is to lay it down. "He is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him." (John Piper)... and He is all satisfying!
John 12:24-26 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him."

2 Cor 4:10 "We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."



Thursday, October 8, 2009

You will be My witnesses!

My world is being rocked right now! Peter- "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, The Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things." (Acts 3:19-21) NOW LORD, GRANT THAT YOUR SERVANTS MAY SPEAK YOUR WORD WITH BOLDNESS!

In Acts 2 Peter declared who Jesus is, His death and resurrection. His position exalted to the right hand of God, the promise of the Holy Spirit... That God made Jesus both Lord and Christ. When the people heard this testimony of Jesus, THEY WERE PIERCED TO THE HEART! 3,000 were saved for ETERNITY. I am so pierced to the heart right now. I believe there is an eternity. Life for those who follow Jesus, and death (in hell) for those who don't. The gap between my "beliefs" and my actions HAS to close. If I want to love like Jesus, I will pray, look and ask Him for opportunities to make HIM known.

I will believe that in my weakness and with weak words that He will make Himself known. I believe that the Holy Spirit can use me to pierce people to the heart and change the course of their present life and their eternal destiny. LORD GIVE ME ONE TODAY... One that I can share who you are that does not know You. One today, one tomorrow, one the next day. Even if I do this 100 times before someone believes and is changed... it will be worth it. I lay down my life, my reputation, fear of the opinion of man, because You are worth it! Give me REAL compassion and love for the lost. The example that I've heard before is if a house is burning down and the people inside are sleeping, wouldn't you wake them?? Who would say, well, it's their choice, I don't want to meddle. Thank You Jesus that in 1996, someone meddled in MY life and it led to my salvation.

If you do follow the Lord and know you "should" believe in heaven and hell but feel apathy towards the lost... begin by asking Him for passion and compassion for the lost. Ask Him for a revelation of what we have been saved from and Who we have been saved to; Jesus Christ (and the Love of God, peace which passes understanding, a new nature, new heart, new mind, purpose, LIFE... to name a few). Get in the Word until it transforms You. We must renew our minds and hearts until they come in line with the Word. I'm excited about the Word being more alive in me today than yesterday.

Pray for me as I try to keep up with what He is burning in my heart. I don't want to be just a hearer or the Word but a doer!

Things are about to get crazy... and I think I like it!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pressing In

UGH! That is the word to sum up the present battle. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I really feel like I am on the verge of break through in some significant ways. The Creator of my soul is calling and inviting me into something real, yet unknown. There are moments that I feel like I am on the edge of the cliff (exhilarated and abandoned to Him)... and then there are days, like today, where it's as though there is a dull lethargy over my entire being. On days like today, I feel like prayer, worshipping and getting in the Word feel more like walking through quicksand than abiding.

I really want the "more". The secret place in God that although available to all that are His, few press into that place and seek unto the finding. I will resist complacency. Even though I fail repetitively, I will not grow weary of the pursuit; because the One I pursue, never grows weary of my failing. His delights in the chase and He loves me in my weakness. How awesome is Your kindness and Your unfailing love.

So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth. Leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. (Hosea 6:3, Hebrews 6:1, Philippians 3:12)

There is a Misty Edwards song (Always on His Mind) that has a bridge that says, "How far will you let me go? How abandoned will you let me be?" I recently felt like God was challenging, even provoking me, "How much is enough, how little of Me are you willing to settle for? How long will you ask, seek and knock? How small is your vision of how deep you can go?" A few days later I heard that part of that song and so felt like those were the perfect words to communicate a response to Him. How far will You let me go and how abandoned will You let me be?!

He gives me 4 ounces more of Himself, but increases my appetite to 12 ounces. Then He gives me 8 ounces... and increases my capacity to 20 ounces. With increased revelation of Jesus, the desire for more and the discontent with things the way they have always been happens simultaneously.

Shake off Lethargy, Refuse Complacency, and Let's Press In!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

He Restores

I have found myself thinking about Scott a lot lately. I expect to miss him more around some significant dates or events, but this time... I just miss him. Seriously, sauteing vegetables made me think of him and opened a floodgate? When I put things like this out there for anyone to see, I feel slightly vulnerable. I keep thinking of how interested, especially in the beginning, I was of how other people in my circumstances were at different stages in their grief journey. I guess I felt like it could be a map to show where some had gone, or to validate where I was or how I felt. Although grief is completely different for every person, I still write with the hope that someone who IS in my circumstances will benefit. My biggest hope is that they would be encouraged to lean into the Lord and not away from Him.



With these images and memories playing in my mind more these last few days; it is a mixed blessing. It exposes the wound, but surely brings healing to a certain degree too. Although there is pain, I know joy comes in the morning. When I call out to Him, He responds. When I cry, He collects my tears. When my heart is broken, He is the balm that heals. So Lord, I thank You for the mixed blessings of pain that accompanies sweet memories, because in it, I find You everywhere I look. I believe He makes all things work together for my good. I know He heals and restores.



I can't help but think that this song posted below is so appropriate for so many. We often walk around with wounded hearts that are heavy with disappointment. Many times in my life before this, things didn't turn out the way I thought they would. Now that I am not in a position to run to something else to distract and temporarily fill, I find Him restoring. I pray that if there are any areas in your life that you have been diligently protecting from God and yourself, that they would be revealed. Those things that pain your heart when you think of them, but seem best just left alone. I really think everytime I hear this song, He restores just a little more and He heals just a little deeper. I hope it's the same for you.



