Onething 09 Day 1

The day started at 5.30am, it’s now 1.30 am and I should be sleeping. Anticipating more heated conversations with hotel desk clerks I dressed up today, but pointy toed shoes are a BAD idea on  a day when you never sit down and my feet hurt by 11. The surgeried foot gave me problems; muscles randomly seizing, tightening and throbbing but I refused to let it stop me! I’m living each day to be healed and one of these days, I will be.

So what is keeping this exhausted, pained little girl awake at 1.30? Home. The smell of horses and a freshly mowed lawn deeply embedded in my old baseball hat. Dust from the road, so think and fine that it coats everything by mid summer leaving the country side faded like an old photograph. Climbing into my rusty 1949 Ford truck and dreaming about Dad and I actually fixing it (which never happened). Fields of raw flowers and uncut grass, rolling hills and tall tree’s. Country you can see for miles. Broken down fences, and the joy (and pain) of fixing them. Waking each morning and hearing roosters crowing outside the window, and the few years we had a “broken rooster” who also crowed around midnight… 1am…2am…3am.

Bustling about Bartle hall today, passing out a combination of passes to about 80 department members, tracking them down and being tracked down. Asking and answering questions, and do a whole lot of NOT answering questions, communicating, trouble shooting, training my replacement, LONGING for a nap and coffee, praying for new feet and dreaming of when mine will be beautiful on the mountain as I preach good news – it was a long day.

As Jeremy & I drove back to red bridge my mind was far from the conference and I couldn’t stop thinking about home. Long days in the sunshine, furry kittens, planting gardens, running barefoot on gravel, picking fruit off of tree’s, giving all of my heart to the Lord through my song while on the back of a tall chestnut Arabian Mare while bare back… sometimes I feel like that childhood was lived by another person. I wouldn’t know what to do if I were to climb on a horse today. It’s funny how things change.

I have a sick love for conference co-ordination and details. Too many years in ministry and too many events causes love for the chaos to flow through your veins, but today I found myself longing to be lost in a sea of green, thinking to my Savior, staring at lazy summer clouds and dreaming.

2010 is about to begin. Options for my time are beginning to present themselves but truly, and I wish for a full bank account. I would tear out the carpet in my house, paint the walls and restore the hardwood floors and window sills. I would plant flowers and a garden and actually have the time to both weed, and enjoy them. Ooooh and a car! I’d buy a car 🙂 At 23 I’m finding myself wondering if time will ever let me to slow down and enjoy life slowly, and if I will ever have the finances to allow that. But for now. I must sleep. Strange thoughts for the first day of Onething 09.

Sleep & Restoration – this will take awhile

Two very influential leaders in the body of Christ came to IHOP-KC a few weeks ago, fueling our Student Awakening meetings and fueling the hearts of the body here. I was real excited to hear them teach us about Holy Spirit but awoke the first morning with a RAGING headache, pounding pressure in my sinuses….. and went back to sleep. Later I turned on the webstream and listened to John Arnott teach as I prepared for my day.

While doing my hair in the bathroom he came to the ministry time of the service, and as he welcomed the presence of the Lord to come and touch hearts in the room I felt a tangible weight come into MY room and wash over me, sweeping through my soul and senses and completely overtaking me. As John continued the presence grew and I slowly sank to the floor until I was lying down on the rug soaking up the wave after wave washing over me.

*pause* insert history.

I’m going to get very personal for the glory of the Lord, not the bearing of my soul in an unhealthy manner. There was a time in my early childhood that I do not remember seeing my father, this time may have not lasted for more than a few months, but it was long enough to mark me. He would leave for work before I woke, coming home after I fell asleep. I have been a light sleeper all of my life, and in the early hours of the morning I would wake as my daddy woke. Grabbing my blanket and doll I would climb out of bed and go to the bathroom where he was showering.

In my mind, the only way I would be able to see my father is if I could stay awake long enough for him to get out of the shower, and then I could spend time with him. But the room was warm and the day early, and no matter how hard I fought it each attempt would end with me sleeping on the bathroom rug.  Hours later my mom would find me there  and I would wake to her tears at my pain and desire to see my father. My little heart would be so angry that I couldn’t just stay awake.

