Today I opened my Bible this morning and it opened to this page in the Book of Psalms. Somehow my “I VOTED” sticker from the 2020 election got in there and the backing came off and it is stuck to Psalm 85, titled, “Restoration of Favor”
I did NOT stick it there and yet it is perfectly placed with no sign of the backing paper that it was on.
During 2020 one of my constant prayers was, “Let faithful love and truth be joined together; and righteousness and peace embrace.” Or…”kiss.” (Ps. 85:10)
Psalm 85 begins with these words,
“Lord, You show favor to Your land; You restored Jacob’s prosperity. You took away Your people’s guilt: You covered all their sin.” (Vs. 1-2)
At this time of great conflict in Israel, we pray this for the Jewish people and the land of Israel. We also repent as Americans of any time and any way that we have been a part of dividing the land or standing in opposition against His people.
I love verse 8-9,
Listen to what God will say, “Surely the Lord will declare peace to His people, to His godly ones, and not let them go back to foolish ways.”
His salvation is very near those who fear Him, so that glory may dwell in our land.”
As I turned to this page and saw the sticker— I felt the presence of the Lord say these words for His people in Israel and over His people in the United States. Though we are passing through this “Valley of Baca” (Trouble), we are just passing through— on our way to His house (Ps 84).
“Return to us, God of our salvation…show us your faithful love and give us Your salvation.” Amen!
Yesterday I suddenly became aware of the presence of many angels. These angels where descending from heaven with what looked like folded fabric in their arms. These fabrics were many different colors but all had gold threads woven throughout the hems and edges. They were thick and expensive looking materials that had the appearance of something designed for royalty.
Then, in my spirit I saw how the Accuser has been accusing many of the saints of God day and night— relentlessly. His goal was to wear them down and cause them to lose sight of their identity in Christ that had given them strength and authority to do all that they had been doing. Many had become disoriented and felt completely alone as this demonic assignment was unleashed upon them.
With every accusation it was like filth being thrown upon their white garments. Many of the saints of God were being accused with such violence and repetition that they felt cornered and traumatized from the ongoing and relentless assault.
The scene reminded me of the scene in Zechariah 3 where Satan is accusing Joshua the High Priest as he is wearing filthy garments. But just like in that story, the Lord is present and he rebukes the Accuser and calls his angels to come and change Joshua’s filthy garments to clothe him with clean ones. He restores him and instructs him in truth.
As I walked into church yesterday I became once again aware of these angels holding the folded fabric but this time I knew that they were royal garments. The Lord has rebuked the Accuser and is removing the garments that are soiled with filthy accusations (some based on truth and some not), his angels have come to put royal garments of the Lord’s righteousness and identity upon his people. These are garments that restore honor, dignity, calling, position and purity. The righteousness of Christ is covering every place of exposure and nakedness, every place of shame and failure, every place of accusation.
Each garment had also had a turban that guards your minds from the false thoughts and narrative that the enemy has unleashed. The mind of Christ and his thoughts— along with the peace of God that guards our hearts and minds is being restored to many. The torment of your mind will be replaced with peace, truth and salvation.
This has been a violent and vicious attack against many to stop the Kingdom from advancing. But an overcoming spirit is coming upon his people who will rise in even greater authority and purity than before.
The accuser has also unleashed accusations against God and against truth like no other time throughout the world. It is creating a narrative of confusion, hate, rage and division. The spirit of deception has been unleashed on a level that most of us have never witnessed. And yet, I believe that those who have had to overcome this great assignment of accusation against them will arise from this troubled place— this dark wilderness— clothed anew, purified and freed from areas of weakness or sin that was present before this great assault. They will come forth stronger and have authority over deception and accusation that will begin to set many free. They will carry a sword of the Spirit that is able to divide truth from deception and soul from spirit. They will be able to rightly divide and will be used to set many free from the division that has come to keep them from God and his truth.
They will have a spirit of overcoming that is founded in the absolute knowledge of the grace and mercy of God. They will be rescued and saved from this assignment to take them captive. But these are prisoners of hope that never abandoned the hope of Christ in the midst of this torment.
Stand still and watch the salvation of God set you free! When you’ve done all you know to do— STAND! Joshua the High Priest merely stood while the mercy of God took over to restore him.
Your identity in Christ will be even more sure than before you faced this attack. Your heart will be even more purified and your belt of truth will have been tightened!
