Night by William Blake

The sun descending in the West,

The evening star does shine;

The birds are silent in their nest,

And I must seek for mine.

 

The moon, like a flower

In heaven’s high bower,

With silent delight

Sits & smiles on the night.

 

Farewell, green fields & happy grove,

Where flocks have ta’en delight;

Where lambs have nibbled, silent move

The feet of angels bright:

Unseen, they pour blessing,

And joy without ceasing,

On each bud & blossom,

On each sleeping bosom.

 

They look in every thoughtless nest,

Where birds are covered warm;

They visit caves of every beast,

To keep them all from harm.

If they see any weeping

That should have been sleeping,

They pour sleep on their head,

And sit down by their bed.

 

When wolves & tigers howl for prey

They pitying stand & weep,

Seeking to drive their thirst away,

And keep them from the sheep.

But, if they rush dreadful,

The angels, most heedful,

Receive each mild spirit

New words to inherit.

 

And there the Lion’s ruddy eyes

Shall flow with tears of gold:

And pitying the tender cries,

And walking round the fold,

Saying: “Wrath by His meekness,

And by His health, sickness,

Are driven away

From our immortal day.

 

“And now beside thee, bleating lamb,

I can lie down & sleep.

Or think on Him who bore thy name,

Gaze after thee, & weep.

For, washed in life’s river,

My bright mane *for ever

Shall shine like the gold,

As I guard o’er the fold.”

 

*Forever. It’s my favorite word. Wrath by Your meekness sweet Jesus, & by Your health sickness is driven away.

Even so Lord, come.

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.

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.

Rustling Leaves

  • The Lord has been pouring out His Spirit on the students of IHOPU, and the IHOP-KC family in a POWERFUL way for 7 days now. My heart alternately cry’s and marvels at the testimonies of dramatic deliverance happening in the hearts of men and women and the healings that are occurring literally every day. Many are being baptized and we are beginning to see salvation coming due to these funny (literally – uproarious laughter funny) meetings happening each night. If you have not heard of what is going on, that’s ok! You can watch from 6-midnight each night if you click here.
  • Every night after 6 hours of ministering to those responding to the different alter calls and alternately being ministered to, I find myself ravenously hungry. After a few nights of going out to eat with some friends we decided instead to take turns cooking providing the crew with 1)food 2)the ability to NOT waste cash at Buffalo Wild Wings 5x a week and 3) good old-fashioned, sitting round the table community. It’s been good for my soul. We eat and laugh and continue to talk about Jesus and fellowship together in His Spirit. There is nothing like the community of the brethren.
  • I am watching my friends come alive. No really, I am watching their hearts being completely healed, set free and set ablaze with life and the love of God and they are seriously like new beings. Surely we are living in days of watching the New Birth.
  • Due to all of this, I’m finding myself more tired, more thirsty and more hungry than usual. With 6 hours of ministry at the end of each day I have also found myself eating less, cleaning less, sleeping less and today I was “clean-clothes-less”. SO, I took tonight off, ran a BUNCH of errands, got groceries and other things that I needed, gave the dog a well over due bath and did my laundry. An old pastor of mine used to say “Sometimes the most spiritual thing that you can do is take a nap.”
  • For those experiencing this exciting “Awakening” here’s a few tips from Joanna: Drink lots of water, get lots of rest, and if your lower back hurts drink cranberry juice. She has a great post about this, and you can read it here.
  • This season has brought about a burst of community literally like none I’ve ever experienced in my life and I am very, very grateful for it. Why is this happen, and why now? I don’t really know, except that the timing of the Lord is perfect, and i began to notice dramatic changes after a time of deep digging, repentance and forgiveness towards those who have hurt me in the distant and not so distant past.
  • I’ve been volunteering on the weekends with Student Ministries, just showing up, praying and getting to know some of the kids. Most of you know I spent 4 years working for a large youth ministry and really love teenagers. BUUUUT, that was 5 years ago and I have had to have the Lord deal with real fear and pain in my heart to even think about stepping back into this game. I’m thankful that He is faithful to my heart and has done so much healing inside and in just the right time! The last few weeks have been much busier than my already packed normal schedule, but I’m thankful for it.
  • Onething planning has hit. I’m trying to stifle the anxiety of paperwork, schedules, purchase orders and SO.MANY.DETAILS. and am trying to remind myself to pray for the thousands who will come at the end of the year to receive from the Lord in our annual conference. And I have an added reason to look forward to Onething this year because…
  • I’m quitting my job, and Onething is the end of my year of serving for the Media Department here at IHOP-KC. I have truly loved serving the men and women who work so tirelessly for this missions base and the nations of the world as they broadcast through the webstream, but am ready to get out from behind a desk. This is a happy transition for me on several levels, one of them being…
  • I’m going to JHOP-DC in January. (insert hick accent) YUP I FINALLY FREAKING SAID IT ON THE INTERNET. My plan is to visit the House of Prayer in Washington DC for a time, strengthening their prayer room and laboring in long hours of prayer for revival in America. This may  not sound like a break after the last year, and it’s not. BUT the Lord has offered me a clean page for 2010 and I’m excited to write on it. (More on this later)
  • Tonight, I’m listening to the Redemption Songs by Jars of Clay and Dan Haseltine’s voice reminds me of my friend Tim Cone. You should visit his website or myspace and give him money so he can keep recording Jesus Music and give it away free.
  • FALL IS HERE AND IT IS CURRENTLY MY FAVORITE SEASON!! Egg Nog, Egg Nog Latte’s, Egg Nog Ice Cream, Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake, Pretty leaves, fires, sweatshirts and scarves, apple cider and hot tea and THANKSGIVING. Candles, Baking, Friends and Family *sigh*
  • My grandparents are driving from Texas to spend Thanksgiving in KC this year, since my brother and sister-in-law (Jeremy & Jen) are moving to Fredericksburg VA in January to serve the Prayer Furnace there.
  • The suddenly cold is causing my surgeried foot problems and I would appreciate your prayers. The limp is back strong, some mobility seems to be lost and pain that was gone has crept back in.
  • I’ve been so encouraged to have the word of God written on my heart due to my buddy Truman coming in 2nd in the Nation at this fall’s Bible Bee! Read about it here and be thoroughly convicted to know God 🙂
  • My friend Alyssa has shared hours of conversations regarding singleness and baaad ways to start relationships – living in a community whose dynamics resemble a small town yet focus’ on passion, intensity and not so much….friendship and normalcy causes….interesting things to happen. As for me, I am happy and will continue to encourage young people to not aimlessly date.
  • I am just link happy tonight! Click click click away!! Visit my friends blogs, read their cool stuff, and if you want to give them money because they are all missionaries and all hurting!! Bahahhahah!!
  • And with that, it’s 1.25 am, I just ate leftover Tomato Phillo Pizza that I baked for the after service crew the other night along with a glass of egg nog and I’m sleepy.