I’ve never slept well. There are things that happen in the heart of a child that mark them forever, and nothing that man can do will remove those marks. Truthfully until two weeks ago I had never connected my years of inability to sleep to the pain related to a missing father.

But that morning, as I lay on the floor FEELING, the intensity of the Presence in the room and the joy in my heart as I was enveloped in it, deep inside I heard a voice say “I never leave you”. In that moment I saw 5 yr old me on the bathroom floor, remembering the longing in my heart for my Father, the fight within me to say awake, the pain each morning with my mothers tears, and was overcome by my childhood emotions; loneliness, longing, and failure. Again I heard the Lord say to that little girl heart “I never leave you” and stronger than the depth of pain inside of me I could FEEL, truly feel the limitless love of God for my little heart and I wept on the bathroom floor as John Arnott ministered to hundreds at the altar in the FSM auditorium.

This lasted for quite a while, tears soaking the rug as the presence of the Lord came over me, wave after wave after wave. At some point I got up, washed my face and went to work. Truly the day was awful, the pressure in my head was TEN times worse after crying, and I went about the day in fear that all could see the heart so exposed by the Lord in the morning.

By the end of the day I was raw,  brain frozen, and the headache was threatening to turn into a migraine, the first in two months. As the evening service began I sat upstairs working in the editing suites as the editors worked hard on projects for Onething, but my mind was threatening to shut down.

Making a comment about leaving for medicine, one of the guys turned around, asking if I’d been having migraines. (I was prayed for at a department meeting and had gone for TWO WHOLE MONTHS without a SINGLE migraine!) I told him no, but that I was still waking with a headache each morning, then surprised myself by going further and telling them that waking came with pain, frustration and anger – never joy or peace, and that this had gone on for a long, long time. AND went on to tell them that my sinuses were beating me on the inside causing me to hardly breathe or think, thus my need for medicine.

With furrowed brow he asked “Well can we pray for you?”. It had been a long day. My emotions were sapped, patience gone, and I was tired. My response of  “sure, if you want to” was birthed out of these emotions, but he  quickly tho gently replied “Oh, so you don’t think you will be healed if we pray for you then?”

An arrow shot over the walls around my soul, and under the door i keep locked tightly sticking deep into my heart with a “twump!”. No really, it hit hard and hurt, leaving my heart crying out “NO! I WANT to still believe Lord!”  Keeping tears inside I threw out my hands and said “oh guys please pray for me right now!”

And they did 🙂 Simple heartfelt prayers for my healing, asking the Lord to restore my frame completely and to give me deep sleep. “No more headaches God, and let Christina wake up each morning with joy.” There was no dramatic rush of air through my body, the pressure did not break and instantly lift off of me, but the headache eased a little bit, and my heart was tender as they finished. I went into the meeting, waiting to see if the Lord would touch me but left a short time later to get medicine.

Sitting in the parking lot upon my return, I lay my head on the steering wheel whispering a plea for immediate healing, for sleep. And for no more headaches though I had no hope, no imagination of mornings without pounding pain ushering me into consciousness. And right there in the cold car it happened again. The intensity of memories can steal my breath at times and this was one of those moments. Just like that morning I saw myself, tiny little 5-year-old me lying on the floor of the bathroom with warm moist air lulling me to sleep as I fought to keep my eyes open, desperate just to be with my father and know that he loved me. That was when I realized the “sleep thing” was a “dad thing”. I’m surprised at how tears can come when we think there is no place left inside for them to hide. But there is no shame in tears before our Father, and again I heard Him say to my pained little heart “Christina I never leave you” and I sat in the car as the love that knows no bounds soothed my weary soul, knowing that He was restoring and will restore my heart and soul. The meds kicked in, I went inside, the meeting was good, I went home, ate food, and went to bed later than I should have, as usual.

Something slowly woke me, my bed was moving? But with a pattern. Oh my phone? No my alarm on my phone but I could hardly stir myself to find it and turn it off. Sitting in bed shaking my head to try to bring clarity to what was happening, light spilling through lace curtains, eyes trying to ward it off. Light? Oh my alarm, it’s morning. I had slept. REAL hard. All night long. Wait, Jessica Kenny & Jesse prayed for me that I would sleep. And? For no headache when I woke up. Wait does my head hurt?

