down up

Something broke open today. It happened this afternoon, after the madness of registration for the Worship and Prayer academy I made my way to FSM. Walking towards the meal tent the usual sound of hundreds of teenagers was somewhat overpowered….. by music.

Fifty some the campers had guitars out, all across the lawn and under the tent, sprawled in different positions over chairs, on top of tables or on the ground, playing and singing with a crowd around them. At least that many were beating the nearest random object with drumsticks. It sounds chaotic when I try to describe but it was beautiful to walk thru, almost surreal, and my heart burst open.

Craziness continued, counselors with changes, campers losing their things, communicating schedule differences, fielding situations, running to cvs for MORE Dayquill for ANOTHER sick teen. Buzzing in and out of the service I tried to tune in for glimpses of worship and was provoked as every teen gathered as one at the front of the auditorium.

Landing in a seat I closed my eyes and determined not to move until I caught Him, until my eyes could settle on the unwavering gaze of my Lord. The two singers on stage were prophesying the heart of the Father and as my own heart burst open I was a little shocked at what brought tears rolling down my cheeks.

Sitting in the back, jaw clenched, eyes squeezed shut, hands wide open the thought that rolled through my mind and forced open the barricade inside was this “No matter what I find my hands doing for the rest of my life I will be happy if I can sing.”

I was made to praise Him. A lover can never cease to proclaim the goodness of their hearts desire in whatever means they can make their thoughts known.

Service ended and still I sat under the gentle weight of the presence of my Father. A hand touched my shoulder and electricity shot through my frame as my ears heard the voice of one of our counselors who hardly knows me. For ten + minutes he laughed over me, encouraging my soul with the word of the Lord, reminding my heart of things that only God knows with incredible detail as I sobbed till I couldn’t open my eyes.

Tonight I picked up my guitar and with the first strum I was right back in that heavy cloud of the presence of the Lord. It’s breathtaking, when that first ‘down up’ forces you through to the place that you never want to leave. In those moments the music of my soul overpowers the pain of the day, the words I’ve felt a loss for flood faster than I can write. These are the moments I ache to be able to record. Sometimes it feels like we wait for weeks. Tonight it was the first ‘C’.

I have a feeling about this camp. The last one convinced me of 2 things; 1) The Lord will use me in my weakness 2)There is a generation who will see the face of God. Day one of this camp and I am stirring up my soul to believe another: America will see her Prophets, apostles, priests, nazarites and revolutionaries.

There is a generation of young people who will be known as friends of Jesus. And we will see Revival.

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Stolen from Miah

“When life turns your heart the blackest coal.
When failure and heartache have smothered your goal.
He is vehement flame creating diamonds from old.
He is the purest Love restoring the darkest soul.”

These last two weeks, the first session of ATC this summer, I have felt a vehement flame burning, pushing and crushing my soul. I have felt pure Love restoring my heart. I was warned twice recently that there was a great measure of growth needed in my heart, and that the growing would come either over much time, or in a short time under extreme pressure.

The pressure, pain and tears of these last two weeks have me believing the later.  But there are diamonds forming somewhere, whether or not I see or believe, He always makes beauty from my ashes.

Father’s Day

far away from my Papa. It’s safe to say that I adore him, through his faults though they are numerous. Six years ago my dad had an encounter with God that changed him forever, and the man who I trust with all of my heart is no longer the man whom I knew through my childhood.

Childhood, am I finished with my childhood? I used to literally believe that there was nothing my daddy could not do. Now I am simply convinced of it. When anything goes wrong he is the first one who I call, and by anything I mean ‘try me’.  Painting, house maintenance, car problems, weird bugs in my lawn, migraines, emotional struggles, tension with friends, how to fix the air conditioner, boy issues, fights with my sister and major life decisions.

As early as 8 years old I can remember sitting across the table and telling him I was called by God to go to some random country and serve the local missionaries, and watched him honor the passion of my heart while still gently saying “I would be a bad father if I let you go.”