This song is called Restoration. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LcyQOLVS_U

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I can't help but love Him

I was blessed to go to a College of Prayer module this weekend. I just love their hearts for equipping and discipling leaders in the U.S. and abroad. I stayed with a girl who happened to be house-sitting, so I didn’t actually meet the couple whose house I stayed in. On the wall in the den, the wife had this thing made to honor her husband for their 29th wedding anniversary. It was so sweet. It went from when they met and how they had grown together through life. She honored him for how he fathered their children, how he ministered faithfully to the Lord. She told him how much she enjoyed him and how that only increased as the years progressed. I just thought it was so overwhelmingly incredible that they had such a long and wonderful legacy together. At the end, she signed it “the girl in the blue sweater”. I imagined that is how he remembered her from their first encounter. In the middle of deep and genuine appreciation for their love and legacy, I couldn’t help but feel that pang of sadness over my own love story having been shortened. Not even 30 seconds after this pang in my heart came, the Holy Spirit spoke over me.

“I have been writing our love story since before you were a formed substance in your mother’s womb. Even then, I knew you. I have loved you and have drawn you in with my love. I am your beloved and my thoughts toward you are many and immeasurable…they outnumber the sand.”

I love how He is so tender and gentle with me. A friend and I were recently talking and she, like many of my friends, is amazing, godly, beautiful …and single. She told me that she was asking the Lord if He had forgotten her as many of her friends and family have moved into the wife and mother roles. She and I have both read “The Pursuit of God” many times and she reminded me of a beautiful part of that book.

“When the Lord divided Canaan among the tribes of Israel Levi received no share of the land. God said to him simply, ‘I am thy part and thine inheritance,’ and by those words made him richer than all his brethren… and there is a spiritual principle here, a principle still valid for every priest of the Most High God”.

He really is our portion and inheritance. How beautiful and blessed am I (are we) that the creator God of the universe goes through such great lengths to communicate His love. Not only that He loves me, but He is passionate about me. His love for me is as strong as death! He is jealous for me.

In moments like these, where He speaks into the depths of my heart; I can’t help but love Him and want more of Him. He continually increases my desire so that He can fill it to capacity and then make it a little bigger. I love this prayer from Tozer: “Oh God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more… I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Therefore I have hope

Last night at The Well (the house of prayer I have the privilege to be a part of) there was a strong sense of intimacy and intercession. Oh the pleasure of the Lord over us, as we weakly cried out for more of Him, was so evident. I left so full, knowing I had feasted on the very presence of the Lord. I woke this morning with a great wave of discouragement over me. Some of the emotions and insecurities that widowhood/singleness bring were assaulting me. It was frustrating because I recognized it as an attack from the enemy. Those aren’t valid insecurities. Most insecurity is rooted in fear and perfect love casts out all fear. I know the One who is Love Himself. There were a few hours of that frustrated, not yet free of it, crying out to the Lord and trying to talk myself out of, or through the muck, but I wasn’t terribly successful.
I love that there are REAL examples of people who struggled in the Bible. It’s crazy to me that I can go from feeling so completely full and content in the Lord, to an onslaught that threatens to bring me down in less than 24 hours. In that, nothing of the Lord changed, only my emotions did. IHOP Atlanta’s Billy Humphrey recently did two sermons on Healing the Soul (GREAT and free on iTunes). He mentioned a few of these examples of godly people (a prophet, a king, and the worship leader in the Tabernacle of David) who really hit lows and how they leaned into the Lord to get themselves out of the pit.

One of my favorites of these examples was Jeremiah. For 25 years he prophesied the destruction of their homeland and that they would be taken into captivity and in Lamentations he finds himself in the ruins of the city. Seeing his prophecy fulfilled and in this state of extreme sadness, he says of God He has broken my bones and walled me in. He shuts out my prayers. He’s like a bear waiting to attack me. He bent His bow and has made me the target. My soul has been rejected, my strength has perished and so has my hope from the Lord. If that isn’t a clear picture of how discouraged we can become! I have often thought that the enemy’s usual method of attack on me is to help me forget the truth of who God is and what He has done in my life. I begin to think, does God hear me at all, does He see?… does He torture me for fun? It’s crazy, but in the moment and with the aid of the enemy of my soul who roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour whispering the lies into my soul, this is what happens.
Jeremiah then says in Lamentations 3:20-24 “Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to m mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion’ says my soul, ‘Therefore, I have hope in Him.’”
I know that after Scott passed away, my one great source of strength and encouragement was that God had not changed. He was the same the day before the accident and He would forever be the same. He was still loving and good. I have learned that my emotions are SO unreliable. The Word of the Lord endures forever though. Knowing the tactic of the enemy, I was able to get away for a little bit today and get in the Word. I heard a Hillsong song that has been in my iPod for months now, but I hadn’t really listened to it before. Here are part of the lyrics:
I have nothing more than all You offer me
There is nothing else that’s of worth to me
And I love You Lord
You rescued me
You are all that I want
You’re all that I need

Those words so worked in me that reminder; that He is good and He is everything that I want and need. I have mentioned this verse a few times before, but it is one of my favorites and is powerful. Psalm 73:25-26 “Whom have I in heaven but You and besides You on the earth I desire nothing, my flesh and my heart may fail, but you are the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” I think to some, this might be a depressing verse, but for me it is the prayer of my life. No matter what circumstances I am in, I want to desire Him above all else and realize that He is my everything. Job 13:15 says though He slay me, yet I will trust Him. When I am in the Spirit, I can trust Him completely! I have learned to recognize more quickly what is happening and what I need to do to get out of it. Today, where the enemy attempted to weaken me, the Lord has so strengthened me. “Therefore I have hope, Great is Your faithfulness!”

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Want to See God!

