Wednesday, December 28, 2011

There once was a crazy year (4)

Before I knew what was happening, my house was selling and I had to be out. Quickly. It all happened so fast I hardly had time to process the words being said before I was tossing the contents of the entire house into throw, keep, and thrift store piles. I didn't know where I was going. I'm on a small budget. I panicked for a small amount of time. It's kinda like having the wind knocked out of you. I was crying about this with Jesus, telling Him I felt like everything I love is being ripped out from under my feet, when He asked me one simple question. "I thought you said you love ME. What happened to following me to the ends of the Earth?" Conviction. Huge conviction. I remembered something Jesus had said to those claiming promise to follow Him. That even animals have dens and nests, but "The son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." So the attachment to my house needed to go. Okay. "What're we doing, then?" I asked. I threw up my hands and stopped planning. About an hour later, my phone rang

I was told about an opportunity to be involved in some ministry in an area right here in Modesto that is often overlooked and neglected. The west side. Dangerous, yes. But desperate for Jesus to infiltrate. And very quickly, things fell into place. I found out about a house that is overseen by City Ministries Network (Did you know there's a board comprised of people from all kinds of churches and ministries in modesto?) that is currently housing interns with Youth For Christ and is looking for another person to move in to be more involved and close to ministry that goes on in this part of town. So I talked with several people and once again things happened fast. I'm already moved in. Well, mostly.

I have no idea yet of all that I'll be involved in. But I'll tell you what I DO know: That this will be the first year I'll be focused on ministry as my priority rather than working up a ladder with a corporation. I've always put work first. That's what I've been taught. The shift that has happened within me is one of refusing to listen to everyone around me and trust that the King over every dime and dollar will provide if I pour myself into following His lead and being His hands and feet. This is just like being a missionary. That's basically what I'm beginning. I just happened to move to West Side Modesto rather than South Africa or Papau New Guinea. (Which I'm totally wanting to do too someday!) I know I'm good at encouragement-especially of people who're knee-deep in ministry. I want to do something with that. I know that we are planning to hold Zumba classes in the new Youth For Christ building next to Modesto High. I pray people come. I pray they encounter Jesus through it. I don't know what other things I will be involved in. But my hope and prayer is that I will find those who know ministry. Who've been doing it. Who will take me seriously and train me up to do it well. I am focused on figuring out where I fit well and working in the trenches of ministry every day. That's my calling. That's what I'm wired for. I have a feeling this year will be a lot of new. A lot of learning and a lot of change. But I'm excited to see where He places me. Let the adventures begin!!!!

There was once a crazy year (3)

It's the hardest and the easiest decision I've ever made-both at the same time. The easiest because when you know what you're created to do and what The King calls you to, it's the easiest decision in the world to simply say "okay, then" and follow. It settles all kinds of dissonance within you. And you can go with confidence- to the ends of the Earth. Literally. The hard part isn't actually in making the changes. It's in the way people tend to react sometimes.

I've decided to commit myself fully and completely to ministry. This is what I hear the Lord tugging me toward. I got to the point with Beth this year where I became aware of how incredibly messed-up I once was and how brilliantly He's turned everything around and how incredibly different and new I am as a result. And in the same moment that I realized that, I realized that this could not all happen without me turning around and being a tool in which others get to encounter the radical transforming power of Jesus Christ. I can't help it. I'm in love and we all know how foolish love can make one act. That being said, I told Jesus I am all in. No more half-butting my time doing ministry. I'm committed-whenever, wherever and however that may be. I told Him 2012 is it. The year I'm determined to dive in. Little did I know what was waiting for me within just a few days.....


There was once a crazy year (2)

For the first part of the year, I was just frustrated and wondering what the heck was going on. I was overwhelmed, overworked, and dry as a bone. Then this summer I went to a Beth Moore conference and it ended up being a crazy weekend unlike I expected. Part of that weekend involved hanging out with Beth for a bit and her saying something to me that was undeniably and completely of Jesus and meant to grab my attention so hard that the wind got knocked out of me. That moment I heard God say, "This is it, Baby Girl. You've come completely through and are on the other side. You've arrived. You're free. Healed. It's time to begin something new and huge." This was overwhelming because of the way it all hit me. He did it big. I mean, coming from the mouth of Beth herself was HUGE because the day I saw the extent of my unhealthy state and desired to get out of those pits 5 years ago was the first day I ever heard her speak. I began thinking and processing and then I was hit with health issues. An interesting thing happened when I was weak and not able to be as active. I lost a lot of "friends". It's funny who shows up or supports you when you're just too weak to handle life. And it's heartbreaking and shocking to see who doesn't. Sometimes I think we in the church get so focused on whatever "our" ministry is, that we become blinded to the way others around us in the body need our support. I did a lot of resting which left me alone a lot. Which made me wrestle like crazy with Jesus over everything. Over my life and what it is and where it's going. It changes everything when you spend most of your time with only Him. I had to face all kinds of things I had been avoiding. One day it hit me that I'd been hanging out all day every day with the most powerful King in the universe and He was crazy about me. (Have you had the blessing of this eerie, awesome experience yourself? If not, I ask you to. Don't miss out on Him!) And after months and months of wrestling things out with Him, I accepted what He was saying to me. He was telling me and showing me what I've been wired for. Groomed for. Brought up to do. I'd known it somewhere deep down for a long time. I just avoided facing it and the hard parts I knew would come with that.  But I've finally made a firm decision. 

There was once a crazy year (1)

A desert. A huge, hot, dry, desolate, windy-in-a-painful-way-that-chaps-and-dries-every-inch-of-you desert. At first I was simply blown over and devastated by this response and condition of life. I ask for huge adventure and I get plopped in the middle of......well, not much of anything to be exact. In the beginning, I was just angry. Angry that I seemed to be isolated a lot on all sides and angles. But as 2011 started to run it's course, I began to see a theme. It took a bit to get it. To actually open my eyes to what He was up to. Sometimes it's hardest to see even the most beautiful things when you're sitting IN them, is it not? I began to hear whispers of the theme He had for me. It was in conversations with customers and co-workers. It was in messages and sermons I listened in on. It was in books I read. Pages of scripture that would fall open. And in the voices of teachers that I encountered and learned from throughout the year.

There was once a crazy year (Prologue)

For the entire year of 2011 I have been asking Jesus for high adventure on a grand scale that goes much further than my imagination could conceive. I've asked Him to strategically place me in a spot of influence with those who have not yet encountered Him in the raw and breathtaking way that He longs to infiltrate their lives. And He did. The effect of this on me was more painful and entirely different than anything I anticipated.....

Thursday, December 22, 2011


The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.

"Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!"

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face.

"A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma."

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents.

On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere--Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?"

"Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess--the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She's my favorite."

"That's okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"

"Daddy, you know I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my babydoll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."

"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.

"What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"

Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver,she finally said, "Here, Daddy. It's for you."

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.

He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Raw (Chapter 3)

It was one of those moments. An average day with an average routine. Nothing seemingly out of the ordinary. But then-as quick and as powerful as a bolt of lightening-it hit. So powerful it literally knocks the breath out of you for a moment. But so fast you have to stop and ask yourself if that really just did indeed happen. And it did. Not only did it happen, but that split second-no!-half a second-was enough to alter your entire world. Your entire faith. 

The day before I had been talking back and forth with my friend Annie over e-mail. We'd been discussing some things I struggle with and she'd told me to take those things and sort of suspend them in air and walk around the other side of them and look at it from another angle or two. I was processing that and asking the Lord to reveal truth to me. And at the end of the night, I set it aside and sort of out of my mind. 

The next day, however, I worked very early and was supposed to be traveling a bit of a distance to visit a ministry that specializes in prayers of healing. My friend Jessie knows the people who work there and I'm not getting help or answers to my health problems with doctors, so I agreed to try this. Unfortunately, my car just keeps breaking down and i had no way of traveling even 2 hours away. It was suggested I rent a car for the occasion, and as I drove home from my early opening shift I debated that possibility. As I wrestled with it, I thought to myself, "All that trouble just to be prayed for. Is it worth all that money just for some prayer? Isn't that a bit extreme?" That's when it hit. Like lightening. 

It felt like I was standing still and the entire world began to spin around me. I realized almost before the thought finished what I was thinking. What I actually believe. Or, rather, what I DON'T believe. Just prayer. Just. Prayer. J-U-S-T prayer?!?! What the heck.....??? In a flash, I realized that I do not in any way have the faith I once thought myself to. I've been spending time and money at appointment after appointment with doctors of western medicine who are actually making my problem WORSE and have not spent any time or desperation seeking out those with the training and understanding of the healing power of prayer as my answer. I have actually allowed myself to believe that doctors can do more
for me, that prayer won't actually work. 