We had that conversation countless times over the years. The tension of his covering was painful at times, but not as painful as the day that I watched him let go. The youngest of four, I received a blessing from my parents when I moved. With tears and prayers my daddy kissed my forehead and committed me into the hands of the Lord, where he has left me. Through all of our conversations and hours of receiving his counsel I am always aware that he now speaks to me as one who has no control over my life, entrusting my ways to the Father who he is still learning to trust his own steps to.   I’ll admit there have been times I have longed to re-enter my father’s home and re-submit myself to his covering, but I have been released.

The days that singleness is not my joy are the days I feel the most connected to that very reality; the distance between the covering of my father and the covering I have made for myself. The truth is that I have yet to find a man who takes care of me the way that my Papa does.  Through the brokenness of our past, the treasure in our healing and the tenderness of our relationship I have learned lessons not easily earned or easily forgotten. I’ve found myself incapable of the  flippancy which my generation treats their hearts.

But that’s another topic. Today I’ve cherished my papa in my thoughts, wishing for the comfort and strength in his nearness and thankful for how the Lord pours out love on me through my daddy. Such a gift Lord, thank you for the love of my Father.

And at the same time I have spent countless hours in prayer for him to leave the past behind and to walk in the fullness of who the Lord made him to be.

Sleepy thoughts – ATC

2am, open the door step inside just to sit on the floor and take a deeeeeep breath. Purring cat climbs into my lap, it’s the first bit of attention he’s received all day and the normal ferociousness gives way to his need for affection. Yeah Kita, I know how you feel buddy.

I ran out of creme four days ago but haven’t made it to the store and I’m realizing my coffee-less mornings may be hazardous for the campers. Three nights this week I’ve stepped into the house just to drop on the couch where I end up falling asleep. At some point in the night I wake and make my way to bed but sleeping on the couch had pushed my shoulder out of place by this morning. Mid-afternoon found me swallowing two migraine pills and a large cup of coffee which only succeeded in making my heart race and only slightly dull the stabbing pain. 5pm found me in an old familiar tension of deciding whether or not to head home to more medication and a very early night in hopes of avoiding the emergency room, or pressing through with prayer and fighting to believe for deliverance.

The opportunity to sing with Zack Simms forced my decision. I spent the 45 minutes fighting waves of nausea and convincing myself to stay on the stage and not throw up. It never ceases to amaze me how much despair is tied to the migraines. Tonight, for the first time in a long, long time I found resolve in my heart. Refusing to go home I made my way to the balcony while hearing Tamara preach about being alive in Christ. My vision was blurry, my mind numb, and my body screaming but I laid on the floor letting the truth of the Word comfort my heart as I committed my body again to my friend Jesus.

Thoughts were scarce at this point, my awareness was dim and the ability to judge time was non-existent but somewhere near the end of the message the pain simply began to ease away. Trying to slowly sit up I heard a pop in my shoulder and in less than five minutes thoughts and awareness began to return. By the time I made it downstairs and backstage my heart was tender again and singing during the ministry time lifted my soul more than I have felt in weeks.

Some hours later I was still tender while sitting next to my sister in the prayer meeting, aching for her to experience the breakthrough she’s been asking for so faithfully. Looking up I saw a man in the ministry line who I have respected for many years, and just recently have heard he is going through a divorce. For whatever reason that was the drop that broke the dam and I found myself bawling on behalf of love grown cold, and the healing of his marriage. And that is how the rest of the night played out. After a week of countless conversations with counselors and campers alike something in me gave way under the emotions of their hearts that I’ve carried. We strive and push to make God speak to us and the silly thing is that if we’d just sit down we’d find that He never stops pouring Himself out.

Tonight was a paradox; the winning of a battle with a migraine, and the brokenness of heart. A miracle and sorrow swimming together in the same tiny fish bowl. The wonder and the mystery of both is found in this, that the majority of people alive on the earth do not know how to feel a single true emotion outside of themselves. I can’t help but believe that it is only the love of Christ renewing our souls that gives us the grace to cry for someone else’s pain and laugh for their joy.