Do not despair but stand and see the salvation of the Lord come to rescue and save you.
Though 2021 has been a challenging year for many already, I have watched the Lord use this time to bring reconciliation to many broken and divided relationships. Our Heavenly Father is passionate about restoring and healing relationships and it seems that this year is an especially appointed time to allow God to restore what you thought was lost forever.
I have witnessed this in my own extended family as love broke walls of division. I have watched it happen among friends that separated from one another in pain and offense. And, just this month I witnessed a restoration and reconciliation in a nation. Many leaders, who once walked as brothers, were divided a decade ago but in the mercy of God a miracle occurred that restored them in humility and love. Today they stand not only reconciled, but the bonds are even deeper than the divide had been.
What we are beginning to see is the beauty spoken of in Psalm 133,
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.”
Humility is key for seeing this restoration occur in both individuals and in corporate settings. I believe that we are about to see some of the greatest testimonies of reconciliations that we have ever witnessed. The strongholds of pride and even the “right to be right” is being broken. We have all sinned and fallen short of his glory and it is in that posture that we will come. It is a level place where the righteousness of Jesus and his love covers a multitude of sins.
There may have been wrongs done but in humility we will say, “I repent of my wrong and I forgive you for wronging me so that together we may be restored to the righteousness of Christ. I will own your sin as my own and will you own my sin as your own— in this place we receive forgiveness, healing, reconciliation and his righteousness.”
Romans 3 says, “There is none righteous, not even one.” Therefore, we can come as one family, one man, one race— and in humility receive justification through Christ.
“…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24
The measuring rod is Christ alone and we have all fallen short. But oh, how the love of God has come to be poured out over us in order to redeem us— not by works or our “righteousness” (since the word confirms that none are righteous apart from Christ) but by grace through the blood of Jesus.
It is not about Jew or Gentile, race or creed, male or female, young or old…it is about being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
This is the time to leave our sacrifice at the altar and go be reconciled with our brothers and sisters.
“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” Matthew 5:23-24
I believe that there is a release of restoration and reconciliation beginning to happen in the body of Christ that will spread and have a ripple effect across the nations. Where racial and political divisions marked 2020, reconciliations will mark 2021.
I keep seeing mountains brought low and valleys raised up to create a level field to meet on. We have all fallen short and must be reconciled and justified by Christ alone. No more pointing of the finger at another, no more rehashing the rights and wrongs of past issues, no more looking at the speck in our brother’s eye when there is a log of offense in our own— ALL have fallen short and therefore we humble ourselves before one another and before the Lord to receive his grace and redemption.
“Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. ‘Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.’” Isaiah 58:9-12
It is time to allow the Spirit of the Lord to repair the breaches and rebuild the ruined cities! If only we will bow in humility and allow his grace to remove the oppression. Let us be reconciled to one another in love and humility. This will cause our offering (gift) to be pure and undefiled by arrogance and offense.
Maybe before we lead another prayer meeting, sing another worship set or serve another communion— we should stop and be reconciled to our brother or sister, our neighbor, our child or our spouse. Then, together we can bring our gift before him— and watch the precious oil and dew wash over all.
How good it will be when we dwell together in unity!
Thank you for standing with us in prayer and financial support— you are heroes to us!
Some of you are so very weary right now. Jesus wants you to know how deep his compassion is toward you. He is with you right where you are with no expectations except for you to allow him to love you and give you rest.
Some of you are so very burdened right now. The weight of what you are carrying feels like if your strength fails that everything will fall to the ground and crumble. Jesus wants you to know how deep his compassion is for you. He is with you right where you are to remove the yoke and burden that you are carrying. He will trade it for his yoke which is merely to trust him for all you need and all that you are carrying.
““Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”” Matthew 11:28-30
The Father is so gentle with you! His Son is the fullness of “humble in heart” toward you. He is inviting you to come into his arms and receive the rest that you so desperately need. He has healing for your heart, provision for all that you need, restoration for all that has hurt you and caused you to feel that you must carry this heavy burden.
He loves you so very much— he knows you intimately, every part of you— and yes, he still loves you— you take his breath away. He is pouring out the abundance of his love over you even now. Let go of the control (the yoke that has wearied you) and let your pain fall into his lap. He wants to carry you and refresh you in his love.
Receive his love. For he is gentle and humble in heart…
Thank you to all of my readers who have helped to carry our burdens through prayer and financial support. I have no words that are adequateto thank you properly.
