Life Speakers and Bad Breath Breathers

Isn’t it funny how a breath mint can be the difference between a moment with someone being sentimental and precious vs. terrible and nasty?

There are times when I’ve been in close quarters with someone and all I can think about is how little I can breathe from the fog-cloud they are creating between us and how much I’d like to throw a breath mint in their mouth while they are talking. I hate to say it, but I have noticed that this problem seems to rage to special heights in churches. Who’s idea was it to serve everyone coffee before social time? What a ministry.

Maybe our true church ministry should be providing breath mints to the needy.

I love coffee. So I’ve often found myself in this awkward position of having just inhaled a cup or two during a service and then realized that the Lord is putting it on my heart to go and pray for someone. So then there’s the mad “gum scramble”, during which we have about fifteen seconds to ask everyone in our row if they remembered to come prepared. Usually they haven’t. And so the apologies to the one seeking prayer begin.

In a way the coffee-breath ministry can be easily related to our words, and ultimately our hearts, because the Bible says that our words are a reflection of what we have inside. I think it’s probably wise for each of us to ask ourselves every once in a while, “What is coming out of my mouth?”

God has made it abundantly clear to me and my husband during this season of our lives that He is going to battle for us. It’s cool to think about, but only for a second or two. Because after He confirmed that to us, we quickly realized that meant we had been put on the sidelines. Yes, we are out of the game. We have given the Lord permission to go to bat for us, but that means we aren’t going to bat at all.

On the plus side, God has never lost a game.

On the down side…It means we need to constantly check ourselves so that we make sure we aren’t picking up any spare sports equipment to try and jump into the game. If I rush out there the ref will blow the whistle for having too many players on the field and I’m either going to take a penalty and get suspended from the game, or worse, the whole season. This is something I have learned a lot about these past few years, that when God tells us to trust Him, we have to. There is no alternative. There is no “Maybe I’ll just do this one thing,” or “Things would be better if I just spoke up and told my side of the story.”

Stop it, you. Just stop. When God says to trust Him, then TRUST HIM.

Ugh, the agony. No one likes to sit on the sidelines. But I have begun to realize how peaceful it is over here.

Distrust in God always has way more consequences than trusting Him.

That is a statement I should tattoo to my own forehead. Because the person who took the biggest hit from my distrust last season was me. It’s been a long break between seasons and God has revealed so much to me about those times, and taught me so many things about my own life as I have been on this break. He called a penalty on me and I was forced back onto the sidelines for a while. Even writing blogs was out of the question for a time, as I learned to “trust myself to trust God”. Distrust has consequences. But even more than that, it carries baggage. My heart has always been to minister to the broken-hearted, and to share His unrestrained love to those who feel hopeless. If that’s truly my heart, then God will give me those opportunities. I don’t need to try and find them myself.

The strange part about this new season is how much more prepared I am going into it. Learning, even if it’s by mistakes, is invaluable. At first it seemed like punishment, God calling me to stay at home and be involved in less in every area of my life, but over time I realized that He wasn’t mad. He was just equipping me to get back out there, patting the dirt off my jersey and giving me a Coach’s speech so that when I did re-enter the game I would be ready for it this time.

I think that God brings us through the same tests that we have failed in the past, so that we have another chance to pass them. This season is different in some ways, yet there are many similarities to what we as a family are experiencing. It would be easy to default to my former self, the one who would have felt the need to plead my case and speak up to defend myself when people are getting the wrong idea about what is happening. But the biggest difference between this season and the last one, is me. God is pulling on his batting gloves and scanning the field. Something major is about to happen and I don’t want to ruin it by jumping in and giving my team a penalty. And if I can wait, and trust in Him, we might just walk away with a trophy or two.

One thing that the Lord has been majorly pressing into us is that right now He is watching and waiting. During the stretches of desert that we seemed to be trudging through as we were trying for a baby, and wondering what God’s plans were for what is now our home in Shingletown, He told us over and over again that His timing was perfect, and He sees all things. Rushing wasn’t on His agenda, so we had to take it off ours. We couldn’t push God’s timing, or there would be consequences. We couldn’t make a move without His leading, or kick open the doors that He hadn’t opened yet. HIS timing is perfect. And He sees ALL things.

