Catching the Fire of Revival – Part III

Today is the second day that I have been praying for a revival to break out in Canada. Far-fetched, you think? It’s not as unrealistic of a prayer as you realize.

In 1904, a revival took place in Wales. A man named Evan Roberts had prayed for ten years that the people of Wales would come to know Jesus, and even when years went by and there were no results, he kept praying for his country, because why not?

When the revival broke out, it was characterized by prayer, praise, joy and victory, as the people of Wales re-discovered the Holy Spirit. In six months 100,000 people came to Jesus. Yes, I did say 100,000, not 100, or 1000, but ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND people of Wales came to know Jesus as their savior and dedicated their lives to living for His Kingdom.

Evan Roberts, just a man who prayed for his country.

At any point Evan Roberts could have deemed his prayers useless or bent to the lie that his country was not going to turn from their beliefs and come home to their Father. But every day, he prayed, no matter how he felt. And 100,000 people was the prize for not giving up.

When I learn about things like this, my immediate thought is, I want that for Canada! But then I think about it more and I say to myself, “Well, Canada is a lot bigger than Wales. And with all the different cultures, there are so many language barriers. And these days our government doesn’t care a whole lot about God. Our situation is much different, it’s unlikely that a revival would happen here.”

Wrong. All wrong. Actually, this is EXACTLY where a revival should happen.

If you have read any of my past Catching the Fire of Revival posts, you already know that a revival doesn’t take place on “green grass” or in an area that already has it all together. A revival needs something to revive. A revival occurs so that the dead grass comes back to life. When the people in the grittiest battles finally decide to lay down their weapons and surrender. A revival comes when things are not all good.

All over this country I have heard of churches closing down, denominations dying out, schools that once thrived in sharing the love of Jesus becoming a place where the name of Jesus is only used as a cuss word, and Christians everywhere battling depression, disunity, and destroyed relationships in their own homes and families. But this is not God’s plan for this country. It is never God’s wish that His people live under a cloud, depressed and quiet. My prayer is that this revival happens first with the Christians laying down their battle uniforms and no longer picking sides, and coming together as one congregation under God’s leading, and getting on their knees in a quiet place instead of raising their voices in public. I don’t believe that a revival happens where there isn’t first surrender, and confession. As a result of personal cleansing, love pours out from all the people involved, spilling out into their atmosphere, affecting those in their circles and communities, drawing in crowds and changing other hearts.

(And trust me, our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has more of a history of encountering the Holy Spirit in his own life than you think. Pray that he remembers those moments from his past.)

Let’s just be real for a moment. I can think of many much more strenuous things I would do in order to see a revival come to this country, and see thousands come to know the Lord, than pray for my country for a couple of years. That seems like a no-brainer to me. All I’m asking is that you would pray with me, whenever you remember. Put a post-it note on your mirror in the bathroom so that you remember to say a thirty-second prayer in the morning while you get ready for your day.

This is not a long blog post, and I know I haven’t written for a while, but this is present on my heart and totally applicable to what the Lord is doing right now. In my former Catching the Fire of Revival posts, I have referenced the book The Calvary Road by Roy Hession, and I have based the previous posts on that incredible little book. I still recommend that you read this book if you want to know what revival is and how to get it in your heart. And trust me, it’s not a “bad time” for you, nor are you “not in the right head space” to experience a revival. It really doesn’t matter if you haven’t talked to God in a while either.

Thank you, God, that your love is unconditional. We suck.

As I have said before, God is on the move. Let’s get in on the action.

Catching the Fire of Revival Part I
Catching the Fire of Revival Part II

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Man the Sails and Build the House

Sometimes God will give us an incredible gift; one that comes at just the right time. He’ll line up all the pieces, send someone to speak a word for word answer to a prayer, and give you a way to succeed when you least expect it. When God moves, it is always profound. He does not leave you guessing for long. He makes your path straight and He shifts all the mountains as though He is parting the Red Sea, creating a path that didn’t exist there before.

All we have to do is walk in the direction He’s provided.

It’s like being on a ship in deep waters. There can be roaring waves, earth-shaking claps of thunder, and pellets of rain that drench the deck. The roaring waves are the unexpected problems that appear out of nowhere. The loud thunder is the voices of doubt and ridicule. And the pellets of rain are our emotions getting the best of us, the tears that soak the situations, a result of our own fears.

And look out for the pirates, of course, who come to steal, kill, and destroy.

When Jesus calms the storm with His mighty hand and casts the clouds away, He reveals a perfectly blue horizon that we aren’t meant to rush for. He does not want us to take over the ship, to plow right through the islands that rest in the way, or to bark the orders to the crew to keep it moving. He, rather, wants to captain the ship himself. Because let’s remember who has the power to stop the storm in the first place. He’s also the same man who can walk upon the waters if He wants to.

When the Lord first called me to be at home, to take a break from involvement in church, work, and basically everything else, I was a bit confused about it. In hindsight, I can see that I was rushing forward too fast, too eagerly, and I had a tendency to open my mouth too much when I should have slapped it shut and kept it that way. Sometimes we learn the most by practicing in the ministry, but I’ve realized that sometimes we can actually learn the best when we are out of it. God is clever like that.

Throughout these past few years God has brought me and my family through many seasons. He first gave me a new passion for worship while I was pregnant that spilled over into our household. I can see the affects of it still, in my son the most, when we march around our kitchen island and belt out “There is power in the name of Jesus!” For that time of my life the Lord was calling me, and teaching me, to go to war in worship, and to utilize it as my greatest weapon against the enemy. Throughout that time I had many depictions come to mind of my son being a war ship, and battling against the elements, anchored in Christ and strong in the midst of the storms. I believe the Lord was teaching me to raise my firstborn up this way, as a worshipper, and that it would only benefit his life and by extension, our entire household. It’s incredible to see it even now, because he is only two years old, but when he worships he changes the atmosphere and pulls the rest of us up with him.

