December Breezes

The month of December has become Synonymous for ‘Utter and Complete Change’ in my life and though we’re only eight days in, thus far 2012 has not proved to disappoint.

The Fredericksburg Prayer Furnace is in the middle of a SOZO conference right now, hosting John & Carol Arnott of the Toronto Airport Church, Don Potter, and Corey Russel as the main speakers, and it has been really, really good. Yesterday I lay on the floor under a presence as thick and heavy as a down blanket, and rose feeling as though I’d had a deep, long nap. Today I was torn up one side and down the other…but in a good way? Sentences like that leave me feeling as though Christians have the hardest time explaining themselves….and it’s true! This afternoon Don Potter candidly spoke of his life’s story. I sat in the front row, alternating between tears & laughter as the message seemed so directly for me in this season of my life, that I couldn’t help but respond with wonder.

Part of the tenderness in my heart may have had to do with the conversation I had directly before Don’s message. This December’s upcoming changes have brought about a considerable amount of reminiscing and contemplating of the last four years of my life. Specifically the last four, because 2008 (the year that I worked for TheCall) so dramatically set the stage for the following three, leading up to today. I had heard that a young lady who is a part of FPF had given her life to the Lord at the 2008 CallDC prayer gathering. Today I was able to tell her that I had worked behind the scene’s for that event, and grab a few minutes with her to hear the story.

She told me of the hard situations of that time of life which had cultivated such a desperation to escape that she leaped when her sister invited her to attend the PreCall conference & TheCall event. What got me was her moment of conversion, which came about during the LIFE siege  She said that she put the tape on her mouth and in the silence she began to think a whirlwind of thoughts – of how pained she was to have never known of the horror’s of abortion, how angry she was that no one had ever told her, and how she felt as though she’d wasted so much of her life on worthless things. By this time of the story tears were streaming down both of our faces and she choked out with a sob, “I just fell to my knees on the grass and I knew that I never wanted to waste another day, I wanted to give my life to Jesus and to the things that really matter.”

Over three years later she is an integral part of the the daily operations of the ministry that I serve with, the Fredericksburg Prayer Furnace. We cried on each other’s shoulders, both feeling such immense gratitude to the Lord for His hand on her life, and outwardly I marveled that He knew who she would be, what He would use her for in the future, how much she would be needed by FPF now, even on that day that He called her name and saved her. She pulled back, looked me in the face nodding, and said “and wisdom is justified by her children” motioning to me, and then to herself, finishing with a tearful “Thank You.”

The Lord is so kind to give us glimpses of the big picture, and I wonder if that’s a tiny taste of the joy of Heaven, when we finally see with clarity ALL that He was doing around and in and through us. I think we’ll find it to be so much more than we could ever ask for, or ever imagine.

Following that emotional interaction came Don’s message of absolute surrender to the will of the Lord. It’s no wonder my ears could hear it after such an introduction. Once brought back into the recording studio he struggled to play simple songs, walked out and heard an incredible recording that He amazingly admitted could not have been himself playing. At that admission the Lord responded “Don, your life as a musician is mediocre at best, but with Me, you are exceptional”.

With Him, YOU are exceptional. Doesn’t that give you the incentive to grab hold of the King and not let go?

And I through tear brimmed eyes I marveled. My life? Mediocre. Mediocre, at best! Oh but He makes the story exceptional. He does more than I see, more than I think, more than I DREAM. So much more than I know. And as cold winds blow transition right back into my life, I receive it with hands wide open to His will. Oh Lord, You do exceptional things with handfuls of dust.

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Sarah’s story

I was sent an email today from Sarah Mae, sharing her story. It is easy to read and painfully similar to so…so… so many stories that I hear daily. But Sarah’s story also includes healing and forgiveness found through Christ. Here’s a snapshot;

The three months I was pregnant when I was 16 were probably the three hardest months of my life. I was very sick, I felt very alone, and I was being torn in directions I wasn’t prepared for. Everyone had a solution to my “problem,” but no one wanted to hear mine. I wanted to keep the baby…at first. I figured I could get married and start a family. After talking with others and them telling me how I would miss such important things if I had a baby, like prom, I thought it would be better if I gave the baby to someone who couldn’t have children. Nope, people didn’t like that idea either. During this time, my mom totally checked out of the situation. She almost became numb to the whole thing. She had her own demons to deal with and couldn’t handle mine. My dad, a wonderful father, had decided that abortion probably was the better choice. I don’t think he really believed that, but he had pressures of his own. One person in my life even wanted the baby for themselves, but I couldn’t bear that person raising my child. Did I mention that my grandmother, who I thought was my “best friend,” stopped talking to me during this time? She wouldn’t even look at me. The final straw was when my other grandmother came to visit me. She convinced me that having an abortion really would be the best decision. She spoke to me so kindly and she showed me love. I was desperate for any signs that I was lovable at that point, so I agreed right then and there to have an abortion.