During this time of Purim, I have been meditating on the Book of Esther. As I have read this book over and over again. The part that has stood out to me more than any other part begins in Esther 2:15.
“Esther was the daughter of Abihail, who was Mordecai’s uncle. (Mordecai had adopted his younger cousin Esther.) When it was Esther’s turn to go to the king, she accepted the advice of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem. She asked for nothing except what he suggested, and she was admired by everyone who saw her.
Esther was taken to King Xerxes at the royal palace in early winter[a] of the seventh year of his reign. And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen instead of Vashti.” Esther 2:15-17
After the twelve months of beauty treatments, each virgin was to pick what they wanted to wear and adorn themselves with before being brought into the king’s chambers. But Esther decided to deferred to the counsel of the king’s trusted official, Hegai, who would know what the king truly desired. She wore only what he suggested; rather than clothing herself with what she desired, she clothed herself in the King’s desire.
This is what I have felt that the Holy Spirit has been doing with the us in these days. The Holy Spirit is like Yeshua’s trusted official to mankind (though so much more- He is One with the Father and the Son). He knows the desire of our King. The bride has been longing to rid herself of all “her choosing” so that she can be fully clothed in her Beloved’s desire; just as Esther was clothed in nothing except what would fulfill King Xerxes desire. When he looked upon her he fell deeply in love with her and took her as his queen; placing the royal crown upon her head. I believe that as we yield to the desire of our our King, settling for nothing less, there is a crown of bridal (queenly) authority that is placed upon our head. His bride will go before the King and she will receive favor– even to the point of being used to reverse evil decrees that have been put in place.
The desire to please our King has been awakened like never before in His bride. There is a holy desperation to rid our lives of any other thing- except His desire. Every other name is being removed (even our own names). We long to take His name as our identity and our crown.
“There I will give her vineyards back to her and make the Valley of Achor (Trouble) into a gateway of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came out of Egypt. In that day- this is the Lord’s declaration– you will call Me, ‘My husband,’ and no longer call Me, ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals (Masters) from her mouth; they will no longer be remembered by their names.” Hosea 2:15-17
Isn’t it interesting that these scriptures are from Esther 2:15-17 and from Hosea 2:15-17? Esther is presenting herself in purity to become a bride and Hosea is redeeming his wayward bride so that she can be made pure.
There is a bride being prepared, to stand as an Esther before her King and there is also a redeeming of every wayward place that has sought out other “lovers” and become enslaved to their name and harsh rule over her. God is redeeming His bride so that she will be clothed in His desire alone and reign with Him in purity and authority. She is taking His name and every other name (Baal or master) is being removed from her.
As we are in the time of Purim, let us ask the Holy Spirit to instruct us how we are to clothe ourselves. Let us lay aside our thoughts and be clothed with His desire. Let every name but His be removed from our lives so that we become “His desire.”
“I will give them a desire to know me and to be my people. They will want me to be their God, and they will turn back to me with all their heart.” Jeremiah 24:7
“Clothe and adorn us, Holy Spirit, in all that our King desires. May He be our whole desire and may we be ‘His desire.’ We long to turn back to You with our whole heart. We will call you ‘Husband’ and we thank you for removing the names of Baal from us and redeeming us as your own.” Amen
Yesterday I was on a Zoom call and a beautiful discussion began regarding the words in Song of Solomon 8:5 that says,
“Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved?”
We shared deep things about how 2020 has brought the Ecclesia globally into a desert place where He is teaching her to lean upon Him once more.
As we spoke, tears ran down my cheeks as I not only embrace what God is doing today but also remembered these very words that completed a journey God sent me on to save my life 25 years ago.
Though I was already a Christian (even in ministry), I went through the darkest desert experience imaginable for three years. This painful and dark time, which felt like a tomb, concluded with the most amazing and beautiful resurrection where I heard those words spoken to me by the One who I learned to lean on in that desert time— my time in the tomb.
That three year time period began when the Lord spoke to me the words from Hosea 2:14 that say, “But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.”
Jesus took me by the hand to “win me back once again.” There was a great battle and wrestle for my life but Jesus spoke so tenderly to me in that desert place. He fought for me and He won me.
The next verse says, “I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.” Hosea 2:15
He had freed me from captivity when I came to know Him as my savior but once again He was going to use the “Valley of Trouble” to restore me and transform me. I was ready to go through the painful process of a metamorphosis that would change everything— transform me into who He created me to be.
