I’m writing the part of my book in which I began teaching at a community college at 25 years old. I’m thinking about God. I’m thinking about passion. I’m thinking about the ecstasy of love.
I remember being 16 years old and praying for Iraq in puddles of my own tears on my bedroom floor.
In three weeks I get to board a plane and concretely begin my journey to Iraq.
I’m overcome with love for God. My spirit is in a permanent shout of “Eeeeeeeeeeee!”
Blessings as you seek your own “Eeeeeeeeeeee!” hahahaha!
Laura Woodley’s Magnificent Song, “Home”:
Some of the most defining and determining moments in our lives are the moments when we decide how to deal with disappointment. We either get weary and leave open the doors of our souls for dissatisfaction and unbelief to come in OR we resolutely shake off the experience, close the doors, and move forward DARING to hold on to hope.
In these pivot points we set the tone for the rest of our lives.
Onward and upward is the choice of brave hearts.
Sometimes the discipline of choosing belief is excruciatingly painful. Eustace says in the latest Chronicles of Narnia film, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when describing how Aslan (the God-figure) brought him in an instant from the transition of a dragon-body back to his human state, “It was really painful, but in a good way – like having a thorn removed from your foot.” It is in the choosing, despite the cost of comfort, that the great sloughing off occurs. It is in the yanking through a narrow spot that the refining happens.
It is in the conviction toward joy when it is expensive, that heavenly habits are formed.
I like heavenly habits. And really, I’m much too smitten with the Holy Spirit to hop out of the reformation-mobile and establish a “healthy” distance from the Holy Spirit. Yuck. That sounds entirely horrible.
The last few months ripe in growth, have also contained backroads of *ouch* and *aaaaaaaargh!* I’ve had thyroid disease since I was seven and though it is normally stable with medication there have been times – like when I moved to Israel in 2006 – that my body goes out of whack. I’ve been prayed for dozens and dozens of times. I know God heals. I know healing is easy from heaven’s perspective and healing is our inheritance on earth. In the journey of the last few years I’ve seen hundreds of people healed through my own hands. I rarely felt bitter that my own healing hadn’t come. I just love seeing people healed and happy; and I know my own healing is en route. Well, in the last several months I have really focused on healing for my thyroid and I’ve seen measures of breakthrough. I’ve also had powerful encounters with God: I’ve been tackled in my bedroom; I’ve spent hours on the floor outside the healing rooms at church after going out in the Spirit; I’ve had people approach me with profound words of knowledge and pray for me; I’ve collapsed under the power of His Presence here and there and everywhere. And the healing has yet to show up on earth. In the interim I’ve walked through lethargy, facial swelling, intestinal issues, slow metabolism, and a litany of other not-so-pretty symptoms. In time a doctor’s appointment, a blood test, and a fresh prescription have brought balance and removed most symptoms, but I am still really excited to be healed one day soon.
I’m not sharing any of that for pity. I hate pity. Compassion is fine, but pity is unhelpful. I prefer advocacy and a heavenly perspective. I’m sharing because there is a long-held awareness in my life that in my honesty others find strength and inspiration. I’m sharing because as the New Year pokes through the sky tonight, we need to choose to let GO of the old and grab a hold of the new. We need to issue a rally cry to everyone that JESUS IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!!!! And we will flourish as we let go of unanswered questions, confusion, and fear; and dive into the syrupy Presence of the One who understands ALL. What an honor to have a best friend who knows everything, sees outside of time, and LOVES beyond measure!
Right now we could choose to focus on what is not. We could stare at lack. We could grumble. We could be self-focused. We could be fearful that we will be terminally disappointed. And we could miss the opportunities to love and transform the world around us. We could miss out on the great masterpiece our beautiful Creator is making.
Or we could celebrate every victory, no matter how small. We could fast negativity (as in commit to not say and think negative things). We could speak the truth of God over our lives daily: I am powerful, I am seated with Christ in heavenly places, circumstances are under my feet, sickness flees in my presence. We could make every day a party. We could let loose the shoelaces of our love, toss off our hindrances and dance barefoot!
I have to choose the latter. My heart must have closeness with God. Nothing else will ever persuade me of a greater worth. He’s it. haha. No need to search for the next best thing. He is the always best thing.
So, whoever you are, wherever you are. Shake it off. Whatever you negatively fixate on about 2010, blink it away. Stop thinking about changing your ways and just change them. Be YOU. You can do it. You were born to succeed! You were designed to live an outrageously wonderful life so full of love and power that the whole universe awakens in awe to your beauty.
Ezekiel 16:9-14 paints a gorgeous image of us redeemed and beautified by our Husband,
“I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.”