This morning Eliya said, “Mama, why do you do this” and she closed her eyes and scrunched up her face. I asked her what in the world she was talking about. She said the same thing (which is normal, when I don’t understand what she means, she repeats it in the exact same way which normally isn't very helpful), “Mama, why do you do this” and again closed her eyes and scrunched her face. I then realized that I had been singing a song and apparently made a contorted face! I started laughing, of course, but I thought this is a great opportunity for teaching. I asked her if she could see God. She gave me a blank stare, so I said “where is Jesus, can you see Him with your eyes?” she pointed to my heart. I was pierced with both the amazing amount of spiritual insight a child less than 3 can have, and also the weight of how I walk out my faith before my child.

I have been pondering this topic of purity and holiness recently. Matthew 5:8 says “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”. I was thinking about Moses of which was said, “the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend”. When Moses cried out to see the glory of the Lord, the Lord answered Him and permitted it (Ex 33). I have really been putting myself in the place of pursuit after God. I have found more of Him, but I know there is infinitely more to find. I love this from the book The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer "All our lives long we might talk of Jesus, and yet we should never come to an end of the sweet things that might be said of Him. Eternity will not be long enough to learn all He is, or to praise Him for all He has done, but then, that matters not; for we shall be always with Him and we shall desire nothing more.” not; for we shall be always with Him, and we desire nothing more." -Tozer, The Pursuit of God

In my asking the Lord to reveal more of Himself to me, He has responded by calling me to holiness. I was pretty convicted about entertaining myself by watching things with characters whose story lines show sin as acceptable and good. I compare what I set before my eyes by how bad it is compared to other shows, movies etc., or even worse, I justify it because it only alludes to sexual immorality, etc. I recently heard someone say “how can we cry out in prayer against injustice and sin and ask the Lord to purify His bride when we are make these exceptions and are entertaining ourselves with sin?” I started studying holiness and there are so many verses on the topic! It’s important to Jesus. He wants a mature bride. When I thought of the specific show that I love so much, I really didn’t want to give it up. The struggle with this in the flesh made me sick. It showed how much I love the world. Don’t get me wrong, this issue wasn’t solely about the show… it was about obedience and desiring Him above passing pleasures. I couldn’t believe my hesitancy and struggle; more of Jesus or a few laughs that won’t ever bear fruit? Oh but the rewards to obedience are intimacy. Paul said to the Ephesians that we (the church, His bride) should be holy and blameless before Him in love; so that the church would be without spot or wrinkle. This morning I woke up and read again Matthew 5:8 the pure in heart shall see God. The Lord then gave me Psalm 24: 3-5 “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his should to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” This pursuit of holiness has to be rooted in and motivated by love or else it becomes Pharisaical legalism. I am so convinced that there is nothing He could ask me to lay down that I would miss when I am in His presence. I have set my gaze on the face of Jesus and fully intend to be one of those He calls His friend. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14).

I love this song called "I Will Waste My Life" by Misty Edwards Here is the Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUSIcgRlHk0




Thursday, September 3, 2009

He has stolen my heart





Actually, he's had it since before he was born. I love this little man. He is 99% of my tangible affection. Oh, it's so true about baby boys and their Mamas. I already mourn the day he doesn't want to sit and snuggle.
Today he took my hand and was very intent on leading me to the living room. He took me over to a chair where he climbed up and then reached his arms out for me. So I got in the chair too and he put his hand in my hair, just to hold onto it. It took me a second to realize that he really did bring me all the way to that chair so we could just sit together and be near. Does it get any better than that??!?
Even tonight as I went to lay him down, he just rested his head on my chest and played with my hair. It was then that the Holy Spirit revealed, again, the heart of the Father. As I realized what He was revealing to me through that picture, I held Simeon a little longer and cried at the goodness of the Lord! Those times when we feel the draw to spend time with Him and be in His presence are such a gift. It's as though He takes us by the hand and leads us to that quiet place where it's just the two of us. In this place, communion happens and our hearts are knit together in love. He hasn't stolen my heart, because I gave it to Him. The more I know Him, the more irresistible He becomes.
Last week was really incredible. There were about four mornings that I woke up and literally the first thing in my mind would be, I love you Jesus. Not just the words, but the emotions welling up and overflowing. I knew He had been singing over me in the night. There was one night that I was being drawn. I knew I needed time with Him and was longing for it. I ended up spending an hour online and afterward I was tired. I read a chapter of a book and went to sleep. That next morning I woke up and it was different. I realized that I hadn't cultivated that intimacy and it was markedly different. I pray that I never get too busy or upside down in my priorities to sit, love and be loved... by God or by my children.
Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness."
Song of Solomon 8: 6-7 "Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as the grave; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it"

This video was the morning I saw Simeon after returning from 12 days in Costa Rica.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

He SPEAKS!!

I love the Lord because He hears... but man do I love it when He speaks! I want to share some of the ways He has been speaking recently. I previously wrote about my time in Costa Rica. I loved it and it stirred several things in me; callings, desires, etc. It was a great trip on a number of levels, but returning home was difficult. I definitely struggled with contentment for a couple of weeks. I KNOW that I am where I am supposed to be for this season. God clearly called me into the place of prayer; more specifically the House of Prayer. I know my God given giftings and desires are in evangelism, cross-cultural ministry... and I'm an extrovert, so spending a separated season with prayer as my "occupation" is NOT naturally fulfilling. I love the intimacy gained from it, but what about those other desires, gifts and callings!?!



I went to IHOP Atlanta the week after I got back from Costa Rica, specifically asking God to renew and reaffirm MY calling to it. He's so patient and gentle. He has done this multiple times now in the past 6 months (even once IN Costa Rica). I will give you the quick(er) version. Fri. I read a blog about how God is inviting people into the grace to walk out the Anna lifestyle of fastings and prayer. Then Sunday at IHOP they were talking about the grace, call, and invitation to walk in the Anna lifestyle. My middle name is Ann, which happens to mean "full of grace". Monday I was organizing around the computer and found a letter a friend had sent a few weeks before CR. She copied Luke chapter 2 (about Anna the prophetess) and a commentary from it and wrote, I hope this clarifies and gives direction to your calling. How encouraging is it that He goes through such great lengths to speak and confirm.

