Last night we spend the evening at friend’s house who live out in the country. As we shared dinner and fellowship on their deck, “creation began to reveal God’s glory!”
It began with the most glorious clouds which took on a vibrant pink glow as the sun lowered in the sky. Then in the distance lightening began flashing (this went on for hours and yet it never rained on us). Then a double rainbow appeared that lingered for close to two hours. The sunset did not disappoint as the sky was like a light show of color.
As this happened, we found ourselves in awe of God’s beauty, majesty and wonderful displays of color. We ended up spending till almost midnight looking up— the crescent moon, the Big Dipper and constellations, shooting stars and even satellites racing by. The awe and wonder never ceased and the fellowship of “looking up together” was like a refreshing drink of cool water for all of us.
Why am I writing about this? Do I have a prophetic word? No. Do I have some profound encounter that will save the nations…not necessarily. Although, our help comes from above! It is the Creator of the heavens and the earth that holds everything in place. The sky revealed that He is still in control and what glorious power is within His hand.
Last night we forgot about all the “rage, hate and defilement” happening throughout the world and we just looked up! And what a wondrous show He gave us! It was better than any movie and better than anything we could have paid for! It was creation declaring His might and His splendor.
We were drawn into the living display of Psalm 19,
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end…” Psalms 19:1-6
There is none like our God! We were so refreshed as we stopped to look up last night. In the midst of all that is happening on the ground— maybe you should lift your head! Be reminded of “Who He is” and the beauty and wonder that man cannot deface or defile. Enter into the place of wonder and remember that there is beauty and there is hope.
“I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” Psalms 121:1-8
Stop and look up! Let your soul be refreshed and reminded of the vast beauty and majesty of our God!
I often think that we aren’t aware of when we begin living out of a 𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑣𝑎𝑙 𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑠𝑒𝑡. It is like an old default setting that was hardwired into our souls that we depend upon when things around us begin to be out of our ability to control them.
For me, I learned early on in life to be an expert at 𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔. This did not serve me well when it came to issues of surrender or intimacy because the thought behind every surviver mentality is that there is something bad and tragic to survive. And I had a lot happen that reinforced that belief.
In my early years of walking with Jesus, I began to understanding that I couldn’t grow without letting go. I had to learn the difference between surviving and overcoming. Surviving kept me alive but didn’t allow me to thrive because it was rooted in trauma and self-preservation. The kindness and love of fhe Father began to teach me that overcoming was what He desired which is rooted in dependency and trust; not in me or my self-preservation but in full surrender and yielding to Him alone.
This was not an overnight process because the hardwiring to survive and the expectation of being left alone was at my core. It was a process of facing frightening times and deep fears and choosing surrender rather than protection. I had to allow my heart to risk loving and being loved. Surviving put a lock on my heart but overcoming was to open that door 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑔𝑜 𝑙𝑎𝑦 𝑑𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝐽𝑒𝑠𝑢𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑖𝑑𝑠𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑎 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑚.
I remember when my family brought a foster baby into our home. I could feel my heart falling deeply in love with this little boy. Somehow I knew deep inside that he was only “on loan“ to us. I had a choice- I could merely care for him and survive losing him or I could open my heart and give him all the love he deserved and I had wifhin me to give. So, knowing that my heart would face incredible loss I gave it fully to him. For four years I loved that little boy with everything in me. It was so beautiful! Most days I’d lay down with him during his nap time and just stare at him, pray for him and tears would often flow as I overcame what I knew was coming. Sure enough that day came but through the terrible pain I had no regrets because I hadn’t held anything back. He would carry throughout his life all the love that I’d poured into him even if he didn’t remember me. And I would always have the memory and beauty of four years of loving the sweetest little boy. It’s been six years since then and I have no regrets. I learned to overcome so that I could experience deep intimacy rather than merely survive and experience only the shallow places.
There is a healing that is being offered by the Father that takes your hand and walks you into the deeper waters of surrender and trust so that you can experience the fullness of beauty, intimacy and encounter. Will pain still come? Yes, but you won’t merely survive pain but thrive in the midst of pain. Surrender has been the greatest gift because it allows me to 𝑙𝑒𝑡 𝑔𝑜! In that place I find that I experience being held by the arms of my God when I feel like pain leaves me unable to breathe. His love and intimate presence becomes my breath and my overcoming strength. It is then that I thrive!
