Dreaming of Home

I woke up yesterday with a migraine.

And I ended yesterday with a migraine.

During a late night trip to walmart with Jenny I could feel the pressure rising & my vision blurring and decided to call it a day. A few minutes later I was in the kitchen grabbing Excedrin which I chugged with some coconut water for the elctrolites & promptly jumped in a steaming shower. This is my only migraine back up plan, and it didn’t work. 60 minutes later & like so many nights, I’m curled up in the dark wishing my mom were here to bring me an ice pack. I’ll get married some day if for nothing else than to have SOMEONE to bring me an icepack!

Half an hour later, I woke up. WIIIIIIDE awake from the caffeine in the Excedrin. Back up plan fail. After many attempts at sleep I decided to get up and…… do some accounting. *Sigh* I guess that’s the downside to sharing a basement with the office. Somewhere in the middle of that I found myself daydreaming about the Arabian’s we had when I was a teenager. Sassy died five years ago. I drove home to be with my parents for a few days who they said that losing the horse was the worst thing they’d ever gone through. Soon after that they gave Cressy to a BoyScout camp & I never saw him again.

That is until he popped up in my dreams this week. It was one of the nights that pain kept me awake until after 4, and somewhere before the alarm went off at 9 I found myself in Iowa, surrounded by rolling hills of rich, black soil, in the riding arena with the giant mulberry tree in the middle, and he and I went round and round in circles until his strong will finally caved & he would let me take him through rounds. It was a sunny spring day, the kind of perfect weather that bathe’s Iowa in glory all through the Spring, and in the dream my grandfather Carroll was sitting strong & straight on the top rail of the fence. With no oxygen tank & that beautiful smile spread across his face as he watched me determinedly fight the proud Arabian spirit. It’s amazing what dreams can do, the effect that they have. I woke exhausted, again, and breathless from the heart-pain.

Some hours later I stole away to the old horse farm where Jen & Jeremy live. Pain still racked my body as I walked through the forest and empty riding rings before settling in the top of the empty barn, aching for relief & aching for home. Home. Where the heart is, where loved ones are, where rest resides. But my heart is split, torn into so many pieces with those who I love, and peoples that I pray for all over the earth. Those whom I love live so far away from each other, and rest always seems to stay just out of my reach. And as I sat up in that window I ached for the home that never changes, where loved ones never die, where love always reigns victorious. Home.

We’re only at home where You are Jesus.

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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.

a few thoughts

Today I was to go on an adventure with some friends, but woke with a pounding migraine which thoroughly canceled our plans.  The day was salvaged though, my friend Danika decided to bring an adventure to me. This included a fall bouquet, soup, sugar cookies and icing, and pumpkins to carve.

Check out the Wild Things on the plate!
Check out the Wild Things on the plate!
We carved this ourselves, laughing the WHOLE time
We carved this ourselves, laughing the WHOLE time
This is the sound he's making. My mother was proud.....ish.
This is the sound he's making. My mother was proud.....ish.

Two years ago Kyle blogged about Dating at IHOP after a conversation that I was privileged to witness between him and another good friend. You should read it, here’s the link. Here’s the follow up too :).

I have quite the interesting fast starting when I wake up. One of the leaders on the missions base had a powerful dream about the Media department needing to go on a specific fast to cleanse our hearts and minds. So we’re doing it in a very focused way for the next 5 days, while also including a Media fast that ends on the 31st. I plan to continue blogging during this time to share what the Lord is doing. Pray for revelation, fresh love for God and encounter on us as we seek Him!

1.05 am, and I’m disjointed

I  have the strangest feeling about the next year; it’s as though I look at 2010 and I see a strangely blank page. A friend is desperately trying to pack me up to Tacoma Washington, I received a txt today from a friend talking about the house of prayer in Colorado which stated “you can drink coffee in the prayer room!” , and my friends at JHOP San Diego stand with open arms. My heart LONGS to sing again, and for reasons I can’t understand I can’t seem to get back on a worship team. Everyone whispers of the need for singers in the small houses of prayer around the nation, and the invitations are interesting me, for the first time in 4 years.

I’m on a journey of returning to the old things, the things that I knew when I first really loved God. When I stop to listen I hear a voice on the wind whispering “I remember you…..in the kindness of your youth…how you went after Me in the wilderness…” and I’m starting to run after Him, though we are still in the wilderness. And I think my soul is finding light again, finding I can smile again, finding I can laugh again, finding I can stand and raise my hands in worship again. When did I learn to sit and close my eyes all through worship, and why? Last Wednesday night I found myself dancing during the prayer meeting, for the first time in probably two years. Why did I teach my feet to stop dancing?