The other night, after not having been in the Word all day, I wanted to read for a few minutes. I remembered liking something in Psalm 105 so I went there. Verses 3 and 4 really stood out to me the day before that, so I read. "Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually." I was asking and looking for where I needed to settle to read and I had a paper in my Bible at 1 Chronicles 16. It said A Tent for the Ark. I read where David appointed some Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord (Levites were the worshippers and intercessors that ministered before the Lord... much of the house of prayer vision is based on the call like the Levites to be in the place of worship and intercession.) So, the leaders then give thanks to the Lord through a song... verse 10 and 11... "Glory in His holy name; Let the heart f those who seek the Lord be glad. Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually." I couldn't believe it! THAT is what He wants me to see, know, settle on, and walk out.

I'll end with this last one. Today is my birthday. Really not a bad day. Yesterday had some rough parts emotionally though. I got home and had a few cards in the mail. One was from Scott's sister and there was a verse in the card; Acts 2: 28. I love verses 25-28... but especially what was quoted. "You will make me full of gladness with Your presence." Such a reassurance that He alone satisfies our every desire and longing with Himself. Another card was from my brother's kids. Each one drew or colored for me. The oldest is 5 and she wrote out a Bible verse for me. Oh I love the Lord because He speaks! She wrote out Psalm 16:11... "You will make me full of gladness with Your presence."!!! That's where I lost it and was so overwhelmed that God is going to such great lengths to lead me into the fullness of joy in His presence and wooing me to seek His face continually.

In and through all of this, God has really helped me regain being content. The problem all along was being overly focused on ME!! There was a really awesome place of surrender I found myself at in 2005. I told the Lord it was no longer about my call to the mission field and my giftings and desires, but about HIM. So again, I have found that realizing the big picture is not about me at all... it's all about Him. If it is about me even in the slightest, it's so that I can decrease and He can increase. If He is most glorified through my life for me to sit before Him in the place of worship and intercession... YES. If it is my being used as His instrument on a mission field... OK. My "callings and giftings" are only as useful my intimacy to Him and my desire for "His kingdom come, His will be done!" This brings liberation and CONTENTMENT!

Psalm 16: 8,9a,11
"I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

Monday, August 17, 2009

He Hears

I find it amazing how I wake up from a DEEP sleep by the smallest cry from one of my children. That was the case last night. We have sound machines that we sleep to that play the ocean or rain. I had mine on, and there was one on in the kids room too. At 3:30 am I was suddenly awake. I turned off the "rain" and listened intently. I heard a faint little cry from Simeon. I just don't understand how that works that I can sleep through so many sounds, but the cry of my child awakens me instantly.

I got Simeon out of his bed and put him in mine where I rubbed his back and he played with my hair (please tell me he will always be this affectionate!). Immediately this verse was swirling in my mind. Psalm 116: 1-2 "I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!"

How incredible is it that this is true of the Lord; that it moves His heart when His children cry. He is attentive to our cry. He WILL respond when His children cry out to Him. Equally incredible is the fact that at 3:30 in the morning, the Holy Spirit is teaching me about the Father!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Running the Race

I had the crazy idea to try and become a runner. I heard about Jeff Galloway’s method of taking walk breaks at intervals so I thought I would try it. I have been running for maybe 6 weeks now. Yesterday I went out with the idea that I would stretch myself to 8 miles. Up to now, 5 has been the longest distance I have gone. Of course, by mile 3 I was thinking… if I just do 6 miles that would still be great. I had that back and forth conversation, lap after lap, trying to decide if I could make it. I started thinking about the comparisons spiritually. I listen to music while I run and there has been some real intense worship at the park. If I weren’t concentrating on breathing and pace so much, I’d surely have my hands raised half of the time. I was thinking about how discipline, diligence and breakthrough are in play for both the physical and the spiritual. I want a runner’s body on an ice cream diet. Similarly, I want the spiritual rewards of intimacy, but often begin to back away at mile 2 or 3.

I know God is inviting me into a lifestyle of worship and intercession. He confirmed the call to the “Anna” lifestyle 3 times in the past week. Ironically, Anna was widowed around the age 24 and spent 60+ years in the temple serving night and day with fastings and prayers, speaking of Him to all those who were looking for redemption. (Luke 2:36-38) Her faithfulness was credited to her in a big way! With her own eyes she got to see the Messiah! I have prayed dangerously in the spirit and told the Lord, ‘keep me low as long as You need to make me into who it is You want me to be. Let there continually be less of me and more of You’. I keep asking for the refining and pruning to be in play over my life, but so wish it could be an out of body experience. I am in a place of realizing how little I know Him and even more, how much less I am like Him. He is drawing me in with the promise of intimacy and deeper revelation into His heart… but at a cost. I let go of the job that I loved teaching ESL, to be in the place of prayer. It is difficult to have a lot of social interactions because of kid’s schedules and living in the backwoods. Many of the things I have found fulfilling in the past (job, relationships, etc) are no longer present and I am face to face with the reality that my identity is ONLY in Him. The Word says that He is enough and that He alone satisfies. My emotions are unreliable, but He is faithful and true… He will prove these truths as I stay at His feet. To that I say bring on some large dose refining. I want to be where You want me to be when You want me to be there. Your ways are higher than mine (Isa 55:9)!