My life is so much richer from having loved when loss was a high risk. I’ve done that many times now. Actually, all earthly love (except for our love for Jesus) has that risk. But the choice is to self-preserve and hold back or to lay it all down and love fully knowing that the the 𝙊𝙣𝙚 𝙎𝙪𝙧𝙚 𝙇𝙤𝙫𝙚 will carry us through the times of loss and pain. I have always gained far more then I lost when I’ve given all of me.
It’s time to give 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑜𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢 to the One who gave all of Him for you. Ask Him to reset you to the default of an overcomer not merely a survivor. Again, overcoming takes dependency, surrender and letting go of control. It’s so worth rhe cost!
It’s time to thrive while you’re alive- not only survive. Holy Spirit come and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Help us to let go and find where you are in the midst of storms so that we can lay down with you…𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑙𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎𝑟𝑚𝑠.
Every morning when I wake up my amazing husband brings me a latte while I’m still in bed and for the next hour I sit with Jesus— worship music awakens my soul, His presence becomes my sunrise and peace prepares my heart to “be still and know that He is God!”
My routine was changed a bit today when I answered a text and my eyes were drawn to a notification on my phone from a page called, “View from my window.” It’s a FB page that has almost 2M followers that is dedicated to this quarantine time. People from all across the world send in photos of the view from their windows at home. I began to look at the photos from people’s homes and was captured by the beauty of creation! I was so drawn into each unique setting— both the ones with profound views of mountain peaks as well as the ones with simple views of a swing set that their children play on. They spoke of such personal beauty and the stories of the lives that look out upon these scenes.
I began to be overcome by His love for each life and each family that these “window views” represented. He see such beauty in each one. Like an adoring Father, He sees the beauty that the rest of the world may just walk by and miss. He sees through the windows of their souls and knows each one so intimately— even if they’ve forgotten Him. Their beauty–and your beauty–takes His breath away! The view of you is His favorite thing to look upon! You ravish Him!
Here in Virginia we’ve been blessed with such a beautiful spring! Most days have been sunny and have provided breathtaking sunsets that keep this quarantine time kissed by beauty. But yesterday grey skies rolled in and I had one of those day where my whole focus had to be on “business” work— which always drains me. As I began to feel the depletion of joy (because I need daily visual and spiritual beauty), I heard the Spirit whisper to me, “Just stop for an hour and come see Me.”
I set my laptop aside, my phone aside and my work aside. Then I closed my eyes to “behold His beauty.” Time with Him is like a stroll through a garden of fragrant beauty— flowers, spices, light, color and intimacy.
“My lover has gone down to his garden, to his spice beds, to browse in the gardens and gather the lilies. I am my lover’s, and my lover is mine. He browses among the lilies.” Song of Songs 6:2-3
I want to encourage each of you to not get stuck in the mundane! Yes— here in quarantine there is still work to be done, children to be raised, meals to be prepared, messed to be cleaned and problems to be solved. But do not forsake time that is set aside to behold beauty; behold His beauty and behold the beauty that surrounds you. Search for Him and search for places that refresh and restore your soul. Go find a simple flower and gaze at it until you see His face appear in creation.
As a child, before I knew the Lord, I was growing up in one of the most beautiful settings in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. My family was often in chaos and turmoil but I remember that in the midst of an overwhelming atmosphere I would often walk outside and lay on our grass under the towering pine trees and just look up at the vibrant blue sky and breathe in the mountain air— it would reset me and enable me to go on. I didn’t realize that it was God who had set me in a “cathedral of His creation” that I could escape to and be restored. What a gift.
Today my family lives on what was once a Civil War battlefield in Virginia. Sometimes when I walk the battlefield trail I think about those that were there experiencing such despair in the midst of so much natural beauty. I wonder if at times they stopped and looked up at the very trees that I am gazing upon and found a moment of beauty that reminded them that there was something more?
I don’t know what you are facing in the midst of this time of a global crisis but whatever it is— be sure to stop and find beauty. I remind myself each day that the sun still rises and sets with all of its brilliance, the wind still blows through the tall grasses causing it to dance, the waves still crash upon the shores, the birds still sing the songs of creation and the colors still reveal the vibrancy of a beautiful Creator. Find His face, His beauty and His garden. Go taste and see— it is His banqueting table set before you; even in the midst of your enemies.
Beauty waits to have you come behold it.
Thank you to all of my readers who have prayed for us and supported us through financial gifts through this time! You are beautiful!
When we say that God’s ways are not our ways we truly aren’t kidding! Who could have ever guessed that the thing that was sent to separate us would be used to unite us like never before?
