Sunday, August 23, 2009


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