Don’t Lose the Fire

Fireball over here has a confession: my Fire started to wane.

Blame it on Ministry School being done for now. Blame it on life transitions eating up my time. Blame it on me not getting any new leaders for Phylla House and feeling like a plastic bag about that… I understood the Katy Perry song lyric for the first time.

Do you ever feel… like a plastic bag… ?

Yep.

Fireball felt like a plastic bag. It doesn’t take long to drift. And I praise God, it doesn’t take long to anchor, either.

Today I woke up determined to be a super productive adult who follows through. Follows through with people, emails, banks, and laundry. And in it, I prayed. I got excited. I had setbacks but it all got done today. And then I had one phone call scheduled for 6pm, with an OUTSTANDING woman of God.

Charity is her name. And today she sharpened me. She reminded me of what Phylla House is about, as I heard her little kids’ voices in the background, as she raises them bravely as a widow, and as she reminds me that we need people who have been through the fire, and we need structure. Structure! Ahh. The thing I’ve been fighting. The thing that I always think would hinder the spontaneous growth of Holy Spirit work. But it’s needed. We set deadlines. She brought her fire over to mine and it sparked brighter.

Sometimes it’s easier to go where the fruit is, and I’ve been taught this, too. Go where the fruit is! But sometimes we have to stick it out, and fast, and endure. We have to hold tight to dormant dreams, to the ideas that don’t seem to be catching as quickly as we’d hoped. And we hold them, even then. Even still. We take them to the Lord, sometimes in our frustration, and He passes by in a quiet whisper to remind us He is still very much Sovereign.

Multiply the crumbs, Lord. Nourish the sparks into a mighty flame for You. Don’t let us give up on dreams that You put in our hearts.

All in all to say, the #ATLdevo is coming back. It might be a little different, too. I get to dream again, and ask the Lord just how He wants His fire disbursed.

Fight to keep your fire. What’s the dream in your heart that tends to wane in times of hardship? That. I pray a blessing over what that is for you. All to Jesus we surrender, and yes, that includes our doubts, our timing, our expectations, our judgments, and our past frustrations. And we exchange those for a fresh fire and a fresh hope, with a double scoop of unrealistic, and sprinkles of the impossible.

This song says it all: You’re unrelenting, with passion and mercy. Unstoppable love that never ends.

If Love is for us, who can be against us?

Trusting My Brothers

I’m doing some repenting right now and I want to share it with you, because maybe you’re supposed to join me in this.

I need to repent in the way I stopped trusting my brothers. I’m not talking about my biological brother, but my brothers in Christ, my buddies, my friends, my pals who just so happen to be males.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry I have kept you at arm’s length. I’m sorry I have assumed you might be sketchy. I’m sorry I have failed to trust you, to laugh with you, and to give you the benefit of the doubt. I’m sorry I have been stern, and I’m sorry I have pushed you away abrasively. That is not my character. That’s not who I am, but a temporary behavior that stemmed from a healing heart.

I’m well aware of it now, and here’s what happened…

I’m an extremely analytical person, and my formulas got all switched up. The part of my heart that defends itself, that makes fantastic choices… well, it got a little hypersensitive. I dated my very best guy friend, and my heart got smashed. I decided, without realizing that I was deciding it, that I would not let other guys become such close friends to me again, ever, because that kind of pain is not something I’d like to experience again. What if a close guy friend decided to pursue me? Would I completely flip out? Yeah, probably.

Is that not my dream, though? Is that not something I desire? To date someone I know well? I thought it was, and I think it still is. I berated myself, because I thought I had started to open my heart in a friendship, and let someone into my life, to get to know me, and then there was this magic trick where romance was introduced, and I thought I would just about die of happiness. The hard part was over, we knew each other, we knew what we wanted… and and and bust. Wasn’t it.

My genius way of preventing that from happening again? “Don’t get close to guys.”

UGH! I’M SORRY!!!!

So I’ve pushed my brothers away, and I even got all mixed up, had some weird conversations, and while I am a total stickler about flirting and keeping good boundaries, I had to be rebuked by the Lord IN A DREAM about how I’m pushing my brothers away.

I found that lie in my heart, and I recoiled, and removed it.

I can be a friend again. I won’t push away, or act extra weird, or get all “SO WHAT IS THIS?!” when my bros are trying to be my bros. They can have my number. They can feel free to call me. We can hang out, just maybe not til 3am, yeah? I’m a lady!!! I’ll do my best not to time them or chart our interactions. I’m excited for when I’m back in Georgia, to see how this all will play out. There’s always freedom when fear is removed.