I have never seen so many nations, generations and denomination coming together day after day on ZOOM calls, FB Lives, online worship and prayer meetings! And as I’m sure that you’ve noticed; these are not quick “on the surface” times but they are deep, beautiful and life changing times together.
In the Fall of 2019 the Lord took me into a vision where I saw demons playing cards around a poker table and they had become so confident in their winning streak that they were about to put all their chips in the pot— betting it all in one hand. But in this vision the enemies cheating hand was about to be exposed and “he would overplay his hand” causing a great victory for God’s people and a great defeat for the enemy. The plunder would be transferred to God’s people.
This “separation” has definitely overplayed his hand and suddenly the enemy is losing at the hand he bet on! The body of Christ is rising up in her identity, they are coming together as one family now that there are no church walls or denominational names to divide them. Together they are repenting, changing, partaking of communion and giving generously in the midst of their time of need. What the enemy meant for harm is now healing His Ecclesia and making us one.
You can no longer get lost in a crowd because the crowds are gone and we are seeing each other with new eyes, new longings and new alignments. I keep hearing people speak the words, “We are all in this together.” And it is so true! The Aw entire world has been drawn into home, into family and into a church that has no walls, no denominational affiliation and no end. You can wake up anytime of the night and join with believers from around the world to worship or pray. While the family of God has been quarantined behind the doors of her homes she has begun the greatest outreach we’ve ever seen. Social media has opened the doors to our homes, our lives and our families where all are welcome.
I have probably wept more with the family of a God from around the world these past few weeks then in a long time. I’ve wept for joy at His goodness and His kindness as He unites our hearts. His bride is so beautiful! She is returning to First Love!
As Passover has begun I feel the awe of God as we have responded to Jesus knocking again the doors of our hearts and homes— we have let Him come in. He is ridding our hearts of unneeded things and making room for His communion table to be set. His blood has been placed upon the entrances (doorway) of our hearts and lives as we’ve allowed the finished work of the cross to be the center once again.
This morning as I was awakening from a dream I saw the Lord come and put His blood upon our foreheads, our hands and our feet. All the places that were pierced when He gave His life for us were being touched by the pure and perfect Passover Lamb’s blood; who has once and for all caused eternal death to pass us by.
As I saw this I felt a deep longing to go to every member of our family and take some of the juice from my communion cup and put a drop of it on their foreheads, their hands and their feet as an act of coming into agreement and announcing that we are covered with the blood of mercy (the Passover Lamb) that has made us clean once and forever! No plague (which in Hebrew is translated as “virus”) can separate us from the love of God or the eternal life purchased for us by Yeshua.
“For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.” Hebrews 10:10
What the enemy meant to separate and divide us has brought forth a greater oneness with Christ and with one another then we have ever experienced before this time. We do not forget the fact that lives have been lost and we grieve with those who grieve. But we cannot overlook the beautiful fragrance coming forth from the homes and lives of His people.
Yesterday, Bill Johnson was on an online gathering with our global family and he described how when you go into a jewelry store to purchase a diamond ring the jeweler will lay it upon a piece of black velvet because when a diamond is presented against a backdrop of darkness and then light is shone in it— it’s brilliance is displayed best.
The Lord is suddenly placing His Bride on display against a backdrop of global darkness and shining the light of His sovereignty, His love and His adoration upon her and “she is radiant and brilliant.” She is all together lovely! Her different facets are shining with the brilliance of a cut diamond.
I just want to take this moment to say to each of you; you have taken my breath away! Seeing your faces, the worship from your living rooms, and reading your words of devotion to God have been the greatest non-stop church service I’ve ever attended! Thank you! My “face time” with God has become all the more rich because I have been face to face with you. The worship of the nations has drawn me back to first love!
Thank you to all who have stood with our family and ministry during this time! No words can express our gratitude!
The entire world realizes the seriousness of this hour as COVID-19 has created a health and financial crisis. Along with this, God is causing a deep sobering and refining in the hearts of His people as we navigate this landscape, facing issues unprecedented in any of our lifetimes. I personally have never experienced such a soul-searching time.
Then, yesterday as my husband and I watched the final episode of an HBO mini-series about John Adams (second president of the United States), a scene that occurred just prior to his death struck my spirit at a profoundly deep level.