You can read the rest of Sarah’s story by clicking here. Be sure and share your thoughts and thank her for speaking publicly on the healing found in Christ for those who have had an abortion.

Snapshots

8 days ago I dreamed about the martyrdom of the saints on the streets of San Fransisco. Mark that on the top 3 Scariest Dreams I’ve ever had, all of which have occurred in the last 6 months.

6 days ago I realized that my desire to go back to the Nightwatch is based mostly on missing the deep community experienced with the people. My Next realization:I may never switch back to Nights, and still need intentional community.

5 days ago I talked with my best friend for over an hour. The first phone call since she left for India. God dropped a bomb in my life out of her mouth about my calling to intercession on behalf of the unborn and the current spiritual warfare in my life.  It was the single most encouraging thing to happen in months. Thanks Soph, I really miss you.

4 days ago the stitches from my surgery were removed and I was given permission to begin putting weight on my foot. The first day was rather discouraging.

All week my friends have kept me laughing due to madness on Facebook surrounding one ridiculous caffeinated beverage. Realization: You people are amazing, I am so honored to know and run with you. Thank you for loving me.

3 days ago was the birthday of a dear friend: E.Money you are such a blessing and a joy.

The soundtracks to this week have included Jon Foreman, Sarah Groves, Norah Jones, Phil Whickham, Dennis Jernigan, The Cross Movement & Brad Paisley. Yup, it’s been an interesting week.

Today I left the crutches at home. A friend commented to another friend that they told the wrong girl to let the pain guide her in recovery 😀 For the first time I drive better than I walk, but I know the limp is another part of the journey of humility that God is faithfully walking me down.

This evening I ate ice cream twice in an hour and sat in a cafe reading and speaking of the Savior with Jessica Orr. She is my blessing of the summer.

Tonight my brother and sister in law went on a date with my parents(WEIRD). Later while sitting outside with toes buried in the dew laden lawn, surrounded by a cloud of smoke from the sparklers that burned in my palm I watched him stop to kiss her forehead while carrying a load of boxes in his arms, and my heart rejoiced for them.

Thank You for this life, for each breathe that You give to us, for making us more like Your Son, for not leaving us to make it on our own. Thank You for the hope  that burns bright in our souls that You are coming soon.

Holding Stars
Holding Stars

When you no longer own your heart

Over the past few days the Lord has been reminding me of the burdens that He has given to me, one after another they have come, reminder’s of places and people that have stolen my heart, that I have contended for in prayer, that I have given my life for;

The ending of abortion, the  deliverance and salvation of a generation lost in darkness, the raising up of children who are friends of God, the freedom of millions 0f women and  children in forced prostitution, the forgotten orphans of Romania, the hopeless of California, and the salvation of my loved ones.

The emotions and memories attached to each burden have come washing over me, one at a time and my heart has wept to join with the weeping of the broken hearted Savior, the One who see’s all things, and hears all things, and FEELS, so intensely, about all things.

And I think that to truly be His friend, I have to give up my own heart. To stop focusing on the things that once drew me away and captivated my attention, to give myself to the Love of God, and lay down my thoughts and loves in a different manner than I have ever considered. I have been dramatic in seasons of longing to give my heart to Him more: literally burning posessions, anything that represented the love of this world and all that is fading away in the desire to love Him.

To be honest, I’ve burned my bridges more than once. And though there is something to be said for “cutting off your hand that you may not sin” I think it’s more internal than that. Are we willing to give our emotions to Him, to feel what He feels for the things that burden His heart? I’ve heard of a man who at times has heard the “silent screams” of aborted children and spends hours weeping under the wheight of it and crying out for God to bring an end to abortion. It makes me think of Jeremiah lamenting and weeping for the lost of Jerusalem who would die in the calamity that had not yet happened, and in his groanings cried out “Oh that my head were a fountain of tears! That my eyes would RUN with water!”

Am I willing to be that kind of a friend to the Son of Man?

I am beginning to think that He takes our prayers seriously. In those moments when the song is just right, the musicians seeming to play the strings of our hearts, and we whisper those sweet words of love like “Here I am Lord, send me” or (let the IHOPer understand) “Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it, I give it all to You”.