I believe that His Bride is in a similar place here in 2020. God’s people have experienced freedom from captivity before but as 2020 began we were brought into a “Valley of Trouble” to be transformed once again. To have our vineyards and fruitfulness restored and to learn to “lean upon our Beloved” once again.
In the beginning of this year I discovered a song called “Lean Back” (by Capital City Music) that captured my heart so deeply. Right before Covid-19 began to shut down our nation I was literally playing that song on repeat every day and soaking in the beauty of His love. Then as we went into quarantine I would hear the words once again from Hosea 2:14, “But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.” It was, once again time to “learn to lean.” Here are just a few of the lines in the song,
— You’ve brought me here to rest And given me space to breathe So I’ll stay still until It sinks in
— And I will lean back in the loving arms Of a beautiful Father Breathe deep and know that He is good He’s a love like no other
— You will never leave Your love sustaining me Before I even knew What love was
I knew that once again, we were being called back to first love. We were being given space in time to “breathe again” while the whole world was saying, “I can’t breathe!” His sons and daughters were being called into a rest that set us apart so that we could become a true resting place for the Lord (a dwelling place). The breathe of God was giving us life and first love.
“For the Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling, saying, “This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it. I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor I will satisfy with food. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her faithful people will ever sing for joy. “Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one. I will clothe his enemies with shame, but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown.”” Psalms 132:13-18
Here we are now, entering September, and I am still in that place of being set apart to fully learn to lean upon my Beloved like never before. I believe that many are. Though there is busyness all around us, there is still a place of rest and dependency that has found breath, life and first love renewed. I feel constantly undone by His beauty and goodness in the midst of such a contradicting time on earth. As people scream hate and act in violence, my soul has found “a love like no other.”
I deeply encourage you to yield to this time in the desert, in the “Valley of Trouble”, and let Him speak tenderly to you and restore to you all that has been lost. Then, you will hear the words,
“Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her (or his) beloved?”
It is there that we will find rest and become a resting place— a dwelling place for Him.
The Holy Spirit has had me praying for the body of Christ and our nation out of Ephesians 3, beginning with verse 16, for the past few weeks. Verse 16 says,
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” Ephesians 3:16
What a powerful and wonderful prayer that we should all be praying for every believer. It’s such a Kairos time to see the Spirit of the Lord empower each of us with “inner strength” out of His “glorious and unlimited resources!” This is a prayer we should be praying over our lives, our loved ones and even our nations leaders who believe in Christ as their Savior. An inner strength is needed like never before in our lifetime.
Ephesians 3 goes on to say in verse 17,
“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” Ephesians 3:17
I see so many who are weary and feeling weak and yet this verse offers a solid solution for keeping you strong. As you are empowered by His Spirit with inner strength; which will produce trust in Him— then Christ will make His home in your heart. As your heart becomes a resting place for our Savior, His love will empower you and the roots of your life will go deep into the rich soil of His love. It’s a beautiful progression of inward prosperity and riches.
If trust in God is what causes Him to make His home in our heart then just think of what would happen if our nation(s) turned back to “In God We Trust!” God would find a home and a resting place in the heart of our nation once again. But often these restorations begin in the house of God (in His people first).
Let’s continue onto verse 18,
“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” Ephesians 3:18
This is so essential for God’s people! If we would pray that the Spirit would empower us to understand the width, length, height and depth of the His love then we would know what is needed and what the world is crying out to understand and experience. It says, “…as all God’s people should…” In other words, we don’t but we should! Often as you scroll through social media and observe much of what God’s people have to say, what you will quickly discover is that there are a lot of opinions and words without a depth of love— or without being rooted in love. What is prophesy or words without love?
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-2
The gifts of the Spirit without the love of God are just noise! There is already too much noise out there. What sets our words and voice apart from all the noise? Love! When we begin to be rooted in the love of God, which begins with trusting Him, then we release the sound that breaks through the noise! Love is the frequency of Heaven that shatters darkness, confusion and fear. It breaks through barriers and opens deaf ears.
Ephesians 3:19 goes on to say this,
“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:19
There is an “experience that surpasses understanding.” When a person has an experience with the love of God— then they are forever changed! I can understand that “you love me” but the personal experience with your love will impact and change my life!
Men and women are made complete and “full of life” when they experience God’s love. But what does this verse also say? They will be made complete in His “power” that comes from God!!