The next season was the Lord teaching me that His timing was perfect. This was a difficult one to master, because that meant waiting, and we all know how brutal that is. But we waited, sometimes patiently, sometimes not so much. But there is truth in the phrase, “Good things come to those who wait.” And good things came to us. My husband and I had talked here and there about our future, what our finances looked like, where we were going to live, what we were going to do. We came into our marriage with a lot of debt that we had to work really hard to pay off over the first few years, sometimes at jobs that were extremely brutal both physically and emotionally, but we trusted that God was going to provide all that we needed and He did. Paying off our debts was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done but we learned so much about resourcefulness, trust in God, and overcoming financial struggle as we did. So when it came time for us to move, we looked back to God and asked Him what was next.

The very week that my in-laws told us they were going to sell their land (which we have been living on) was the very week that the Lord sent a truly beautiful treasure of a woman into our lives with a new proposal, to buy her land and build something on it that would give us a home and her an apartment to live in that she wanted to rent back from us. This was what she wanted; to be guaranteed a place to live and to be able to stay on the land she grew up on which was close to her heart. But she couldn’t do it alone, and frankly neither could we. But the ideas spilled in, the Holy Spirit showed up, and anointed conversations took place that left us all in joyful tears. God sent the right people our way to agree with us and see it done, and to take care of all of us. How amazing it was to have this happen at the very moment we had asked God where to go next. Most days I still wake up a little stunned that the Lord brought this together for us, these lowly youngsters that might have never had an opportunity like this without God being involved. Never in my life will I be able to deny that the Lord’s timing is perfect. The right people came as we needed them, and brought this whole thing together. We are so very blessed. I cannot say it enough.

This is a new season, and during this season the Lord has been teaching us to “Be Still and Know that I am God”. It’s so funny, and quite timely, that this has been His next message to us. He always tells us these things right before we need them, and we end up holding onto His words for dear life. As I look at my beautiful daughter, whom I felt called to pray that she would be a Mountain Mover (also timely), I am amazed to see how much grace is in the heart of Jesus. As we move forward with this project of building a home we have learned many new things. We have witnessed the enemy come and try to steal our joy. We have spent nights in prayer over what we should do next, or wondering if it was all a mistake because things weren’t happening as quickly as we needed them to. We’ve had our fair share of storms come our way, sometimes by circumstance (waves), sometimes by outside voices (thunder), and even times from our own emotional discomfort (rain). There were times where it was so hard to trust in God, to trust that He had made this plan, and that He had formed this partnership. I thank the Lord every day that He always provided someone to speak up on our behalf and challenge the voices, because there were times where our integrity was pointed at and we were made to look a certain way. This was the hardest point of trust, to sit back and let things be said at our expense and not rush in and intervene. But God told us to “Be Still” and we took that to mean that we were to keep silent and stay back. I can’t tell you enough how hard that was, and still is. But God has not changed His mind about our role, so we have not moved. After all the wind and the waves have come, He will make the truth known and it will set us free. There were other times where we came up to mountains and had no idea how in the world we were going to move them (trying to figure out what in the world the township wanted was fun). But God was never asking us to move the mountains. He was asking us to trust that He would. And as we are standing in this boat now, the war ship that so nicely represents our “home” as a family, and also our house of worship, our weapon, we have realized that looking out at the wind and the waves at all is a mistake. When Peter took his eyes off Jesus and glanced at the storm, even for a moment, he started to sink.

And I do not want to be responsible for sinking my ship.

Jesus took one look at the storm and knew it was a simple task to face. He said, “Peace! Be Still!” And just like that, the storm ceased and the waters were calm. That is who I want to be the captain of my ship. And how fitting that those are the words the Lord has been speaking to us during this season, “Be Still and Know.”

Peace, be still.

Just be still. Stop your thoughts and be still. Stop your worrying and be still. Stop asking questions and be still. Just be still.

Most days I remember this. Occasionally there are days where I find myself writing grittily in my prayer journal asking God why the enemy has been able to steal so much joy from us, during what was supposed to be one of the most exciting years of our lives. But that’s why we are learning so much, because at the end of every storm we look back and realize we are strong enough to conquer anything through Him. He has taught us so many things. We need to worship when we are distressed, it’s mandatory for us now. We need to shout our praises and thankfulness for this gift. We need to hold onto His promises, because he has told us that He is watching and waiting. He has seen everything that has taken place, heard every word spoken by every person, and tested every heart. And He will be the one to deal with it, not me. Thank goodness. Because I’m tired.

And even though it’s easy to look around and see only storm when one hits, it’s important to remember that this too, shall pass.

I’ve found that there are two ways to learn things. The Lord often gives us the choice of which way we want to learn and its up to us to decide which road we take. The first is to learn the hard way, by trying things and ‘testing the waters’ on our own. When we do this we learn a lot about our hearts. And sometimes we don’t always like what we see. The second is the much easier and more beneficial way, which is to learn by taking a step back and letting Him show us His greatness. These demonstrations of God’s power are always satisfying and they reveal so much about His heart.

I wake up every morning thanking God for His grace, and for what He has given us. I’m still in awe that He glanced down and His eyes fell on us, this unworthy family, and decided that we were going to buy this land, turn the soil, and build a home. It’s quite astonishing to look back over the last seven years that we’ve been married and to see where we came from, what God has done in our lives, and how much we have learned.

It’s imperative that we keep learning, regardless of what we think we know or hold old we are. There will always be a new storm to face. No one has faced everything. That is why Jesus makes a pretty good captain. Even when you don’t always see “Aye-to-Aye” (Haha!)

Sorry. I had to.