Adams’ entire life had been dedicated to the very hard and real struggle to see his new nation founded and unified; he truly made great sacrifices for this cause. In his old age, after many personal losses, he began to despair as he felt he had paid too great a price. But in this scene, he was a very old man and was taking a short walk with his son. Suddenly he stopped and bent over, looking like he might fall. But he wasn’t falling but rather coming to his senses. He began to describe to his son the time that he stood before the queen of England and was amazed by the opulence of her crown adorned with 2,800 diamonds—including a 105-carat diamond in the front—and the beautiful jewels around her neck and on her hands. Then, as he was still bent over, the camera focused on what he was viewing; a tiny wildflower. With tears and deep passion he said, “All of the diamonds and jewels do not even begin to compare to the beauty of this one tiny flower.”
He then began to weep and laugh at the same time. This ninety-year-old man started to dance, grabbed his son’s arms, and shouted, (quoting the Apostle Paul) “Rejoice evermore! Rejoice evermore!”
The simple, pure perspective of creation and its Creator restored his soul. The “weight of the world” suddenly lifted off him and allowed the end of his life to be filled with simple beauty and joys.
As I watched this scene, tears filled my eyes and the Lord began to go to a new depth in me; but this depth was one of being restored to the child-like wonder of His beauty and creation. It caught me off-guard, even though earlier that day my husband and I were talking about pleasures we’d abandoned because we have become so serious about “seeing His Kingdom established.”
I am not suggesting at all that the sacrifices that we and others have made to serve our God are wrong or in vain, but I suddenly heard Him ask me, “Why don’t you paint? Why did you stop drawing and creating?”
My only answer was, “Well, how is that going to advance Your Kingdom?” As the words came from my mouth I suddenly knew that these simple talents and passions bring His heart pleasure— after all, look at how His artistry in earth’s creation brings us such pleasure.
Then I saw in my mind different scenes of our young grandsons rejoicing as they spend their days running through the tall grass with abandoned joy, or snuggling a neighbor’s kitty, or laughing as they run through a sprinkler. The Lord said, “Is their time wasted?”
I didn’t need to answer Him. Of course I knew that their joy and wonder brings Him great pleasure.
As all this unfolded, something began to be resurrected in my heart. It was the value that God puts upon the “simple beauties.” The tiny spring flowers carpeting the fields, the cherry blossom petals swirling in air like a snowfall, the sunrise and sunsets that paint our sky, and the birds singing songs that could be interpreted in the same words that John Adams sang as he looked upon the tiny flower, “Rejoice. Rejoice evermore!”
There is a deep work happening that is purifying our hearts and decluttering our lives. And yet, there is a resurrection of true wonder, beauty, and joy occurring as well. Let’s not forget to take time to experience His beauty by listening to the song birds, or breathing the aroma of a field of wildflowers, or stopping to look at the beautiful sky with someone we love. Take time to pick up those passions that were left behind and labeled “futile” as we viewed a world caught in the grip of sin and darkness. There is balance restored in understanding that we can be still, knowing that He is God, and we are not! In stillness we will find awe, wonder, and beauty again— which will restore joy to our weary souls.
There are times that it is proper for us to be deeply serious, and yet there are just as many moments that we are to enter into the simple beauties that remain; revealing His love in ways that restore our soul.
That moment, at the end of John Adams’ life, should not have just been a final encounter, but instead could have been thousands of small blessings woven throughout his life, so that the weight of his enormous responsibilities wouldn’t have caused such heartache in his soul. Let’s find the joy that has been woven through the landscape of creation and sown into the fabric of our lives through simple joys—painting, sewing, writing, photography, dancing, singing.
This time of alignment is also a time of balancing perspectives. We are not God, but we take things upon ourselves that set us up as “saviors.” The title Savior belongs to One, and only One. He already bore the weight of the world upon His body and gave His all for every person ever created. There is a rest and joy as we enter into the finished work of the cross and let go of the weight of a misplaced savior complex.
Deep is calling unto deep, but let’s not misunderstand that His finished work is the deepest truth we will ever embrace. Rejoice! Rejoice— REJOICE! He has overcome the world. Go out and spend an hour looking at a flower, or sit with someone you love and watch the sunset from beginning to end. Let beauty lift the weight from you and wash your soul with a resurrection of joy.
Years ago when our family still lived in California I would take long walks every morning. My route was the same each day and on that route I’d love to look at the beautiful yards that lined the streets. But there was this one house on one of the streets that had a yard that was full of weeds; overgrown and clearly never tended to. It always grabbed my attention as it stood out in such contrast to the well-kept yards all around it. One day as I passed by it I just stopped and stared at it for a very long time. I found myself lost in the potential that it had. I could tell that at one time someone had planted a flower garden within it but many years had gone by without a gardener to tend to it and now weeds choked out it’s once held beauty.