As I looked through the gospels yesterday and today, I watched Jesus heal the sick. Deliver the possessed and oppressed. Destroy death and disease. Redeem any variety of things. Completely shatter the world that the religious leaders of the day had built. And then turn around and give His followers complete and utter authority to do the same. He even makes the statement that they will do all this AND MORE-because the Holy Spirit will live within them. And I am questioning whether the act of coming before Christ's throne will do much for me. Who am I kidding? Where have I gone wrong? What voices am I listening to?! The church's. My upbringing. This culture. 
As I realize and plead with Jesus to teach me how to live in the full authority He's given me, I ask you-where's your faith at? With your big stuff? With the small details of your day? Are you actively living in the authority and power that Jesus himself handed over to you before He left this Earth? Are you in tune to the Holy Spirit's movement and active work every day? Or are we all falling to distraction and American Christianity and complacency and the soft, cozy, cushy Jesus that never gets bold and loud and authoritative and crazily active about the way things are going? Are our actions moving and flowing in tune with His? When's the last time you experienced His movement in the day? Living here is by far the most comfortable, clean, warm, convenient life we could ask for. So why, then, are so many not content? Why miserable? Stressed out all the time? Depressed? Distracting themselves from thinking with
T.V. and food and video gaming?Something's not adding up. I still have so far to go until I've firmly grasped the truth and actually begun living it out. But I'm determined to refuse infiltration by, well, by everything around me. It's going to take daily diligence. But if I've learned anything at all about Jesus, it will be the most exciting and thrilling ride I could ever take. Anyone out there up for serious change? Let's talk. I'd love some company as I walk along this path. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Raw (Chapter 2)

I'm not sure if this is true of other cultures, and I am the last to know if it applies as strongly to men, but I have become absolutely convinced that the enemy's greatest weapon against Americans, women, and Christians is comparison and the resulting complacency. (And if you're an American Christian woman, I believe he's trying to set you up for disaster.) We are so surrounded on every side so entirely by things and people that we're told to compare ourselves with, that unless you SEE the depth of the infiltration by our media and society and very actively work to be free of it's influence, you are heading up a very swift, dangerous creek without a paddle to be had. Fortunately, if we can become aware of the situation, Jesus  can become our paddle. And with Him we can turn the boat around. 

The amount of comparison that we're just expected to make every day is enormous. We don't even see the extent of it because we're so infiltrated. Every time you go to the grocery store, there are 15 magazines with hot, perfect women on the cover. They don't ever bother to explain to young girls paging through Cosmo and Vogue that every cover made has a bill for tens of thousands of dollars for airbrushing and photoshopping services. And that every size 1 model in the two-page Gucci and Armani adds are either born having a hard time putting on weight, or just threw up their lunch in the bathroom. 
What about Victoria's Secret adds? I saw about 5 in a one hour episode of Grey's Anatomy last week. Those girls look perfect. But oh, yeah. They've had boob jobs and haven't eaten a full meal in weeks. And how much you want to bet their backs and feet are throbbing from wearing the weight of those wings while filming? I even saw it on a Jack in The Box commercial. Hot, perfect "goddesses" eating a huge bacon burger. Yeah. Right. 

We compare ourselves every day to everyone around us and we don't even see it. I didn't realize the extent of it until recently. One day, the Lord opened my eyes to how much I'm living in bondage to comparison and I saw how bad it's gotten. It's hard to flourish as you when you're constantly looking at how pretty and talented and artistic and wise and successful others are and feeling like you come up short. I do this CONSTANTLY and haven't even seen it. I love singing. I actually have a good-ish voice. But I always look at my friends who are great and assume I should just keep quiet. I love art-photography, painting, drawing, etc....but I know phenomenal artists that I always measure myself against. I love writing. I'd actually love doing it for a living. However, I look at several of my favorite people's work and feel completely messy and juvenile. I even compare my weight loss and teaching skills to my Zumba instructor friends and mentors and give up on things too fast because they've lost more weight and teach such great classes. I can't even be at work without watching my co-workers make coffee faster and better than me. 

I've come to see the severity of comparison and how detrimental and painful it can be to the body of Christ. When we allow it to take over, we give up trying as much and we cease to function at the capacity and in the power He has intended for us to, and we become ineffective. Insecure. Complacent. Less dangerous to the enemy. Which is exactly what he wants. If we managed to stop comparing ourself to others, we would become pure dynamite. Dynamite that blows the enemy right out of the way. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Raw. (Chapter 1)

I've lost 80 pounds. When you lose a significant amount of weight, people are constantly asking you how you did it. What your secrets are. Sometimes I feel as if they ask and then look at me as if I'm going to pull pixie dust out of my purse and sprinkle it on them and magically give them all the answers.  Now, I DO actually usually carry pixie dust in my purse, but that's a whole other issue and story.  The reality is that while people can definitely lose weight on their own with hard work, I found that for me, it was impossible without a dramatic work of Jesus Christ deeply and profoundly affecting,  healing, restoring, renewing, re-wiring, and re-teaching me who He really is. It's been the toughest, most painful, most lonely, most beautiful, most amazing, and most thrilling ride so far. And I KNOW it's only begun. 

 I was overweight for years. The way in which I deal with stress is to eat. It is one of the comforts I turn to. And until I saw and admitted the actions and thoughts that led to over-eating, nothing was going to change for me. And one day, Jesus gently and lovingly poked and prodded me in this area until I finally let go and called it what it is. Bondage. An unhealthy mindset and addiction. The moment I listened to Him and agreed with Him about my eating was the moment everything began to change. 

What happened first was a desire to get over and away from unhealthy and destructive thought and eating patterns. That was a gigantic project that took time, energy, large amounts of dedication, studying, memorizing, re-wiring my mindset and the way I think. It was actually all about learning to Believe God (not believe IN God). Learning to accept who He is. Who I am. Work through all the painful childhood issues. Allow Him full access to my life. (Especially to my past.) once that all started happening, the weight issue naturally fell into step alongside of the rest. I began attending Zumba classes because I was at a point in my spiritual journey of recognizing that God wants to be Lord of all-and that includes having complete authority and access to my body as well. So I was attempting to put my body under His rein and commit to health for Him more than for me. Of course, once I got into Zumba I  fell in love. And it's actually a way for me to give myself to Him. When I dance-even when it's hip-hop, it's a very serious time of working out my day. Mentally I process through the day as I dance. And I am dedicating my health, my body, my well-being to Him. I actually learn so much and gain such perspective from Zumba. It's not just about exercise. It's about something so much bigger and so much greater. Which is one of the reasons why it's so hard for me when I'm not able to do it.  

The point is, weight loss is really a secondary issue and a reflection of the emotional and mental healing that has taken place within me. If you're struggling with big over-eating, it's bondage.  Look deep inside. Or maybe you won't even need to look that far. You will find an issue. A hang up. A hurt. An anger. A fear. It is what feeds that extra hunger. Deal with that, and you will naturally and unknowingly begin to take on and tackle your weight issue before you even realize it. Let Him in. Give Him full access to your heart.  What's your greatest fear or the one thing you protect with a vengeance? Tear down that wall. Give THAT up. It changes everything. He really DOES have only good for you. And more incredible good than you can comprehend. Admit to yourself and Him that you don't fully believe that and you've begun. 

Raw. (The Introduction.)

"The greatest single cause of atheism today is Christians; who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. THAT is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

If you're my age, or if you strangely happen to listen to a lot of 90's music, (something I'd be careful to admit apart from M.J. I mean, come on. Everyone loves Thriller. If you say you don't you're lying.) you probably know where I got that quote. It's on the beginning of an amazing track to an amazing DCTalk album-Jesus Freak.  And lately it's been swimming around in my head. 

For years, I loved the concept of that idea. That quote and song and album really had me thinking about hypocrisy. In high school, I believed Christianity was all about not being ashamed to talk about Jesus. So I was bold to say I believed in Him. I was a student leader in the high school ministry. I would talk about Him at school if I got the opportunity. I attended See You At The Pole every year. I refused to attend parties. I thought that's what being a Christian was all about. And I was totally and completely messed up. I was living in a number of pits of destruction-some that I had been flung into. Many that I dug and jumped into myself.  All those years I have looked at the concept behind that quote completely backwards. Here's what I mean:

When people get turned off to Jesus because of Christians, maybe it's not about what we do and don't attend. What kind of language we use. What we believe about Creation, how old this Earth is, whether Jesus is really coming back and when. Heaven and Hell.  How nice of a person we are. These things are important, yes, but I have come to believe that they may actually distract from the heart and depth of things. 