Here, take some of His peace. You can have it. It’s free. *Hand thrust forward* 

Trust really is its own therapy, once we finally give in and let it be our way. I’m sure this is the way God intended us to live as Christians, to love everyone, address every person with respect, and forgive no matter what. The hardest people to forgive are the ones who need it the most, and are probably suffering from something themselves. When we love and pray for those that make things harder on us, we are releasing Heaven into the atmosphere and breaking chains that the enemy has tried to place over us.

Jesus is the King of Love, and He dishes it out in handfuls. It’s easy to love others when we remember just how much He loves us, and what He’s willing to do for us (which is everything, even dying). So I’m sitting out for this season, until the Lord hands me a catcher’s glove and sends me out onto the field. His timing is perfect. He sees all things. And right now, He’s watching, He’s studying the game and all of the players, and He’s waiting…

God has called all of us to be speakers of life into every situation, and to contribute to the trust we are supposed to have in Him. He has called us to be unified before His throne and to keep our eyes on the things of Heaven. I don’t want to be a bad-breath-breather. I would rather muzzle myself than speak negativity into the situations around me. Instead I think I will let God bring everything into being, since that’s sort of His thing, and watch in amazement as the incredible begins to happen.

Thank you Jesus for everything. Every accomplishment and moment of glory goes straight up to you.

So there you have it. Now let’s all go buy a whopping bag of breath mints for Sunday. Bring enough to share.

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Wilderness People

Pregnancy is weird.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. But even though there is an Olympic-level soccer athlete inside my tummy trying to kick its way out, it seems to only be a slice of what I’m focused on right now. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean it like I asked for a slice in my life and God handed me a whole cake.

It just shocks me that a year ago things were so different. I found myself in a place of waiting for everything. It was tough, praying every night before we went to sleep that we would get pregnant and not seeing it happen, praying for the Lord’s army to rush in and spring forward the timeline for the house we had just decided to build. Waiting, waiting, waiting. God was teaching us so much back then and we knew it, but it didn’t make it any easier. The message He made so clear to us was that His timing was perfect.

“Your timing is perfect. And you see all things.”

That was how we ended all of our prayers.

Not a lot of people know that I actually had a miscarriage this year, after seven months of trying to get pregnant and not succeeding. I know seven months isn’t a long time to try for a baby, many people have to try for much longer. And I know that miscarriages are extremely common. But it still stung.

I remember driving to the hospital at 3am the night that I woke up with minor contractions and I won’t even begin to tell you about what else was happening to my body. We had JUST found out we were pregnant too. I was so heartbroken that through my sobs I sang the bridge of a song by Elevation Worship that I had led recently as part of the worship team at my church, “By your Spirit I will rise from the ashes of defeat, the resurrecting King, is resurrecting me. In your name I come alive, to declare your victory. The resurrecting King, is resurrecting me.” I sang this because I was trying to bring my baby back to life. I knew that I was losing it and I was trying to bring it back. I was doing the only thing that I was able as my body rejected it; I was worshipping. Jesus, the One who raises the dead back to life, because He was my first and last resort.

The thing was that it finally seemed like we were experiencing some breakthrough. We had finally gotten pregnant. We had finally started to see some forward movement with the property we were purchasing to build a house. But God’s timing really is perfect, even when it doesn’t seem that way. And He sees ALL things. Every corner of our hearts and what we are feeling. He knows every word we speak and every word spoken against us. He knows everything.

Well it was a few weeks after the miscarriage that I started feeling pretty ill. I thought it was just a regular old sickness of some kind. I started falling asleep everywhere too, which really isn’t like me. And then at a family gathering my sister, whom I believe said this by the nudging of the Lord even though she may not have known it, suggested the possibility of me being pregnant. The thing was that I had just gone through the whole miscarriage thing and I didn’t think it was possible for me to be pregnant that fast. But since she said it, I couldn’t just let the thought slide, not after everything. And I’m so grateful that she had the courage to ask the question even though it was probably hard to ask, because it was that same day I buckled and went in to buy a pregnancy test. Oh pregnancy tests. How I loathed them by this point. But as it turned out, I was pregnant after all. And I was already several weeks into the pregnancy.