We have been lavished with salvation and beauty – so much beauty the nations are in awe. We have a choice of what to do with that beauty. In Ezekiel, the woman ( Jerusalem), squanders the love by throwing her attentions and her affections other places. Let’s be the woman who shows the nations their own beauty and lavishes them with the same love that brought us into salvation and wholeness.
Let’s stretch. Let’s grow.
2011, HERE WE GROW!!!!!!!
I love all of you (even the internet wanderers who followed the yellow brick road here that I don’t know personally)!
I recommend listening to two teachings in the box.net on the left side bar of my blog: parts 1 & 2 of “Living Un-Offended at God” by Bill Johnson. ENJOY!!! Get radical with HOPE!
Happy NEW-EST YEAR!!!
You have a destiny and a purpose!
p.s. As my sister Dori is going to India in 4 days to work in a restoration house with survivors of the sex trade for 3 months, this form of slavery is on the forefront of my mind.
(Her blog: http://pinkdor.wordpress.com/ )
We must be courageous and set the captives free. How about Isaiah 61 as a New Year’s Resolution!?! Let’s eradicate disease, slavery, and darkness from the planet! As you link with heaven’s faith, here’s music to believe by: http://www.exoduscry.com/ I especially like tracks 3 & 10. )
Where is usually more tied to journey than what.
When you look at the flight board at an airport you see city names, not what the places are known for.
London isn’t “Posh / gate A37 / 10:42” and Delhi isn’t “Vibrant: gate D4 / 18:38”
And when you get to the gate the flight attendant welcomes you to the gateway to your destination, not the contents of it. He doesn’t say, “Enjoy your trip to Atlanta. You will find a great bookstore with an elephant statue that makes you laugh and think of your fourth grade trip to the zoo. Then you will think about the idea that ‘elephants are forgetful.’ You will wonder if that’s true, which will make you think about forgiveness. When you think about forgiveness, you’ll think about your mom; you’ll be grateful parents usually demonstrate great perseverance with their children, and then you’ll think of Jesus and how He alone makes real forgiveness and real redemption possible. And your heart will flutter remembering the way He takes your breath away, feeling the squeeze of His love on your shoulder there alone in a bookstore in Atlanta. You are only in Atlanta for a seven hour layover, but by the time you leave, you’ll be ready for an experience you will have eight months from now when that epiphany in Murphy’s Books in Atlanta will be used to bring peace between two of your married friends. The revelation in the bookstore, the one that starts with the elephant statue, will lead to a revelation in your friends’ marriage which will lead to newness in her parents’ marriage, which will lead them to start a course for married couples at their church in Illinois, which will become a curriculum which within 2 years will be in 43 churches in Illinois and one in Michigan. That marriage course will restore and enliven marriages in 44 churches within two years.”
The attendant simply says, “Enjoy your trip to Atlanta.” And the word “Atlanta” gives no indication of the realities alive and waiting in that place. There is more than meets the eye.
We are all on a journey. There is much more than what appears – more than names and wheres, there are whats and whose. As we fly, walk, hike, and rest we all move forward toward the future. We choose daily how to direct our experiences, how to respond to our circumstances, and whether our trip to “Atlanta” is just a trip to Atlanta or if it’s moving toward something – at the least a serendipitous blessing, at the most a pivotal epiphany that grows who we are and readies us for the destiny ahead. Living with intentionality is powerful – expecting that even a “chance” moment in a bookstore might lead to transforming lives is part of living a hope-charged life.
I believe in vision.
I believe in purpose.
Since I was 16 I have burned with a few primary dreams.
One began in hours alone weekly on my floor praying for the Middle East.
One began in the book “Azusa Street” by Frank Bartleman.
One is the fusion of those two, born of passion and long talks with the One who first created and dreamed.
The Middle East will FLOURISH: she will live in peace, abundance, hope, and LOVE for her savior. I have championed the Middle East and believed for her fullness of destiny with an otherworldly fuel for 15 years now.
Every tongue, tribe, and nation will fall in love with Jesus and signs and wonders will be normal on earth as they are in heaven. My vision for revival has led me by the heart with the words I clearly remember crying into the light green carpet in my teenage bedroom: “I have to have revival or I will die.”
I will be a key part of building and transforming nations – entire nations. I do not mean making them so-so, relatively peaceful, decently prosperous, and moderately happy. I MEAN WHOLE NATIONS IN LOVE WITH JESUS: creative, free, healthy, doing “impossible” things constantly, redefining every realm of society with HEAVEN: family, religion, economy, education, government, arts & media, and science & technology. And the infusion of those things, the reality that I am meant for a purpose infinitely more than what I see , has kept me on track and inspired and willing to sacrifice ever since then. I am too in love to move from the vision the Holy Spirit sparked in me back when no one knew the dreams germinating in me.
