A missionary of LIFE.

The Lord urged me to take an extended social media break in the month leading up to my birthday.  It was a wonderful time off and I’m not dipping a toe back in.  The last month I felt clear headed, able to write just for fun and not likes, and found myself having more free time to ponder with God or really listen to my kids.  In this age we are all learning how to live in this technological world, one that we’re not quite made for and is fairly foreign to our DNA.

One evening last week I lit the lights on the deck and sat with the Lord in the fading sun.  He spoke so much as I sat and scrawled it across my notebook.  They are words I treasure, and ones that I will ponder and read over and over again until the content truly seeps into my bloodstream.

For much of this past year I have had this nagging in the back of my mind that I should be, should be, should be doing something more with my time or with social media or with ministry.  Super vague, and kind of maddening, right?  At the heart of it I thought I was making sure that I wasn’t “wasting” anything God gave me, but truly I think I was just longing for greener pastures, one that is a little more glamorous and exciting than my stay-at-home mom life.

On the patio God showed me that I have been looking for a ministry, but I’m already living a mission.  That my whole life is a mission, and my mission is LIFE.  If it looks like I dabble in a million different little projects it’s because that’s reflective of my LIFE with the Lord.  If my writing shifts and there’s more prophecy last year than now, or more photographs this month than last, it’s because life is fluid and balance is a lie.  At the heart of it, God has called me to live my faith and share my life.  It’s impossible to wrap a whole life up in a neat branded and beautiful package in which you can always be sure what you will get.

There’s parenting, homeschooling, running a school, relationships, photography, writing and so much more.  This space will always be a smattering of those things, and I’m sure will change as the years march ahead.

I’m not confident that I’m a missionary of this ONE wild and beautiful life I get to live with our Savior.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

Bread of Life

The big boys are coming back after 6 days away at camp.  For a homeschooling family that is a lot of time spent apart and I for one am really looking forward to having our family together again.  I’m bet the boys have missed me, but just to be sure they remembered how awesome their mama is, I made them a big feast the night before they left complete with fresh corn on the cob and lemonade.

I knew I wanted to stop for a picnic on the way home from camp because it’s a long drive and the littles will need a break.  We’re halfway through summer and I am weary of deli meat sandwiches already.  I’m glad we’ve had so many opportunities to eat outside, but there’s only so much salami and ham a lady can tolerate. I thought I would really knock it out of the ballpark and made some fried chicken to take along cold.

I love feeding my family.  It truly is one of my greatest joys, not because I feel like I HAVE to, but because it really find great satisfaction out of making good food and watching the kids eat it.  For many years when all the kids were younger they were too picky to try anything and it was frustrating and sad for this mama cook.   As the oldest two have aged their appetite has increased, and this past Thanksgiving it brought tears to my eyes to watch them gobble down everything with great satisfaction.  Finally some children who will eat more than just rolls on a holiday!

I imagine a big part of my kids remembrance of childhood will center around food.  We eat practically every meal together, and while we don’t’ always eat like kings we make it a habit to have a  lot of special events that center around food.  Whether it’s Christmas Eve festivus of junk food and appetizers, the Sunday afternoons assembling and frying eggrolls, or the ordinary weekdays in which there is a steaming loaf of sourdough waiting for lunch, quite a bit of our hours center around food.  We eat our fair share of chicken nuggets, frozen pizza and hot dogs to balance it all out (and because I’m no superwoman), but some of my favorite days are ones like today in which I get to make a gourmet picnic meal that I hope my kids will love (there’s a good chance they won’t, but at least Brad and I will feast!).

An air conditioned life

We finally completed (or nearly completed) the deck on the back of our house.  We put an addition on 4 years ago when my grandma came to live with us, and I’ve been anticipating this deck to be finished ever since.  I love being outdoors.  I love eating outside, checking on the gardens, and spending time with my children in the waning hours of day.

When we lived in the inner city of Columbus, I fondly recall late nights sitting with my love on our old broken porch.  We would sit in the dark dreaming about the future and spin the web for the life we are now living.

I’ve been reflecting on those nights and am surprised at how little time we’ve spent out on the deck after the kids are quieted in their beds.  Perhaps it’s because we’re older, or busier, or more tired, but it hit me that here we have air conditioning and there we did not.  When the heat was oppressive the porch was an escape, but now we have to leave climate controlled comfort to sit where the bug bites and summer heat smothers.

“Battle with unconditioned breath the unconditioned air. Shun electric wire. Communicate slowly. Live a three-dimensional life; stay away from screens.”
                                                                                                     -Wendell Berry

It makes me want to turn the A/C off and throw the windows open more often.  Grab the box fans and sweat through the summer weeks that seem so short once the dull days of winter are upon us.