What?!

Everything was a bit behind schedule, even my first Dr. appointment which is supposed to be around 9 weeks didn’t happen until 12 weeks because before I saw the doctor I had to have an ultrasound to see how far along I was before I could book my first appointment. Then, because of how behind that all was, I missed the ultrasound deadline for screening, which isn’t imperative or anything but still, it was something to chuckle about considering how slow everything seemed to be moving in my life before. Suddenly everything was full throttle, and when my first trimester hit it was a sudden uncoordinated mess of sleeping all the time or barfing all the time. It seemed like in a flash I was right out of the game altogether and couldn’t even function at regular life.

Now instead of everything moving at the speed of a slug, time was getting away from me. I was halfway through my pregnancy before I had even registered completely that I was actually going to have a baby. And a GIRL no less! Suddenly I was sitting on my bed in a state of shock, with all kinds of bizarre thoughts going through my head, “A girl…? Really? I don’t know how to take care of a girl! I only have experience with a boy! I don’t even have any girl clothes, or pink things, or pretty stuff. How am I suppose to raise a girl?”

Well if there is one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that God DOES know how to take care of our children. And our homes. And our good old well being. This has been such an incredible time of growing (spiritually and literally) for me. We have kept to this prayer, “Your timing is perfect, and You see all things” because it has gotten us through the dry parts of the wilderness. The walk was long, hot, dry, and sometimes uncomfortable, but we knew that if we were faithful and trusted in the Lord, He really was going to bring us into the promised land, the place that we just couldn’t see over the dry hills until we crossed them.

But it wasn’t just the baby. Like I said, that is just a slice. An itty-bitty four pound home-slice, to be exact. There was more. There was the house. The home. The place the Lord was preparing for us. God has a funny way of hiding the opportunities until the time is right, even when we are praying for them. Sometimes when we are in the wilderness we look around and don’t see much of anything, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something just behind that next hill, or the next one. Don’t let doubt make you stop walking. You will lose your way and it won’t look good on you. Keep your trust and keep your head on straight, eyes up to Heaven. Or you will quickly start to look like a wild wilderness monster, and you will probably sound like one too.

Worship is something that is very close to my heart, especially since I first found out I was pregnant with Chase, our first child. Over him I prayed for a Heart of Worship during my whole pregnancy, and that he would be anchored in the Father’s Heart. I also prayed that he would be a joyful child and tagged on that it would be really cool if he would sleep well through the night. Boy did I get that. But now a girl is coming. A sweet little princess…at least I think that’s the right thing to say about upcoming girls. I wasn’t a sweet little princess growing up. More like a sneaky, misbehaving, dirt-faced, toad who would put war paint across my face and run through the trees after squirrels. So it begs the question, what am I going to pray over this little girl?

Many ideas swarmed my mind at first. I thought I would pray for a little missionary, or more specifically, a trailblazer, who would head into uncharted territory with the gospel! But that didn’t feel right. Then I thought maybe she was more the dreaming type, and I would pray for big dreams and maybe even add on a prayer for the gift of dream interpretation, along with wild visions as a prophetic painter! But that didn’t feel right either. Teaching/Pastoral? A leader? Walking in the prophetic? Filled with words of knowledge? Wisdom and Creativity? No, I don’t think so. I mean I would love for her to have all these things but there wasn’t one thing in particular that stood out. Nothing seemed right to me until the image of mountains came into my mind. Mountains. Mover of mountains.

Yes. That was it.