The End!

Twenty Two

For most of my life I have not liked to celebrate my birthday, but last summer I was SERIOUSLY looking forward to 22.

For one it was my Golden Birthday: 22 on the 22nd, and I praying that it would be a year of Isaiah 22.22,  ( Shawn Boltz has given a powerful prophecy related to Is.22.22 that may encourage many of your hearts.) Two, I had received several prophetic words that the next year was going to be a very important year for several reasons which had me pretty excited. And lastly, it’s just good to get through your twenties.

My birthday landed right in the middle of the 40 day fast leading up to TheCall DC. Katrina & I didn’t pause for celebration or feasting, instead choosing to press in on our fasting and prayers. My heart was FULL of expectancy of what God wanted to do at TheCall DC, TheCall California & in my life.

But right away, things did not go as planned 🙂 Both of TheCall’s were life-changing experiences, don’t get me wrong. But as I look back over this last year, the year I had so much excitement about in the natural & in my life in God, 22 may possibly have been the most confusing, painful & excruciatingly difficult year of my life. (Of course there is much detail wrapped up in that sentence that would be inappropriate to break open here) The funny thing is that as I think over the individual situations that come to mind when I say the last year has been “difficult”, I can identify God’s moving in each, &, every, one.

It’s amazing how He does that. How He truly teaches us through all things if we listen, how He leads us by the hand, though sometimes through muddy paths and on rocky cliffs. I honestly would not want to repeat most of what has happened in my life over the last year, yet I’m so so so grateful at the tenderness of Christ in the way that He carried me through. Jesus You are the kindest, most faithful man that I know.