I have been around Christian ministers who moved in a so-called power ministry and yet there was a great lack of love. Power without love is illegal! Almost all of these ministries end up falling away because we must be rooted and grounded in love to rightfully be empowered by His Spirit and to see others experience the life changing power that the love of God brings. Power without love will destroy both the user and the receiver.
Finally, Ephesians 3:20 says,
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20
We love this verse!! The “more than we can ask or think (imagine)” is one of Christian’s favorite verses. But we must put it into context. This verse comes after verses 16-19. There is a progression that we cannot skip.
• Praying for His Spirit to empower us with inner strength.
• Trusting Him so that He makes His home in our hearts.
• Allowing the roots of our life to go deep in the soil of His love.
• Asking to understand the fullness of the love of God.
• Asking to experience the love of God since we cannot fully understand it.
• Asking the Spirit to make you complete with all life and power that comes from God.
• Yeilding to God’s mighty power to work in each of us which accomplishes more than we can ask or imagine!
I believe that these are key verses the Spirit of God wants prayed over our lives, our loved ones and those in leadership. Love shifts everything! It changes the sound, the narrative, the power to change the lives around us, the atmosphere and the world!
Let’s silence the noise and release the sound that has depth, width, length and height…the sound that is rooted in the love of God!
-I wrote this a year ago but felt the Spirit ask me to re-share it with you. –
I was taken into a vision where I saw a swirl of fear, chaos and distraction being sent against many of God’s people. This demonic assignment was causing people to feel disoriented and disconnected. It came so fast and furious that it completely caught them off guard.
I’m from Northern California where the coastline is known for what are called, “sneaker waves.” These are very large and powerful waves that suddenly and unexpectedly come upon the shoreline. These sneaker waves a known for pulling someone from the shallows or a person walking on the rocks out into the turbulent sea.
This is an appropriate description of what this assignment looks like. It may feel like you were wading in the refreshing glory of God or walking with Him upon shores of grace—then, suddenly you are caught by a sneaker wave and are pulled out into the chaos and turbulence of the raging sea.
In this vision I saw those who were caught in the chaos of this sneaker wave struggling to reorient themselves. I saw their arms flailing like a person who was being pulled under and drowning. As I saw this I saw the Lord with them and heard Him speak these words,
“Stop fighting, stop flailing and let Me rescue you. Trust Me and watch what I will do.”
When someone is drowning, the worst thing that they can do when help arrives is to fight and flail in fear. As they rest and relax into full dependency upon the one who has come to save them, the rescue is far easier and much less traumatic.
The Lord is with you in the sea of chaos that has caught you by surprise. Relax and rest in His arms because He is right there with you. Fear may have been blinding you from seeing Him but know this; He is there to rescue and save you.
As the vision continued and I saw these people as they began to recognize the Lord’s presence with them. They began to relax into the peace that comes with absolute dependency upon His saving power. As they ceased striving and flailing, the sea of chaos that they had been drowning in suddenly became a wave that lifted them up carried them to the shore. Yet it was not the shore that they began upon but it was a shore of destiny. A wave of destiny brought them to a shore of destiny. A new place that they had not ever been to before.
So often God will use what the enemy has sent against us as an opportunity to get us further and faster to the place He has for us. This is happening for many right now. We all know from scripture that when the enemy comes in—like a flood— the Lord raises up a standard against him. It is the Lord that floods the atmosphere with His ways and will.
Years ago the Lord told me to be aware that the demons feed on fear and chaos. It is like a feeding frenzy for demons when the atmosphere is charged with the fear that produces chaos and robs men of peace. Then He showed me that when there is peace and trust in Him it releases an atmosphere that is complete confusion to the enemy. He and his army fall into absolute chaos and confusion— and they must flee! Peace and trust attract the hosts of heaven but chaos and fear attract the hosts of hell.
If you have been caught by a spiritual “sneaker wave” that has pulled you into its grip; threatening to pull you under and drown you— then now is the time to close your eyes and see with the eyes of your spirit. God is with you to rescue and save you. Enter into peace and trust Him in the turbulent sea. Watch the chaos suddenly become a wave that you were destined to ride to the new shores of glory where that which you’ve longed and waited for is suddenly before you.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Thank you to all of my faithful followers for supporting us in prayer and financial support at this time. We pray for you daily and are declaring that every storm sent against you would bring you to the shores of destiny!
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.
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.