For several years I worked in environments of ministry. I attended a small Bible school where you literally live in a  bubble for a period of time and get to just be infiltrated with Jesus. And after that, I worked at a Christian camp and lived and taught in a Christian Conference Center that I never needed to leave for any reason.  After that I moved home for MJC and ended up being an intern at Big Valley Grace.  Twice. This whole time, I thought I had gained knowledge and wisdom from all I lived and worked with about avoiding hypocrisy. About making sure people  look at my life and see something that makes Jesus so real. And then the hard stuff started. 

I began working in the secular world. SuddIenly I was spending every day in environments of complete darkness. For the last 4 years, I've been the only Christian in my work place. And it wasn't until that began that I truly learned what it is that makes it hard for people to have any desire to know Jesus as they believe He'd be. 

Here's what I've learned. With small amounts of exceptions, over the last several years what I've seen is that when a person who doesn't know the Lord looks at the Christian in their midst, watches their life, they see only the different view of science and the involvement in a Church. Other than those main things, it's very hard to tell a difference  between a believer and an atheist. I've worked with atheists and Buddhists  who are much more joyful and kind than most of the Christians I am around. In fact, a lot of the pastors and believers I know from town are daily customers at my store right now. And I have been getting infuriated by the fact that they are actually some of the most sour, rude, or fakely friendly people we see each day. Trust me, my co-workers are smart people. They can see through a fake nice-ness. Quite easily. 

I have been wrestling for several years with why it is we don't have any very large differences about us. And THAT right there is the issue that I have come to believe is THE greatest single cause of atheism today. We're not getting it. We're living an American, watered-down Christianity that involves keeping your nice house, white picket fence, and new soccer mom SUV. We do everything exactly the same as the non-believer who lives next door, but we add two hours of church attendance during the week and a Bible study of two during the year and we think that somehow that will appeal to others. We're not getting it.

About 5 years ago I realized this. I hit a point where I decided  I was too tired of pretending I was okay. Or happy. And One night I began just unleashing all my fears and concerns to God. I hollered and cried and screamed and began wrestling with Him and myself like never before. I angrily yelled at Him that I was sick and tired of being so messed up. So unhealthy. So deep in bondage. So addicted. So alike every other messed-up person on this planet.  As a believer, wasn't I supposed to have victory over these things? Wasn't I supposed to be on top of hard circumstances and having incredible stories to tell of encounters and healing and witnessing the Spirit's movement and involvement in everything? Wasn't everything supposed to be a dramatically different way of life than with someone who doesn't know Jesus? And I realized that the majority of Christians I know couldn't answer yes to any of those questions about their own lives. Oh, sure. They genuinely love Jesus. They serve Him. They may even truly deeply affect others.  But they are not living dynamically power-filled lives of authority. They aren't taking the few moments to truly SEE the people they encounter throughout the day. They aren't learning how to lay hands on a pray over people in a way that actually heals and cures disease. (Oh, yes. I DO believe that is very possible. Does that make you squirm?) I didn't want to end up like that. I wanted to get it right. Even if that meant being the weird different one at church of all places. I began to understand that when I get it-I mean REALLY get it-I will be living, breathing, moving with the Spirit. And when I do that, I actually CAN have the power and authority to be over circumstances. To see people and have a knowledge and insight of what God Himself sees and thinks. And because I am literally His daughter, I get to have the very real power and ability to rein in His authority. Kind of like when the King would leave for business and leave his signat ring with someone He trusted to make decisions on his behalf and put an order or a motion into effect with his power backing it up. I have the seal of approval from the King. And if I truly understand that, I can live quite differently. I have the authority to literally move a mountain. Tell a demon to leave. Heal a disease. Sound crazy? Well, maybe it is. But it's true all the same. And we don't live this out. We don't take time to be connected to His voice enough for these things. It would take too much time. Be too inconvenient. And really? I think we're afraid if we listen, we'll be asked to do things, give up things, and go places that we most certainly do not want to deal with. It would be disruptive to our live. And people would think we're crazy. But maybe, just maybe, if we began truly living Christianity in the way we're meant to-healing disease, taking care of each other, providing for believers all over the globe-God has such incredible intimacy, miraculous experiences, and mind-blowing amazement to put into our lives, that when others see what we're living and experiencing, they won't be able to deny the Jesus they're seeing there. It will be different, powerful, real, and HUGE. It will become undeniable. 
We just haven't begun to really grab ahold of this. Of all it entails. We're too distracted by that career. That sport. That two-hour episode of Grey's Anatomy. That vacation we have to plan because we're too overworked. Sometimes i wonder.....If  I were as tapped into the spirit as we could be, I think all He and I would be doing together would be such a wild ride that I'd feel like I was being whisked away on a fascinating cruise every day. Hmmmmm.....
I still have so much to learn. I've barely even scratched the surface. But I already have one wild story that's begun to develop......

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Health update #2

Well, this is most definitely NOT the kind of update I expected to be writing. Sometimes you don't realize how invincible you really think you are until it hits an extreme point. Of course, part of that is because everyone and their mother likes to say "Eh. You're young. You can do it all. You shouldn't be tired!" I heard it from a customer for the millionth time yesterday and  actually shuttered. It's beginning to make me angry to hear that. It's a lie. 

I am at a place of exhaustion and desperation. I was supposed to have a bunch of tests run this week to find out what's wrong with me. The night before the tests I woke up with such severe pain that I ended up reading my Bible while curled in a ball on the living room floor. When I went to the doctor the next day she acted as if I was blowing things out of proportion. I explained to her that I've had many operations in my lifetime, I have a high pain tolerance, and was not making things up. She treated me as if I was being too sensitive to the medicine she'd given me. And actually said my list of symptoms may be "me", and not the medicine.  She said they're indicative of clinical depression. I was in shock. Except for some periods of spiritual depression-NOT clinical-I am a flipping ray of sunshine, okay? I'm NOT Eyore! You're pumping my body with hormones and telling me my side effects aren't the meds?!
She then proceeded to tell me she didn't need to run the tests on me. Then why did she tell me two weeks ago to take the pill, to stop the bleeding, to come in, to have these tests run? She just wants to keep me on the pill for a few months.  All she's saying is "we need to stop that bleeding." Well, you're not. And how about finding out WHY it's happening?!?! And then she listened to my heart and informed me that I have a pretty large murmur. Something no one has discovered before. Now I get to spend several days next week at cardiology. And when I asked her how we're going to find an answer to the original reason I came in, she just said it's hormone changes or stress. But the last time I checked, everyone deals with both of those things and does NOT have this reaction. Especially when they're getting healthy and losing a significant amount of weight. 

It doesn't add up. I left the office with more questions than I came in with and an added health concern and appointments with an added specialist. She's just shoving hormones at me that aren't working. It's a band-aid being slapped on a symptom rather than finding a cause for the problem. Since that appointment on Wednesday,  I've been in continual high amounts of pain and am seeing a whole lot of other problems come back or continue. The pill isn't working. At all. Everything's actually getting worse by the day. When you are feeling increasingly bad physically, it's very hard to have to energy and brains enough to figure out what to do and who to talk to and all that. Despite my age, I feel so young to be handling all these things on my own. It's scary. I'm terrified. I'm at a loss for wisdom. 

The good news? The silver lining in all this?........I learned two years ago a truth that I KNOW was given to me for this moment in time. Ready? It's simple: 
He KNOWS it's scary to be us. 
He gets it. 
Thank you, Jesus. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Update # 1: Health

So I've written and re-written updates for several weeks. And haven't posted one. It's very hard for me to talk about this. It's personal. It makes me look weak. I like appearing strong. But I think now-as I'm forced to sit in the waiting room yet again-would be a good time to go into it. I am only hurting myself by not allowing the church the opportunity to act like it. 

Basically, I have been severely bleeding for about 7 months now. At first, it was no big deal. But bleeding consistently without ceasing while working and teaching Zumba on a daily basis catches up with anyone after a while. My anemia is out of control. (you can't get on top of it when you just keep bleeding.) I'm fatigued beyond belief. My emotions and even personality are altered. Several months ago I stopped teaching so many classes at night. Something that was very difficult for me to do. But my body forced me to. Through the pulling back of teaching, I realized how tied to it I have become. How much it's become my identity. It's very painful not to be instructing every night. I've gained a few pounds back. And I'm STILL struggling with the fact that I am not able to have the prestige of instructing in labeling who I am. But it's good. Jesus has been teaching me how important it is to find my identity in Him and Him alone. Two weeks ago I jumped up front of an extremely crowded class with my friend Melissa as she taught and got all puffed up about being "back in the game." That moment that attitude began consuming me, I tweaked my knee and it's still hurting. As I cried over it that night, The Lord gently reminded me that while He doesn't enjoy seeing me be hurt, He'll allow it if it will keep me humbled. So here I am. 

