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.

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.

Soul Breath

I believe that music is the product of our souls breathing. When my emotion is at a peak, words fail me and thoughts only come in melodies. The current song playing softly from my speakers is “Break every chain” by the United Pursuit Band. After listening to “Fill me up” on repeat I opted for a break.

This week, I’ve only truly spoken in music and tears.

To say the last 7 days have been hard would not do justice to any of the members of my little household. An already difficult monday was wrapping up with a pastoral meeting , I was the one BEING pastored this time, that is until Katrina called weeping. The hours of 1am-10am were spent in the emergency room…… again. Seriously I’m not pointing fingers but someone hates us.

Thursday I brought her home with a diagnosis of Endometriosis, her left fallopian tube was crazy enlarged and her left ovary had been stuck in a tunnel of tissue caused by the Endometriosis, creating a feeling she described as “being stabbed by knives from the inside of my stomach.” All this was discovered during a laparoscopic procedure which she is to take  5 days of rest to recover from.  It is sickly ironic. Today I found her literally bored to tears, and shook my head at the memory of literally one year ago crying in frustration at my post-surgery bed rest.

I’ve wept all week from the turmoil with Katrina, and because I’m tired of my heart being sick.  I am still desperate for a breakthrough, and the pain of it was multiplied this week at wounds of misunderstanding and painful responses from a trusted friend.

And Dani received word last night that her mom has breast cancer.

Whew. Long week in the Styles house.  After a long work day, lots of tears, and a long conversation with my East Coast brother, my tired feet found themselves standing outside the volleyball courts at FSM tonight, surrounded by sounds of dodge ball and teens chatting excitedly about receiving their acceptance into SMI this summer…… and I didn’t know who HALF of these kids were.

Tonight was a foretaste of every Saturday night for the rest of the summer. Next week at least 300 teens are pooling into KC for Main Session One of ATC 2010. I have no idea what I’m in for.

But somehow tonight I found myself sprinting through the parking lot, driving to the Cataldo’s and jumping in their pool fully clothed, only to be back at FSM 15 minutes later. A 15 minute break was all we needed to see the night through.  That spontaneous drive across grandview to jump in a cold pool completely destroyed the residue hanging on me from the week.

The Lord knows just what I need for this summer, I have no reason to doubt He will give to me generously.He is going to provide for all of our needs according to each of our hearts. He is not surprised by the tension that we feel, by the rising water levels around us, by that which grabs us by the ankles and pulls us under. And He knows just what to do.

For me, this week, it was to jump into a pool with one of my best friends, only to drive back and finish out Late Night. Aaaaand it was the hot dog I ate right after. I don’t know what I will need to get through next week, but I’m sure He’ll give that to me too. I think my favorite thing about Him is that He is my friend, the kind of friend who knows how I think, how I work, and just how to pour out love on my heart. And I never have to walk out any of these bad weeks alone. I love not being alone, and I love getting to sing a new song.

Fill me up God.

4 minutes

to write this post and be in the prayer room.

The soundtrack of this week is Redemption Song by Jars of Clay

Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh, I need thee I need the I need the every hour.

This morning I drove my sister and her boyfriend do the airport for them to fy to Wyoming for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Holiday’s without family members are lousy, and I don’t like the idea of spending a single one with all of my family not with me. Thanksgiving 4 years ago Katrina was in Arizona and we took family photo’s, leaving a space to photoshop her in. That never happened and seeing the picture with the empty space always leaves a rock in my stomach.

Today I sat in my first Meeting for Awakening Teen Camps this summer. I just want to say that I love the team! The youth of this nation have no idea what is about to explode out of Kansas City this summer. I am blessed to be counted in the ranks of such men and women of God.

4pm. I am off to the prayer room for the next 6 hours. Oh how we love You Jesus, and want You to return.