During the Daniel Fast, God dared me to dream bigger. Out of the words, songs & pictures that were laid on my heart, flourish and bea was born. Here’s to my attempts to put my love down on paper, and the year that mountains are thrown into the sea.
daniel fast // day 7
About 30 girls from my church and I are fasting for the month of January. It’s only day 7, but it’s been an amazing time of unity and increased hunger for God (and food!) so far. I love that the Lord is pouring freedom and expectation over so many of us during a time of restriction and sacrifice. He is a God of fullness and paradoxes, and grasping one thing does not mean abandoning the other (Eccl. 7:18).
I’ve always loved Mary’s response to Gabriel when she’s told of the incredible responsibility she will carry: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” During Christmas, I held tightly to what Elizabeth tells Mary a few verses later, “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord said will be accomplished.”
I love submitting to the Lord, telling him I will go wherever he sends me and bear whatever lot he gives me. It’s believing that yolk he wants me to bear is light, immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine, and especially, that it is good, that’s difficult. My new job at Adventures has been more than a leap of faith. It is accepting the freedom and choice to run after the abundance that I believe my heavenly father wants for me.
My Bible’s commentary suggests that this first miracle at Cana references the many times in the OT God promises that Israel will one day burst forth and overflow with abundance (of incredible wine, sometimes!):
“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy… Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” Isaiah 35: 1-2, 6b
When I started processing through my new job and all the gifts the Lord showered on me this past year, I was immediately struck with the huge revelation that in all my “planning” with God, I had somehow lost track of dreaming with Him. I had convinced myself that the things I was asking the Lord for were too far-fetched to happen. I wasn’t open-handedly dreaming with Him.
"In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you,if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matt 21:18-22
I want to see 2014 be the year that the mountains are thrown into the sea! That we sit with the Lord until He has us dreaming like a child again and He gives us visions that seem crazy and unconventional. That this is the year that those lies that the enemy has been telling us wither up like that fig tree.
I am reading through a Daniel fast book and loved this John Piper quote: "Do you have a hunger for God? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled for so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”
I don’t want to nibble any longer at the table of the world. I want to drink deeply of the Lord and only make room for the great things He has for me. My prayer is that we go boldly where we have never gone before with the Lord. That we let Him into the places that we are letting the world have snack-time on and instead feast on things of eternal significance. That we dream with Him, and perhaps some of those crazy ideas, all those desires that simply seem too good to be true, are things that He is going to bring provision on in the new territory He has given!
"Do you think he’ll have my nose, or your eyes?"
"Do you think she’ll be calm like me, or wound up like you?"
"Tall or short, artist or engineer?"
When a child is being born, there is often speculation amongst parents as to which attributes the child will or will not carry. And a child never is exactly like his or her parents… There is always room for individuality, opinions, and heart.
Until Jesus. Jesus was God. He is exactly like Him. ALL the same characteristics. The same heart. The same love. There was no more speculation about “I wonder what God’s really like…” Jesus revealed to us exactly who God is, as if He said, “I’m done talking; I want to show you what I’m like now.”
I’ve been walking with the Lord all my life, but I feel it wasn’t until this past year that I began to really know my Father’s heart. He is kind to the wicked and ungrateful. He loves his enemies. He blesses those who curse Him, and prays for those who abuse Him. He does not hit back. He is love and freedom and redemption and so much goodness.
And in this past year, I learned that I had to hold the cup filled with all my past hurt and heartache and darkness in order to fully pass that cup over to Jesus. There was a stretch this past year where I could not go one day without crying. I couldn’t eat, wasn’t sleeping well, and could barely focus at work. I would snap at Tessa when she would gently tell me that I needed to deal with my pain and that she was worried about me, yelling, “YOU DON’T REALIZE WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH.” (Yikes – thankful for her grace :) ) My heart was hurting so bad. I cried out to the Lord for healing, for strength, for hope. God made promises to me of a new life, new friends, a new heart, of an all-consuming love that would wipe the slate clean, and with what little strength I had left, I clung to those promises day by day.
And it didn’t happen overnight. Or in a week. Or in a couple months, even. In fact, it’s still happening: The healing. The hope. The restoration. I am an incomplete work, but I am changed. I can look back and say that from one year ago God has brought me to places of peace and comfort, to bridges of forgiveness I did not know were possible. And I have seen Him bring life to dead parts of my heart that I thought were long since gone. He promised that the spring flowers were sure to bloom after the rains. And with the healing came a new relationship into my life, a new community, and an awesome new job opportunity to design for the Kingdom and serve the Lord – all tangible reminders of God’s faithfulness in my life daily.