I'm currently enduring an extremely high amount of hormones being pumped into my body every day and this week am going through a series of tests to figure out why my body is mis-behaving. Let me tell you, it hasn't been pretty. I am so not myself at ALL lately. I feel as if I'm one big emotional mass of everything all heaped on the floor. Because my emotions are a mess and my body needs an intense and extreme amount of rest and unique treatment, I've shut out the world a lot. And I've been lectured about it. I've been told I need to be more social. I'm too isolated. Things like that. The truth is, I need more friends, but friends that are understanding. Gentle. That will be willing to sit quietly or pray over my body when I suddenly get dripping hot flashes out of nowhere because of the pills. 

 By the end of this week, I should know what's wrong with me. That's the doctor's goal and hope. They're only speculating right now. The "c" word has been thrown out there but we don't know yet. If you read this and you're willing to be a prayer warrior on my body's and Spirit's behalf, I would be extremely thankful. That's what I need. Thanks for reading. Thanks for supporting. 
Jesus rules completely and totally. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that EVERYTHING is always purposed for something bigger later. Nothing is EVER wasted in the Kingdom world. EVER. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

For when you are weak, then He is strong. Even when you can't feel, see, or understand when or how that may work out. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

If you put your arms around me,
Could it change the way i feel?
I guess I let myself believe
That the outside might just bleed its way in
Maybe stir the sleeping past
Lying under glass
Waiting for the kiss
That breaks this awful spell
Pull me out... of this lonely cell
Close my eyes and hold my heart
Cover me and make me something
Change this something normal
Cnto something beautiful
What I get from my reflection
Isn't what I thought i'd see.
Give me reason to believe
You'd never keep me incomplete
Will you untie this loss of mine?
It easily defines me,
Do you see it on my face?
That all i can think about is how long
I've been waiting to feel you move me.
Close my eyes and hold my heart
Cover me and make me something
Change this something normal
Into something beautiful
Into something beautiful
Into something beautiful
And I'm still fighting for the word
To break these chains
And I still pray when I look in your eyes
You'd stare right back down
Into something beautiful
So close my eyes and hold my heart
Cover me and make me something
Change this something normal
Into something beautiful
Into something beautiful
Into something beautiful
Into something beautiful

 ~Jars Of Clay 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Finding first loves again.

I don't know why I'm frightened
I know my way around here
The cardboard trees, the painted seas, the sound here
Yes, a world to rediscover
But I 'm not in any hurry
And I need a moment

The whispered conversations in overcrowded hallways
The atmosphere as thrilling here as always
Feel the early morning madness
Feel the magic in the making
Why, everything's as if we never said goodbye

I've spent so many mornings just trying to resist you
I'm trembling now, you can't know how I've missed you
Missed the fairy tale adventure
In this ever spinning playground
We were young together

I'm coming out of make-up
The lights already burning
Not long until the cameras will start turning
And the early morning madness
And the magic in the making
Yes, everything's as if we never said goodbye

I don't want to be alone
That's all in the past
This world's waited long enough
I've come home at last!

And this time will be bigger
And brighter than we knew it
So watch me fly, we all know I can do it
Could I stop my hand from shaking?
Has there ever been a moment
With so much to live for?

The whispered conversations in overcrowded hallways
So much to say not just today but always
We'll have early morning madness
We'll have magic in the making
Yes, everything's as if we never said goodbye
Yes, everything's as if we never said goodbye
We taught the world new ways to dream!

........from Sunset Boulevard

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed. I remember it all-oh, how well I remember-the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left. God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It's a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It's a good thing when you're young to stick it out through the hard times. When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face. The "worst" is never the worst. Why? Because the Master won't ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way. 
~Lamentations 3:19-33 {MSG}

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


"You keep on using that word. I do not think that word means what you think it means"........

I'm learning a whole lot about bravery lately. I have a lot of psychology in my background. I understand it extremely well. There's a mindset I've been taught that it's good and healthy to face your weaknesses. To see the unhealthy flaws within you and deal with them. And certainly, at times it is. In fact, it's essential at SOME point to go through this. To maybe start seeing weaknesses in yourself that you usually don't. But, here's what I'm seeing lately. And for once, this is NOT based on psychology.....

When you experience that moment (or season) of sudden shock of self, of having blinders taken off & suddenly seeing flaws in yourself that you're convinced others must've been seeing for quite some time, it's extremely hard to pull out of it. The tendency is shame. Sorrow over ourselves. Maybe even a guilt. And a desire to hide from the world until you feel you've gotten it together enough to be in close relationship with people again without appearing raw. And we're often told that facing these moments and being in that spot is brave because it's hard and painful. But The King has been showing me a new way if looking at things lately. Here's a question for you. For me:

What if, when faced with this season or situation, rather than react as usual, we CHOOSE to look in the mirror and only see what HE does?

 The other day I was wallowing in a mild case of self-disgust over an unhealthy behavior I suddenly recognized in myself. As I put on my mascara that morning, I felt the voice of the Spirit say "look at yourself. I mean.....REALLY look. Who. Are. You?......." I smiled. I knew this! "I am who God says I Am." He asked, "and what's that?"  I smiled and again rattled off the answer. "Daughter of the King. Co-heir of Jesus Christ Himself. Resident of The Kingdom....." and suddenly, it hit me. In a flash I realized something. I had two options for that day:
A.) dwell on the unhealthiness I had just seen in myself, be embarrassed over my behavior, & hide out because I didn't want to face the world until I've processed, talked it out, exhausted the"root".
B.) know truth, hold my head up high, and live it. Simply. Powerfully. Effectively. With Authority. When you see the flaws but choose to function in who God sees you as and says you are in spite of them, it goes against the tendency to sit in the ugly. It takes more effort to believe how powerful & effective you are when you're looking at mistakes.  It takes an extreme amount of bravery to say "God. I've messed so much up. I AM so messed up. I don't have anything together. But I am yours. So here I go." And then go tromping off to heal disease, move mountains, cast out demons despite yourself. (You know we have that much authority, right?) Now THAT'S bravery. Hi. My name's Elisabeth. And I want to be brave. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I dare you.

Here's a thought: Your weaknesses can actually end up being a beautiful thing. Ever think of that? Maybe by actually allowing our weaknesses to be known, we will allow the body of Christ to step up and function as the body of Christ SHOULD for once. I'd hope so, anyway. Aren't you tired of portraying yourself to be someone you're not? Of acting like you're so much more put together than you are? I am. So, so tired. And on top of that, I'm tired of anyone who's around me feeling like they have to seem okay if they're not. If you're a mess today, I want you to BE a mess today. Cry. Laugh. Scream. I don't care. But DON'T automatically tell me "Hey. I'm good. How're you?" when I ask. 

We're all human. We're all ugly. We're all screw-ups. Why can't we just be more honest about where we're at? Fake-ness and playing dress-up is not helping you. It's hurting you. And the truth is, being completely honest actually shows the cross to be even bigger and MORE beautiful. Our American way of living out Christianity is N-O-T what God's Word gives us for a guideline. It's just not. 

So, how're you REALLY doing? Can you be honest about it? 
How is Jesus in your way & face & teaching you and shaking you up lately? If He's not, guess who moved & stepped back? 

Be real. Be honest. Be all in. Make people uncomfortable and squirmy. Show them you can be messy, free, and in love with Jesus all at once. I dare you. Try it. Be completely raw. See what happens. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Conferences, Car rentals, and Airport Starbucks

4.5 years ago, I attended my very first Beth Moore Conference. I was very taken with the humbleness in which she went before the Lord, and depended on & glorified Him alone in everything. She really spoke my language. She said things in a way that got to me. The first night, I wrote in my journal that I was really struck by the way in which she glowed. Radiated. Like a woman in love. It hit me. She was IN love with Jesus Christ and it radiate in her face. I wanted that so desperately. To be mad about Jesus like that. But, oh, how impossibly far that seemed! I was a hot mess. In the throws of lifelong bondage and deeply intrenched in many pits all at once. Getting free from everything was a haunting picture that seemed to live in the distant corners of my dreams alone. That night, I scribbled a prayer next to my notes from her talk. "Jesus, I want to be like that. I want to radiate and glow because I've fallen madly IN love with you. I want to walk confidently & loudly in freedom over every chain of addiction, destructive thought pattern, and generational curse. I want the impossible." 