We’ve never taken our kids tent camping and were recently talking with our boys who are interested in going.  Our oldest was talking about feeling uncomfortable in the heat of the day and the cool of the night if we were in a tent (he was trying to convince us to get a camper) and Brad said, “But that’s the benefit to tent camping.  You get to feel all the things and connect with nature in a way you never could if you weren’t forced to be out in it.”

I’m happy to have the luxury of central air here.  I am absolutely less grumpy during those dog days of summer, but there’s something that we miss when we jump from climate controlled space to climate controlled space.  The earth is here for us to experience, and I for one will be throwing the windows open more often to feel what the wind will bring my way.

Rose colored glasses

A rose hue enveloped the world as the sun set last night.  I grabbed a cup of watermelon kombucha and felt the Lord beckon me out to the newly finished deck.  Admiring the sunset I heard Him say, “I am your rose colored glasses”

Just as the world looked gorgeous with a magenta tint, despite the weeds and toys, so will life in the natural look once we put on our God glasses.  Yes, it’s cheesy.  Yes, it’s true.

I came inside to make a couple of eggs, and as I began heating the cast iron, I looked out and noticed the sky was an even more blazing shade of pink.  I knew I had to capture this so I ran outside with my camera, but every picture I took just looked normal, with no pinkish tint whatsoever.  Photography is great but our eyes are greater.  Occasionally not even the best of cameras can capture God’s great beauty.

The Lord nudged me to say that looking at things from a normal and worldy perspective will not show what He is doing.  We actually have to be looking at things through those rose colored God glasses in order to see the beauty.

No amount of trying to be successful in the world will ever look good compared to what God has for us.  His beauty is never ending and incomprehensible.  That’s the life we’re guaranteed with Him.

The sky last night reminded me of this moment with my oldest two in 2015.

A week in June

There were few obligations this week and the weather was nearly perfect.  The kids spent many hours running in the yard, we swam with friends, and Brad finished a great deal of the deck.

I wish all summer weeks were like this.  Plenty of time and space just to be home and explore life together, but summer is quick and fast and there are a lot of fun things to cram in.  We have a lot coming up, and it will be amazing, but I am treasuring the sweet moments spent in a week with little scheduling.

Measure upon measure

The Lord stressed the important of this message He spoke to me this morning.
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Measure upon measure I pour out upon my people and they do not accept- do not give me praise. I grow weary of blessing those that think they are blessing themselves.

Glad tidings will resound in the tents of the righteous- with those that give me praise and thanks for all of the blessings. When good things happen it is me, says the Lord. Not masks or mandates, but me! When will my people remember me? When will they forget the ways of this world and turn back to me in obedience? Obedience is easy, children. The wrong path is a burden. Holiness is a gift.

 

The Power of Words

Written in March 2020

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The other night I could not sleep and felt panic gripping my body so I turned on some worship music. The clock on the stove read 3:13 and I heard the Lord whisper Romans 3:13.

“Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”

“Well…that’s heavy,” I thought.

As I pressed in I realized that He was leading me to pray for the blood of Jesus to cover the careless words that we as a nation speak.

I prayed over our world and our country, that God would heal our tongues and that His people would turn back to Him.

The power of the tongue can be measured in life or in death. Just think about the stark difference in the words of Hitler and Mother Theresa.

The book of Proverbs is overflowing with verses that touch on the power of words:
Proverbs 11:9 “Evil words destroy one’s friends; wise discernment rescues the godly.”
Proverbs 11:12 “It is foolish to belittle a neighbor; a person with good sense remains silent.”
Proverbs 20:15 “Wise speech is rarer and more valuable than gold and rubies.”

There are times as a mom that I find myself speaking always/never statements out of frustration. Things like “You always fight with your brother” or “You never pick up after yourself.” I know from my own experience that these sorts of spoken sentiments can become part of an identity, and not a God given identity. Just because they squabble with their siblings does not make them a fighter, nor does leaving trash on the floor make them a dirty person.

In this hour I feel God is saying that we have become loose with our lips, believing that with “anonymity” our words do not matter. But He has seen the overflow of hearts and it grieves Him. It grieves him to see the untruths spoken carelessly on social media, the snide comments to friends and family, and the twisting of words through the news media to terrify and frighten.

The Lord impressed upon me that the world can change when the message of hope is louder than that of doom. People are hungry for truth in a world filled with lies. “Who can we trust?!” they cry.

When you speak, type, or share something you empower those words. It is not passive.

The most important command God gives us is not to be right, it’s to love. Everything we say or write must be filtered through a lens of love. We have to care more about our audience than we care about being right.

Love conquers and covers all. Love always wins. Everything else will fall away, but love never fails.

So today, in the midst of everything happening in our world, let us choose words that offer hope, love and peace.

Prophetic word: In the trees

A couple of months ago, on Holy Saturday, I was overwhelmed with this message from the Lord: the next move of God is in the trees.   I furiously wrote as He graciously downloaded.

