Just As You Are
Luke 9:1-6 TPT
Jesus summoned together his twelve apostles and imparted to them authority over every demon and the power to heal every disease. Then he commissioned them to preach God’s kingdom realm and to heal the sick to demonstrate that the kingdom had arrived. As he sent them out, he gave them these instructions: “Take nothing extra on your journey. Just go as you are. Don’t carry a staff, a backpack, food, money, not even a change of clothes. Whatever home welcomes you as a guest, remain there and make it your base of ministry. And wherever your ministry is rejected and not welcomed, you are to leave that town and shake the dust off your shoes as a testimony before them.” The apostles departed and went into the villages with the wonderful news of God’s kingdom realm, and they instantly healed diseases wherever they went.
This passage is one I keep coming back to during this shut down time. Jesus sent out His disciples, His followers and told them to take nothing with them, outside of the authority that He gave them. He sent them and said that they were demonstrating and proclaiming the kingdom had arrived. They took the gospel (good news) and life (healing) showed up wherever they went.
We keep praying for God to bring revival, we keep asking God to DO a lot of things. Jesus took back the keys from hell, and he gave them back to us, His followers, and said, do as I taught you, and teach others to do the same thing. Go into the cities and take nothing with you other than the authority I give you. TAKE ME.... TAKE MY LIFE IN YOU, and life will respond. Jesus did not send the apostles and tell them to start a revival, but revival was the response to them being sent. Life to what was once dead, the Kingdom of Heaven arriving. We are bringing Jesus into every room that we enter, we are bringing the Kingdom of Heaven into every space that we breathe in. We walk in the authority of the Almighty King of Kings, and in doing so, we should be seeing revival spill out into every space that we touch.
What if we were to leave all of the extra microphones, the extra lens filters, the "production" side behind and we were to show up into these places with no food, no money, no extra clothing? What if we were to show up in the realness of who God created us, the broken pieces showing, and allow God to shine through us? What if we stopped looking at how we can make things better and start listening to Holy Spirit and follow His plan? What if we "just go as we are?" What if the world has been waiting for us to show our imperfections and rawness along with Jesus inside of us, who is the actual purpose behind it all? What if, instead of setting up the perfect shot, with the perfect lighting, we sat in our basement, allowed our kids to come in and out and we led those plugging in with us to meet the God we know relationally? What if instead of bullet points and scripts, we were to sit down on our couch and say this is what is on my heart today, and look for people to respond? What if as leaders, we step into the places to listen to those who make up our "families" and churches? What if we stopped looking like Pharisees and started looking like the servant Jesus spent His time on this earth being, and do so in relationship with people?
What if we stopped trying to look like everyone else and listened to what God has for us individually and for us in our bodies of believers? What calling is individually placed? What if we dropped the programs and just did life with people?
My dear husband pointed out that without money, food or a change of clothing, they had no choice but to find someone to connect with. If they had money they could have found a place to rent, if they had food, extra clothing, they could have stayed disconnected. Our God is a relational God. Our God wants us to be connecting in the same way.
What happens when we leave the rest behind and go, just as we are? Seated with Christ in heavenly places, Armed with Christ, protected and sealed in Christ? What happens when we take His good news and walk in the authority that He has placed over us?
What happens when you take your eyes off of the end result and put them on the engaging piece of bringing his Kingdom?
A New Song Rising
a I rarely listen to the actual radio anymore. I usually have music playing through my phone that connects to my car as soon as I start the car. Last week I wasn't feeling the playlist I had in motion, and turned on the actual radio. As I was driving to the various errands I had for work that day, I started scanning the channels and landed on one that seems to play songs from the past 4 decades. As the songs played, my heart was immediately tugged and my mind flooded with memories. Song after song, memory after memory, I actually sat in my car for a few minutes, allowing a song to finish up because I wasn't ready to part from the memory that was replaying in that moment.
It is funny, really. My memories are tied so very strongly to music. Within 2 to 3 seconds of a song starting, I know it, I know the words, I know where I was specifically that ties the song to my being. Music seems to be a universal language for people. It can bring you to just about any emotion. Music has a way of unifying groups of people and encapsulating them and that specific moment. Think about it, 35 years ago, where were you when "We Are The World" debuted? (For those who may be too young to know the song.....you should look it up...still quite fitting for today) I can tell you exactly where I was, the exact spot of the road as my mom was driving me to deliver Girl Scout cookies. It is like the music brands the memory into my DNA.