I made it to the 8 mile goal, so encouraged in my spirit to press in to deeper places and not stop at the fatigue and discouragement that comes spiritually in the early miles.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
I have been listening to this song so much in the past week and it continues to increase my desire for Jesus!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Remembering a Great Day



From the day we got engaged in Keifung, China



August 7, 2004



I will forever remember this day. After the wedding ceremony and ironically after Scott's memorial, I had similar feelings about the services; that God had really showed up and I wouldn't have changed anything about them. God was so good, is so good and will always be good. If it weren't for His unfailing love and unchanging character, I would never have made it this far.
Having had several friends go through very rough places in marriage and a few through divorce, want to express some thoughts on the topic. There is no better place to learn how to let the flesh die. Read 1 Corinthians 13 and Philippians 2 to gain wisdom for the harder seasons. Marriage, for most, has very difficult moments. It isn't always the easiest thing in the world. One thing I greatly appreciated about Scott and our marriage was that we NEVER brought up divorce as an option. I honestly knew it would be until death, but thought it would be more like forever. Those vows are covenant before the Lord. I pray that marriage will once again glorify Jesus and point to a picture of intimacy for Him and His bride; the church. (Eph 5:22,25) Wives submit to your husbands as unto the Lord. Do everything for Him and as unto Him. I previously blogged about trying to be the Holy Spirit (nagging) to Scott and not really trusting that God in His way and time would bring about His will in my husband and in our life together. Trust in the Lord and lay it at His feet.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ lived the church and gave Himself up for her (while we were still sinners Christ died for us!).
Lord help those in marriages to love unconditionally, not reactionally. Love never fails (1 Cor 13:8). Glorify Yourself once again through covenant marriages Lord.
I have been amazed at what I remember (and what I forget :). After each of my children were born, I thought that I would never do that again. Even worse, they'd then keep me from sleep and consume so much of their early months that it was draining and overwhelming. With both of them, at 3 months of age things got a little easier, and again around 6-7 months old. By the time they neared their 1st birthday, I had forgotten how difficult the earlier parts have been and started thinking about another baby! I know Scott and I walked through a good bit together and there were times I was overwhelmed and felt hopeless. There were many amazing times too. I hate that I missed opportunities to tell him how gentle, loving, and funny he was. How much I appreciated that he participated a lot in the daily things (dishes, kids baths, etc). Those many 'little things' I took for granted. I am so thankful that God let us have the time we had. I'm very thankful that the difficult things about marriage and relationship fade and what remains is beautiful and sweet. I'm reminded that faith, hope and love remain, but the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13:13). Here is a verse that a friend sent me during one of the difficult stages (we got married, started a business, had two kids and sold that business all in 4 years!). The friend sent verse 5. I had it in my Bible for a long time and after Scott passed away, I found it and read the rest of the chapter; verse 4 then really stood out to me.


Isaiah 54: 4-5
Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.


For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.


If you want to know how to pray for me, please pray that He would continue to heal me, to fill me with more of Him, and that I would stay at His feet long enough to be satisfied in Him alone.
(Psalm 145:16 You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing!)




honeymoon in Cancun




Our first anniversary.









Monday, August 3, 2009

Costa Rica 2009

I was blessed to get to go to Costa Rica with a church in Clinton, Mississippi. I was gone 12 days and there are so many things I really want to share about the trip, but will try to limit them. I'm usually not great at few words.

I want to highlight some of the immediate things that come to mind.

Calling. I know to some degree I am called to cross cultural service. I used to think that meant full time overseas, but now I am learning to live in today and not be preoccupied about the future. If God brings that to pass one day, I would be thrilled. Today's obedience is living in TODAY for me, but it is wonderful for me to get to participate in any cross cultural ministry!

Community. Many mother's of little ones know it is so difficult to plan anything around nap times and meals etc. Since Scott passed away, the lack of community has been very evident. It was a huge blessing to be a part of that group of 29 for almost 2 weeks. I know I need to make a bigger effort to connect "in person" with friends in my community. The people I met on the Costa Rica team hold a special place in my heart. I have not laughed so hard or often in a LONG time.

Clarity. God has been teaching me about what love looks like for a few weeks. I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal my heart to me (surely, only in Small measure) and He did. On the 4th of July I realized how much judgement and pride were in me and how opposing to LOVE those are. The lyrics of a song popped in my head as I passed a homeless guy who looked fairly mentally disturbed. "All of the others on the road passed me by but not You". I got to see this same homeless guy 3 times and pray over him and pour the truth of God's love for him into him. I wonder how many people stop for him. I seriously fall more in love with Jesus when He gives me a little glimpse of how beautiful he is in moments like these. I KNEW and FELT God's love for this man and love that God was showing me this lesson before this trip. For years, I have told the Lord, send me where ever and to whom ever, I'll go. The lesson for me is if I can't love those in my own community with His love, I won't do it any better in another country! I thank God for giving me a little more of His vision of love.

inCarcerated. I wasn't aiming to go with all c's but since it's happened this far, why stop. Well, I didn't get incarcerated, but after several of us went to the police station/jail across the street from the church 5 times or so with the repeated brush-off "come back tomorrow", God finally made a way for us to go in! We weren't sure if we'd be talking to prisoners or police officers before we went. We had a guy from Mexico that was there with another team go in with us. The opportunity was so unique and unbelievable that it was evident that God had given us the persistent desire to get in there. 18 officers stood at attention while we sang (slaughtered) Open the Eyes of My Heart in Spanish. Then a little sharing (we were given 15 minutes to be finished) four of the men said they knew they needed Jesus and we got to lay hands on each of the 18 men and pray for their protection and over their families... while they were all still at attention! What a great last night for us!