Instantly I knew that what I was going to be praying over this child was for supernatural faith. The kind of faith that will see the mountains moved. Our little mountain mover. Prayers flooded my mind for unshakeable faith, someone who would go to war until the mountains before her started to tremble. Yes, this was definitely it. A prayer warrior in my own home? Yes, please! There were a few other things too, like patience, which may have just been a result of dealing with Chase and his business for the past two years and hoping for a child that might end up being a little more relaxed (ha!) I’m so excited for this baby, to look into her little eyes and tell her how much I love her. I’m so excited to paint gold mountains on the walls of her bedroom, so that she always remembers what she is capable of. I’m so excited to see what she grows up to be like.

Thank you, Jesus, for bringing us through the wilderness, and thank you that we didn’t lose sight of your plans, your perfect timing, and your wisdom when it would have been easy to do so.

Sorry this got so long, but it’s been a while and I guess I had a lot to tell. This walk through the wilderness has been a long one. But I believe it’s God’s heart that everyone makes it to the promised land. So hang in there.

Peace.

 

My Baby’s Butt

It’s not that I’m just bad at hiding my facial reactions, or that I’ve unearthed some putrid smell, its nothing like that. My face is constantly crunching for an entirely different reason, one that no one would know about unless I tell them. My baby, now positioned on the right side of my stomach, keeps shoving its little butt out towards the public, pushing against my inner stomach. It agonizes me to think that my child is somehow already rude, and he hasn’t even met me yet to learn bad manners.

You sneaky little thing. Already trying to get away with stuff. I’d spank your show-off little butt but you always seem to duck back in before I can poke you.

It’s not that painful when he swims around and kicks, a little uncomfortable maybe, but the worst part is that no one else feels it. So if you want anyone to experience the moment with you, you have to tell them “Look at my stomach!” and sure enough, the rascal goes perfectly still in a clever attempt to make you look like a fool while everyone stares and nothing happens.

Every time.

It seems silly, to talk and sing to something that likely can’t comprehend your witty comments and wise counsel. But nonetheless I find myself doing it a lot. We named our baby almost immediately after we knew he was a boy (no I won’t tell you his name so don’t ask. And please don’t try to get it out of me – I’m terrible at keeping a straight face and I will probably give it away if you guess correctly). After naming him, I began to experience other things that I felt belonged to him. Like prayers. It’s not a secret that I’ve been praying that my baby boy would have a heart of worship. I’m not even convinced I know what that looks like, but I sit at my piano and sing worship songs, and pray by scribbling in my journal, that this boy would have the makings of a true passionate worshipper. Worship comes in many forms, not just in music. But if he is born and instantly picks up a variety of unexplainable musical abilities as a mere infant, I won’t be surprised.

The next thing that I’ve been praying is that my boy would be so diligent in his chase for God’s heart. That his strength would flow right from the throne of Heaven. And because of this, he would possess a strength that steadies those around him, like an anchor. I can’t possibly expect my child to get through life without encountering a hefty slew of storms, but when he does I believe that he’ll remain calm and firmly planted in the Lord, and this will create a feeling of safety for those around him. I truly believe my kid will be a protector.

Heart of worship. Chaser of God’s heart. Anchor. Protector. I know that people pray all sorts of things for their children, some fantastic like a passion for justice, a missionary’s heart, prophetic gifts, discerning abilities, seer of miracles, healer of the sick, anointed preacher…all amazing. (Let’s raise up a whole generation of these, yes?) But, worshipper. Steady anchor. Boy oh boy. These are the things I feel called to pray over my first child.

I’m not a mom yet (well technically I’m a mom of a half-human, or whatever my kidlet is while he cooks) and I’m so far from being an expert it’s ridiculous, but if you are a parent then I urge you to pray for your kids if you don’t already. I wasn’t always the easiest child to deal with or contain, but I was so incredibly blessed to have parents who prayed for me, specifically for radical obedience to God and miracles. It’s amazing what I’ve been able to see in my lifetime, likely because of those prayers.

My dream is that my home will be filled with music, the way it was in my parent’s household growing up. I rarely made it through a day without hearing piano, singing, guitar or some other instrument ringing through the house from someone’s bedroom, the living room, or my dad’s office. Worship is so close to my heart. God has shown me this many times.