Chapter 1:
August 26, 2011. Living Proof Live with Beth Moore. I travel several states away-alone-to attend a familiar conference that I've been to several times. I knew what to expect. Or so I thought......

I got a seat in the front row and the night was amazing. I can't even begin describing it to someone who wasn't there, but there was an insanely thick presence of the Holy Spirit that I hadn't experienced in that way before. And everybody else was experiencing it, too. The night was intensely amazing. 

I arrived at my hotel for check-in to be told my card has declined. I was in shock. I had deposited over $700 that morning into my account! I checked my bank app to find that Hertz had charged me $700 for a $19.99 car rental! There really wasn't much I could do. I was broke, alone, stranded, and quite hungry. I panicked. I flipped out. I was completely overwhelmed. I felt like a fool for going so far to attend a silly, normal conference that I've been to many times. I began mentally beating myself up. And a whole bunch of issues with being in a season of such isolation and lack of community and single came to the surface and I lost it.

You know when you sob so hard it shakes your whole body? I didn't know a person could cry that hard for that long. 

I dug up $2.00 in change from my purse and went to Denny's. I ordered a $2 breakfast and sat for a few hrs. Just dazed.  Overwhelmed. Then I tried sleeping in the car, but I was scared. It didn't work too well.  I went back into Dennys a little after 4:00 in the morning to wash up, change, and put my face on. The poor waitress must've wondered what the heck was going on. I  returned to the venue for day # 2 of the conference. 

Chapter 2:
I sat in my seat in the front row and pleaded with the Lord for a very specific word for me. I needed to know I had gone so far for a reason. During the morning session, Beth touched on the fact that EVERYTHING in our lives is with such purpose. Nothing at all is an accident or wasted. She shared some of her story, a very familiar topic to me. As she did, my mind drifted because I'd heard it a lot before. I began to think of where I've come from. The amazing number of pits and amount of bondage He's taken me out of, healed the effects of, and built beautiful ebeneezers from the ashes of. As I recalled a lot of the addiction, mental illness, etc..... I've come from and been completely freed of, I was absolutely floored by the vision of what He's done with me. In me. In spite of me. I realized the extent of His work. And right about then, out of nowhere, Beth walks over and stands directly in front of me, points at me, and declares, "YOU, sister. Every single thang you're dealing with at this very moment is with complete purpose. Do you believe that? Do you trust Him?" We locked eyes and I just began bawling. I nodded and whispered "yes" to her. She said, "I know." 

I needed that. I needed to know all I'm dealing with-from isolation & singleness to the drama of being stranded- is with intense purpose. 

After that session, I got taken backstage with a few other Siestas to get a picture and a hug. She asked my name and said "I KNEW that was my CA girl. You're almost too darling to stand. And I have to tell you, your face is radiating with Jesus today." I laughed and thought, "yeah. Radiating no shower!" Then, In an instant, I had a flash back to the very first conference I attended. To the journal entry I wrote that included a prayer of longing to be so in love with Jesus that I radiated. And how deep in bondage I was at the time. And I realized what-in this moment-through Beth-The Lord was speaking to me. (Because He knew it all started with Her studies and wanted to wrap it up with her personally speaking this over me). With the words she specifically used, He was saying: 

"Baby Girl, we've arrived." 

Maybe a lot of people won't understand it.
Maybe I'm sounding dramatic.
But coming from where I was, It's almost too much to bear. 

Chapter 3:
(Back at the airport).....
After getting everything straightened out with Hertz and money back, the first thing I did was find my gate and then a Starbucks. As I waited, my eyes welled up with tears again at the thought of everything that had happened in 2 days. I said to Jesus, "Man. I just feel like hugging someone who'd understand how big this weekend was." And I turned around and ran straight into Beth. Yep. A good choice of someone to hug who'd understand. And isn't it just like Jesus to do that? Does it get any better?

I am wrestling hard with what all this might mean. Since I'm completely free and healed and passionately in love, I am aware I'm called to something. Deep. Intense. Sacrificial. Unique. Mis-understood by this world. (And sadly, perhaps even a lot of believers out there.)  I know I'm only going to grow more abnormal from here. I'm going to make people uncomfortable. I'm going to have to get used to that. My feelings say that I need and want to figure out where I can go. What I can do. And perhaps that is the next step. Or perhaps I need to figure out how to successfully and completely live all this fully right here doing what I already do. I don't see that being a strong possibility. Starbucks forbids you to talk to each other or customers about your faith. It's making it hard to stay. To affect my co-workers. I don't know WHAT I'm supposed to be doing. So I will love Jesus. I will work on falling IN LOVE with Jesus & knowing Him more. I will work on loving those around me and those He's placed in my life madly to the best of my ability each day. Period. Everything else eventually fades. It's all crap that doesn't last. Love. Only love. Jesus.  Only Him. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

i'm just an ordinary person,
with so much resistance and so many hindrances.
i'm just a common average woman,
with an ugly past, that keeps tryin' to hold me back.
limitations all surround me
and this world thinks that it's drowning in hopelessness.

then i hear you call my name
out loud and i say yes!

just a moment for a lifetime.
for such a time as this, i say yes!
i've been chosen to arise,
for such a time as this, and i say yes!

alive awake alert, i know i don't deserve,
why i'm in this position,
but i'm here ready to serve.
willing to lose it all, i'm answering your call.
oh heart and soul please listen,

for the mandate must be heard.
your grace and favor crown me,
and i need your strength around me,
'cause i still fear how hard it might be.

and what's worth living for, if nothing is worth dying for?
i'm gonna make a stand, i'm gonna make an echo.
i'm gonna make some history, with his story!
writing the pages of today to read about tomorrows change,
'cause i know i was made, for such a time as this.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Land

"A time will come when you will no longer call me the Living God who rescued Israel from Egypt. Instead, you will call me the living God who rescued you from the land and places where I had forced you to go. And you will once again live in your own land. " -Jeremiah 23

Sometimes God allows us to go to places that are not our land. Sometimes we spend years in slavery and it creates a question of why God allows such pain. Oftentimes the answer is that if we didn't experience crap, we wouldn't be able to help anyone else through thiers. And we wouldn't know the beauty of redemption and the fresh new beginning that comes with healing.

It's a beautiful thing to hear God say here that we will be drawn back from the places we've ended up in and inherit our promised land. I don't know about you, but it's time. I'm taking my land. Finding out what it is and taking it. Whatever that is going to look like. It's time and I'm ready. Are you? Let's get in gear and Thrive. Nothing compares. NOTHING.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Journey

Nothing deeply spiritual today. Except to say that this is around a year ago.

And this is around now.

And it's one of the hardest things on this earth to go from 230 to 160 pounds. And I'm not talking physically difficult. I'm talking about beginning the working out and realizing that the reasons for overeating and a lack of discipline are very much intimacy, trust, and Daddy issues in your walk with The Abba King. And it takes HARD work to deal with those. I've gone through more revelation of the good, bad, and ugly in the last year than ever. I don't thinkI was aware that someone could go through such an array of emotions and experiences in one year. And seeing that array of experiences show up in a physical way is a very eary, odd, and out-of-body experience. Hmmmmmmm. I said nothing deep and spiritual today. Guess that's not possible......If I'm proud of my appearance it's mainly because it's a physical proof of all He's doing in me. Lest I ever begin to forget. And, oh, we're not done yet!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"And Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands upon him; so the Israelites listened to him and did as the Lord commanded Moses.  And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like Moses,
whom the Lord knew face to face" (Deuteronomy 34:9-10 AMP)I want to have the kind of intimacy with The King that means when I lay hands on someone in prayer or blessing, things really start to happen. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I've been ruined. Utterly, intensely, truly, violently ruined. 

My Daddy is THE King. And I'm His daughter, whom He created in His very image. He's given me all the power and authority He has over this earth and the demons that live on it. He's handed me His seal so that I can act on behalf of His name while He's there and I'm here. And I haven't been living in that. Not NEARLY enough. I should be dynamic. I should be dangerous. I have the ability to literally move mountains, heal disease, and make demons shriek with fright when they see me coming. Jesus said to His disciples, "and you will do even greater things than these." I have the Holy Spirit alive within me and I'm not living in this!?!? I've neglected Him too long because I'm afraid of where He'll ask me to go & the things He'll ask me to do. People are going to think I'm a nutcase and I don't want to deal with friends, family, and co-workers dis-approving of the way I walk in the Spirit rather than in the way most people in this country live. But I SHOULD be more afraid of grieving the Spirit by pushing Him down than of what others think. 