I have seen it. I can not let go. For fifteen years, I have seen it. I have tasted it.
Vision will inflame you to do things you don’t want to do.
Vision will quicken you into discipline and a love for divine order.
Divine order is meant to GIVE freedom, not control you. It’s meant to make space for love, not take it away. People often think of order as legalism and limitation – that’s not heaven’s idea. Eden reflected order, like the tabernacle of Moses, and like the temple Solomon built; and like the heavenly Jerusalem.
Vision will keep you steady, focused, and joyful.
In Hebrews 12:2 it reads,
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
For THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM endured the cross.
His sacrifice was infused with vision for what was to come – for what that single action was creating a foundation for.
His love for joy and His love for us compelled him to create an infrastructure for more joy. The price He paid set up an entire system of salvation and redemption and re-unification with God and WHOLENESS.
Vision will knit you to supernatural patience, peace, and laughter.
Vision will move you across the country, the city, the world, and back again – if necessary.
Vision will give you the courage to smile when your journey looks like wandering to those around you.
Vision will become an immovable chunk of granite love – something that makes you happy to pay close attention to how much the apples cost so you can save a little money; something that gives you peculiar delight when you walk from inside a building to a rainy sky and you think of RAIN in a desert far away that yearns for rain and how you KNOW the RAIN is coming; something that magnetizes you with desire in moments to go through the drawers of your life and find something, anything else you can glorify Jesus with. haha. “Hey God, I’m going to draw a happy face on my rent check because I’m so tickled that I get to pay rent, live in a free country, and one day see entire nations give you their own little happy faces. haha.”
Vision, real vision, the kind that is so saturated in Jesus, you can not separate it from Him, nor would you every think to, will make you mad – like crazy mad, but in a perfectly crazy way.
I once heard a quote, “Do you know anyone who changed the world who wasn’t at least a little crazy?”
And “If people don’t laugh when you tell them your dreams, you aren’t dreaming big enough.”
And “If you can complete your dreams without supernatural help, you need to expand your dreams.”
Vision will also grow in you maturity to know how much of the vision to share when and with who. Vision will make the waiting worth it. Vision will make the process an honor, and as much a destination as the “destination.” Sarah and Abraham had their promise for Isaac, they tried a shortcut through Ishmael, and that did not go well. Still, Isaac came and Abraham with the wife “beyond childbearing years” became a FATHER OF NATIONS. And, to think, Sarah LAUGHED when God told her that promise. NOW that is the mark of a good dream, it is kissed with “impossibility.”
I’m going to write more snippets of dreams of mine, at least loosely framed, in an upcoming blog, but I’m not at a point where I feel it’s time to go into much depth. I have learned supernatural resolution via holding closely the secrets of God until the right time. And many secrets will always be secrets. Having said that, there is a fresh stirring in me to share some of what I am learning about vision, establishing infrastructure in one’s life for longevity, the rewards of focus, and the courage it takes to be YOU excellently. Mostly, YOU are the only human who will ever know how much flourishing you live in – one person flourishes when he sets aside an hour to read a history book every week, one person flourishes when he dares to tell a friend “no”, one person flourishes when she truly believes the paintings she does are beautiful, one person flourishes when she becomes radical enough to take responsibility for her own life daily, one person flourishes when he steps out and prays for a stranger, one person flourishes when she moves to Denmark and opens a home for homeless youth.
You must know what you burn for.
You must know you can walk toward your fears and destroy them.
You must know nothing is impossible.
You must know you were made to have vision, to dream, and to fulfill that vision.
You must know that change is possible. You can do it.
You must know you are powerful, to change your life and to change the world.
You must know you are amazing.
You must know you can love YOURSELF, just like Jesus LOVES you.
You must know THANKFULNESS is key;
and vision will provoke you to be thankful for everything from clean water to your friend’s eyelashes.
You will see potential, grace, love, and impossibility made possible in every thing.
Ahhhh… as the day of thanksgiving slips itself around your life today, be blessed with vision.
As you look at the incredible people around your table, on your welcome mat, in your arms – welcome to the world of vision. Be encouraged to dream. Jesus saw all that goodness when He was headed cross-ward. God saw YOU when He spoke the universe into being.
YOU were His vision.
And what an ABSOLUTELY PHENOMENAL AND INSPIRING VISION YOU ARE!
For some vision-casting, I recommend these books: