Tuesday, May 19, 2009

1 adventure, 2 truths: Thorns hurt and God is jealous for us!!!

So recently I took Baby Cooper for a walk and picked some wild flowers for my Mom. I wanted to have a bouquet for her when she arrived at the airport for her visit. (For some reason, I am all about having flowers when you arrive at your destination airport). There were these white flowers that I wanted for the bouquet, but they were covered with thorns and I could not cut the stem with the knife I brought (Yes, I brought a knife – this was a very planned flower-picking walk). I wound up getting cuts all over my pinky finger from the thorns and finally gave up because of these things. They certainly blocked me from messing with that flower! My pinky bled a bit and the scabs from the cuts were there for a bit. In a weird way I enjoyed my battle wounds. I usually do – it must be the little kid in me (you know how kids usually want to show you their bruises, etc. I like to show mine off – not for sympathy though…to impress people with whatever ridiculous thing I did to get the latest one). But this time I was excited by these battle wounds because they were a reminder to me from God. Hosea 2:6 says, “Therefore I will block her path with thorn bushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.” This sounds violent, but let me explain. Hosea is a man of God who married an adulterous wife – knowing that she would be unfaithful, because God told him to. God uses their marriage as a picture of God and His people – how faithful He is even with an unfaithful Bride. Here, Hosea’s wife keeps going after other lovers who do not satisfy her and instead, hurt her. He knows that he is the one who supplies her needs and that he truly cares for her, while these other lovers do not. He says this about blocking her as a way to keep her from these other lovers who really don’t satisfy. He desires to protect her through the use of these thorn bushes. Drastic measures seem necessary to protect her from herself and her propensity for these other destructive lovers. Hosea is jealous for His Bride and he knows that his love will heal and restore her and the love of these other lovers is not real love. I could go on about Hosea, but in keeping with the thoughts about this specific verse, we will turn our attention back to my thorn scabs. From these specific thorns piercing through my skin, I realized just how painful those little suckers are! I immediately thought of this verse and it came more alive to me. If you are blocked by thorn bushes, you really can’t get out without a fight…without bloody cuts everywhere. You either get even more hurt trying, or you give up in your pursuit to get away. Throughout the book of Hosea, Hosea is a picture of God and His ways with us. God is jealous for us to realize that He is our ultimate Lover – the only One who truly satisfies us and truly cares for us. He desires us so much. He desires our attention and affection. He doesn’t want us giving it to other lovers before we give it to Him. These other lovers wind up hurting us and leaving us empty. So, He will hedge us in with thorns all around to keep us to Himself and attempt to teach us that He really is the true Lover of our souls. Even if we do not see ourselves as a prostitute in our relationship with God, we all are like Gomer (Hosea's wife)in that we have other lovers that we chase after – other desires, activities, people, goals, thoughts, etc. that we focus on, pursue, and long for more than we are currently going after God and all that is of Him. Some of these things are even “good things”, but we have misplaced our priorities. We do this because we need a greater revelation of who He is and how much He loves us. In His mercy, He shows us what and who these other lovers are. His mercy and grace abounds even more as He will place us in times where He hedges us in with thorns all around us. He is that jealous for us. He does not want us to go after these lovers and be destroyed by them, so He puts little blockers to warn us and keep us away. I am in a season where the Lord has revealed a desire I have placed above my desire for His return. I hate admitting that, but it is true and in reality, I may have more than one desire I have placed before my desire for His return. Think about the things you would like to happen before Jesus comes back. If you don’t have any, you either need to pray and ask Him to reveal them (and He will) or you probably have a greater revelation of Jesus and of our absolute need for complete restoration that comes when He returns. I am wanting this revelation to HIT my heart and go so much deeper than any head knowledge. I am wanting to say with the Spririt, “COME!!!” I am wanting to desire Jesus’ return more than anything else. I am wanting to really act like a Betrothed woman and LONG for my wedding day with the One I am betrothed to. If you’ve ever been around a woman betrothed, she is counting the days till the day she will be one with her husband. Engagement just isn’t cutting it. There isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t think about plans about the wedding (preparing herself for the wedding and the marriage), or the marriage itself or at least something remotely related to the fact that she will be one with her bridegroom soon. I want the fact that Jesus is really coming back for a Bride who desires Him and the fact that there is really going to be a wedding – to be on the forefront of my mind – above all the other desires – even “good” ones. I am in a season of wanting to say no to my other lovers (in my case, desires) and yes to Him FIRST. He has called me into this season and there are times that I realize it is His sweet protection and an answer to my cry to long for Him and His return above any other longing I have. Sometimes I find my heart wandering, even if I am not wandering in actions and then I hit some of those thorns and my pinky starts bleeding and I decide it isn’t worth it and only He is worth it. The thorns sting for a moment, but they are there to prevent me from greater injury and from straying from being as close to God as I want to and need to be. It has been a sweet season, but I’ve had my encounters with thorns, which have been reminders to me of His amazing jealousy of my whole heart. I love that I got physical thorn wounds during this time that I have been experiencing a bit of this spiritually. I love how He speaks, even through thorn battle wounds. :) I am almost sad that my scabs have disappeared, but I know I will experience some more… if not physically, spiritually.

My Attempt at Story Time...

WOW! It is so amazing to me how much God has been teaching me. I just read my last update and it’s crazy how many cool stories I have to share within all of that and now even more since it has been a few months. I am bad at the updating thing. I think I want to just write stories of what God is doing on here and leave the update thing for my e-mail updates. If you do not get those for some reason, please e-mail me at Kelly@Kingdomforerunners.com. Okie dokie….here’s my attempt to write these stories. I pray that they bless and encourage you in your walk with Him.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Catch Up Time!

So, it has been about a year since I last wrote here. I would like to try to share some of what God has done in the past year as a way of rememberance. There really is something to that!! So in April, I went home shortly after being with Julie and Christina at Julie's brothers' house. God took me on a ministry trip to Lakeland. I thought I was going to receive, but He totally set it up as a great ministry trip and I received so much as I gave. Then Devin (my younger bro) prayed to receive Jesus as His Savior and Lord of his life!!! And then my Mom told me of a dream she had and how she prayed to receive more of the Holy Spirit. All these things happened in 3 days!! So God was really reminding me of the wisdom of prayer and that sitting in a prayer room for 3 months really was worth it. I loved what God was doing...yet I had the "what about me" feeling. As I prayed and poured out my heart to Him, He used 2 dolphins to remind me that He was with me and leading me well and we were making every jump together. Then May 1st, I was in Jax to walk at my graduation. I got to catch up with my beloved friends in Jax. I had a good weekend with my family, as they were also up for my graduation. Then I babysat for a dear family in Jax for 2 weeks, while helping my dear friend with wedding things and seeking the Lord about what possibly could be next. He kept stressing waiting. I have a cool story to share about waiting that I will write after this general catch up. :) So then the wedding was May 17th and I still was not certain about what was next. I had my car packed b/c the Lord made it clear I wouldn't be home for a bit, but that was all I knew. I planned to go back to Atlanta but I did not know how long I would be there and what I would be doing there. I was trusting the Lord, but some days were easier than others. The night of the wedding, I sat tired, with a pizza box of cold pizzas and juice boxes by the water. I was beginning to get frustrated and down and He had dolphins in the water again to remind me of how He spoke to me with the dolphins just weeks before. The next day, I went to a church service with the family of my friends who got married. I wound up talking to 2 families in particular. One was from Cameroon, Africa, but happened to live in Lawrenceville, GA. The other overheard me talking about my internship. I got in a converstaion with my friend's Aunt and Uncle from Birmingham, AL. As I talked with my friend's Aunt, Lucy Hughes... everything she said about their ministry in Birmingham spoke to my heart - prayer, college ministry, discipleship for young girls, heart for justice and inner city, ETC.!! They asked me what I was doing in the summer and I said I knew nothing about the future!! They invited me to join them in Kansas City for a ministry trip with the premise that I would be praying about joining their ministry in Birmingham. So...I was left with what I would be doing in Atlanta...PRAYING about this possibility. So, I did. I also wound up serving the family from Cameroon, as the husband had moved back there and left the wife and two young children to pack up all their stuff to move back as well. It was a treat for me, as they ate some similar food as I ate in Zambia and it was such a priviledge to serve this missionary family. After much prayer, I decided to join the Birmingham group in Kansas City. I drove to Birmingham, AL for the first time and met a girl who I would ride with to Kansas City. I stayed with her that night and then the next day, we picked up another girl and arrived late that night. It was a wonderful time there and Jesus spoke to me so much. While I was there, I was asked to join their ministry staff. So, I prayed more and looked for a plane ticket home to start raising support to join staff with Kingdom Forerunners. I had a difficult time raising support at first. I was reading a book, Red Moon Rising, by Pete Greig, and that was helpful for me to read at that time, esp. when i would question why I was doing what I was doing. Then August came and I went on vacation with my family and returned to my car in Birmingham, AL. I lived with a family I met on our KC trip during the month of August. Then I went to Washington DC for The Call - to pray for America with many other intercessors. Then we started our internship, which I was to help lead. I moved in to my Paul & Lucy Hughes' home in September. We started up with our girls' bible study and our prayer furnace events as well. We also had a conference for college students in September. I learned a lot my first few months here. The Lord led me to one of the dearest friendships I have ever had - Natalie Farber. I believe she is part of the reason the Lord has brought me to Birmingham and she played a key role in His ministering to me in my first few months here. I was learning a lot during these months - not the things I thought I would learn - but still necessary things. Then December came and I was thrilled to go home for the holidays. I was there from the 16th to the 26th. Then I went to Kansas City for a conference and shortly after we returned to Birmingham, I moved in with another family here. These were people the Hughes knew, but I had only met the wife once and had never met the husband. I was thankful for them opening their home, but I struggled with a lack of feeling settled. I have a sweet God-story to share about this later. :) I have since become more settled in their home and enjoy and appreciate them very much. In late January, we went to IHOP-ATL for a conference for leaders in houses of prayer. The Lord spoke SOOO much to me during this time! I might share more on that later, too. :) In february, I started babysitting for more income (b/c support raising has still been a challenge). I enjoy the baby very much. He was born December 16th and I love him SO much! I started a sweet season personally with the Lord on February 14th. :) I went to IHOP-ATL for that weekend to get away with Jesus and really start my season sweetly with Him. The week before I went, He was moving SOO much and leading me in really fun ways.... I will try to write on that, too. Then that weekend was AMAZING and He spoke so much to me about what this season is about. My first month of this season with the Lord, He had me in Song of Soloman almost every night. The first week was a chapter a night and then a verse each day. I will try to write on some revelation I received on that as well! This next month, starting March 14th, He has me studying and meditating on a character/ Name of God each day. It has been amazing so far and I will try to write on this as well. Well, that is a very general update on things from this past year. I will try to write more specifics on some of the neat things God is teaching me. Blessings to you all!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

a few days with the Lord and the girls! :)

Hi Friends!,
Just thought I'd share the latest pictures with you. These are of Christina, Julie, and me at Julie's brother's place. Julie was dog-sitting for him and we came to keep her company and enjoy the Lord and each other. We spent a lot of time relaxing, we worshiped with the word (Matthew 6:33-34), went for walks around a neighborhood with open houses...so we explored! :), watched an AMAZING documentary called "Through Gates of Splendor" (all about Jim Eliot and four other martyrs and how their wives helped bring their killers and an entire tribe of Indians to Christ - it's the documentary behind the movie The End of The Spear. It's a MUST see documentary), and we drove through University of Georgia (specifically the club/bar area- accidentally!) and broke out in intercession for these people to know True Freedom! In our Flesh we describe "freedom" as doing what we want, but often our fleshly desires are more harmful than good. A child might find it freeing to run out in the middle of a busy road, but the parent knows just what will happen and says no. God does the same with us. He says no to all He knows will hurt us and is not the absolute best for us. He created life. Who are we to tell Him that we know best? There is such an arrogance and ignorance in believing we know best (i say this not as one pointing the finger, but as one who is guilty of thinking I know best). There is true Life and True Freedom in Him. It is such a lie that we trade in "fun" for "boring." His Life is ABUNDANT! No joke! Walking with Him is an adventure! He brings Freedom to the chains that we didn't even know we were walking in. So...that is what we were praying for as we drove through UGA. I just wanted to give background, in case you did not understand what I meant by "True Freedom" Anywho...it was a good time with the Lord and these beautiful sisters of mine!

Christina, Julie, and Me.

Christ-to the-Tina, Jules, and Me. :)

"I've got joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart...where? down in my heart to stay!"....:)

So, I have a great God-story to share. It would be great to write some blogs to catch you up to this point, but I may have to catch you up later. This is just so good I don't want to not post it. :) So...
Yesterday, I woke up in a bit of a funk b/c I was just confused about some things regarding the future. I had just read and even had a time of singing response with Christina and Julie to the verses in Matthew 6 about seeking the Kingdom first, my Father knowing just what I need, and not worrying about tomorrow...yet I still found myself worrying about tomorrow and the next day and the day after. We found out that the thing I was staying here a bit longer for had just been postponed. This totally messed up "my plans" and was such a curve ball in my trusting in His plans and not worrying. I told Christina that I found myself being negative. The day went on and I went to the Hundai dealership to pick up the part on my car that I had ordered (someone apparently took it off of my car and the Hundai people said it looked like they tried to break in my car). Before I went in to the dealership, I'd been singing a chorus that Julie made up when we were singing to Matthew 6. It goes like this: "They say to put you on the side. But I say, you're like the burger with my fries. You're the main course, yeah. You're the main course..." :) I was hit with joy...I think that chorus had something to do with it...but it was like joy I'd never felt before. I just wanted to give it to everyone!! I've had people pray over me that I am very joyful/ have the gift of joy, but I've always wished I felt that joy more. But, boy did I feel it!!
After the dealership, I went to Taco Bell and I just had this joy BUBBLING inside of me! I didn't know what to do with it. I wanted to go sit with the old couple near me and just give it to them. I didn't but wished i had when they got up to leave, so I thought about chasing them...but didn't. I had NO reason (in the natural) to be joyful..really I should have been freaking out or writing down all of my options, etc. After Taco Bell, I went to this church for their prayer and worship night. I was early, so I sat outside. I journaled and prayed to the Lord about not knowing what to do with this joy, but wanting Him to use it to touch people's hearts and draw them closer to He who is the giver of true joy. This man came up and started talking to me about the racoons that had been around the table where I was. So, I immediately got up (I do not like racoons!). As we were talking, that joy and love continued to bubble and I so wanted it to spill out onto him. So, I asked him his name and told him about how much His Father God loves him and that I would love to pray for him. He told me that he was working (cleaning, etc.), so I asked him how I could pray and said I would do so on my own. He said he wanted prayer for "a better life". I told him about the abundant life in Jesus and how even washing toilets with the Lord can be amazing as you know you are storing up for yourself riches in Heaven and that the One who loves you the most is with you as you do so. I talked to him about how everything is better with constant communication with the Lord. He asked me if I'd be around and I told him about the church service I was going to. I don't know if he made it as it was pouring rain when I left early, but I know the Lord loves Marvin and longs to give him abundant life. Please pray for Marvin. I was thrilled to have shared a bit of the Love the Lord has for him with him.
Then I went by the door where there were people waiting to get in. A woman came up and was upset that it was locked b/c she had to go to the bathroom. I talked to her a bit and she seemed very weary but still friendly. When we were inside we talked a bit more and ended up talking about why I was in GA. I shared a bit about the House of Prayer and she said, "Prayer? 24/7? Oh, I need the address!" So, I gave her the web address and we continued talking the next 30 minutes or so until the worship service started. She talked with me about my joy and how she needed it and how much Jesus was touching her heart through it. The more I shared about IHOP and the things God had been sharing with me, she said I'd given her a steak to chew on. :) I think I will see her at IHOP on Monday. She said it sounded like just what she'd been desiring.

Then I go in to the worship service. I was sitting down but decided to go in the back corner facing the wall (so i felt like no one was watching except my King) and dance as I praised Him. I did not know why, but I just really wanted to dance. They had this song with lyrics: "Bring your peace. Bring your joy..." This is what I wrote in my journal: "I thought of how those (peace and joy) are the 2 things I feel like Satan is trying to take from me and as I danced, I felt like it was a statement that I'm going to dance in the peace and joy that are mine even in the unknown." I was asking the Lord if there was something to this dancing in a time like this and if my dancing did anything in the spiritual realms the way a song of the Lord or prayers do.
So, then I have my individual prayer time with three prayer ministers from churches around Atlanta. They were listening to the heart of God for people as they encouraged them through prayer. They didn't ask me anything about myself and had not been in the worship room, so they had not seen me dancing at all. It was carzy. The first guy said he had an image of a banquet and the banqueting table. This spoke to me about intimacy with God, as scripture talks about the banqueting table of the King and being invited to it. To be invited to a King's banqueting table is a high honor and a sign of closeness with him. Many do not know this closeness. They may see others having it or not even know it exists. They either know God as more distant than He is or they do not know Him at all. Often times our view of who God is keeps us from truly knowing Him and His affections for us. There is a song I know that goes like this: He brought me to His banqueting table and His banner over me is Love." Another one that goes like this: "Come to the table. He's waiting for you to come. Come to the table and dine with the King..." Those songs were going through my mind as he prayed about this. Then he prayed about how I would dance at this banquet even in the worries, etc. This other guy prayed about me being a powersource to God's people - the weak and weary coming and being recharged in Him and how I knew how to enjoy my Father's presence and many did not and God was using me to bring others into that closeness with Him. They were praying a lot about joy and dancing and this lady was saying how when God gives me that joy and dance in the times of trouble, doubt, or fear, it is obvious that He is giving it because there's no other way I would have it. I felt the Lord really highlighting this joy and dancing in the hard times as something He was giving me for more than just that day and especially for the next season. Not so sure why, but I trust Him and will dance and praise through the doubt to get back to that place of trust.
So, then I go to IHOP and find out that I had nothing to freak out about and the thing they were postponing will all work out for me. I know God had me go through all of that though because it brought out a lot of doubt and freaking out that I was shoving away. Well, when I got to my Aunt's house, I felt like God said, "Chapter 7" about a book I had (After God's Own Heart). It turns out chapter 7 was one of the only chapters I had read. It's all on Mary of Bethany (a woman whose story has always touched and encouraged my heart...a woman of true devotion and love for Jesus). Since I'd read it and it was late, I thought, "Well, I'll just read the little side notes in the boxes. The first one I saw (not the first one in order), said this: "Joyful intimacy with God is the great power source of the Kingdom of God." WHAT?!!!? "Joyful, Intimacy, Power source!" Man, when God wants to say something, He doesn't mess around. :) He hasn't answered some of my directional questions the way I may have wanted, but He has remided me of the way He has equiped me to fight all lies of the enemy and doubts and fears that creep in. Nehemiah says, "The joy of the Lord is my strength!" Yeah it is!! He is saying, "Dance!, Have joy and share it with others, even and especially in the times that Satan is almost succeeding in taking it away from you. This is a gift I've given you and a gift I desire to give to others through you." I say, "Yes and thank you, Lord! Help me trust and dance with you and bring you glory through it all!!"

Well, I pray that this encourages you and that God speaks to your heart about drawing nearer to the King who sya, "Come to the table and dine with Me." I also pray you will join me in taking hold of the joy that He has given us and sharing it (and He who gave it to us) with others. We so often walk around just like everyone else with eyes on the seen and temporary and not on the Eternal. We look just like everyone else and freak out in the same way while others around us wonder if there really is such thing as True Joy and True Peace and True Love. We must take hold of it and claim what has been given to us. Don't just put aside this gift. Hold it, shake it, open it up and then tell everyone about it, share it. Let them see you with it! We can't be like salt without its flavor or lamps under a bowl (Matthew 5:14-16). We are just like those without Hope when we get caught up in the temporal cares without praising our Perfect Leader who knows just what we need. I am telling you all this to encourage you but also so you can remind me when I freak out again to dance and trust! :)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

More pictures to make up for my lack of writing. :)

Here are some pictures from our Internship Graduation Dinner. The first three are of the representative from each internship giving a speech about their internship. They all were very entertaining. It was a fun evening! I still can't believe the internship is over!!

Matt, our "Intro-idictorian"

Julie, the "Pursuit-idictorian"

Ramiro, the "Watch-idictorian"

Me receiving my certificate! :)

Me & Christina & Christy

Tiffany & Me

Me & Aunt June

Time Flies...and I don't write blogs!

Hey Friends! It's the end of the internship as we know it and I feel fine...lala la!...No, I can't believe it's the end! And I didn't do so hot in updating this thing! Hopefully I will write more about these 3 months later. But for now, here are some pictures from our Intro. Community times! :)

Me & Christina!

Hannah & Me :)

The Intro. Internship with our leaders and our

Super Adonis with the tank top our directors
told us we were going to have instead of our
sweatshirts. :)