That day, as I stood there dreaming of what I’d do if it was my garden, the Lord spoke to me. He said, “Kathi, every person you walk by has great potential. Within each person is a secret garden filled with beauty was created to display different aspects of My image. Will you stop and dream with Me when you see a broken person that has not been nurtured or tended to with love? They are My secret gardens that I want unlocked.”
I knew that when He said “dream with Me” that it implied prayer, seeing beyond the natural, speaking identity, sowing into them and nurturing them. I said, “Yes.”
That “yes” began a journey of seeing with new eyes. I learned to look at people through the eyes of their Creator. Not one single person was ever created outside of His image and His beauty. Not one!
My husband and I found ourselves taking teenaged boys into our home that were broken, bruised and orphaned. These boys were so damaged that it truly took a revelation of “who God created them to be” to be able to walk day after day through their anger, their depravity and the brokenness that had become their identity.
One of our boys was easily triggered by little things in everyday life. His anger would come out with such venom that we needed a divine strategy of how to calm his pain. The Lord had shown me who he was created to be and even the plans for his life. He asked me to begin to speak that beauty over him in these moments of rage. The next time this young teen was triggered I looked at him and said, “Son, that’s not who you are! You are beautiful, kind, caring…” As I began to speak to “who he was” (rather than address what he was doing), he began weeping. He would let me hold him, calm him and restore him to peace. He expected someone to tell him who he had been taught he was (angry, unwanted, hateful, stupid, etc.) but what he received was a love that called him into his true identity. Today this young man is walking in that beautiful identity! The secret garden was unlocked and tended to with love and care.
This morning as I waited before the Lord I felt two things deep on His heart; one was how His people see themselves. The second was how His people see the broken (especially in the younger generation).
Far too often even those who know the Lord view themselves through their pasts or what the natural world has taught them. They see their weeds, their thorns, their hardened soil rather than partnering with God to unlock the hidden beauty (the secret garden) of who He created them to be. It is only when we believe that we possess beauty, value, potential and great purpose that we partner with Him to see it unlocked. As long as we can’t see beyond the weeds we will lose hope and become overwhelmed by the tangled mess. But God does for us what I did for our teen boys; He speaks true identity, beauty, purpose and potential. He invites His sons and daughters into the discovery of His image within them. When we allow our ears to hear the truth we begin to be transformed.
I often say that God has truly surprised me “with me!” Before knowing the Lord I saw absolutely no beauty and no potential beyond surviving and hiding behind masks. Every time I look at what the Lord has done in my life, I truly stand in awe because my “garden” was so locked up that I didn’t even know it existed. Finding “Him in me” has been the greatest treasure hunt! If you haven’t begun to find the treasure called, “You” then it is time to go exploring with the One who created you.
We must also begin to see beyond all the false identities, the masks that block shame, the confusion, and the shock of a world that has forgotten who they are and who’s image they are created in. We must ask the Spirit to begin to reveal His true identity that is beyond what is seen or being lived out in the world around us. Then we can pray, speak life, call them forth and unlock the garden within them.
The world is full of locked gardens but finding His image in them is the key to unlocking the true beauty. Though my initial reaction to that unkept yard was to look the other way or judge it as “unwanted”; the Lord used it to unlock a call on my life to see beauty beyond the natural sight in people.
God is longing to unblock our spiritual sight to see beyond the depravity and brokenness. He longs for us to see beyond the deceit and confusion. He wants us to speak life and to declare, “That’s not who you are! You are beautiful, valued, desired, longed for and deeply loved.”
Speak it over yourself and then speak it over a world (and generation) that has forgotten who they are. It’s time to unlock the beauty!
I want to leave you with the words I hear Him saying over you and over His created ones today from Song of Songs 4,
“How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone. Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate. Your neck is like the tower of David, built with courses of stone; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors. Your breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense. You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon. Descend from the crest of Amana, from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon, from the lions’ dens and the mountain haunts of leopards. You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume more than any spice! Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices. You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon. Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.” Song of Songs 4:1-16
This week families all over our nation gathered around tables to share in the celebration of Thanksgiving. As I viewed many pictures of families smiling together I thought of the “stories behind the smiles” that often are much different than what a social media post relays.