What if He began to answer those prayers? What if He began to take our hearts, and piece by piece, give back to us parts of His own? I think I would love more, that’s for sure.  I can imagine that I would have more patience, that the momentary would have less importance, and the individual would have more, that I would be quick to speak of my Savior in public, would be quick to repent, quick to listen, quick to pray, quick to give, and slow to keep.  I can imagine that I would spend less time considering my heart, my desires, my thoughts; my heart would no longer be my own to consider.

Increasingly over the last week, when my eyes are closed I see the fronts of abortion clinics where we have stood and prayed, I see the people of Mexico & El  Salvador, the school children of Ireland, the orphans of Romania, the streets of San Diego, the youth of the inner city, the faces of the ones who I love, the houses in Omaha, the fields of Iowa.

How have I come to the place where my eyes no longer flood with tears when I consider these things? How many steps have I taken that led me away from the place of waiting with my Savior? I don’t know, but I want to go back, I think He’s leading me back. I want to come to the place where my heart is no longer my own, and I want to stay there.

Random Friday

Foot surgery was postponed….again. Much as I hate the thought of surgery and recovery, my feet hurt. Migraines have been bad the last 2 weeks as the weather keeps shifting dramatically, and I’ve realized I’m like an arthritic old woman whose pain is dramatically influenced by the weather, which is weird.

I have been SO excited to start my garden, and the only thing that has held back starting my seeds has been time. Now I’m glad because we have 8 INCHES OF SNOW in the forecast for this weekend! My peach tree is arrayed in the glory of full bloom, and this snow will kill all chances of fruit this year 😦

One of my supporters desperately needs to sell a house for nothing short of 2.2 million. All prayer appreciated.

Um….what else what else? I’m dreaming again, 2 serious dreams last week about the danger of holding onto seemingly small compromise, and the answer of throwing ourselves open handed into the mercy of God. It’s set my spirit trembling.

I’ve just borrowed a book about astronomy*(Thanks Jess) prophesying the gospel and I can’t WAIT to dig in!

Compassion International is on a campaign against the Global Food Crisis and for $13 you can feed a starving child for a month

I’ve rediscovered my love for Art Katz books, some of which can be downloaded for free.

Zack and Carrie Hensley are having a girl!! Z is an old friend from my first day’s on the Nightwatch here in Kansas City, and an excellent writer, if you don’t read his blog, you should 🙂

After deleting my facebook account I have enjoyed getting news about my friends from their lips….not the Internet. I don’t miss it at all.

Petitioning the courts of Heaven
Petitioning the courts of Heaven

We’ve been burdened with the court case this week concerning Dr.George Tiller. I would have LOVED to be a part of the Silent Siege held outside of his Kansas abortion clinic this, but have been diligent to pray from my office and bedroom instead. I’ve just heard from Matt Lockett, leader of the ministry Bound4Life that “Most infamous late-term abortion provider found NOT GUILTY.”

God have mercy on America.

Volition: A Long & Controverisal Post

The  Volition film is about 10 minutes long but WELL worth the time .

This video has stirred up  my heart to burn about abortion, reminding me of my own history related to it:

It was a cold snowy day in the middle of winter. I could not have been older than 4 or 5, and the snow outside of the car was deep. Mom had just parked downtown near a large brick building. Car doors opened and my three siblings were climbing out, but I remember plopping straight into a snow drift. The four of us were layered up like mummies against the cold, (I’m talking joints that could not bend bundled!) and as I climbed out of the snow onto the sidewalk I remember asking what we were doing there.

Mom had been walking around the front of the car to the sidewalk, and at my question came and stood in front of me. Getting down on her knees in the snow and taking my tiny hands in hers,  she looked long, and deep into my eyes. “We are here to pray. Because mommy’s are going inside of that building to kill their babies, some of them don’t know that they have babies, and some of them don’t even know that the babies are dying. So we are going to pray that God would show them, and that God would save the babies.”

Abortion was never an issue that I was innocent about. For years of our lives, every Friday morning was spent outside of that clinic holding silent prayer meetings for the mercy of God, the salvation of souls, and the lives of the innocent. Oh the stories I could tell about the things that happened to us while making intercession on that sidewalk. The Lord taught us to be tender, to hear His heart, to love with Him, to grieve with Him. For years we stood whispering that prayer “oh God, would You save the babies”.

Flash forward to a beautiful,  summer morning. I was 18 standing with one close friend, forming a wall of prayer stronger than the walls of stone. This particular clinic only performed abortions during certain hours on certain days, and we had one hour of that time frame left to pray and were determined to not leave the building without an intercessor, when a car pulled into the lot driven by a young boy.