So, here starts the weirdness. I'm refusing from here on out to be sucked into materialism and statuses ever again. I am not a Barista. I am not a Zumba instructor. I am not a clown. I will not find comfort in these labels. I am royalty. A real princess who has power beyond belief because her Daddy redeems, heals, defends, provides, rights wrongs, makes beauty out of ashes and gladness out of mourning. I don't know what's becoming of me. I don't know how I'm about to change. I don't know how many people are going to find me too extreme. But I know I won't regret it when I stand before my Daddy-King. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Yesterday I was in tight quarters around lots of strangers all day. Naturally, you get into conversation. About the fifth or sixth time someone asked me "what do you do?" As I began my regular speel of "I'm a partner @ SBUX, I'm on staff w/ a High School ministry, I'm a clown, I'm a Zumba instructor...." I became very convicted. In a sudden flash something became extremely apparent to me. When asked about myself, I automatically default into these answers. I realized that in my mind they are a description of who I am & how I see myself. And I realized how very dangerous that is. Because that brings u to one of two schools of thought. 1.) most people think there I absolutely nothing wrong with what I do. In fact, to most people these are all good things. And sometimes I sit in a lot of ugly pride over some of it. 2.)To some people they may seem slightly immature and not quite successful ENOUGH for a woman my age.

I struggle & go back & forth between both pride & shame over the list of things I'm involved in. I either love being different or think "Have I completely failed at success for someone my age because I do things that are basically minimum wage?" This is often looming over my head with sharp teeth waiting to sink into a good, juicy victim for dinner.

Yesterday I had a real moment of clarity. Of reminders. Of vision. Of conviction. Of renewed focus. When asked "what do you do?" people are essentially saying "what are you and your life about?" And here I'm answering with this list. That tells a lot about what I see when I look at myself in my heart & spirit. If I was truly seeing myself accurately, I would have such an overflow that when asked this question my answer would be "I'm actually royalty. I'm a daughter of the King over all. I have His authority and seal so that I can make things happen on His behalf wherever I go." Can you imagine what'd happen if we actually got that & functioned in this daily? What if when asked what we do, we answered like that? We SHOULD.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beautiful butterfly!

I was thinking today about A Bugs life. And Heimlich. And caterpillars. And how weird it must be to go from a crawly fat creature who lives in the dirt to beautiful wings and flying. Ha. Do u see the parallel here? My mind goes straight to Beth's "Breaking Free". Yeah. Weird bunny trail. My mind is a scary place. The point is that with Jesus, we get to go from fat crawly creatures who spend their time wriggling around in the dirt (bondage, pits...) to utter beauty. And I'm not talkin the kind on the cover of Vogue.  I mean, really. Is there anything better? This is just IT! In the words of Heimlich, "I am a beauuuuutiful butterfly!" 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

For the Angels?

There's this thought I have had swirling around my head. Maybe it's accurate. Maybe not. But I like the concept......

Sometimes I know we just don't get answers to the petitions that we bring before the foot of the throne. We don't get to know now why we get a "no" to the things we're longing and asking for with every ounce of our energy. And the more we get to know & fall in love with the Lord, the more okay that becomes. But He gave me another picture recently. Another possible angle on the situation. 

I've been studying a few things. One of them being the life of John the Baptist. Many things greatly intrigue me about this incredible man. I've been thinking about the fact that in the entire time of his imprisonment and be-heading, his cousin (and close friend) had the ability and authority to save him from his situation at any moment. I mean, really. We're talking about God in the flesh, here. Jesus could've done anything He darned well wanted. So. Was it that He didn't WANT John to be freed from prison? From such a death? He certainly didn't deserve such treatment! They were cousins, quite good buds. One would think Jesus might want John to come travel with Him and His disciples, perhaps even have him in the close intimate group in which He invested and closely shared life with. Why in the world, then, do we not see Jesus acting on His cousin's behalf? The be-heading being the result of an evil, scandalous, sexual, controlling, seductive plot on the part of a political leader's wife (And you thought all the crap our Nation's pulled in the last 200 years was like, new, or something!) makes me wonder even more why Jesus would allow this to simply go on without stopping it. I questioned and questioned.  I searched for similar puzzling situations in scripture. I pulled out notes from the classes I had at Ecola.  I searched for talks on it by good, reputable speakers/teachers online. Do you know what I found? Not much. 

This isn't something that has been addressed or talked about much. And often, when it IS, we're told there are just times God doesn't seemingly act on our behalf or come through or bless us or reward us for something well done in ways we'd hope or even typically expect based on scripture. People tend to shy away from facing the question of "Why does He allow things He could stop? Why let someone who is walking intimately with Him go through dry, barren seasons that seem to drag for un-necessary lengths of time? Doesn't it matter?" Of course, there are no absolute answers to questions like this. There are in fact probably MANY answers to questions like this. But I sense one newer one lately that just really does something to my heart.......

The race. The challenge. The fight. That's the answer! Here's what I mean......there is significant enough Biblical proof to believe that God created the angels before He created the Earth. A good guess for this is probably because He wanted to be able to share the creation of Earth with someone. Have an audience, so to speak. And can't you just imagine the angels loudly applauding and thundering in the stands every time He created or added something new? The excitement? The roar of their entertainment?  When He created something brand new for the very first time, maybe they got all tickled and turned to Him and proclaimed, "Oh, that was GOOD!" 
Well, do you think maybe The King allows crap and barren seasons in our lives today for similar reason? You see, the angels don't live by faith. Don't need to. They look The King of Kings in the face every single day. They literally SEE how powerful and awesome He is. Living by faith rather than sight is something unique to the human experience. And I believe it is incredibly inspiring for the angels to watch us do this. When we live in a season of hurt, pain, grief, lack of, or just plain exhaustion of life, and stand with our head high, feet firmly planted, steadily keeping pace with our eyes focused un-wavering on that finish line, praising the King with every single step of our feet, I would argue that it amazes the Angels. And possibly even God Himself. Can you picture being truly faithful to serving, loving, and worshipping Him through a storm and knowing that the Angels are watching? Perhaps they slap their knee and say "oh, man. That was GOOD!" That's an incredible thought. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Deathly Hallows

Yes. This is going to be that ridiculous Harry Potter allegory that you knew was coming & that I'll probably look back on and shake my head at. Come on, SOMEONE was bound to write this....

I'll go ahead and admit now that I'm an extreme fan. Let's just get that out in the open. I do indeed own a replica of Harry's wand, I have team shirts for Quidditch, I have my coin because I'm in Dumbledoore's Army, and I have read the series at least 4 times. Hey. Stop laughing. I may be a muggle but I know my magic. You don't wanna mess with me. Just kidding. (But really)..... 

Here's the thing I was really thinking about as I watched the epic conclusion to this incredible story. (And in case you dont know the ending to the story i should warn you that this is a spoiler alert!) As Harry, Ron, & Hermione are searching out & destroying all the pieces of Voldemort's soul which he's hidden in various objects, I realized something significant. The reason Voldemort was weakened and destroyed was because he had put himself into so many things. When choosing to do this, it becomes impossible to protect every part of yourself every moment. This gives your enemy a chance to find an unprotected piece of you and shoot his arrow (uh, wand,) straight at it. (Satan rarely aims his arrows at a protected part of us. He goes for the un-armored part.) How often do we throw a piece of ourselves at things-people-who will weaken and destroy us? It may sound extreme, but are we being careful to protect ourselves from all the things even that are considered "normal" in our society & culture today? Or do we go ahead with the un-necessary because we know how people will react if we don't?