As I was driving, I began talking this out with God. What will the song of this time be? What song, twenty years from now, will send images of face masks and empty store shelves into my mind? Will it be "The Blessing?" What songs are being written right now, or what songs are waiting on the tops of finger tips to be played out and solidified? How many people are about to write a song that could become the remembrance anthem for this moment in history? As I sat on that thought, I started praying. Praying for those who hold those songs to have the distractions leave and the songs begin to flow out. Praying for the confidence of the Lord to cover them as they begin pouring the words and melodies out, and for boldness to move them into the world, to share their gift.
We are in a time that I think we need to push the boundaries, we need to leave the safety behind. The Lord is whispering words, He is singing melodies, He has songs for us to cling to for hope. He has songs to remind us of His faithfulness and His goodness. He is nudging His people and He is offering a new song.... I am excited to hear these new songs, and pray that they begin to flood the social media pages.
What songs are you clinging to now? What songs could He be planting in you for such a time as this? If music is your gift, are you leaning in for a fresh song? If you have other gifts, how are you leaning in for a fresh perspective to use it?
Psalm 40:1-5 The Passion Translation (TPT)A Joyful Salvation For the Pure and Shining One
A song of poetic praise, by King David
I waited and waited and waited some more,
patiently, knowing God would come through for me.
Then, at last, he bent down and listened to my cry.
He stooped down to lift me out of danger
from the desolate pit I was in,
out of the muddy mess I had fallen into.
Now he’s lifted me up into a firm, secure place
and steadied me while I walk along his ascending path.
A new song for a new day rises up in me
every time I think about how he breaks through for me!
Ecstatic praise pours out of my mouth until
everyone hears how God has set me free.
Many will see his miracles;
they’ll stand in awe of God and fall in love with him!
Blessing after blessing comes to those who love and trust the Lord.
They will not fall away,
for they refuse to listen to the lies of the proud.
O Lord, our God, no one can compare with you.
Such wonderful works and miracles are all found with you!
And you think of us all the time
with your countless expressions of love--
far exceeding our expectations!
Where are my people?
The past few weeks has brought about reflection of 'who my tribe is,'yet again... Over the past year, I have struggled with finding the answer to this question. Last year began with a group of people I was committed to and by the end of the year I was standing in the presence of a group of very different people. I asked God to show me who my tribe was. I wasn't prepared for the truth to be revealed in the way that it was. Now, a year later, I find myself asking the same questions. I am also reading a book and following along with Jo Saxton (yes my 3 o'clock tea break) and she is posing the same questions. Who is your tribe? Then, following up, how do you build a tribe? I believe there are probably a few layers to that answer. I have been leaning into the Father for the answers on these questions and this week seems to have some new shed light on the matter.
With the current state of the world, I think that there are many people who are asking the same questions. With lockdowns and isolation, it is much more difficult to ignore the lack of relationships, or the lack of depth within them. In the world we knew, it was easy to have conversations that would go just far enough, and yet not deep enough to really give away our truest of identities. What I am seeing right now is that with the new weight and new EVERYTHING, it is more difficult to hide the lack, and it is more difficult to hide the truth of brokenness.
We keep talking about the "new normal." The most reoccurring topic I have heard and also been a part of discussing is this emotional bankruptcy that seems to come out of nowhere and pull a knockout punch. I have seen many posts with red swollen eyes, with puffy faces and those tears just below the surface of the forced smiling faces. Our minds are in overload, our families are being stretched into unknown territory at paces faster than our brains seem to compute. There is a constant rebooting, not only of zoom meetings, but of our mindsets and our daily schedules.
I think that our tears may be the healing balm. I think speaking the truth and letting it out helps break the broken moments. I think that we find our battles shift when we let the tears flow and seek the Father and get real with what is going on.
Psalm 56:8-12 The Passion Translation (TPT)
You’ve kept track of all my wandering and my weeping.
You’ve stored my many tears in your bottle—not one will be lost.