By young I mean 16-17, and in the passenger seat was a middle aged woman so closely resembling him she could only be his mother. She got out of the car and approached the front of the building never once glancing our way. We were less than 15 feet from him, and though we did not cry out, held no signs, and carried no malice, he was nervous at our presence. It was becoming a hot day and he waited in the car with the windows down as we stood and prayed. I could feel something happening, remember the air seemed charged with electricity and the question posed in my mind “what are You doing Jesus?” while at the same time noticing the security guard step inside the building.

Instantly I felt the spirit of God well up inside, filling me with boldness. For what? I had no idea, but knew I had to speak.

“Hey, Could…could you come here? I want to talk to you”

There was indecision on his face, questions I couldn’t identify, but he opened the car door and stepped across the parking lot, crossing the grassy line that had restrained us for years and onto our sidewalk. Legally as a “protester” we are not allowed to leave the public property, aka, sidewalk, and one foot on that lawn would have sent the security guard into a frenzy and brought the police. Once he was in front of me I had no idea where to start, how to begin, what was happening, but felt the intensity of a divine situation.

“What are you doing here, was that your mom who went inside?”

“Oh, yeah. She said she had a doctor’s appointment”

I’d noticed the tags of the car were from some obscure county out in the country.

“A doctor’s appointment? This is a long way to come for a doctor’s appointment”

“Well yeah, but…she said there was some specialist at this woman’s clinic and she had to come this morning. She doesn’t have a license so I had to drive her”

And that was how it began. I asked questions, and the Lord gave grace for this young man to begin to tell me about his life. Parents divorced some years before, mother had sunk into alcoholism and lost custody of both her children. She lived in a town near them but they seldom saw her due to her lifestyle.  And here he was, roughly 17, driving his mother about 2 hours for a “doctor’s appointment”. Where do I go from here? My heart broke inside as I spoke the words as tenderly as I could,

“This is an abortion clinic. Your mom is here having an abortion”

And what else can I say? How can I convey the emotions that were churning inside of me, and the burst of confusion swirling across his face.  He was insistent “No, she’s here to see a doctor. No, my parents are divorced” but the look on his face showed clearly that he knew. The next few minutes are hardly believable as we talked about abortion and the heart of God. He was not a believer, had hardly stepped foot in a church, but knew that he believed that killing a child in the womb was wrong and asked what he could do to get her to talk to me. Even as we stood talking I could feel the importance of the minutes ticking by and I explained to him that I could not step across the sidewalk, that I could never get inside of the building.

“But you can go in”

Again, raw emotions racing across his face, as I told him which door to use, what to say to the receptionist. How did I know? I didn’t, but Jesus told His disciples to not worry what to say, that Holy Spirit would speak through them, and all I know is that on that day, He did.

“They will take you into a room and she will be in a hospital gown, tell her that you know what’s going on, and that there are people outside who will adopt the baby, who will pay for every bill. And we will stay out here until you get back”

Crazy move? Maybe, I mean I was single and 18, the friend with me 17, but we were desperate, and there was a tiny person, who desperately needed for someone to do something crazy. He looked terrified, and we prayed for him to have boldness. Then he crossed that lawn and went inside. We both hit our knees on that old sidewalk, sobbing and crying out for the Lord to save this one, this one little baby. Some time passed and he came back outside in somewhat of an emotionless state of shock saying, “it was just like you said, it happened just like you said.”

I wish I could tell you that his mother relented, that we saved a life on that day. But she didn’t. We spoke with him for sometime introducing him to Jesus, the God/Man who is King and longing for friends. Who loves to reveal Himself to the sons of men, and the power of the words backed up by what he himself had experienced that day convinced him and a soul was brought into the kingdom. It was noon, and we left.

Every time I stand in front of an abortion clinic with red tape on my mouths, and a red band on my wrist, petitioning the courts of Heaven on behalf of life in the womb, and for mercy on this nation, I see that little clinic, and remember the life that was almost saved.  Revival only comes after great sacrifice, not of violent actions or political overthrow, but of men and women willing to lay down their lives in the secret place of prayer and fasting. It’s that simple, and that difficult. To die to our flesh and our worldly desires that souls might be saved, that lives might be saved. Oh that You would find faith on the earth at Your return Jesus, oh that You would find a friend in my heart.

“Jesus, I plead Your blood over my sins and the sins of my nation. God end abortion, and send revival to America”