Another thought. Let's take this a little bit deeper. One of the reasons Harry is successful & survives is because at a certain point he gives up on living. He stops trying to survive and maintain any kind of life or future and makes the decision to throw every ounce of himself into killing Voldemort. He seeks him out, stands before him, grabs him, and jumps off a cliff. He is willing to die to himself for what he knows is absolutely better. He doesn't know how it will end. He honestly thinks he'll die himself. But he becomes okay with that. Do u see the comparison here? Until we are willing to COMPLETELY die to ourself and just step off a cliff absolutely willing to just fall and have no control over the outcome, we are living in defeat. You wanna win? You wanna be that incredible, powerful, confident, secure, influential person? You wanna know Jesus with utter intimacy? Or do u want to be just like everybody else? It takes work to be different. A lot of it. U need to be okay with that. U need to be willing to die to yourself completely. Oh, but He is so worth it! I'm barely beginning to move over into the passenger seat and completely let go of the wheel. Let me tell you- NOTHING compares!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The numb

I should've known better than to think it wouldn't eventually catch up with me. The months of juggling several jobs and endless weeks of 4-5 hrs of sleep a night. When my parents came and cleaned out/rearranged my house, it was like the last straw. It's taking so long to sink in. I'm not myself. My mind is floating off in space and my body is numb. I go to work and am completely distracted. I can't think straight, feel normal, or have a logical conversation. I feel like I'm wandering around lost in the backwoods, somewhere unfamiliar. Last night I made dinner and walked into the atrium to sit and eat it, only to be re-shocked into the reality that my dining table wasn't there. My body didn't like the idea of processing that one, so I plopped myself down on the floor and sat. And ate. And sat. This morning I looked at the mound of clean laundry on my bedroom floor. I looked at the dishes in my sink. And the floors that need cleaning. And I walked into my living room and just sat on the floor. And stared. I can't even handle cleaning. Good thing I live alone.

I need to be more social, or so I'm told. But I am in such a need of a vacation that I can't even handle hanging out with people because my brain won't stay focused and let me have a conversation. I would probably just babble and cry and not really even know why. It amazes me that the human body & psychy can roller coaster so drastically between the highs of busy lives and performing well to the lows of exhasution and desperation of vacations. It's hard to be in the low, to admit I can't always handle life. I don't like the way I feel that looks to others. But I'm being encouraged lately to be completely honest. So I'm trying that. Besides, I don't have the energy to do much else right now. I could really go for a massage or a tropical island right about now. My body hurts from all the Zumba on the carpet.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I'm freaking out. Several days ago my parents told me they'll finally be putting the house on the market. I heard the words, but haven't believed the reality of it. It just didn't sink in. Maybe I haven't had time to think about it all the way. Today I came home from wk and everything was different. All my grandparents furniture was gone. And the empty rooms that I have set up to practice & learn Zumba in were fully furnished. Beds were in them with decor. Chairs, nightstands, and lamps were placed in these rooms for showmanship. Walking in the door from wk to see this makes my stomach churn and my mind and emotions overload into anxiety mode. My space, my comfort, my shelter, my place of doing what I'm passionate about are all taken over and I will be forced to leave it all soon for a tiny bedroom next to another tiny bedroom that is occupied by a very not-so-tiny personality. And let's not get into the difference between my parental units and I. To be respectful, I'll just say it isn't a healthy environment for me to live in. I'm sad. I don't like what's happening. I'm already being told that I need to find an apartment, roomates, something to be out on my own. That I really can't stay because it wouldn't force me to be independent and have to take care of myself. I was told I don't know how to do that. Why, then, do I feel that's exactly what I've had to do?! And how in the WORLD am I gonna live on my $8.65/hr income in a flipping apartment? I knew I was only surviving because my mom has kept my rent low these last 3 years. And I knew she'd eventually sell my house. So why do I feel so violated, intruded upon, hurt, alone, confused? And where do I go? What do I do? They want me out independently on my own. I've lived alone for 3 years. And I was running a coffeehouse and living in a house with roomates before THAT. I don't WANT independence. I want to belong. I want to NOT be alone anymore.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


There's been a theme swirling around. It actually truly began getting my attention this last week. I was on McHenry dancing as Big Red

to promo Love Modesto when a group of about 8 cars pulled into the parking lot & began unloading signs. In an instant I knew they were the group that goes around town holding up "God hates your abortion. Repent of murder or burn," and "Turn from your homosexual life or suffer the wrath of God" signs. They forcefully told me this was one of the corners they evangelize at and then acted surprised when I took my costume off to leave. I explained to them that of course I can't stand next to 15 sign holders yelling at cars to repent of their drunken whore lives & become holy. 
I represent a specific church, organization, & Jesus when I'm standing with a "" sign. They insisted on a debate. And what I realized from this was that my problem with their angle is the lack of grace. Turning & becoming holy is Biblical, but only after and in the grace of Jesus. Without grace, there's nothing. 

More to the theme....Something I've always struggled with is feeling that I'm such a screw-up that God can't possibly do as huge of things with me as I dream about, long for, and desire more than life itself. How is He gonna use ME for anything impactful? Something He's been showing me recently is that maybe I need to look at it differently. Maybe it's BECAUSE of the things I've been drastically redeemed from that I can be most impactful. Shawn said it well tonight when he said "God didn't look at Paul and say that he had it all right. He looked at him & said 'Look at how wrong he's got it. Now watch THIS.'" Wow. THAT is me. Issues more than you know. Years of multiple addictions while serving in ministry. Destructive social behaviors. Stealing. Lying. Controlling. Manipulating. And He reached down, pulled me out of every single pit and redeemed the bondage. Looking at me is looking at Living Proof of ultimate grace. It doesn't proof itself any more than that! And I was encouraged by that reminder tonight. Although, I was also painfully challenged. Shawn challenged us to not let that grace stop with us, but extend it somewhere it needs to be extended in our relationships. Something i think we all swallow hard to face. I don't mind working through things with Jesus. But when He draws me to do something like forgive that one person I've been nursing a grudge toward for almost a year, I just want to cover my ears and scream "I can't hear you!" like a 3 year old. I don't like this part. I want to stay angry with this person. Sometimes I think we are afraid if we extend & become a picture of His grace to others it will be like saying the hurt they caused is not that bad. Is not affecting us....

Maybe it DOES take some attention off what they did. Maybe it actually puts attention on how overwhelming & redeeming Jesu's grace is. Maybe even other Believers who've hurt us need to experience Jesu's grace in a way they only can through our forgiveness. Are we willing to set aside out whining rights to do that?
*Big sigh. *
*Swallow hard.*
This isn't easy. I have a person I need to forgive. I don't want to. Jesus, HELP!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Today I'm sitting under my waterfall.

 I'm remembering sitting in this very spot the moment I realized there was way more to Jesus than I'd thought. That day I made a decision to learn Him. Love Him. Have an intimacy with Him. And years later, it was again sitting right here that I opened my very first book  by & began an incredible journey with Miss Beth & my life began to drastically swirl around me. Many moments have happened here. And again I sit. 

It's beautiful. It's quiet. It's completely peaceful. And my ears begin to focus in on the sound of the creek at my feet. The water rushing over the rocks and around the corner, off into an unknown place. I stop and think about how like this creek Jesus is. I picture the continual sound of the water as His voice-never stops. Yet it never gets old, annoying, hard to listen to. It's a calm, strong, steady sound that's full of peace & has a refreshing ring to it. You can rest to that sound. Play next to & in that sound. Be renewed, strengthened, refreshed, lulled to sleep with that sound. Somehow even when you walk away from it, you know it's not any more quiet. You know it keeps on. 

And then I see something else in this water.

I see the strong, constant current. I see the way nothing stops it. It jut flows over anything in it's path. You can't control where it's going. And if you jump in, it sweeps you away and takes you on a bumpy but beautiful ride. It's gloriously powerful in a way that draws an almost fearful respect. You know you can't win if you try to mess with it.........

 So why do I? Why do I chose to stand on the shore & just watch the power of the water flow? Why do I decide jumping all the way in & being swept away is too much for me? Why do I have to have so much control over where I'm being swept off to? 

Sometimes you have to fight against all your tendencies & fears & do what you know is the best choice. Jump in. Trust the current. It's wild & unpredictable. And that's GOOD.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Jesus woke me up early this morning. I grumbled. I wanted to sleep more, because I've been doing very little of that lately. We compromised finally. I settled on asking Him what it was He wanted to say but refusing to budge in bed. 

I had a flash back of years ago, when I was in High school. I remembered one time when Rick (he used to be my high school pastor) walked down the aisle to speak like he did each week. Except for one thing- he was juggling a large amount of suitcases. Some he carried. Some were chained to him & the way in which he walked gave you the feeling that he had gotten so used to living with the bulk & weight of them attached that he didn't even remember they existed. He didn't offer an explanation. He just let the image sink in. Then he began his talk as usual. Towards the end, it began to tie into his message. If each suitcase were an issue we've had and have, some which we've shoved aside for so long that we've forgotten they exist, we would get so weighed down. Maybe without even realizing it. Maybe with all these suitcases building up, we'd begin juggling them all without really thinking about it & suddenly that would take over & we'd be doing more juggling than anything else.
And just maybe when Jesus calls us very specifically to run-either to Him, or to a new place & season- we'd find we've been so weighed down by the accumulation of suitcases that we can't. And we continue to remain weighed down & chained because we know freedom would Involve unpacking the dirty laundry we've shoved away before others. We don't like the possibility of being that open & raw. But is it worth where we're at? 