For they are all recorded in your book of remembrance.[a]
The very moment I call to you for a father’s help
the tide of battle turns and my enemies flee.
This one thing I know: God is on my side!
I trust in the Lord. And I praise him!
I trust in the Word of God. And I praise him!
What harm could man do to me?
With God on my side I will not be afraid of what comes.
My heart overflows with praise to God and for his promises.
I will always trust in him.
So I’m thanking you with all my heart,
with gratitude for all you’ve done.
I will do everything I’ve promised you, Lord.
This week I was literally bankrupted. I broke and then I broke again. I think I cried myself out of tears. It was so many things and yet I had so many things that I was thankful for and grateful for. Such a strange place to be. I felt alone. I felt isolated and forgotten. I reached a place of crying out and within 28 hours, God not only responded, but he sent confirmation of Words He has given to me over the past few years, one by one. Most people probably had no idea what weight their words held, most had no idea that I was even in a place needing a lifeline. But God knew. God holds onto every tear we shed. God is greater than any of the forced newness that we are trying to power through. God also, in His greatness takes the time to look down and touch you directly, to say "I see you, I hear you, you are not alone." He sends people to your corner and says "jump back into the fight, it isn't over yet!"
Today I am going back to 1 Thessalonians. I am reminded of this passage and I am reminded to take the time to pray for my leaders and to have grace for my leaders. To have grace for those around me. To look to see how I might expand my tribe, even while in quarantine. We have a choice. We can run and hide away from the fight, or we can cry it out, give it back and jump back in.
I am praying for quiet spaces, even within the full houses, the over stimulated places, that you would find the wing of El Shaddai and rest underneath it for just a moment to catch your breath and let Him remind you of the identity He has sealed upon your chest.
It is okay to not be okay. It is not okay to stay there. Find someone to pray for this week, whether they ask for it or not. Ask God to show you who might need it most right now. (Look for the one who might be the "doer" the one who might seem to always "have it together." I am guessing that she probably doesn't right now...or maybe she does today, but she may need it for what tomorrow brings) And TELL them that you see them, tell them that you are praying for them. Tell them that they are not alone.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-18
Dear brothers and sisters, make sure that you show your deep appreciation for those who cherish you and diligently work as ministers among you. For they are your leaders who care for you, teach you, and stand before the Lord on your behalf. They value you with great love. Because of their service to you, let peace reign among yourselves. We appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, to instruct those who are not in their place of battle. Be skilled at gently encouraging those who feel themselves inadequate. Be faithful to stand your ground. Help the weak to stand again. Be quick to demonstrate patience with everyone. Resist revenge, and make sure that no one pays back evil in place of evil but always pursue doing what is beautiful to one another and to all the unbelievers. Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.
You've got the Rhythm
This week I joined Jo Saxton for tea time breaks and the conversation and questions that came out of that time have filled my thoughts and minimal conversations this week. One of the topics, as I touched on yesterday was the idea of 'What does your wartime rhythm look like.' I will list out the questions that were flushed out during that conversation.
What preparation was in place in me before walking into this season?
Have you noticed that God prepared you without you realizing it? I can tell you that I had felt an urgency to be more present for my daughter and a need growing around flexibility to take care of her needs. I am now working and homeschooling, and without the preparation I would be fighting it tooth and nail. I also had a long season last year of being stripped down and finding the 'who' and 'what' that were most important and had to let go of the other. I am now seeing how God already cleaned out my house to be fully present in what needs to matter in this time,
What do you need to let go of in this season?
WOW! This one seems to be a doozy. We like to hold tight to things, even when we know they aren't working. The thing I am feeling is that when we walk out of this we will all be different, life as we know it should not go back to the way it was. We won't be going back into spaces as business as usual. We have changed, jobs have changed, the world has changed. We have the opportunity to lay some things down right now. For me, it is laying down my strictness with my daughter. I have had the "pleasure" of being the hammer in the good cop/bad cop parental scenario. In this time, it is actually a time to be filled with grace and flexibility as we are figuring out how to do all that needs to be done. I am also letting go of insecurities as I am walking into new spaces that require me to use my voice and be seen and heard differently.
What needs to change or be added to this season?