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I know the Lord is trying to give me a gift in friendships, and He is so adamant that I receive the gift in full, that He gave me a dream to show me what I was doing wrong. I’m not going to look back any longer, and I’m telling my heart it’s okay to trust. It’s okay to trust my brothers. It’s okay to encourage them and love them well. It’s okay to hug, to laugh, to talk. These people are trying to get to know me, and I, them. They’re not out to hurt me, not at all. I’m new, and new creatures have fresh stores of trust.

In Jesus’ name, my heart is healed and aligned to trust my brothers, to make new friends, both gals and guys. What a lovely gift it is, and I will receive it with thanksgiving.

50 Reminders of Who I Am

Today, I hiked Stone Mountain by myself and for the first time. The thought of doing this alone seemed strange yet comforting. I usually do these kinds of things with people, for the company, and so I’d never need to take a selfie. This mountain was for me and only Jesus. Also, my selfie game was on point.

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The whole way up, I was smiling. I must have looked crazy, but I couldn’t help it. You see, He was overwhelming me with compliments. The littlest things about me, that He loves. How He loves how excited I got when I put on my pink-stripe socks. How He loves the freckles on my shoulders. He loves that I get sidetracked by little flowers and how I take too many pictures.

20140922_190946Then He started to reveal to me that He thought of me when He made the little flowers I was admiring. How they were placed there because He knew I would appreciate them like I do. How He makes certain flowers just so they can be plucked and put in my hair, to adorn me. He told me about my wedding flowers, and then we got on the subject of love and weddings. Jesus is so much better than Pinterest when it comes to creativity.

On the way up, I kept stopping to get pictures of the views, not realizing how much better the top view was going to be. You see, sometimes we don’t realize how much better things can get, and we think that we need to remember the lesser things. This was a reminder to be okay with the unknown of the ascent, and trust that the summit will be worthwhile and more beautiful than any view from the middle. I picked up the pace.

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As I reached the top, I had made it just in time. Several people sat, awaiting the sunset and the colors to change. A glow hovered over the Atlanta skyline. The skyscrapers looked tiny from the distance and from the top. I started hearing loud and clear the passages where Jesus says that we are to be a city on a hill. Also, passages about cities of refuge came to mind from the Old Testament. I remembered that Jesus has likened me to Hebron, Caleb’s portion inheritance and city of refuge. I love it.

As I took pictures and sighed, He reminded me of who I am, not that I’d forgotten, but the Holy Spirit is constantly reminding us of things. These were a few reminders from Him of who I am:

  1. I’m His fire daughter, a city on a hill, never hidden, and yet I’m His secret place.
  2. I’m like a strong tower, made to stand out and represent His strength.
  3. I stand healed from so much pain, having processed and pushed past the coping mechanisms I once had, like running, venting, and dependency on others. None of which are inherently bad, but when these methods were my first response instead of crying out to my Father, instead of running into His arms, they were worthless, awful wastes of my time.
  4. Freedom looks good on me. I feel light as a feather, and I want nothing to do with the things that interrupt the flow of the Holy Spirit.
  5. When I’m here, in the flow, there’s more joy and more peace.
  6. I lack no good thing, and the things that I’m awaiting are good things, yes, but I’M the good thing right now.
  7. My heart is tender, whole, and wonderful. I am freely acknowledging what it’s telling me, and taking action accordingly. It’s a brave thing.
  8. My heart has good discernment. Nonstop, it’s instructed by the Holy Spirit, so that’s where it gets its wisdom.
  9. I’m receiving a ton of grace and crowns of life.
  10. I’m becoming more and more a person who follows through.
  11. I am transparent and honoring.
  12. I set great boundaries and I do not cross them when I feel vulnerable.
  13. I walk in a manner that demands dignity and respect, and never sell myself short or allow others to treat me like I’m less than worthy of romance, purity, and to be cherished out loud.
  14. I nip confusion in the bud because I am a brave communicator.
  15. I live with the 24-hour rule installed for feedback.
  16. The environment and culture that I create demand respect and righteousness.
  17. I do not delight in sinful things, as they are now outside my nature.
  18. I don’t participate in gossip conversations.
  19. I do not entertain drama.
  20. Beautiful things never ask for attention.
  21. I am somebody who my future husband would consider dating, because I stand out like crazy and he is confident like crazy.
  22. I am affectionate and affirming, but not a flirt. I honor my brothers.
  23. I’m a fireball of passion, all or nothing.
  24. I’m stubborn but I’m not afraid to change my mind.
  25. I fight for love and love fights for me.
  26. Love persuades me, and always wins.
  27. I don’t yet know all of my favorite things, but I’m on a journey with the One who knows them all and will reveal them to me. Therefore, I do not make assumptions based on my limited experience and I invite diversity into my life.
  28. I’m living out a life that does not conform to the patterns of this world, a life of abandon, adventure, and openness.
  29. I carry a motherly, nurturing, peaceful, joyful spirit.
  30. I invest wholeheartedly in what I do.
  31. I make time for what is most important by saying no to the things that are less important.
  32. I’m comfortable in my own skin, and not self-conscious of my beauty.
  33. I know how to receive and how to embrace.
  34. I value quality over quantity. I value quality in general.
  35. I can differentiate between having affections and having empathy.
  36. I do not let my physical eyesight deceive me over my spiritual eyesight.
  37. I foster obedience in the quiet hour, not in the last minute.
  38. I would rather be vulnerable than be composed.
  39. I would rather ask than wonder silently.
  40. If my life were a sound, I’d like for it to be a roar, not a whisper.
  41. I firmly believe I was fashioned for greatness.
  42. I walk in expectancy of God’s favor, as His goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life.
  43. I am self-aware and aware of others.
  44. I am a pastor and I shepherd with healing hands.
  45. I am a feeler and intercessor, and I cherish my gift.
  46. I’m a prophetic encourager and a writer of truth.
  47. I’m no longer afraid to cry or of people’s reactions to my tears.
  48. I am brave in love and fierce in battle.
  49. I laugh through hard times and I don’t apologize for my joy.
  50. I pray for impossible things every single day.