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While I was preparing for The Love Encounter this year I did a painting called “Love From Heaven”. It’s a picture of rose petals falling from Heaven into a worshipper’s hand. And while I was painting this, I kept singing a line to myself, over and over. Then I would add another, then another. Before I realized it, I’d created an entire song simply from hum-singing to myself as I painted. And it was all about the love of God coming down. I wrote it down and pondered for a while the message that God was sending to either me or the women who would attend the conference. I was so incredibly moved by the love of God in that moment, as I was really made aware that the King of Heaven loves me and knows my name. On the final night of the conference during the Worship Night, I had someone from my church approach me and ask “Do you write music?” I’ll be honest, I was a little uncomfortable even answering. I’ve written music in the past. I used to do it so much it was all I could think about. He went on to tell me that he felt that I should start writing music again.

No, I’m not a striking worship leader and I’ve definitely dropped the ball on keeping up with my musical instruments over the years because of insecurities that realistically are pretty ridiculous, but when God starts to remind me through these things how striking His love is for me…it changes my heart. Instead of fear and insecurity there is suddenly peace and understanding. I’ve had it prophesied over me before that I would “sing over people” as a ministry. It’s so easy to say “Whatever that means…” and forget about it, because embracing it would mean I don’t get to hide in the shadows anymore, but maybe its actually not about me. Maybe its about Him.

This antsy little boy who already has such a hard time sitting still has taught me so much and he’s never even said a word to me. Talking to him, singing to him…I’ve realized so many things. What an unexpected bundle of blessings he’s brought me in my pregnancy. It was all tears, snot and barf in the beginning. But now I get it. I’m borderline terrified to be responsible for a baby, but I understand why God wanted me to be a mom.

Thanks God. It’s like you actually know me or something.

So as I’m decorating baby’s room in navy blue, grey and white, with little elephants, and world maps, I’m dreaming of my boy’s future.

I sincerely hope he’s not a little punk. But if what goes around comes around….

Wakey Wakey.

1908227_10151864286181604_1046793104_nApparently I take a lot of selfies while drinking coffee. I don’t regret it. Which makes me think…

I am shamefully self absorbed.

The thing about coffee is that it has so many perks; brings you out of your sleep-mode, creates a fabulous excuse for a social meeting, and it just tastes so stinking good. How does Starbucks get a Peppermint Mocha to taste like that? It doesn’t seem fair. I suspect the use of magic.

There is something blissful about drinking a warm cup of coffee on a chilly morning. Makes you think of snuggles. Good books. Kittens.

One month until the Love Encounter. It seems hard to believe, but somehow I’m not stressed about it at all. I’m so focused on God’s vision for this, His heart, what He will do. I don’t care to fuss over the other stuff. Booo other stuff.

One thing that seems to be reoccurring, a message that keeps coming to me, is that this conference will be an awakening. So many people are sleeping, maybe even blind. Doubtful. But I feel like God is telling me that this is going to wake up women from all over this region, women who will be activated to go out and start spreading the truth about the grace of Jesus in their schools, or workplaces. It’s like a spiritual cup of hot coffee.

But He doesn’t stop there. I start to think about my church, Wilmot Center. How can I explain this? Well, it feels like something in my stomach is bubbling (not in an indigestion way) and rising up into my heart, making it patter. I feel like this conference is going to birth a revival in my church, starting with the women. My church has been talking about the idea of revival for a lot of years. I’ve heard it many times. A revival, how cool would that be? But people seem tired. They seem half asleep. Everyone is overworked. Sometimes that can be discouraging. But personally I’m not willing to give up. My God doesn’t have limits like we do. Hallelujah – He is overflowing with power! So let’s spew spiritual coffee and spark the movement that is going to bring revival into this church. I love this church. And God loves it abundantly. He wants to see us healed, dancing, free!

Women being brave in the name of Jesus, that is the goal. Women healed. Women set free from bondage. Women alive. Women prophesying. Women redeemed. Women woken up from the dim day-to-day routine of their lives. Women speaking life into others. Women bringing the love of Jesus into their jobs.

It’s going to start with these saturated, infatuated, abundantly caffeinated women! goodvsevilcoffee

I ask that you would lift these things up in your prayers. Let’s cover this weekend encounter and all of these women in prayer so that they can be filled to overflowing with the presence of God.

Poop Happens. So grab a shovel and deal with it.

There was an eerie whistle coming off the fields; its source was unknown. Only vacant emptiness hung over the green wheaties for miles. The sky was a dull grey, creeping over the landscape like it was its own life form. All seemed…ugh what is that horrendous smell?

Manure season. That’s what. What a wretched time to live out in the country.

I would have loved to sit outside today and observed God’s creation from my rickety lawn chair. But unfortunately the air is clogging my windpipes. I will die out there.

Time to come in and seal all the windows. With duct tape. And fabreeze. And then maybe I will gag myself and make a blanket fort to hide under to try and trap out this horrific smell. I wish I’d thought ahead and invited a friend to come over to suffer through this with me. At least then I could complain about it and make mildly inappropriate potty-humour jokes to pass the time.

Life’s storms, eh? Sometimes they come in the form of spray manure.

Ironically enough, I feel like this is God showing me something incredibly important. And JUST when I thought I got everything He was trying to say, this happens. And I realize all over again that He is sending me a message.

His message isn’t that He wants to choke me in a hot vat of animal waste. It’s about attitude. It’s about what your heart is doing. God is really asking me in this season, Do you trust me?

Ugh. I do. I know I do. Just let me be in control this once, please?

Sometimes it’s insulting when God asks us to trust Him. I get in these “zones” where I think about my education and capability to be able to get things done correctly and I think I can do quite an excellent job. And then God shows up. Do you trust me? And I’m one mega fist-flying hissy fit away from burning my house down for no reason.

Last year my journey to the Love Encounter conference was not flat. And by that I mean I fell into valleys and had to climb mountains to get to the end. But staying on the right course, even if it’s the un-level one, is key. If I’d gone my own way I would have gotten distracted by pretty flowers along the side of the road and after pulling off for too long I would have gotten lost in the magical forest. I never would have had to climb the mountains or scale down the rocky valleys. That might have been nice. And the Love Encounter would have looked really pretty. But it would have been dry, and lifeless. Those mountains that I conquered shaped the vision of the LOVE Weekend and changed my heart to understand the true purpose of where God was going with it. I needed those hikes. Or I wouldn’t have gotten it.

This year God has been bringing me back to those moments, reminding me what He taught me back then so He can build on it this year. Last year we climbed mountains. But this year we are building towers.

“Brave”. That is the theme for this year’s conference. I can’t wait to watch what God is going to do with this. I can’t wait to stand among the bravest of women. And when the enemy starts to spit arrows, I’d like to fire a couple back. I was nervous at first. I was afraid to set out on this new adventure again. But God asked me to trust Him. This year is going to have new battles, but for the first time since this TLE ball got rolling, I’m not afraid. Instead of ducking behind a rock, I’m going to grab my theoretical bow and cling to God’s promise. And the moment He says “Go!”, boy oh boy, I’m going to charge!

What I don’t want to do is walk into the battle unprepared. That is just plain dumb on my part. But in order to be prepared I need to have the right attitude. I need to ready my mind and my heart to stand against the attitude-manure that is going to make me and this entire conference stink if I let it get too close. Set me free God, from this manure season! I want your sweet fragrance to fill the sanctuary all weekend. I don’t want to drag in my manure-smelling attitude. That can leave with the wind. Let’s get this right.

Now I need to go call my husband and tell him that when he gets home he’s going to just have to wait out the poop-storm in his truck. If he comes and opens the front door then my entire fortress will smell like the inside of a cow’s bowels. I can’t have that.

Kropf out.

When God Breathes. (Or Sneezes.)

ImageI did that thing again. The thing where I get the absurd idea that I can push forwards and figure out this dandy life all on my own. At what point am I going to realize that I’m not strong enough? I mean, I’m great. Sure. Maybe. Maybe not. But either way I’m stinking weak.