Here’s some hearty soul food, some truth to absorb as you go:

If you have faith, you can move mountains. Nothing will be impossible for you. (Ref. Matthew 17:20)

Commit your way to the Lord and trust in Him. (Ref. Psalm 37:5)

Trust in the Lord and do good, then you will live safely in the land and prosper. (Ref. Psalm 37:3)

“Who is this man? That even the wind and the waves obey Him?” (Ref. Mark 4:41)

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Ref. Psalm 46:10)

 

 

A STAIN OF RED

 

Last year for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) I wrote a book called GATEWAYS (title is subject to change), and even though I got a late start last year, I polished off 50,000+ words without a hitch. Coincidentally it was only a few months after I had written my first Christmas themed novel called PEPPERMINT: A BURST OF COLD.

This year for NaNoWriMo I set out to write the second book in the Christmas series, which at this point I am calling CRANBERRY: A STAIN OF RED. It follows the life of a quite ordinary girl who, in PEPPERMINT (Book1), got sucked into the wild world of Winterland, a place that seems strangely themed after our world’s version of Christmas. The heroin, Helen, has always lived one of the most boring, ordinary, and uneventful lives she has ever heard of. But when she crosses the intersect into Winterland, she finds herself dropped into the most bizarre and thrilling experiences imaginable.

There are two Kingdoms at odds with each other in Winterland; the Red Kingdom which is ruled by the Crimson King, and the Green Kingdom, governed fiercely by the Queen of the Pines. In PEPPERMINT Helen faces off with a terrible villain from the Red Kingdom named Mara Rouge who rides a dark-skinned reindeer with antlers as sharp as needles, and who is evidentially trying to hunt Helen down. Being a commoner, and a very clumsy and uncoordinated one at that, Helen realizes very quickly that she doesn’t stand a chance.

In CRANBERRY (Book 2), Helen is torn back out of her world the moment December hits, and finds herself running for her life once again, only this time she enters Winterland to find the Red and Green Kingdoms on the verge of war. People are being forced to choose a side; Red or Green, as the Ruby Legion and the Evergreen Host rage against each other in battle. All of Winterland seems to be coming under the influence of their chosen colours. The pressure is starting to close in and Helen isn’t sure who she can trust. Choosing wrong could cost her everything, but not choosing at all…that’s a death sentence.

As I have been writing CRANBERRY: A STAIN OF RED, I’ve been getting lost in the smells, tastes, and colours of Christmas, something I have experienced before in the middle of sweaty July when I wrote PEPPERMINT: A BURST OF COLD. It’s fun to paint an elaborate picture for an audience to get them hanging off the edge of their seats and ready for more. But the most important part of any of these books is the underlining message beneath the text, the one truth that I hope the world would recognize if I ever get published. On Helen’s journeys, she is introduced to the Truth, a seemingly living being that possesses all kinds of knowledge, wisdom, and secrets. It’s this Truth that comes from the breath of El-Olam (translated as the Eternal God), also known as the Star Breather to some. There are key points in both of these novels where Helen comes into contact with the words from the Volumes of Wisdom, which are old books that hold ancient truths that many don’t talk about or believe in anymore. It’s these truths that seem to change the atmosphere when spoken aloud, and can make the difference between victory and defeat.

There is a particular moment in PEPPERMINT where Helen is listening to Zane read (Zane, a young former Patrolman who in his shame had set aside his duties of guarding the Truth when the Truth was nearly wiped clean out of Winterland by Mara Rouge). As Zane is reading from one of the Volumes of Wisdom, Helen starts to understand for the first time why the Truth was unable to completely die out, as hard as Mara Rouge tried to silence it forever. The words Zane reads are as follows (keep in mind that anything posted from these novels is subject to change) with a small sample of the story that came before it to set the scene. This is from the perspective of Helen:

Darkness had swallowed the town quickly, bringing a chill with it. The candlelight flickered on Zane’s face, making shadows dance over him. We lied on our stomachs, facing each other in the pile of pillows we had created as I clutched my vanilla-leaf blueberry-juice tea, and stared, captivated as his low voice created animation for the tale he read. My heart did flips with each word he spoke as though the verses were lifting themselves off the very page they were written on.

 

“All was still on the meadow hill,

Upon which sheep would graze,

The shepherds chattered, chuckled and battered,

Until the sky was of sudden blaze.

Struck with awe the shepherds saw,

The sky filled with Heavenly Hosts,

Proclaiming a wonder, in voices of thunder,

A hero of the highest, the Most.

An end to an age this hero did stage,

And a beginning of ages to come,

After the toils, troubles, and foils,

The battle would surely be won.

The prophets did say, there would come a day,

During which a hero would rise,

Seeking no tower, no authority, or power,

As a servant he would surely disguise.

A veil would tear and a load He would bear,

At dawn He would climb His tree,

The sun would rise, the sky, come alive,

Mankind would look up and see.

A chain does break and withers a snake,

The horizon fills with royal blue,

A Kingdom rises, an enemy despises.

None will conquer the Truth.”

I sincerely hope that this Christmas can be filled with as much joy and magic as possible, flowing straight from the heart of the Hero that came to save mankind. There is so much excitement at Christmas that is based off of things that won’t matter a week after the big day is over. But He will reign forevermore. Let your hearts come alive with life this season, because on this day He has come to the earth to save us. Our champion. The one who came to go to war on our behalf. Who raised men from the dead and sent armies of angels to change the world. He goes before us, He stands beside us, He follows after us and watches over us. He will never fail.

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!

cranberry-blog

Life Speakers and Bad Breath Breathers

Isn’t it funny how a breath mint can be the difference between a moment with someone being sentimental and precious vs. terrible and nasty?