Very fruitful hike haha. Never a dull moment with Jesus.

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What are 50 truths of who you are? Do you know? Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you and journal or blog about them.

Healing Party

Life is so beautifully full.

For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
Psalm 107:9

My Bethel family is blowing my mind. Last night we got together to throw a birthday party for sweet baby Samuel. Samuel is in the hospital, born premature, and the doctors have given him zero chance. Zero. And we are not gonna take that. We have been praying and his oxygen levels are pretty much staying at 100%, as well as him digesting food for the first time successfully. Tonight we sang children songs, and painted for him. We danced. We made true the meaning of his name, “heard of God” because we are making God hear all kinds of things on his behalf!

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We thought we were showing up to pray for SAMUEL’S healing, to celebrate HIM, and we did. But then there was more. We had one healed ear, comfort for back pains and chest pains, and my weird-hug-itis got healed. I’m back to being a hugging machine. Come and get it.

HOW GOOD IS GOD?! He heals us as we pray for healing. He comforts us as we pray for comfort. It’s beautiful to see Him provide like this, pour out like this. It’s like an infomercial… “But wait…”

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As I was canoodling with my new friend Morgan, this wave of God’s love hit me. I looked down at myself and saw that I was comfortably cozy with another human, and mentally realized that my “weird weird” was done. I started crying! My tears just kept spilling, as I realized that God restored me back to feeling things. My weird funk… done! It’s past! It’s over! I’m okay! I’m huggable! I’m kissable! I’m restored to affection again, after a time of sincere aversion to even the thought of affection. Mama Bear is back, just in time. JUST. IN. TIME.

Psalm 107 is rocking my world, I hope it rocks yours. I mean, it should.

LOVE you.

-H

Why I Dyed My Hair RED

I can thank Pinterest for inspiration, or use the fact that I hadn’t done anything to my hair in 3 years as a reason. I can say I wanted to be like a rockstar with mermaid hair, because it’s fabulous.

But that’s not really why I dyed my hair RED.

Something inside me changed.
Not just the part of me that I won’t miss, but something hardened.

Hardened like clay being fired up.

There’s been a fire, and it was awful, but it was refining.

Most of you know how affectionate I am, how I hug a lot, yeah?

Hugging feels weird right now.

Last night at work, I had two coworkers come hug me, and I almost stepped back away from them. I don’t understand that. Physical touch is my love language, scored a perfect 12 on the test I took in 2012. But now, no? I guess I’m different.

I noticed this in Thailand, too. I didn’t hug my team that much, not as much as I would have normally. You can ask my Uganda team how much I used to hug. Yikes. I’m practically a koala bear, and other people are trees to me. Yet now not so much. My closest friends have moved away, the ones who cuddle. I went through my last storm pretty much alone physically, aside from my girls on the phone.

And maybe it’s a maturing thing, a growing thing, to develop this harder edge. Maybe it was good for me to not be coddled, cuddled, or brought stuffed animals to. I’m 27. I don’t need to go crash at a friend’s house for 3 days when life goes upside down. I almost did. I almost drove 4 hours for that kind of comfort, but God did something different.

He comforted me instead.
I’ve had times when even my phone wouldn’t work, and I would frantically scramble and sometimes pull over in my car, and just cry. Hold the steering wheel and cry. And ask God why I couldn’t even talk to my friends. And He would instantly respond “you need to talk to me” and I’d just cry harder.