Like trees, revival will grow tall and strong, spread widely, be sturdy.  Just as trees provide a canopy of shade, this next move of God will provide a canopy of love.

Trees grow strong roots and so will the next wave of ministers.  They will drink from the deep waters of my heart.  They will run but not grow weary because of their deep roots and access to such deep wells.  The water of the Lord will never fail to satisfy them.

They will be pastors of the “insteads” who are going to see radically changed lives.  Instead of ashes, beauty.  Instead of mourning, praise.  Instead of captivity, freedom.

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3

When you’re standing in the middle of a forest you can’t see anything but more trees.  So will the next move of God be, you will be unable to look in any direction without seeing what He is doing.

Just as in a forest, the next move of God is going to be diverse.  There will be many types of ministers, many types of disciples, many types of worshippers.  THINGS WILL NOT BE BLAND AND BORING.  Diversity will rule.  Now only is its God’s desire, it’s how others will KNOW that the Lord is in this.

I will put in the desert the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.  I will set junipers in the wasteland, the fir and cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy one of Israel has create it.  Isaiah 41:19-20

The Lord then spoke this to me:

Seeds will be carried from all over.  Do not be afraid to plant what looks like it does not belong- there are no invasive species in my Kingdom.  Trees will look like they’re planted in the wrong spot- too close to a house, next to a powerline or in the middle of the sidewalk- but they will not be wrong.  Looking at things from a natural perspective will cause confusion; put on supernatural glasses.

The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the juniper, the fir, the cypress, to adorn my sanctuary; and I will glorify the place for my feet.  Isaiah 60:13

They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.  Isaiah 44:4

Trees are wild and gregarious.  Who can tame a tree?  They don’t follow conventional bounds, and their seeds are carried far by birds, by humans, by the wind.  They are gregarious, they live in community, as will the next move of God.  I believe that church is going to look radically different, and more consistent with the wild nature of how trees grow.  There will groups here and there of believers, all connected together in the larger “forest” of the big church.  Young and old will grow together, as will all types and sizes of trees.  No one is left out.

The swarm dream

In June of 2018 I had a prophetic dream.  We were still in the beginning stages of planning for the School of Kingdom Writers, and without a doubt I knew this was a message that had to do with the vision God was placing in our hearts and minds.

I’ve sat with it for a year and half now, and processed through it at different times.  God brought it to mind again recently and I feel like it’s time to share.

It was a very short dream, but with great depth of meaning.

It took place in a barn, a brand new barn that was tall but had open sides.  In the very top of the barn there was a honeybee swarm.  A beekeeper dressed in a white suit came along and began to transfer the swarm to a new hive.  As the beekeeper moved them, the bees began to cheer in their tiny voices and were full of joy.  I awoke hearing the words, “They were eager to find their destiny.”

The church is awakening.  We are moving into a new era where the old won’t work anymore.  Church isn’t going to work the way it has, and here are many people who love Jesus and want to follow Him with all their hearts but they just don’t feel like they have a place in the church.  There might be different reasons for that, but the sentiment is the same, church is broken.

The swarm in this dream represents these people, the ones who have been sitting in church but don’t feel like they have a place.  The ones who want to follow Jesus but feel like they don’t fit in anywhere.  When honeybees swarm it’s for reproduction.  Our churches have come up against a wall.  The new barn with open sides represents the newness of this move that God is bringing. It is OPEN, there are not parameters that will define this move. People do not want to be boxed into what church “should” look like anymore and are hungry for real experiences. They are leaving to create new opportunities for evangelism; they are leaving to grow the church. They know Jesus is bigger and more magnificent than what can be felt solely inside church walls and they are hungry for it. They are eager to find their destinies.

The beekeeper represents Jesus, who is transferring these people who are who are earnestly seeking him, into the places where they fit in.  We are on the cusp of a great move of God, and I believe that it is going to look radically different than anything we have experienced so far.  The bees were overjoyed at the beekeeper rescuing them and giving them a new home.  Just as those who are earnestly seeking the Lord are overjoyed when they finally find their place, their community, their calling and their destiny.  No longer will people settle for sitting in the pews and simply listening to a preacher because they know that with the risk of Jesus comes a calling in the Kingdom.  They are not willing to merely to sit on the sidelines, but instead they are in it to win it.

The School of Kingdom Writers is one of these places, a place where people are going to come to find their calling and find their destiny.   A place that is outside of the box, outside of what looks like church.

God is resplendent, He is overwhelmingly majestic and as a people we are drawn to His beauty.  Through us His brilliant light shines, a light that will not be put into a box.  It cannot be contained, you cannot put a finger on what it is.  Although He never changes, the ways He reaches the lost and changes the world are always moving, always adapting, always growing.  We just have to listen to where He is calling us.