There is such a plethora of additions in this time. We are all learning new things and doing it at a crazy fast pace. Our work environments have changed and new ways of communicating have been added. My daughter is using 4 different sites right now to complete her schooling. How we are shopping, how we are living together, how we are communicating is all within this category. I have had several different prayer groups on Zoom now. That is definitely a different way to seek the Lord. I would also say that how we find ways to disconnect, to take some of our hats off, unload our burdens is changing as well. I am still working on finding ways to not be "on" all of the time. I am finding new ways to decompress and silence my spinning thoughts, and honestly I haven't quite figured it out yet.
We are left with the question to ponder, how will your environment be changed by the end of this?
I find that this is a very important question. If we are truly taking the time to chew on this question, as well as the others, it allows us to process what is taking place within us. It gives us the ability to be apart of the changes of our rhythms. Awareness within ourselves is such a big part of healthy living. If you are prepared for the changes, you can bring them before God and really strengthen your positions. If you look for the places that God is putting His finger on in this time, allowing Him to work in and through you, the person coming out on the other side is going to be amazingly strengthened in the Lord and ready for the new battles ahead with Him.
What are your rhythms right now?
The Word for the week seems to be around war. Some may not realize it, some may not think about it often, but the minute we gave our lives to Christ, we joined his Army. The battle has raged for several millennial now, many great figures throughout the Bible have fought this battle, and only one has defeated it.
The thing about this Army that we have joined, it is very different than the military that we know here in the earthly kingdom. God's Army runs very differently, it seems to be upside down and backwards from that of the masterminds of war here on earth. God removes warriors instead of adding them. God promotes leaders that most men would never consider. God destroys the enemy and credits and honors other's for winning the battle. God's battleplans require HIM, much more than they require us.
My word for this year is FIGHT. I was very displeased by this word and asked for a new one. I feel as though I have fought for the past 6 years, and the last year was especially a difficult battle after battle. The word remained, with the addition of Exodus 14:14. Be still and I will fight for you. The Amplified version: "The LORD will fight for you while you [only need to] keep silent and remain calm." This may not be my strongest gifting....to remain silent and calm and let someone else do the fighting... I have been a fighter my whole life. I don't back down, even when it makes no sense for me keep fighting. The "what" that I am fighting has changed, and the "how," but none the less, I still dig my feet into the ground to hold my position with my sword ready.
This week the idea of our rhythms of wartime mindsets has come up and I just keep circling it. I have gone at it from several different angles. We are at war, we are at war against an enemy we can't see, but is very real. We are strategizing and maneuvering when maybe we should just become silent and remain calm. We have an opportunity to dive deeper into our relationship with our Father, to grow deeper with Him. We have the ability to let Him draw up the battle plans, to let Him even the field. We want to complicate it, God just wants us to become silent and remain calm. Our warfare is not as complicated as we make it. Our warfare is established by God, with God's protection and God's training, if we will just listen. Maybe just maybe we need to rethink our battleplans. Maybe we realize that He has equipped us, that He has empowered us with the tools and strength to fight. Instead of asking Him to come and do everything, are we asking how we can do it with the weapons that He has trained us with?
Psalm 18:33-36 TPT
You’ve trained me with the weapons of warfare-worship;
now I’ll descend into battle with power
to chase and conquer my foes.
You empower me for victory with your wrap-around presence.
Your power within makes me strong to subdue,
and by stooping down in gentleness
you strengthened me and made me great!
You’ve set me free from captivity
and now I’m standing complete, ready to fight some more!
In this new time I have found myself listening harder than ever before. The instructions I hear, the battleplan laid out, I do not question my inadequacies(much), I just continue forward with my yes and an expectation for God to prepare the way ahead of me. I am finding myself in new territory daily, I am outside of my comfort zone by miles. My comfort does not rely on myself, my comfort comes from the Great Comforter. My prayer is that as we move into this new season of warfare, that we would all lean in and listen to what our part is. My puzzle piece is different than any of the other pieces to this picture. We all have a part to play, we all have a specific role. I pray for faith to take the step out, the doing it even when it is scary, even if you can feel your pulse in your throat and seeing what God will do with all of our yes's.
I am a wife and a mom of two and a prayer warrior. I love Jesus and love wrestling with the Word of God and finding how my life fits into His story.