There are times when I’ve been in close quarters with someone and all I can think about is how little I can breathe from the fog-cloud they are creating between us and how much I’d like to throw a breath mint in their mouth while they are talking. I hate to say it, but I have noticed that this problem seems to rage to special heights in churches. Who’s idea was it to serve everyone coffee before social time? What a ministry.

Maybe our true church ministry should be providing breath mints to the needy.

I love coffee. So I’ve often found myself in this awkward position of having just inhaled a cup or two during a service and then realized that the Lord is putting it on my heart to go and pray for someone. So then there’s the mad “gum scramble”, during which we have about fifteen seconds to ask everyone in our row if they remembered to come prepared. Usually they haven’t. And so the apologies to the one seeking prayer begin.

In a way the coffee-breath ministry can be easily related to our words, and ultimately our hearts, because the Bible says that our words are a reflection of what we have inside. I think it’s probably wise for each of us to ask ourselves every once in a while, “What is coming out of my mouth?”

God has made it abundantly clear to me and my husband during this season of our lives that He is going to battle for us. It’s cool to think about, but only for a second or two. Because after He confirmed that to us, we quickly realized that meant we had been put on the sidelines. Yes, we are out of the game. We have given the Lord permission to go to bat for us, but that means we aren’t going to bat at all.

On the plus side, God has never lost a game.

On the down side…It means we need to constantly check ourselves so that we make sure we aren’t picking up any spare sports equipment to try and jump into the game. If I rush out there the ref will blow the whistle for having too many players on the field and I’m either going to take a penalty and get suspended from the game, or worse, the whole season. This is something I have learned a lot about these past few years, that when God tells us to trust Him, we have to. There is no alternative. There is no “Maybe I’ll just do this one thing,” or “Things would be better if I just spoke up and told my side of the story.”

Stop it, you. Just stop. When God says to trust Him, then TRUST HIM.

Ugh, the agony. No one likes to sit on the sidelines. But I have begun to realize how peaceful it is over here.

This season is so different than the last one. I did so many things wrong last season, and it seems like I cost my “team” the win more than once. God told me to let Him go to battle for me then, but I couldn’t keep quiet. I couldn’t just sit back. I got restless and spoke up when I should have kept my big mouth shut. Well it cost me, because I learned that as soon as I started talking, sharing, defending myself, whatever, I was suddenly the one in the wrong. I was the one who wasn’t trusting God. I have made so many mistakes these past few years and unfortunately other people got hurt from them, including myself. How can I even find a way to forgive myself for that? No one wants to be responsible for seeing good people take a hit, even if at the time I was trying to bring about justice.

Distrust in God always has way more consequences than trusting Him.

That is a statement I should tattoo to my own forehead. Because the person who took the biggest hit from my distrust was me. It’s been a long break between seasons and God has revealed so much to me about those times, and taught me so many things about my own life as I have been on this break. He called a penalty on me and I was forced back onto the sidelines for a while. Even writing blogs was out of the question for a time, as I learned to “trust myself to trust God”. Distrust has consequences. But even more than that, it carries baggage. My heart has always been to minister to the broken-hearted, and to share His unrestrained love to those who feel hopeless. If that’s truly my heart, then God will give me those opportunities. I don’t need to try and find them myself.

The strange part about this new season is how much more prepared I am going into it. Learning, even if it’s by mistakes, is invaluable. At first it seemed like punishment, God calling me to stay at home and be involved in less in every area of my life, but over time I realized that He wasn’t mad. He was just equipping me to get back out there, patting the dirt off my jersey and giving me a Coach’s speech so that when I did re-enter the game I would be ready for it this time.

I think that God brings us through the same tests that we have failed in the past, so that we have another chance to pass them. This season is different in some ways, yet there are many similarities to what we as a family are experiencing. It would be easy to default to my former self, the one who would have felt the need to plead my case and speak up to defend myself when people are getting the wrong idea about what is happening. But the biggest difference between this season and the last one, is me. God is pulling on his batting gloves and scanning the field. Something major is about to happen and I don’t want to ruin it by jumping in and giving my team a penalty. And if I can wait, and trust in Him, we might just walk away with a trophy or two.

One thing that the Lord has been majorly pressing into us is that right now He is watching and waiting. During the stretches of desert that we seemed to be trudging through as we were trying for a baby, and wondering what God’s plans were for what is now our home in Shingletown, He told us over and over again that His timing was perfect, and He sees all things. Rushing wasn’t on His agenda, so we had to take it off ours. We couldn’t push God’s timing, or there would be consequences. We couldn’t make a move without His leading, or kick open the doors that He hadn’t opened yet. HIS timing is perfect. And He sees ALL things.

When I look back on these times I’m amazed at how much has happened since then, how many prayers the Lord answered and how many miracles occurred along the way. God rewards patience, and He appreciates it when we sit back and let Him fight the battles. Truthfully, I would rather the King of Heaven sort everything out in my current situation than try to do it myself. Thankfully this has become a go-to attitude for me these days, which I like to think means I have evolved, and I know it sounds strange but my physical health has even improved because of it. There is so much peace in our home, even when the storms come, that it almost seems unfair to the rest of the world that doesn’t get it.

Here, take some of this peace. You can have it. It’s free. *Hand thrust forward* 

Trust really is its own therapy, once we finally give in and let it be our way. I’m sure this is the way God intended us to live as Christians, to love everyone, address every person with respect, and forgive no matter what. The hardest people to forgive are the ones who need it the most, and are probably suffering from something themselves. When we love and pray for those that make things harder on us, we are releasing Heaven into the atmosphere and breaking chains that the enemy has tried to place over us.