A mother stopped me in the lobby this afternoon thanking me for serving her children and as she walked away I was surprised to find myself fighting tears. As a 23 yr old kid it is easy to forget WHY I am working my butt off to help put on this camp for the rest of the summer, but the deep gratitude in the eyes of a mother slapped me with the honor that it is to provide a place for hundreds of teenagers to come and encounter the heart of God.

Oh Lord help us to remember the privilege of waking up so tired each morning just to fall in bed exhausted. I used to pray all through the night believing that the youth would be volunteers in the day of Your power. Give us grace to call them to Your heart this summer. Keep us green & tender to Your ways, all day, each day, through every rebellious teenage moment and every break through that comes.

One week down

Tomorrow, well technically today, is Friday. We are almost one week down of ATC 2010 and I do not have words for the last six days.

This afternoon I had a flash of brilliance which lead to ambushing all of our camp counselors with water balloons. It was glorious, and the moment of screaming and laughter that we all needed to release the pent up emotions of the first crazy week of camp.

Leaving the Awakening six hours later I dropped in to see that lights out at the hotel went smoothly and was confronted with a barrage of situations: a room that had been pranked (thoroughly trashed), holding a tear stained 12 year old boy who had been picked on to the point of bawling in the arms of a stranger, the following conversation with that entire room of boys,  a door that would not be opened to a room that contained….. well let’s just say it contained important things for tomorrow including breakfast for the campers, and to top it off, a girls room with an overflowing toilet.

1.30am. Teen Girl Squad and I are plunging said toilet while two other campers are still shaking and laughing under the power of the Holy Spirit while in their sleeping bags. The toilet did stop flooding, we used a trashbag full of the hotel’s towels to dry the floor, not a single girl screamed and I laughed through the whole situation. 1.45am, on my hands and knee’s sanitizing the floor.  Glancing over my shoulder at the 3 sleepy faces watching, return to scrubbing floor with an “ok, someone tell me a story from when you were five years old.”

Between Zack earlier today, my wrath this evening followed by Josh’s disertation on the Gospel of the Man Christ Jesus who is coming to bring an end to oppression and asking the boys to consider their salvation – well I think that we won’t have anymore problems with that room of boys. After much intercession the door was opened. The toilet stopped overflowing and I left without fear of those girls stepping on their floor with bare feet.

2.41am and the load of peewater clothes is on it’s last cycle in the washing machine. Right about now I’m pretty bummed that I don’t have a dog to go for a run with. Right now. But Andrea Carr is singing about the Good Shepherd from my speakers, and a pillow is calling my name somewhere in this house.

We all made it through the day, alive, and I’m pretty sure we will tomorrow. The Lord of all creation is moving on the hearts of the 300+ teens who have come to our doorstep and He is using broken kids like me to speak to their thirsty souls. I may have started a war with the counselors that I will regrett, but I’m pretty sure it’s worth it. Tonight I missed Jeremy/Jenny and didn’t cry, I think for the first time.

All of these are victories.

“Like the flower needs the rain you know I need you, like the winter needs the spring you know I need you, like the tree’s and the branches need the wind I need you to blow through my soul.” And goodnight.

The Anchor Project

I am currently 80% done downloading a FREE CD from my favorite songwriter. Austin Roberts is many things; artist, dreamer, stranger on the earth, talented musician and singer as well as the oldest of 13 children, faithful servant of the Lord and an old friend of mine.

I used to listen to him sing while playing an old and very out of tune piano in the Intern cafeteria at IHOP. His spontaneous songwriting was well worth staying up late to listen to and the content would leave me thinking for days.  Years later I convinced my parents to bring their old piano to my living room and spend many evenings listening to him developing songs. Tonight he released the FREE downloadable version of his first album. I can’t say just how proud I am of him and how far he has come as an artist and a man of God.  Get it here!