Communication and Culture. The last couple of times I have been out of the country, it has been to Spanish speaking cultures. Since my last visit to Panama, I have been around Spanish a lot from when I was teaching ESL to mostly Spanish speakers. It was fun to get to use it and enjoy the people of Costa Rica. They are among the most open and hospitable people I have ever met. I love them and hope to return soon!!

Comforter. I absolutely love it when God speaks in real, physical and tangible ways with me. I got to hold a sweet 3 month old baby while she slept during VBS one day. I carried her around and was struck by the fact that she completely trusted that she was safe and secure. It didn't matter where I went, her position didn't change. I want to trust and rest like that with the Father. What a beautiful picture. Toward the end of the trip I was spending some time with the Lord when Psalm 116 popped into my head. Not the actual psalm... just that "psalm 116". So I went to it and spent some time there. Later that night I was hit with those fun, unexpected emotions that I never seem to know exactly where they come from. I used to have such emotional control! For some reason I always feel if I could sort out exactly where it is coming from, it might make a difference. Today is 8 months since Scott passed away. Friday is our 5 year anniversary. I was living in and enjoying community and I knew it was coming to an end. I fear the mundane of life, and simultaneously know THAT's where He usually shows me Himself the greatest. In the lows and pain. Who knows exactly which of these was the catalyst for what happened! So, this huge emotional outburst happened while one of the sweet unsuspecting ladies from the local church asked me details about Scott; our life and his death. The next morning I knew the lid was off and my control was limited but again the Lord said "psalm 116". You should definitely read it, but a few things that really spoke loudly to me. I love the Lord because He hears my voice, I will call upon Him as long as I live. I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. You have rescued my soul from death, my eyes from tears and my feet from stumbling. I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living! I love that God gave me that chapter before I even needed it. Psalm 139:5 "You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me".

While the greatest focus of the trip was to be a blessing to this church by doing physical tasks on the property (laying cement, painting, etc) God really did more than I could have hoped or expected.

I am really tired and hope that I can fall asleep now that I have processed things a little more. I literally laugh out loud as I think about some of the hilarious things that happened. I know some of those memories will see me through tough times in the future. This last part won't make sense to most of you, but I want to be able to remember some of these things! Sorry Austin and Devin!! Murky water and marco polo make me nervous. I'm pretty sure I said, "Kayla, did you show him your 'moves'?!" I know more about Mike Grove than I ever thought I would!!! I can't believe Ashley!! 84?!? Sorry but the tubing picture really is HILARIOUS! I really do know ALL of the words to Cry Me a River and I am still ready! If there are any more that I forgot... you can comment them on here :) I wasn't great about taking pictures, but here are a few of the team. Hopefully I will add more as other team peps put some up.

a few from Costa Rica!


These are pictures that teammates took.
others pic from cr

Friday, July 17, 2009

Extravagant Devotion

Luke 7:37-38
"And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with he tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume."
The Holy Spirit has brought me back to this passage several times in the past few weeks, so I have really wanted to stay in it long enough to GET it. Jesus is invited to dinner at a Pharisee's house. The word Pharisee is indicative of a person who would have been religious and "separate" which is what the word Pharisee means in Hebrew. A woman who is known to be "immoral" hears that Jesus is in town and eating at this Pharisee's house. She brings a container of expensive perfume with her and begins literally showering Him with affection. She weeps over Him and washes His feet with her tears and wipes them with her hair. There are so many culturally unacceptable things about this! Not only that she approached this great teacher, but that she lets her hair down and kisses His feet is culturally shocking. This woman was surely aware of how she would be perceived.
I have played this picture through my head a few times now and it stirs my heart in an incredible way. I imagine her hearing that Jesus is in town and her heart immediately begins beating hard. She has heard that He loves and forgives anyone. She is unusually drawn to Him... as though she would die without knowing Him for herself. Without really thinking, she grabs a container of expensive perfume and has ONE GOAL to find Jesus. Maybe she doesn't even think ahead to what she will do when she sees Him, but just knows that she HAS to be in His presence. I picture her walking into the house knowing that what she's about to do is CRAZY and that the on-lookers will greatly disapprove, but nothing can stop her now. Her heart is so full of worship and love for this man she comes to His feet and lets all of her emotions pour over Him. His presence and love fill all of the gaping holes that have been in her heart for so many years now. It's as though time stands still and she knows that in part she was created for this very moment.
The Pharisee thought to himself, if Jesus were a prophet He would know what type of person this is, that she is a sinner. Ironically, Jesus being a prophet, knew the Pharisee's thoughts and gave a parable (Lk 7: 40-43) *In my own words* The parable was a little like this: American Express has two credit card holders. One owed $60,000 and the other owed $2000. AMEX graciously decided to cancel BOTH debts. Which of these two credit card holders had the greater love? The obvious answer is the one who was forgiven more, which is what the Pharisee also thought.
The cultural norm in that time was to have the feet of a guest washed upon entering the house. Jesus in verses 44-46 said that He was given no water for His feet, but that she wet them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. He was given no kiss, but she kissed His feet, His head was not anointed, but she anointed His feet with perfume. VS 47 "For this reason I say to you her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."
I love this woman's devotion. I am in a season of asking the Holy Spirit to reveal my heart and sin to me. I believe that the closer we get to the Lord and the more we understand of His holiness, our sin is revealed to us more and more. There have been times in prayer that I seriously have thought that my sins are few or serious. I know there is a major flaw in that thinking and have been asking Him to show me the truth of my sin so I can be forgiven and come nearer (only to repeat :) He has done this in a major way recently in revealing things in my heart I didn't even know were present. I want to KNOW the depth of the darkness of my heart because He alone can cleanse and transform it!
I love this extravagant devotion and love and want to pursue it in ways that might be culturally inappropriate or misunderstood because He thinks it's beautiful. It pleases Him and makes me complete! Lord, let my heart always beat harder at the mention of Your name!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Confidence Restored