Truth be told, my foot hurt so bad the next day I was pretty sure I’d need to pull out the crutches. But I sat down at the table with a bag of ice, and turning on the webstream I went back to the same prayer meeting from the night before. After just a few minutes I found myself dancing in the living room, even through my pain.

I used to love Him wildly.

There are grave, and serious issues at hand in the nations, in the church, in the government of America, and in the homes of America. As the people of God our response is found simply in Joel 2 –  Turn to me with ALL of your heart; with Fasting, Weeping and Mourning. And the Lord is leading us into intercession with tears, the beginnings of travail on behalf of our nation. Pockets and groups EVERYWHERE are entering into 21 day and 40 day fasts, and I can not help but believe that we are about to see something great and mighty come though I don’t know how it will come, and which will come first.

I do know that I did not ever want to be Jesus’s business partner. From my earliest childhood I wanted only to love Him with all of my heart and to be His friend. Through Fasting, through tears, through singing all alone, through waking up with Him on my mind, through failing in all sorts of area’s in my life and CHOOSING to look to Him and finding love and acceptance, through small choices, through big choices I’m beginning to love Him with all of my heart again.

Do you ever sit awake at 1am and do nothing but think of Him?

Do you remember when you loved Him wildly?

Ps 84 – Found my home

Psalm 84 is always faithful to realign my thoughts and my heart with perspective on what I am doing and where I am going.

This morning was rough. My good friend Annie moved away, I woke to an awesome rainstorm and a terrible migraine, and when I checked my email looking for a response that I’ve been looking for for several weeks now, and still hadn’t received it, I was a little discouraged.

After getting ready for work, making some comida to take with me and losing about half of the things that I needed to have as I walked out the door my flesh began to rise up, MUCH louder than my spirit. As my irritation increased I suddenly stopped and realized that I didn’t want to go to work and the list of things that were waiting for me in that attitude. So laying everything down right by the door, I walked back to my room, shut the door, and picked up my bible and guitar.

Plopping down on the bed my bible literally FELL open to….Ps. 84. I strummed and strummed and began to sing the familiar passage. My home is in Your presence.

Peace washed over me as the Lord reminded me that all those things that matter so much during the day will probably not mean anything in a few weeks, but what will matter forever and what gives me strength to stand today, is that I have been adopted into the Family of God, and my home is where He is. No matter my confusion over my emotions or decisions, no matter who rejects and abandons me, no matter how many things  fall apart and which dreams disappear over the horizon, my hope is in a city where I will live, LIVE, REAL LIFE forever, and the Man who is the King of it all.

And all day long, as things went wrong and I STILL didn’t get on top of my to-do list, or the pile of things waiting on my desk OR the sticky notes calling for my attention OR my inbox OR the voice messages that are STILL blinking at me, I sang in my soul “My home is in Your presence”.

And I was glad that if I can say nothing else about my life, what I am accomplishing or conquering, or who thinks WHAT about me, I can sing to the Lord that I am a sparrow who has found a home, right up next to His alter. And THAT is some real identity, and it’s good enough for me.

What a sweet invitation

A little over a year ago in a particularly difficult season of increased migraines, I found myself lying down on the couch in our living room with all of the lights turned off, the blinds tightly shut & my eyes further barricaded by a massive ice pack. Drifting in & out of consciousness I fought tears. Crying builds the pressure in your head & makes you want to do anything to not feel anymore.

Wow, even as I type that it sounds SO dramatic but it is really true, there are times when the pain is so strong that you wish you could do ANYTHING to not feel, & you cry out for the mercy of the Lord just to sleep.

The air coming out of the vent on the wall would sporadically make the blinds rustle enough that one of them would silently slip out of place & the light from a street lamp would fall across my face, bringing me almost to the point of awareness. In these moments between sleeping & waking I gradually became aware of gentle music & a light chorus being sung. It was quite an odd feeling when I realized it was my own voice I was hearing, singing a chorus of

Pain, what a sweet invitation, what a sweet invitation to knowing You

We don’t like to talk about that part of God’s heart – the hurting part. But He makes all things beautiful & He finds us in all things – so if pain is an entrance into knowing Him more, then I will follow through that narrow door.