This, my sweet friends, is red.

This is why I dyed my hair red.

Not for attention, no. God knows I get enough attention, why would I need to change my hair? I’m seen and heard. I’m a dominant presence from birth, and I couldn’t hide if I tried.

No, this red… this red is the proof I survived the fire and it changed me.

Consuming Fire came near to my broken heart and it hurt and hurt, and I thought maybe my heart was finished. And I know it isn’t. Daily, I’m told it isn’t. He’s bringing my heart back to tenderness, He is. He must.

He is helping me to set my logic aside, and my formulas, and my calculations, and my data… because none of it can stand up to the miracle of His mercy for me.

T2014-08-09 10.39.12he red of His blood.

The red of His passion for me.

The red of His anger that I got hurt.

The red of the rising sun in my life.

It’s a new season, and I want to be reminded that I’m different, that I’m a work in progress, that the fire I carry isn’t done with me yet.

For what mortal has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and lived? -Deut 5:26

Sweet Victories

What does it mean to be victorious?
To conquer, win, achieve, be the favored one?

When the Lord calls us victorious and more than conquerors, do we believe it? From our hearts? It sickens me how often I feel defeated, and the little things that pull me into the illusion that I’ve lost. Are you with me? How often do we lay out the fleece on the grass with our prayers, like Gideon, and make God prove over and over that He’s for us and not against us? Why do we come to the point of despair?

From feeling tired in the morning, to sluggish in the daytime, or thinking too far ahead or too long about the past, or worrying about someone’s opinion, or thinking about worst case scenarios that haven’t even happened, or dwelling on issues that can only be resolved over time, in God’s will… how often do we allow ourselves to go dumpster diving in the large trash can of discontentment?

Is it not disobedience to let our minds wander off away from the ‘true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy’ thoughts on which we’ve been well-advised to dwell? If I take a fair inventory of my life, it’s safe to say I have experienced God’s goodness and seen His hand protecting me. I think if you do the same, you’ll come to the same conclusion: He is good. We may not always understand what He’s doing, but He does warn us that His ways are higher and His thoughts are higher. He explains to us that it takes a transformed mind and a seeking heart to discern His will, and to grasp its goodness and perfection.

What happens when we are filling our minds with pointless thoughts? And agreeing with the lies of the enemy that we don’t have enough, that we are lacking, that our Shepherd is not good enough? With warped minds we cannot grasp the goodness of the will of God, much less keep ourselves from utter despair. Every little bump on the road becomes a tragedy, a storm, a failure, and a grand injustice… that’s the mark of a selfish mind that can’t wrap around a bigger picture, that ‘it’s not about me’ and ‘it is well with my soul’ and ‘God’s arm is not too short to reach me here.’

Take inventory of the footholds you have given to the enemy. Remove them. Bind your heart and your thoughts to scripture. What you don’t change, you choose. I, for one, am choosing to change the way I’ve been allowing my temporary feelings to influence my eternal perspectives. Maybe this is for you as well, but here’s the word I got:

THIS LIFE IS A VAPOR, SO GET OVER YOURSELF.
IT’S TOO SHORT TO WORRY SO MUCH.
WATCH YOUR MOUTH AND WATCH YOUR MIND.
STOP COMPLAINING. BE SILENT INSTEAD.
IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU.
IF THINGS GO WELL, SUPER.
IF YOU FAIL, I REDEEM YOU, SO SUPER.
IF YOU GET HURT OR DIE, I HEAL YOU.
I AM ENOUGH FOR YOU. YOU HAVE ALL YOU NEED.
I AM ALL YOU GET. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE.
GET YOUR FILL FROM ME.
THERE’S NOTHING ON THIS EARTH THAT WILL SATISFY THAT LITTLE ACHE IN YOUR HEART. THAT’S MY SPOT. DON’T TRY TO PUT A SIGNIFICANT OTHER THERE, BECAUSE THEY’LL FAIL. DON’T PUT A JOB THERE, OR A CHILD, OR STATUS, OR NETFLIX, OR COMFORT FOOD. NOTHING FITS THAT PLACE. THAT DESIRE IS FOR ME. LET ME AT IT.
TALK TO THE TEMPORARY LESS THAN YOU TALK TO ME.
LOOK AT THE TEMPORARY LESS THAN YOU LOOK AT ME.
FLIP YOUR KINGDOMS NOW SO YOU CAN SEE ME.
LET’S RECOUNT AND PROPHESY ALL THE SWEET VICTORIES.

When the Lord calls us victorious and more than conquerors, do we believe it?
Let’s believe it.