Oh yeah, I’m a cryer. Head in my hands, tears trickling through. Last night I SLEPT, and I have no headache.

This has gone on for weeks. Each morning waking to a heart that is full of rest, joy flowing through my being as I realize another day has begun, and I am not in pain. They have prayed for me a number of times since, asking the Lord to seal it, and thanking Him for freedom. The fun thing is that I never told them about my dad and hating sleep. They just care about me and wanted me to rest.

It’s strange living in a season of outpouring. Walking through our days with a strange awareness of our souls and the presence of the Lord near to our souls, showing us the broken places, and bringing to us His love. Each day is different, sometimes in painful ways but it is all bringing us to wholeness, and I’m FIGHTING with so much inside to take every single bit that would be given to me. And each morning, I awake with joy. And no pain. And thank my Father for never leaving me, and for His love that never ends.

Christmas Eve – 2009

So technically it’s Christmas day, but in my world it’s not tomorrow until I wake up 🙂

Currently I am sitting at the counter in Shawn & Angel Anton’s kitchen eating stale popcorn and drinking a coke with a creepy image of a bearded man on the can. I’m sure that I’ve eaten something else at some point today, I just can’t remember right now what it was. I am listening to the set that I sang earlier today, happy to have been able to sing this week, and laughing at the Media team.  Most of the crazy kids in the department love me, and love the chance to get me on camera. Today they celebrated this by an abundance of close up face shots. Thanks guys.

Outside it’s snowing, blizzard like actually, and we may get the most snow that I’ve seen in KC.

This year has not turned out in anyway that I had planned. In fact, most of my plans fell through in the last 12 months, but somehow I’m not discouraged. There have been quite a few disappointments, many situations I wished that I would not have found myself in, months lived day in and day out in pain, both physical and emotional, and somewhere in the middle of all of it I found myself living in the arms of my Father. Learning to breathe again, learning to laugh heartily, finding joy in the struggle and freedom in tears before the Lord of all creation.

And already my beginning plans for 2010 have fallen through, and it’s ok. After the Onething conference I have no job, and no paycheck, and it’s ok. In January my brother, the man who I have leaned on more than any other in my life will be moving with his bride to Virginia, and it’s ok. 2010 will probably see another wedding in the Styles family, and I’ll have to release my sister from being my closest companion.

Today we sang through Psalm 45, which is my twin favorite Psalm to 84. It reminds me that we are living for another age, another kingdom, a totally different King. Oh Lord, let us truly celebrate You on this day. All of Your ways in our lives are perfect Jesus, and we trust You.

“Life is a moment fading fast, but it will be remembered like a dream in the night. We will remember Love”

Hymn a day keeps the devil away

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us who wait before Thee
Near to the heart of God.

-Cleland B. McAfee

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God

Angry Dave

So my “tomorrow” blog on December 6th obvioulsy never happened. Today is December 19, 2009 and my heart is stirred by a noble theme.

I just got done reading a recent article on the Exodus Cry website. Exodus Cry is a ministry praying for the ending of the sex trade. Sounds pretty outrageous right? The ENDING of the sex trade, but the good news is that they are on the side of Jesus who happens to be coming back to end wickedness, and He cares a LOT about this issue (check out Revelation chapter 18). And for this reason they are undaunted in their vision and both pray and act with boldness and spiritual violence.

I know quite a few individuals working for Exodus Cry and this particular article was written by a leader on the Nightwatch here in the house of prayer. Here is the link, I’d encourage you to read it in entirety. I was stirred to tear filled prayer while reading, but it was the last paragraph that grabbed hold of my soul,

I asked Dave how we could pray for him and the Door of Hope, and here was his answer: “You can pray as if a terrorist had taken you captive and you’re his hostage.  There’s a difference when you pray, O God, please let Mary get an A on the test, or please help me pick the right flowers for the party, verses if a terrorist is threatening to blow you up.  Pray that way.”  In addition, he asked people to pray for more people– millions of people, even– to pray for the Door of Hope team, and for God to send good, solid workers.  Lastly, he wants to be a light to the nation of Israel and the world.

Oh that You would teach us how to pray this way Father.