This past week one family that we know lost their wife and mom in a car accident. Another, spent the day remembering a child that they lost recently and still another faced pending cancer treatments. Behind our family photos we are feeling the ache as we prepare for some family members to move 3000 miles away, one child was not present and is facing homelessness, one has just fallen in love and can’t stop smiling, and one couple going through the pains of infertility. A true mix of joy and pain.
There is always incredible beauty and deep felt pain in the background of every picture, every life and every family. No one is exempt from the joy or the pain. But what makes it all worth it is that we are a part of a family. We rejoice together, we weep together and we risk experiencing pain to experience the joy and beauty.
Why did Jesus go to the cross? It wasn’t to give a “hero of the day” social media post…it was to make a way for His family to be together for all eternity. Family was the “joy set before Him” as He endured the cross. Before the creation of man and woman; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit weren’t bored or unhappy but they knew that making a family in their image would be good! When sin, pain and heartbreak touched that family they knew that no sacrifice was too great to gain them back.
This is what God is still longing for! His mission has not changed. He wants to bring back all the sons and daughters who have gone astray or who are not experiencing family. There are still members of the family missing from the picture! He rejoices with the family gathered around Him and yet there is deep pain for the ones that are missing. There are stories behind the smiles that compel Him to send His sons and daughters to leave everything to try to fulfill the longing to see His family united as one.
Our family moves many times and the majority of those moves have been to go where His heart is calling us to in order to fulfill His longing for the family in that city and nation. This is the story for many who have said, “Here I am, send me.”
God loves family!! He is the One who sets the lonely in family. If you are lonely then there is family for you! They are all across the world and waiting to receive you. Don’t sit alone…find family! Wherever we have been there has always been a family there to be a part of. Is it a perfect family! No, there is pain, brokenness, imperfections and dysfunction of some sort within every natural and spiritual family but there is love, joy and beauty to be found if you’re willing to embrace the “weeping and the rejoicing.” You can’t have one without the other.
As we enter into the holiday season, let’s remember that perfection isn’t the goal…family is. So sit with the broken and comfort them, hear the voices of the ones who feel unheard, hug the ones who feel unloved and ache with the one who is struggling to find hope. Then and only then will joy come and rejoicing come. May the story behind the smiles in pictures be one that says, “Through it all I have been well loved!” That is what makes family.
Let us love well! As we finish this year and prepare for a new year let us strive to be more present with the one standing in front of us, let’s listen more attentively, love more deeply, give more readily and “feel” more sensitively.
A social media post is merely the cover photo of a book that tells a much longer story. It’s a story of joy and pain, successes and failures, gains and losses, tragedies and triumphs. The story is what makes true family; not the picture. Our God isn’t looking for the perfect family, He’s merely wanting every person ever created to be a part of His family. Let’s see His dream come true by loving well…in weeping and rejoicing we can truly be a family.
November and December are the months of the year that most faith-based ministries experience a large decline in giving. Will you stand with us by making these months known as the best giving months of the year? To give a gift to this ministry, go to: https://www.inscribeministries.com/
Over the past three days we hosted a 50-hour worship tent in Portland, Oregon for the Awaken the Dawn movement (#tentamerica). When we were asked about sharing testimonies that came forth from our tent I began to ponder what I wanted to share. Although we have testimonies of healings and people experiencing deep touches of God’s love and presence; the true testimony for me was the tent itself. It’s three days standing has become a picture that is forever etched upon my heart.
Our tent was donated by a local church that owned an inexpensive “summer tent.” Purchased for under $100, they were perfect for a warm day event but not for a three day heavy storm. It did have “flaps” that acted as walls, yet they were little more then thin plastic tarps with clear faux windows (and small Velcro strips to hold them in place). The instructions enclosed with the tent clearly stated that it was not meant to remain up overnight and should NOT BE USED in wind or rain.
The weather forecast for our three day (50-hour) event revealed large storms approaching. Our venue was at a high place in our city so the wind is known to be much worse in that location. But, “in faith” we raised our flimsy tent and prayed for God to keep it standing.
The night before we were to start our 50 hours of worship I had a pretty sleepless night as I heard the rain beginning to pour and the wind blowing outside. I thought about how I was about to put thousands of dollars worth of sound equipment and musical instruments (that I didn’t own) into a tent that specifically says, “Do not use in wind or rain.”
The next morning, as we arrived at our tent to set up the sound equipment, I found a completely drenched tent that had taken a hard beating the night before from the harsh weather. My main concern was the sound equipment and the safety of the people who would be coming to worship.