Imagine with me that 700+ people join an internet group, loosely committing to buy a raffle ticket to help raise money. That would represent $7,000 and in a perfect world, they all buy a ticket and tell at least two friends. That ends up being $21,000! Wow, the prayer movement just got a big boost!... well, that's not exactly how it went. I started the raffle, and after the first week, there was only $2,000 in the account. I then decided to extend the raffle for two more weeks and it slowly crept up. So my anxiety set in... not only will I not be able to bless the house of prayer, but in addition to that I am going to lose money by not getting what I could have if I had just SOLD the car instead of doing the whole raffle thing.
A completely separate set of circumstances opened the door for me to go on an 11 day missions trip to Costa Rica for very little money (July 22-Aug 2 if you want to pray for me and my family). I had been asking the Lord for an opportunity to go overseas for a short term trip soon and this opportunity came up. The majority of the way was paid for me to go on this trip so I prayed about the opportunity and timing and really felt the "green light" was there from the Lord. Then there was a travel miscommunication and the Atlanta/Houston ticket I bought was completely unusable because my ticket to Costa Rica was booked from Mississippi to Houston to Costa Rica (MS is where the rest of the team is out of). So, my purchased ticket is useless (can apply the credit to travel in future... for a fee of course :) ), but I had still had no way to Mississippi or back. I finally got it all worked out, but not without stress and frustration and more money.

The raffle was tanking, and instead of making money from the car for the House of Prayer, I was loosing money on tickets that I couldn't use! I seriously started thinking, do I even know how to hear His voice at all?! I felt like everything I touched became poisoned.... like when you spray round up to kill all of the weeds, but this was obviously not intentional! For several days, I just felt that nagging anxiety, frustration and oppression of those situations. The sermon series at church was on cultivating joy and I could tell I wasn't following the recipe too well! I have begun to judge if I am "in the Spirit" or "in the flesh" by Romans 8:5-7, the mind set of the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. I definitely knew that I was not walking according to the Spirit and knew that it was a spiritual battle, but felt stuck.

A friend called me and I casually mentioned the oppression I felt stuck in. She started praying for me on the phone and the stress, frustration, anxiety funk left immediately!! I was so immensely grateful to her and to the Lord that I really felt free to know that the raffle REALLY WAS in God's hands. It was as though I heard the Lord saying that what I considered "successful" for the raffle wasn't necessarily the same as His gauge for measuring. I began to believe that He was going to accomplish everything that HE wanted accomplished through it! If I personally lost money or if The Well didn't receive what I had hoped, He could meet those needs in completely different ways...without me or my little raffle being involved! What a great God; He truly loves me in my weakness and immaturity!

I love that the call to walk in faith like a child keeps resurfacing in my life. Why do I continually choose to put myself under a burden and stress that is unnecessary. It is so freeing to let Him have it ALL and to enjoy Him. As I wrote that, I thought about the fact that for MANY marriages, the issue of finances is what causes the most stress, tension and arguments. Our relationship with the Lord has been set in that bridal imagery in the Word. How much more am I able to simply enjoy Him when I trust Him daily?

The awesome part is that after I really felt free to believe that how the raffle went was no indication of it's success... because He will accomplish His purposes through it, the Lord really blessed us at The Well on Saturday night. A team from Korea with Youth with a Mission came and were a real blessing in many ways. We wanted to take up an offering for them, but they ended up blessing us immensely when just before they left they told us they pray and obey and the Lord wanted to bless us through THEM. They gave us enough money to cover two months mortgage at The Well!

I just want to say God is good! What an awesome affirmation that experience was! He is freeing me from the world, the approval of man and even my own weakness and faulty expectations. I would gladly follow You step by step daily than to have a 5 year plan for my life! You capture my heart and fascinate me with Your love! What an adventure we are on together!
this is the only copy of this song I could find... this one the Lord has used several times now to really show me Himself in an intimate way. Love it!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's day

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I was putting some pictures together of Scott as a way to remember him and honor him today. Scott really was a GREAT father. He had a ton of patience and was very attentive when interacting with the babies. He could hear what seemed like non-stop crying and it wouldn't stress him out. When they were newborns and I was at home all day with them, he would return from many hours of working and still help me as I passed a crying infant off to him desperation.

I love my earthly father. I especially love who the Lord is making him into. It's awesome and incredible to see his heart becoming more like Jesus'. I never thought too much about the "fatherless". My thoughts used to initially go to aids orphaned children in Africa. These days, I think more about the many fathers that, at best, are distant. Many are absent. I know this doesn't only apply to fathers who are physically absent, but this is said to be the plague of the generation; fatherless homes.

I remember one time I was in Wal-Mart and I saw a (very) pregnant girl and I noticed she didn't have a ring on her finger. I made an assumption (sounds better than judgement right?) about her and her lifestyle and choices. Then the many joys of pregnancy fell upon me too, and my fingers were swollen to the point that my ring didn't fit. Yup... I'm sure you see where I'm going. Even where I find myself in life now, I can't help but wonder how people will perceive me. When I meet someone for the first time who finds that I'm not married but that I have two children, their assumptions will surely be that I am divorced or that I was never married to start with. I wouldn't have even thought of myself to be "judgemental". I am thankful that Jesus has revealed my heart to me. I continually want to be reminded that all of my "righteousness" is like filthy rags before Him. There is no one righteous, not even one (Rom 3:10).

I love this story in Luke 7
36Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. 37When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. 39When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner."

Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners. The "righteous" and religious asked His disciples why he ate with people like this. Jesus said it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick (Mk 2: 14-18). It was for sinners that Jesus came (1 Tim 1:15-16).