Jesus is the King of Love, and He dishes it out in handfuls. It’s easy to love others when we remember just how much He loves us, and what He’s willing to do for us (which is everything, even dying). So I’m sitting out for this season, until the Lord hands me a catcher’s glove and sends me out onto the field. His timing is perfect. He sees all things. And right now, He’s watching, He’s studying the game and all of the players, and He’s waiting…

I don’t know about you, but I’m bubbling over with excitement for what’s coming next.

God has called all of us to be speakers of life into every situation, and to contribute to the trust we are supposed to have in Him. He has called us to be unified before His throne and to keep our eyes on the things of Heaven. I don’t want to be a bad-breath-breather. I would rather muzzle myself than speak negativity into the situations around me. Instead I think I will let God bring everything into being, since that’s sort of His thing, and watch in amazement as the incredible begins to happen.

As an update: There is so much life going into the soil of our home in Shingletown. We are so thankful for all of the prayers that many life-speakers have contributed, and for all of the people that have been showing up out of nowhere to help build, offering their time, services, supplies, machinery, and support (astoundingly, fulfilling each of the exact things we prayed for in sequence). It was clear to us early on that God was doing something very special here. We are so blessed to be a part of it and to have experienced the grace of the Lord at work and His miracles first hand. He truly does love us unconditionally, and shows us every path to take when the storms come. We now have foundation laid that has soaked up each prayer as we believe it represents the solid foundation of our lives built on Christ, and we have our first floor down as well, along with a couple of walls. We ask God daily to put supernatural walls around the property to make it a spiritual fortress that the enemy cannot penetrate. We have asked that angels tread over the soil singing praises, and that the Heavens would open over our home and flood grace and peace into the house and the land. This is no ordinary home. It’s one that we have prayed will be a place of peace, overflowing joy, safety for all who set foot on it, and unity for all who dwell there. We will not let the devil take that.

Thank you Jesus for everything. Every accomplishment and moment of glory goes straight up to you.

So there you have it. Now let’s all go buy a whopping bag of breath mints for Sunday. Bring enough to share.

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Wilderness People

Pregnancy is weird.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. But even though there is an Olympic-level soccer athlete inside my tummy trying to kick its way out, it seems to only be a slice of what I’m focused on right now. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean it like I asked for a slice in my life and God handed me a whole cake.

It just shocks me that a year ago things were so different. I found myself in a place of waiting for everything. It was tough, praying every night before we went to sleep that we would get pregnant and not seeing it happen, praying for the Lord’s army to rush in and spring forward the timeline for the house we had just decided to build. Waiting, waiting, waiting. God was teaching us so much back then and we knew it, but it didn’t make it any easier. The message He made so clear to us was that His timing was perfect.

“Your timing is perfect. And you see all things.”

That was how we ended all of our prayers.

Not a lot of people know that I actually had a miscarriage this year, after seven months of trying to get pregnant and not succeeding. The thing is that I know seven months isn’t a long time to try for a baby, many people have to try for much longer. And I know that miscarriages are extremely common. But it still stung.

I remember driving to the hospital at 3am the night that I woke up with minor contractions and I won’t even begin to tell you about all the red. We had JUST found out we were pregnant too. I was so heartbroken that through my sobs I sang the bridge of a song by Elevation Worship that I had led recently as part of the worship team at my church, “By your Spirit I will rise from the ashes of defeat, the resurrecting King, is resurrecting me. In your name I come alive, to declare your victory. The resurrecting King, is resurrecting me.” I sang this because I was trying to bring my baby back to life. I knew that I was losing it and I was trying to bring it back. I was doing the only thing that I was able as my body rejected it, I was worshipping. Jesus, the one who raises the dead back to life, because He was my first and last resort.

The thing was that it finally seemed like we were experiencing some breakthrough. We had finally gotten pregnant. We had finally started to see some forward movement with the property we were purchasing to build a house. But God’s timing really is perfect, even when it doesn’t seem that way. And He sees ALL things. Every corner of our hearts and what we are feeling. He knows every word we speak and every word spoken against us. He knows everything.

Well it was a few weeks after the miscarriage that I started feeling pretty ill. I thought it was just a regular old sickness of some kind. I started falling asleep everywhere too, which really isn’t like me. And then at a family gathering my sister, whom I believe said this by the nudging of the Lord even though she may not have known it, suggested the possibility of me being pregnant. The thing was that I had just gone through the whole miscarriage thing and I didn’t think it was possible for me to be pregnant that fast. But since she said it, I couldn’t just let the thought slide, not after everything. And I’m so grateful that she had the courage to ask the question even though it was probably hard to ask, because it was that same day I buckled and went in to buy a pregnancy test. Oh pregnancy tests. How I loathed them by this point. But as it turned out, I was pregnant! It was shocking. And I was already many weeks into the pregnancy.

What?!

Everything was a bit behind schedule, even my first Dr. appointment which is supposed to be around 9 weeks didn’t happen until 12 weeks because before I saw the doctor I had to have an ultrasound to see how far along I was before I could book my first appointment. Then, because of how behind that all was, I missed the ultrasound deadline for screening, which isn’t imperative or anything but still, it was something to chuckle about considering how slow everything seemed to be moving in my life before. Suddenly everything was full throttle, and when my first trimester hit it was a sudden uncoordinated mess of sleeping all the time or barfing all the time. It seemed like in a flash I was right out of the game altogether and couldn’t even function at regular life.

Now instead of everything moving at the speed of a slug, time was getting away from me. I was halfway through my pregnancy before I had even registered completely that I was actually going to have a baby. And a GIRL no less! Suddenly I was sitting on my bed in a state of shock, with all kinds of bizarre thoughts going through my head, “A girl…? Really? I don’t know how to take care of a girl! I only have experience with a boy! I don’t even have any girl clothes, or pink things, or pretty stuff. How am I suppose to raise a girl?”