I don't want that to be me. Jesus, help me to see all I need to put down, let go of, unpack, and empty out so that I can freely run like crazy when you call me to!  

Friday, June 3, 2011

The wildest ride in the wilderness.

I have a weakness for tv shows. One of my favorite things in the whole world is finding a show that's been on for a few seasons and is on DVD or netflix. I love watching it for hours on end on a day off. Yesterday & today with the exception of one Zumba class & short shift @ Curves,  I confined myself to my house for recovery & rest after several hellish weeks which resulted in a horrible cold that is not leaving. I have started & become completely engrossed in Friday Night Lights. 

This afternoon I turned it off for a few hours and just silently hung out with Jesus. I was thinking about how there's just nothing quite like watching a show for the first time, from the beginning. There's just something about getting to know the setting well, meeting the characters, falling in love with them, riding the drama like it's really happening. It's like taking off on a new huge adventure. 

Jesus spoke into that today.
"Hey, what was that thing we talked about earlier this week? What was it you've been saying & writing?"
"U mean the part about living with authority & power? Being able to move a mountain, heal disease, cast out demons & all that?" 
"Yes. All that. Sounds pretty wild & adventurous to me. Even better than the adventures you see on T.V. And being a part? that's what you were created for."
"So, all these shows. All this attachment to them. It's the great adventure I'm liking. Because I'm built to want that."
"Yeah. But if we're built for that, how come so many Believers don't live that way?"
"Do you want to look like all the other believers you know? Is that what you desire for your life?"
"No, Sir."
"Child, I'll take you places you never dreamed. You want adventure? I am the biggest adventure you'll EVER experience. I'm wild and not tame, but I'm always good. Hop on. It's gonna be the wildest ride of your life."

I don't have the foggiest idea where we're going. And despite what culture & well-meaning people say about that, it's okay not to know. But I know one thing's for sure. It's gonna be better than any tv show!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blue ribbons.

 So in the old testament, priests were commanded to go through an intense purification and then sanctification before they could come before the Lord on behalf of the people & receive a word & power. Recently, I've been learning that WE are now the priests. Scary! 

While learning about this I was prompted & pushed by the Spirit to give up any last consistent sin i've been clinging to so tightly. I desperately desire more intimacy, boldness, power, & authority in Him & knew deep down that being under the umbrella of the Spirit was only going to happen if I rein myself humbly under His control & the strictness of obedience & consistent humility before others. The priests used to wear a blue tassel on their robes to remind them of the strictness they were now under, and the new, pure, holy being they have become. So, I decided to do the same. Beth has u do this during Believing God, & I thought it'd be a good idea. So I put a blue ribbon on my right arm to remind me. And I worked hard and intensely at defeating the enemy. And I'm excited to say that one month later, I'm still sanctified. 

The cool part is that tonight-one month to the day-I was given a chance to minister to several people in ways I believe to be powerful & effective. I sensed the Spirit's leading and words. I got to experience what it's like to be under the Spirit's umbrella of blessing. And I love it!!!!!

God tells us in His flawless word that we can have the power to stop a tree from moving. Make a mountain shift out of our path. Heal disease. Kick demonic butt. And I want that to be me. I want to be that dynamic & powerful & effective. And I'm so excited to see what He does with me!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sweet Conversations: 2nd round

Even after God answers one of my deepest desires, I still fight against Him. I pretend I don't sense the tugging in my spirit. I act as if I don't know He's commanding specific rawness & vulnerability from me. I begin to dodge topics & questions that may lead to a need for me to share the most secret of places. I should know better. Oh, you can try to fight it, but when your Daddy's the King, you either obey what He commands or become miserable with the consequences.

"Lord, I don't know if I'm ready for this much. Obeying you might just be too scary. Being truly me here just may be too much."

"You don't get it. I'm giving you what you desired for so long.
Now do what I've asked."


"DO IT."

Deep sigh. A shutter of apprehension in my breath. A little shakily at first, but with increased peace, I respond to the question with utter honesty. I'm freaked out, but I remember Beth talking on more than one occasion about knowing God is requiring obedience of her and having to say "Yes, sir", and just going out on stage and doing the thang, shaky knees and all. When you obey, He makes your knees stop shaking eventually. So I backspace the clever and funny response I've so carefully crafted in hopes of making myself appear cute and funny and smart and darling. And I simply respond to the question. Purely organically. Raw. And for the first time in my life, completely honestly. And before I have a chance to fight Him again, I quickly finish and hit "send."

Peace. A twinge of joy over the fact that I was just obedient in the hardest of areas. Nevermind the response. I did it. And when the response comes back, it's more than I could hope for. Complete and total acceptance and understanding. Suddenly the smile is back on my face again. And this time, He speaks not in a whisper but a huge, loud, deafening roar like Aslan himself making it known to every creature and tree in Narnia that this is His baby girl and she just did something huge and because of that He is rewarding her. And He's proud. Warrior Princess gets another part of her redeemed and stands a bit taller and a bit stronger than before. Hear me shout, Narnia. Hear me shout.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sweet conversations.

"UGH!" I screamed and cried bitterly as loud as I could. "I'm done! Finished with this. You hear that!?!?" I stopped to cough because I was yelling so loud it hurt my throat. I took another deep shaky breath- the kind of breath you take when you've bawled your eyes out for hours and your whole body shutters just to breathe. "I've been asking and asking and working for years to find this. Why wouldn't you want it? That's it. I give up. Completely. Totally. G-I-V-E U-P. Forget it." I secretly believed He didn't care enough about my need, and possibly me, to meet it. I was hurt. Confused. Not understanding why it was so difficult for the King of the Universe to provide for this particular need. It seemed like something that would be no big deal to Him. But no matter how I asked or how I sought an answer out, after several years the answer stayed the same: silence. So I made a decision to give up.

Then, a few weeks later, from the least expected place, BAM!!! It was just there this morning. Handed to me. I could hardly believe He was answering what I'd completely given up on. I didn't know how to respond except to sing praises.

And in one small quiet moment, I heard Him whisper, "Darling, go ahead. Ask." I blushed as I realized afresh how well He knows my most intimate thoughts & emotions. And I did ask the question that had been sitting on my mind all day: "Why did you wait until I gave up on it (and on you) before answering?" and I heard Him answer just as clear as anything, "Darling, because I wanted to show you that I haven't given up on it long after you have, and I will NEVER give up on you."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bows and arrows

In my reading today, I came across a verse in Lamentations that really got my mind reeling. Chapter 3:12: "God took careful aim & shot his arrows straight through my heart."
To be perfectly honest, this is a pretty accurate description of how I've been feeling lately. Now don't get me wrong, I am definitely very much continuing to fall in love with Jesus every day. However, I am in a season of really tough stuff. I've got several painful issues I'm dealing with, several jobs, consistent shortage of finances, the difficulty of being single & alone, etc..........and sometimes it honestly feels as if God is trying to shoot me in the heart with an arrow. I don't get it. I don't understand what He's up to. And I'm okay with that. 
This whole bow and arrow thing really got me thinking about something that Miss Beth has talked about before. I had forgotten. And perhaps not quite understood yet. But I think I'm beginning to get it now. Ready for this?.......
This is hard to swallow. But sometimes God DOES aim arrows straight at our heart. Sometimes He really IS trying to wound us. Crazy to think about, huh? There are times I can totally understand the reasons behind it. We've grown cold & callous in some area. We've put up walls and tried to keep others or Him out. We need to learn some sort if lesson.........
Then there are times it doesn't totally make sense and the best we can do I sorta guess why & simply believe Him. That hurts. That's hard. That's very difficult to wrap the mind around. That's where I am. I don't get a lot of what's happening right now. It confuses me and tries to overwhelm me. But I DO get that He is doing an incredible wk in me. I DO get that He tells me He has my best interests at heart. I DO get that all the painful experiences I have help me to understand and have compassion for and help others when they start to deal with similar issues. And that has to be enough for now. Let this be an encouragement for you. Don't be afraid to put down your shield and let Him shoot u straight in the heart. When it hits, He'll catch u. It's kind of like breaking a bone and going to the doctor to get it fixed. He'll have to re-set or break it even more to pop it into the proper place for healing to begin. He has to hurt u more before u can get better. I don't totally get it. But I get that He does!