This is the beauty and romance of the Gospel. Romans 5:7-9
7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him.

While Jesus was in the garden praying before He died for our sins, He prayed to God calling Him Abba, an Aramaic word which is translated Daddy!
As His children, we receive a Spirit of sonship by which we cry out Daddy! (Romans 8:15)

Galatians 4: 4But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son.

In weak words, my heart and spirit want to connect this Father, DADDY, heart of God and the overwhelming love He has for us weak, broken, sinners. Father's day was a bit difficult around our house today. The absence of a really good father on this earth was felt, but the presence of a Great Heavenly Daddy was here. This Daddy will never leave you or forsake you. His love endures forever. He is an ever present help in times of trouble. He takes in all who turn to Him... and especially loves those "sinners" who have a great need for Him.
I pray that you had time this Father's Day to reflect on the One who loves you perfectly and pursues you relentlessly. I hope that the love of the Father becomes more present in my life and through my life as I (a sinner) live and walk in this world of sinners. Lord, let me see people through your eyes and love with your heart!
Below is a video of Jason Upton singing about the Father heart of God. Jason was adopted into a family and understands better than most our adoption into God's family through the work of Jesus on the cross. Jason Upton was also Scott's favorite worship leader.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Reader discretion advised!

I have been thinking about our fast paced, microwave society. I am so much a part of it too! Last year, I decided I wanted to plant flowers and thought I could put seeds in the ground and have flowers the same season. I was informed that you plant for the next season; normally, plant in the spring to see “harvest” in the fall. Otherwise, you buy the flowers that are already blooming and plant them. As silly as it sounds, the principle that everyone who has ever planted anything knows, there is a season of sowing that precedes the reaping. I did have a surprise blessing last year, some petunias popped up and I didn’t sow for them. It was God’s grace and gift. Sometimes we get to reap from another’s labor, but that’s a whole different topic! Back to my part in our culture; I literally never even push the time 2.00 minutes and start on the microwave. Mine has a “quick minute” feature that from one push it sets it to a minute and starts it automatically. The beauty of tevo or dvr is that you can fast forward through commercials and things you don’t want to see. You can record an hour long show and watch it in 35 minutes minus commercials. Even at Six Flags, you can get some sort of fast pass and spend an hour running to all of the different rides you want to get on, reserving it in a sense, and then come back to it to wait in line for a reduced amount of time. Our culture is filled with short-cuts and it’s no wonder that we “labor” in prayer or seeking the Lord for short seasons, lack perseverance and get weary quickly.

Most of you know I am in a season of pruning, purging, refining and healing. So many times I find myself telling the Lord, let this be over soon. There are so many times that I am literally energized and exhilarated by what He is doing that I am in such a good place spiritually and emotionally. The grief monster is seemingly always lurking though and it has become that I can see it a few days out. I haven’t succumbed to it in the same way or depth recently as I have in the past, but my wounds are still present and painful. I’m tired of going there and rehashing what seems well enough to be hidden under the bandage. Exposing it again and again every few weeks only seems to irritate it. God has been giving me a very vivid picture for how this process must play out.

This is where READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. When I was 15 years old, my appendix ruptured. I had it removed, but the three inch long, one and a half inch wide wound had to be left opened for several days to remove all of the infected and damaged tissue. The first time after surgery that the nurses came to clean it, it felt like a steal scrubbing thing you use for the really dirty dishes. It was extremely painful. They had to come every few hours to clean it and once I was aware how painful it was, I cried at least 30 minutes BEFORE they came in anticipation of the pain. In essence, what I want many times is for the Lord to “sew me up” without letting the course of healing take place. I am saying, go ahead and just put something over it… it’ll be okay. If the infection is left, it will continue to cause other healthy tissue to rot as well.

I am aware of this spiritually. I want to be the Jeremiah 17:7-8 tree whose roots go down deep into the water, stays green in every season and is not anxious during drought but continues to bear fruit… but without the season of pruning that is necessary. I am thankful that the Lord knows that the real position in my heart is YES LORD, have your way in my life. Don’t stop pruning. Like the good physician, he knows that if he relents under my cries of pain, that the job will not be sufficient. Even gold has to be put through the fire to be rid of it’s impurities. John 12:24 says unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit. It is the pattern of the Kingdom for us to lose our lives to save it, to decrease so that He can increase, to share in the sufferings of Christ, to take up our cross and follow Him. Although the weight of this work He is doing is at times a hard pill to swallow, He knows that by His spirit in me, my greater desire is that He leaves no remnant of infection. My great temptation is to pretend like the wound isn’t there and to set my gaze on the destination rather than the journey. I understand how one would be tempted to fill this season with busyness … I received advice from many to “keep busy” to make the absence of my husband less difficult. The better advice is to stay at His feet until the healing and deeper work is complete… and then, stay at His feet some more because He is good. He is kind in all His ways and righteous in all His deeds and He satisfies the desire of every living thing (Psalm 145: 14-20).

I want to end with a few verses and an exhortation to wait upon the Lord. My wound happens to be directly related to Scott’s death, although I know the Lord is cleaning and purifying me in every area of my life. I have recently been thinking about the “infections” of bitterness and unforgiveness specifically although I know there are many more than could be named. I know that these, if just covered or masked, will continue to infect other good tissue. They must be dealt with and we have to be in a position of asking for and giving permission to The Healer to come and work in these areas even as painful as it might be.

Psalm 36: 7-9
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; and You give them to drink of the river of Your delights. For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.
2 Corinthians 4:16-17
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.
I hope that with whatever season the Lord d has you in, you can look at it from His perspective and be thankful in all things.