Well if there is one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that God DOES know how to take care of our children. And our homes. And our good old well being. This has been such an incredible time of growing (spiritually and literally) for me. We have kept to this prayer, “Your timing is perfect, and You see all things” because it has gotten us through the driest parts of the wilderness. The walk was long, hot, dry, and sometimes uncomfortable, but we knew that if we were faithful and trusted in the Lord, He really was going to bring us into the promised land, the place that we just couldn’t see over the dry hills until we crossed them.

But it wasn’t just the baby. Like I said, that is just a slice. An itty-bitty four pound home-slice, to be exact. There was more. There was the house. The home. The place the Lord was preparing for us. God has a funny way of hiding the opportunities until the time is right, even when we are praying for them. Sometimes when we are in the wilderness we look around and don’t see much of anything, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something just behind that next hill, or the next one. Don’t let doubt make you stop walking. You will lose your way and it won’t look good on you. Keep your trust and keep your head on straight, eyes up to Heaven. Or you will quickly start to look like a wild wilderness monster, and you will probably sound like one too.

This whole house process has been an adventure of its own. We bought a property in Shingletown, conveniently just a minute or two from both Phil’s work and our church. But again, there has been so much waiting involved. Waiting is the hardest part, when all we want to do is start building and see progress happening before our eyes. But sometimes the people with the power and permits don’t catch our vision quite the same way and they have a different timeline than we do (Haha, who has had trouble getting permits before? I’m sure there is a city of us.) There were days and nights where I would just be on my knees praying. One day in particular I started marching back and forth in my living room like a manic, and we called in the other pray-ers in our life to start praying with us too. We had three different sets of people who were supposed to show up to turn stuff off before we could even get a demolition permit to remove the old house that was on the land: Water, Gas, and Hydro. The thing is, that each of these groups of people gave us a different timeline of when they would be able to come, all of them claiming it was going to take several weeks to show up – one even claimed it would take them five weeks! This was devastating. Already we had been waiting so long for permission to be able to move forward. Phil had been on the phone with people every day trying to move things along and I had been at home praying. Well on this particular day I really felt the Lord calming my anxious heart. I marched, yes, like a wild wilderness person who wants so desperately to make it to the promised land, and I prayed. I started speaking life into the situation, asking the Spirit of Jesus to come upon every one of those people who needed to come turn stuff off, and I started speaking against confusion and skeptics and division and discouragement, because that was the hardest part to deal with whenever stuff didn’t move fast enough. And surprise, surprise, the next day water and hydro both showed up to shut stuff off, not on schedule, but WAY ahead of their schedule and long before they said they would. It was just a random fluke that they “stopped in” (or so they thought but I knew better when Phil called to tell me). And as if that wasn’t cool enough, the day after that the gas guy showed up and saw that Phil had an excavator. He said, “Hey I see you are able to dig. If you want to dig the hole, I’ll cap off the gas right now and you don’t have to wait for us to come back with a machine to do it in five weeks.”

So yes, all three, done, within two days of those mad-woman wilderness prayers. People say all sorts of things, they might even give you a timeline. But God is the final judge. He is the one with the control and anyone who tries to make it seem like He’s not in control will probably end up looking foolish. He changes the circumstances regardless of the timeline because His timeline is best. Its easy to become a doubter and say negative things out loud when the world tells you one thing, but I know what my God has told me. And I know what He’s capable of. His timing wins. No matter what.

There have been several amazing testimonies like this that we have locked away in our hearts since purchasing this land, but it would take up your whole day if I tried to tell you all of it. The bottom line is that God is on the move. His presence is so thick surrounding this precious land and even though we push and push to get things moving, He is the one who will release everything at the right time. I’ve never had such peace about the Lord bringing something together the way He is doing so for this building project. It will be worth it in the end if we can trust Him and wait through this wilderness walk.

My prayer today is that God would fill every inch of our land with his Holy Presence and that His Peace would flood in like a tidal wave that never stops. I’ve been praying that every piece of lumber and every section of concrete would be blessed. I’ve been praying that the Lord would reign in our future home forever, and that it would be a place of peace, safety, love, and unity. But mostly, that it would be a place of worship. That the King who knows our names and loves us with no ulterior agenda would be constantly lifted up within our walls. That we would fight our battles on our knees in worship and prayer with the Lord yielding the sword instead of us.

Worship is something that is very close to my heart, especially since I first found out I was pregnant with Chase, our first child. Over him I prayed for a Heart of Worship during my whole pregnancy, and that he would be anchored in the Father’s Heart. I also prayed that he would be a joyful child and tagged on that it would be really cool if he would sleep well through the night. Boy did I get that. But now a girl is coming. A sweet little princess…at least I think that’s the right thing to say about upcoming girls. I wasn’t a sweet little princess growing up. More like a sneaky, misbehaving, dirt-faced, toad who would put war paint across my face and run through the trees after squirrels. So it begs the question, what am I going to pray over this little girl?

Many ideas swarmed my mind at first. I thought I would pray for a little missionary, or more specifically, a trailblazer, who would head into uncharted territory with the gospel! But that didn’t feel right. Then I thought maybe she was more the dreaming type, and I would pray for big dreams and maybe even add on a prayer for the gift of dream interpretation, along with wild visions as a prophetic painter! But that didn’t feel right either. Teaching/Pastoral? A leader? Walking in the prophetic? Filled with words of knowledge? Wisdom and Creativity? No, I don’t think so. I mean I would love for her to have all these things but there wasn’t one thing in particular that stood out. Nothing seemed right to me until the image of mountains came into my mind. Mountains. Mover of mountains.

Yes. That was it.