As our team unloaded the equipment we decided to put two heavy duty pop up canopies over our stage area to protect it in case the tent failed; so we had “tents within tents.” We knew that nothing would keep the rain from coming in from the ground so we made sure that all electrical supplies were above the ground so that we would not electrocute our musicians! Then we took zip ties and reinforced the thin walls. Lastly, we used waterproof tape to seal any openings where water was leaking through.
After getting all of the sound equipment, instruments, chairs, lighting, tables, and decorations (even rugs) set up we were ready to go! It looked amazing and so inviting. The excitement was building but so were the black clouds outside. People arrived and our first worship team was about to start up when “boom!”…five minutes before it began all the electricity short circuited leaving us in the dark. As everything turned dark a torrential downpour began that was accompanied by huge gusts of wind. Our faithful worship leaders pulled out an acoustic guitar and began to sing in the dark. Our small team rushed around in the dark and rain trying to figure out how to get our power back on. Some of us searched for circuit boxes, some held the poles to the tent to keep the winds from giving us a “Wizard of Oz” moment, some worked in the dark to seal more leaks. All the while I prayed my heart out for supernatural help! But the worship went on! After about forty minutes of this we suddenly had power again. Our faithful team was soaked to the bone but they went right back into worshipping the One who is worthy of our offering.
Worship was continually beautiful but through each set our tent was taking a beating that surely should have destroyed it within the first hour. The heavy rain poured upon it and the winds whipped it like a kite in the wind and yet it stood!
Due to the harsh weather and need for “all hands on deck” our little team spent the 50 hours onsite more than taking breaks to get much needed rest. We were compelled to protect the sound going forth! Prior to the event the Lord kept saying to me, “Protect the sound.” I didn’t fully realize what He had meant until all of these things began to happen. We would protect the sound through prayer and remaining present!
Hour after hour the most amazing sounds of worship intermingled with the sound of the abundance of rain came forth. And hour after hour this flimsy summer tent stood like a lighthouse in the storm.
It was as if the harder the hits came against this tent the more resilient and steady it became. This cheap tent became a priceless, supernatural sign and wonder to all who came in. As it endured the storms it gained “character” and to us was no longer a cheap, plastic tent but now a true tabernacle of praise. I thought of the words from Romans 5:4-6,
“…endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
By the time we reached the half way mark, our tent had proven its ability to withstand the worst of storms and our confidence and hope grew! It was not going to disappoint us because the love of God was being poured out in it!
As I watched this tent, it became a picture of the Christian life. Storms come upon us that reveal the weak areas that need the strength and love of God. We endure storms that “should” take us down but as we remain in Him we are held up and our character is built. Then hope is produced and that hope does not fail or disappoint us! It is a hope given to us by the Spirit of God. The same Spirit that helps us to endure storms and grow in the hope of Christ was holding up our tent. In our weakness His strength is made manifest just like in the weakness of our physical tent His strength was being made manifest as we put our hope in Him.
What began as a cheap tent became a castle! It stood like His constant faithfulness that is sure and unshakable. So, yes…tents saw healings, experienced deep worship, made proclamation, experienced unity, saw orphans put in family and homeless sheltered…but what happened with our tent will forever impact me.
Our tent became a testimony of how He takes the foolish things of the world to confound the wise and how He takes our weaknesses and in that place causes His strength and faithfulness manifest for all to see!
So. now I am happy to boast in our weak tent because it revealed the strength of our God! He turns paupers into princes, orphans into sons and daughters and plastic tents into tabernacles of praise.
Will you stand with us at this time by sowing into our ministry? We just hosted a 50-hour worship tent after returning from two months of ministry travel. Due to all of these expenses our ministry account is running quite low with many needs coming up. If you would like to help us during this time you can donate through our ministry website at: https://www.inscribeministries.com/
You can also send a US check or international money order in USD to:
Many of you have been in a time of great spiritual momentum and it’s been a source of accelerating you forward. But, do not become discouraged or dismayed if a sudden and unexpected stillness, pause or what may even feel like “delay” comes upon your time of acceleration. Remember this; God moves mightily when we get still.
There is a familiar verse in the Bible that talks about this,
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
There is an amazing spiritual thing that happens when God calls His bride to be still. Suddenly, we make room for Him to move. At times our activity can begin to take the lead but as we hear His invitation to “be still” we will enter into a deeper trust and abiding rest that gives Him room to take the lead and make clear the way ahead.