Right now I could allow myself to step into a deeply emotional monologue regarding my year of “22” but Iiiiiiii’m just not going to. I can’t seem to blog romantically these days. Instead I will say that I have been listening to music lately, lots of different kinds of music. I have been spending much time alone, and also being intentional about building new friendships; reading books in the sunshine, staying up late, getting up late, exercising more & also eating more sugar. My nights have been spent outside on the porch rail watching the sky & talking to Jesus, writing,  eating ice cream with Nightwatch friends MUCH later than I should be awake, playing the guitar & burning sparklers.

I’m walking into a lot of closure related to the past year. It’s good and clean. And in a healthy way, I’m looking forward to 23, because it’s just good to get through your twenties, you know?

Today is the 22nd and my birthday is in a month. I have gleefully plugged my wish list, the tab to which you will find at the top of the page, on the social networking sites that I am unashamedly a part of. And maybe this year I’ll throw myself a party.

Probably not. But I’m glad to almost be 23.

The Beauty of Tenderness

It’s the blossom, just a breathe before bursting open, when you can almost peer inside and see the beauty about to unfold still in a state of delicacy, that could so easily be destroyed. And it’s the flower, arrayed in full bloom, displaying all of it’s glory. Upon second glance you see that it is day’s past it’s prime, and just a breath before collapsing, and in an instant, shedding it’s beauty in a shower of color.

That’s the beauty of Tenderness. It’s the delicacy, a heart that beats to emotion barely kept beneath the surface, a soul that feels sensitive as a bruise, eyes that well with tears if a glance is too kind, a touch to gentle, a word spoken to intentionally. It’s when the hand of God weighs heavy upon you , until you feel the deep breathing of your own soul. It’s when He breathes gently, stirring the waters that had grown still, so that the slightest memory of a dream or a passion, cause you to long with every fiber of your being to see it be fulfilled.

On January 7th, the Lord put me on crutches, and I was hit with a major sinus infection. The crutches intensify the problems in my neck causing consistent headaches, and I’ve been living on medication: a mandated season of weakness and depending on the strength of others, of long nights spent waiting, hoping, praying, crying out for healing, longing for a friend to sit beside me. Night after night have found me lying in the darkness, sleep stolen due to the combination of medications, or the questions in my soul. Proud, stubborn, tired of asking or simply determined to make it, I’ve fought to get through the days and to do as much as possible on my own. At times the Lord allows me, at times He doesn’t, and I feel His love the most in those time, when my weakness shines above my determination, and He delights in me when I can quite literally do nothing. There is a complete lack of understanding; simply a fighting with everything in me to cling to the One who has ALWAYS proven Himself faithful, and hold to His words of truth. Resisting having to ask for help, afraid to admit when I am afraid, hating to sit in the chair when I want to pace.

But He has not left me alone. Like never before I have felt the hand of Grace holding mine, drawing me in, filling my heart with joy when all of my muscles have ached and getting from my chair in the prayer room to the car seems to sap all of the strength left within me. And there have been friends, the few who have stepped up beside me, allowing for me to borrow their strength, and determined to see me through this time. Surprisingly most of those were not the comrades that I have known and run with the last few years, but new faces that the Lord has sent me, just for this time I think. Papa You have never let me down.

And my heart’s been breathing, stirring, whispering words that I clung to, dreams that I dreamt. Surly You are a good good Shepherd, and You know just how to lead me.

Lakeland Outpouring

Signing online today I was impressed to get on msn.comand read the news. Not so strangely an article caught my eye tittled “Revivlalist Claims Hundred’s of Healings”

It was a good article from a non-believing standpoint, but giving an unbiased report of what is being said. You can check it out at http://fieldnotes.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/05/29/1075189.aspx

After the article is a string of people’s comments ranging in disbelief, criticism, agnosticism, to hardy applause. One them I just had to share:

I laugh at the way God seems to be using a tatooed “weirdo” to bring healing to so many. Too long we have had “nice” looking preachers, but with not much happening in the miracle department (only with a few exceptions). I would rather have healing over hairdo’s, hope rather than hype. If the critics can show me their empty wheelchairs, x-rays and doctor’s reports of verified healings, then I will listen to what they have to say. Until then, give me that Harley riding, tatooed t-shirt and shorts wearing Canadian weirdo.

Dale Perry Oakhurst, Ca.

The people are hungry for a move of God on the earth, in America. Even so Lord come!