As I sit here in awe of God’s love and greatness, I am reminded of the hope in the struggle and suffering that allows us to overcome. Sorrow always births joy. And I am so very thankful.
… the Adventure begins.
About a month ago, I started praying a new, simple prayer: “Lord, I’m ready. Ready for whatever adventure you have next for me.” I just knew something big was coming.
A few days later… Mind = Blown.
Early November, I set up a meeting with Adventures in Missions, an awesome overseas missions organization and the umbrella over The World Race, to talk about possible partnership with MedShare and also with Grace Midtown. Sparks flew, and SOMEHOW, SOMEWAY, Hands Most Holy turned that simple meeting into a job opportunity. After a few weeks of conversation and negotiation, I can say that I will be joining the Adventures staff in January as a Designer + Storyteller.
God is sweet to entrust me with this incredible opportunity to grow professionally, creatively and spiritually, and to join an organization that believes in being a voice for the voiceless and bringing hope to the hopeless. But with excitement comes fear. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown. Fear of not being a good enough designer. Fear that He won’t provide. Fear that I’m not a good enough leader.
Ridiculous, skewed fears. My fears. Not His fears.
Exodus 14:14 says that “The Lord will fight for you, and you have to only be silent.” Wow. In what situations will He go to battle for me? In what ways is He already defending me? And what battles am I foolishly trying to win on my own?
The good news I’m clinging to is that a Victorious Warrior constantly goes to battle for me everyday in the unseen world. I belong to the One who has already overcome on my behalf, and I need to only be silent.
Art I won at NightLight’s For Freedom’s Sake anti-trafficking benefit. It means the world to me.
I always knew I’d work in full-time ministry someday. I just didn’t know it would come this soon. This past year has been my redemption song. I realized that a Faithful Father was walking steadily alongside me, and nothing has been the same since I took Him up on His offer to hold my heart in His capable hands. I fell in love with His desires for me: To know me deeply, to love me fully, to wash me clean and make me new, to right the wrongs against me, to forgive me and release me from the burden of my shortcomings. It has been a magical romance, His and mine. And I truly believe He brought this opportunity when I was ready and prepared to receive it.
If you’ve stumbled upon this blog, I ask you to please join me in prayer. For my transition, for an absence of fear, for the Lord’s provision, and for the lives that will be transformed on Adventures’ trips.
After all, the safest place for me to be is out on a limb with Him.
An introvert’s dream: cooking, cats, and worship. I really love You right now.
In scripture, Jesus is constantly instructing us to eat Him. It’s overwhelming to take in His longing for us to consume and delight in every aspect of His being.
Hunger: an indication of a need for substance.
“Come to me, and you’ll never be thirsty again,” He promises.
Hunger is not an end of itself; temporarily easing our hunger is a means to an end. Being filled is our goal, and only He can fully fill and eternally satisfy us.
"All you who are thirsty, come to the water!, You without money, come, buy, and eat!
Yes, come! Buy wine and milk without money — it’s free!
Why spend money for what isn’t food, your wages for what doesn’t satisfy?” (Isaiah 55)
When I read the above passage, I imagine Jesus saying, "Stop ‘curing’ your hunger with earthly things. That’s temporary. Come to MY water. It’s free. It’s authentic. It’s eternal. This is the good stuff."
Jesus says, “Bring me ALL your cravings and desires. I want to fully satisfy and fill you. I will transform your desires.”
This past year was one of me re-directing my hunger towards Him. Our appetite = our desires. Through sitting in the lonely place with Him, fasting, and changing my “mental diet,” (bad feeds on itself & wants more bad, good feeds on itself & wants more good, etc.), my desires have truly shifted to simply wanting to live in accordance with His will for my life.
I think we would all agree that about three times a day (more for some people!), we need to eat. We’re irritable. We’re tired. We’re hungry. What if God gave us food and meals just to give us asmall taste of how much we really need Jesus? He is our Life Source. It’s not food we’re hungry for — it’s Jesus!!
Pat sung some amazing lyrics this past week (as always), ones that really convicted me to check where my hunger was directed. What am I hungry for? What do I burn for? He sang:
"My heart is the wick
Your Love is the flame
And I want to burn for Your Name.”
I’m saying yes to You
And no to my desires
I’ll leave myself behind and follow You
I’ll walk the narrow road cause it leads me to You
I’ll fall but grace will pick me up again
I’ve counted up the cost
Yes I’ve counted up the cost
And You’re worth everything.
"God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful. But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.”
This summer was my desert. But this fall, I am sinking in to His peaceful harvest. Lord, bring the fruit!
It was honoring to be able to participate in 24 hours of worship + prayer for our city this weekend. My heart floods at the reality of being part of a community that chooses to spend their Friday + Saturday nights worshipping an invisible King.