Instantly I knew that what I was going to be praying over this child was for supernatural faith. The kind of faith that will see the mountains moved. Our little mountain mover. Prayers flooded my mind for unshakeable faith, someone who would go to war until the mountains before her started to tremble. Yes, this was definitely it. A prayer warrior in my own home? Yes, please! There were a few other things too, like patience, which may have just been a result of dealing with Chase and his business for the past two years and hoping for a child that might end up being a little more relaxed (haha.) I’m so excited for this baby, to look into her little eyes and tell her how much I love her. I’m so excited to paint gold mountains on the walls of her bedroom, so that she always remembers what she is capable of. I’m so excited to see what she grows up to be like.

Thank you, Jesus, for bringing us through the wilderness, and thank you that we didn’t lose sight of your plans, your perfect timing, and your wisdom when it would have been easy to do so.

Sorry this got so long, but it’s been a while and I guess I had a lot to tell. This walk through the wilderness has been a long one. But I believe it’s God’s heart that everyone makes it to the promised land. So hang in there.

Peace.

 

Clear Skies Ahead

There’s a grey sky outside clobbering the morning with unwelcome shadows but just beyond it I can see a vibrant blue rolling in. This will be a bright morning after all.

It’s been a little bit of time since I’ve graced you all with pretty words and mildly inappropriate humour, but there’s been a lot going on. First, I had to endure the first trimester of pregnancy. If you don’t know what a “first trimester” is, Google will tell you that it’s one of Mother Nature’s cruelest practical jokes. She plays a lot of these on us women. I won’t start making a list or you will lose your breakfast, but just know that only God in Heaven has the infinite power to get us through certain seasons.

Thankfully I’m over all that garbage. First trimester is long behind me and I’m standing under that ravishing warm blue, kissing those pesky rainclouds goodbye. Thank you Jesus that I’m not going to experience morning sickness throughout my entire pregnancy like so many others. Let’s have a moment of silence to honour those poor souls that do.

Anyway, it’s hard to entirely forget about the upcoming torture, which scholars like to call “labour”, but at least I have a break before then to remember what the world is actually like. Apparently it’s not all made up of repulsive foods and bad smells. Suddenly I’m craving a whole variety of cultural cuisine. Like Taco Bell. I haven’t touched a morsel of food from Taco Bell since…well since my last pregnancy actually. There’s just something about their Loaded Cheese Fries Supreme that would make me cringe on any normal day, but during pregnancy it suddenly becomes the meal that makes you feel like you are eating at the Lord’s table.

In addition to being pregnant and getting to experience the giddy joys of feeling something kicking against my insides and busting holes through my innocent ribs, I’ve also been preoccupied with building a house. Well, obviously I’m not building it. I couldn’t find the appropriate drill bit if my life depended on it. But my husband and some of his honorable allies are throwing the thing together. If you pray and stuff, then please be praying with me that this process of getting permits and the whole building process goes so much faster than we expect. I don’t particularly want to add the experience of “going through labour + moving into a new house at the same time” to my resume. It’s not exactly on my bucket list.

Something that should be on your bucket list, however, is to read CINDER by Marissa Meyer, the first installment in The Lunar Chronicles. If you like gritty young adult commercial fiction, fairy tales, fantasy, and sci-fi, with just a hint of added man-meets-machine genetics, then you will probably fall in love with this writer’s stuff. Might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m into this sorta thing. It’s been a thoroughly entertaining way to endure the pregnancy drama.

Okay, enough random. Apart from checking in just for the sake of it, I also came across a verse that has been on my mind a lot that I wanted to chuck into the world so that everyone else could benefit from it too. Unfortunately, one of the hardships of becoming a parent is that we suddenly have to live with this fear that something terrible could happen to our kids that is completely out of our control. Does anyone else face this monster? For me it hits at night, in those last few moments right before I’m about to fall asleep. Suddenly I see this image of some random thing happening to my son that is awful, and somehow every night my mind creates a different way for him to suffer, completely against my will. What a torturous way to lay awake at night. All I can do is squeeze my eyes shut, and beg Jesus to take the images away. The ironic thing, the thing that I have to remember in these moments, is that Fear is a coward.

Yes. The “Fear Monster”, is a coward.

The Spirit of Fear will run away scared like a little pansy the moment we tell it to leave in the name of Jesus.

This brings me back to the BRAVE Conference from a few years back, where the testimonies and teaching got planted into my brain so deeply that it’s still what I go to when fear presents itself. Fear cannot stand up to Jesus. It runs and flees the second the presence of Jesus is present. Our job is to cast it out, using the tools that God gave us to fight the enemy. All it takes is a simple, “Fear, leave in the name of Jesus.” Sometimes you tell it to once and it leaves forever. Sometimes you have to do it every night (until you are delivered of the thing that is causing it to manifest). But no matter what, it hikes up it’s pants and runs for it’s life.

So my verse is found in 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”

God gave us a spirit of power. And a spirit of love. And self-control. Fear does not come from God. So be afraid, Fear. We’re coming to deal with you.

‘Nuff said.

Thanks for reading.

Catching the Fire of Revival: Part II

CATCHING THE FIRE P2

I wrote Part I of this series back in October of 2014…legit. But recently God started to stir this in my heart again, encouraging me to add another building block to this series. Maybe one day these stacked building blocks will start to look like a house. Or even better, a church.

The Calvary Road by Roy Hession, is a little book that dates back to 1950 when it was first published. To learn more about this little gem-of-a-book, venture back the first post: CATCHING THE FIRE OF REVIVAL: PART I

As a recap, Part I is about brokenness, or to be more specific, recognizing our sin and admitting it, instead of trying to justify it to others, to ourselves, and even to God, because only when we can acknowledge where we have failed will God come in and take over to do the things we cannot.

I didn’t think I would come back to this series, mostly because the thought of a revival, which once sprung a well of excitement within me, now just makes me feel tired. I’m not entirely sure why, but I recognize that if God wants me to come back to this, then I must first recognize that I am in the wrong and He is not. So okay then. Let’s do this.

This post will be on Chapter 2 of The Calvary Road, a book about sparking a revival, firstly in our own hearts, then in our homes, and then beyond.

My buddy Roy Hession calls this Chapter “Cups Running Over”. And its about just that – the realization that all we have to do is to present our empty, broken self and let Him fill us, and keep us filled. When God finds us empty, in the same way that water trickles down into every crevice and crack, His glory and power flow in. As He passes by us in all of His grace and glory, He looks into our cup. And if it is clean, He fills it to overflowing with the Water of Life.

Something you should know, is that Jesus is always passing by. And your cup can always be running over. A revival is having the constant peace of God ruling in our hearts, simply because we are full to overflowing. And when we are overflowing we share it with others, sometimes even without our knowledge. Our mere presence when our cup is overflowing can change the atmosphere around us, because of what Jesus is doing.

People are under the ridiculous delusion that dying to ourselves will instantly make us miserable. What a lie from hell. Because it’s exactly the opposite – its the refusal to die to ourselves (dying to what the body wants, holding onto the sin) that makes us miserable.

Jesus, alive in us, will overflow through us to lost souls as true concern for their salvation comes over us, along with the passionate desire for our fellow Christians to receive blessing. How amazing is that? Sometimes I feel like most of the time I don’t really feel anything at all. There are days that I wonder if there is something wrong with me because I don’t feel such a deep concern for all others the way certain people around me do. Am I a bad person? Sometimes it seems so. But it makes so much more sense when Jesus gets involved. People are driven to compassion by His spirit alive in us. We change, becoming so much better, when He is involved.

Gimme some-a-that, please.

There is only one thing that prevents Jesus from filling our cup as He passes by. And this is sin, which comes in a thousand forms. Jesus doesn’t fill dirty cups. Sometimes we like to sugar coat things when ministering to others and avoid the reality that their sin is wrong, just to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. But we aren’t doing these people any favours by trying to justify their sin for them. That’s no different than us trying to justify our own sin to ourselves.

The truth is that anything that springs from “self”, regardless of how small it is, is sin. Self-pity during trials or hard times, unfortunately is sin. As is sensitiveness, touchiness, resentment, and self-defense when we are hurt by others, self-consciousness, worry, fear…these all spring from “self” and make our cups unclean. This is difficult to study for most of us, me included, because we’ve all done these, probably even recently. Personally I’ve caved to self-pity many times when I’ve been hurt. But it’s not from the Lord.

The nice part is that Jesus shrank all of these sins already and in a magical puff! they disappeared, the day He died on Calvary. The devil isn’t able to hold these things against us when we are cleansed. And if we will allow Jesus to show us what is in our cups, and then give those dirty things to Him, He will cleanse them in the precious blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus isn’t a thing of a past, its still here, in power, for our use, flowing to cleanse us of all the sins we give Him. And as He cleanses our cups, He fills them to overflowing with His Holy Spirit.

Thankfully, for our sake, the blood is able to perform the same action day after day if need be. And we do need this, because we are as terribly imperfect as ever. Say you are filled one day to overflowing, and then something comes along that really nips at your skin – a touch of anger, or envy, or the need for control. Your cup then ceases to overflow. And if we are constantly being defeated this way, then unfortunately our cup is never overflowing.

However, if we are to experience continuous revival, we need to learn how to keep our cups clean. It’s never God’s will that a revival should stop. But if we go back to Calvary and learn afresh the power of the blood of Jesus, and confess every sin going back right to the start, then we have already learned the secret. Our cups will be constantly cleansed, and therefore constantly overflowing.

In other words, the moment you experience that envy, or criticism, or find yourself irritable, ask Jesus to cover it with His precious blood so you can be cleansed. Your reaction will change, and your peace will be restored. And the more you trust the blood of Jesus to fulfill this, the less you will even have these reactions in the first place.

For example, let’s say you or I are irritated by someone’s “personality” so to speak. It’s not enough to just take our reactions of irritation to Calvary. We must yield to God by accepting that person and his or her ways as being God’s will for us. Then we can be cleansed of our wrongful reaction. And let’s not keep mourning over it, but let’s look up to our victorious Jesus and praise Him for having victory in every situation.

Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” Everything that disturbs the peace of God is sin, no matter how small it is. This peace is supposed to rule our hearts. So when we sense that our peace has been disturbed, we should immediately stop, ask God to show us what is wrong, and then cover it in the blood of Jesus. Our peace will be restored and our cup can continue to run over. However, if this happens and God doesn’t restore peace to us, then its because we’re not really broken. Maybe there is someone we need to say “sorry” to, or something we need to make right. Maybe we still feel it’s the other person’s fault. But if our peace is gone, it should be obvious whose fault it is. We don’t lose our peace with God over another person’s sin.

Many times a day we need to avail ourselves of the cleansing blood of Jesus, because unfortunately its not a one time deal. We aren’t perfect, so we will need constant cleansing. But when we make this our lifestyle, we will be walking in brokenness as never before and Jesus will be manifested in all His power and grace in that brokenness.

Some, however, have neglected the Holy Spirit’s conviction for so long that we no longer sense it. After such a long time we start to feel we have little need of cleansing or being broken. When we are in this condition, we are in a worse state than we can imagine. It will take great hunger for fellowship with God to be restored. I’ve been in this place, and I hated every minute of it. But I know what it’s like, like so many others who have been there. All we can do when we find ourselves here is cry out to God to show us where the blood of Jesus needs to be applied. He will show us too, usually starting with just one thing, and it will be our obedience and willingness to be broken on that one thing that will be the first step into revival.

May your cupeth overfloweth-eth-eth-eth, and so many more eths, to overflowing.