Many years ago our family was in one of the most significant transitions of our lives and the warfare against this transition began to hit on every front. I felt like I’d been put on the defense rather than the offense where I had been positioned prior to the resistance. One day, during this time, I was seeking the Lord and He took me into a vision that gave me deeper understanding of how to walk through my transition or this “threshold” of life that I was in.
In the vision I was dressed as a bride and was standing next to my Bridegroom, Jesus. We were at the threshold of crossing into our honeymoon suite. I was so excited for this new beginning that I was about to rush over the threshold ahead of Him. Just then Jesus stopped me and said,
“My bride, allow Me to carry you over the thresholds of life because it is in stillness and the posture of being fully yielding to my strength and arms that you will cross over without being disturbed. You will be carried in intimacy.”
At that point (in the vision) I ceased my “running ahead” and paused (got still) so that He could pick me up and carry me over the threshold. As He carried me over the threshold I looked down and below me I saw a great battle that I was being carried above in the arms of My Savior. Had I rushed ahead, I would have entered a huge battleground (or army of resistance) that the enemy had set for me but, because I got still, I was carried over it and the enemy was put under the feet of Jesus.
After that vision I got very still and invited the Lord to carry me and the incredible warfare I had been experiencing suddenly ceased. There was such protection and peace in my pause and my stillness.
If you are in a time of transition and you suddenly feel or hear the “pause…be still” then know that you may actually be at the point of crossing over and your obedience to pause and be carried will create a smooth and seamless transition over the threshold of your new beginning.
Here are a few encouraging verses to help you in your pause, rest and stillness:
• The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14
• My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Psalm 131:1-2
• For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15
There are many more like these…may you let His strength become your strength as you enter into quietness and trust. Let LOVE carry you.
As I have been traveling the past number of months I noticed that almost everywhere I’ve gone something particular would happen during worship. In each place the song of the Lord would come upon the worship team and an amazingly pure sound would be released that always had the words, “We say yes!” within it.
During one of these times of worship in Bend, Oregon this past June, the song of the Lord with the words “We say yes” once again began to pour out. It was such a pure and deep sound from the Bride to her Bridegroom.
Yet, this time as the words were being sung I was suddenly taken into an spiritual encounter. I found myself looking upon the scene at Calvary as Jesus was being laid upon the cross.
The soldiers took the nails and as they hammered each nail through our Lord’s hands and feet, He would let out a deep and loud cry but what I heard in the cry was the word, “YES!” It was Jesus’ “yes” to His Father and to His bride as He yielded to giving His life for the ones that He so greatly loved. With each pound the hammer upon the nails that pierced through Him, another shout and cry of “YES” would be released. It was the sound of agape love that gives up all for the ones who are loved. “Yes, My Bride, I give My all for you.” It was the most agonizing and yet beautiful sound I have ever heard.
Then I saw the “Yes” of our Savior and Bridegroom go forth through time and it intercepted with the “Yes” of the bride that was pouring out in this hour from His bride. As the “Yes” of the Bride and the “Yes” of the Bridegroom intersected (like the past and present coming together in a divine collision) they released what looked like a sonic boom that went out across the world.
Suddenly I saw what appeared to be millions of men, women and children across the world drop to their knees and surrender their lives to Jesus. They all began to cry out, “Yes” in surrender to our Savior. No one said a word to them but the “combustion” of the “Yes” of the bride and her Bridegroom had released a spirit of revelation over the earth.
I found myself saying, “Lord, did millions of people just come to know you by a sovereign revelation that this was released?”
His response was,
“No, Kathi. It was billions!”
There is a deep, pure and fully surrendered yielding that is building within the hearts of His bride at this time that cries out, “Yes! Take all of me. I give my all for the One my heart loves.” This sound of surrender will collide with the sound of surrender that our Savior cried out when He gave His all for His bride.
It two sounds of surrender release the invitation and words found in Revelation 22:17,
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
We cry out “Yes!” Worthy is the Lamb to receive all honor, glory and dominion! Hold nothing back. Billions around the world are waiting for the revelation of what they long and are thirsting for. Do not hold anything back, for His “Yes” and our “Yes” are about to send forth a sonic boom that carries the revelation of Jesus throughout the earth.
If these words and articles have blessed your life and encouraged your journey with Jesus will you prayerfully consider sowing into our ministry so that we can keep them coming forth in the days to come? To donate go to: https://www.inscribeministries.com/