Me trying to run around and get things done for the Kingdom of God without actually taking a moment to consult God, is like me trying to build a Lego castle with my hands tied behind my back.

Now that would just be plain embarrassing. I’d have to use my feet.

When the Word of God speaks into my life I imagine God breathing right into me; inhale… exhale… redeemed. Forgiven. Shameless.

It takes time for God to breathe. Resting in his presence is pivotal when you’re trying to do something on His behalf. When I decide to take something He’s given me and run with it before He’s finished talking, or before I get the whole picture, I take God’s precious breaths and splatter them onto the world like a nasty sneeze. And that’s a bad representation of God. God doesn’t sneeze. He breathes.

God has so much to say. People misunderstand this because sometimes they shoot a prayer up to Heaven and don’t hear a reply. So they move on. But He’s talking. And He’s saying the most amazing things, things that could change your life, or your circumstance. Things that could call you into your destiny, or into an adventure.

What would God show you if you simply rested in his presence for twenty minutes? And don’t say you don’t have time. Twenty minutes is nothing. Twenty minutes is the amount of time it takes my husband to make a ham sandwich. Anyone can talk to God for twenty minutes.

Something that I’ve avoided telling the world thus far is that I’ve been writing nonfiction novels since I was fifteen years old. I probably have about thirty novels sitting on my laptop right now that are around 100 pages in Microsoft Word. I do it as a hobby. It was always my way to relax after a rough day at work or at school. Depending on where I was working in the past, sometimes I wrote 4 – 5 novels a month. I’d sit down with a great opening line or a mind boggling concept and in three days I would polish off a whole book, which resulted in a lot of series writing.

This, though fun, has also been a crutch for me. It’s so easy to dive into a place that’s not real and disappear for a while, instead of taking responsibility for the things that God is telling me to do by simply ‘holding off’ on them until I’m ‘ready’. So when I come up for air from my book-universes I take off running with the last thing I can remember that God told me, and get confused as to why it seems like I’m starting to veer off in the wrong direction.

I feel like this could be solved so easily if I just took twenty minutes to have a conversation with Him before I start plowing forwards. But I’m constantly forgetting. I love writing, a little too much, in a borderline-obsessive kind of way. I think that most writers have a story inside of them that’s relentlessly trying to get out at least 83% of the time. And I don’t consider that to be a curse, I consider it to be a gift. But I have to make time for God, I must. Or I’ll stop in the middle of the journey somewhere and realize that I don’t know even know where I am. And those moments are the worst. It makes me restless. I usually turn into a bear.

God breathes. And it’s so refreshing. It’s like sinking into a hot bath with pomegranate scented bubbles.

People spend years and thousands of dollars on things that they think can give them a moment of relief like that; therapy, vacations, spa days, whatever. And that stuff can be fab. But none of it will make a difference if your mind is restless – if you haven’t made things right with God.

Twenty minutes of letting Him breathe into you. Please just try it. It’s free.

Kropf out.

Lattes with a dude that has a really cool beard, historically. We think.

People just need to know that Martha wasn’t crazy. In fact she was probably the normal-est one in the building. She was just busting her butt, preparing food for Jesus and his disciples, organizing the details and getting things ready for everyone so they could all chow down. My first impression of her was that she was the true hero of the story – the one we should all be more like. When I was younger I never understood why Jesus sided with Mary, the lazy one. At least that was how I saw it. Mary sat at Jesus’s feet instead of helping Martha who was doing everything. Truly, I never got this. If I was Martha I’d have started coughing really loudly to get Mary’s attention at this point, and then when she looked I would have mustered up my most grotesque death-stare. How come Martha had to do all the work? And again, why in the world would Jesus side with Mary? I’d be all like, “Get off your arse Mary, and start killing some chickens!”

Clearly it never sunk into my mind the importance of spending time with Jesus versus organizing things for one of His inspirations. This story always baffled me, right up until this year.

Some of you may know that at the end of August I’m putting on an event called, “The Love Encounter”. It’s been a real faith jump for me and it’s freaked me out to the point of a near-psychotic meltdown on more than one occasion. This is because I tend to invest a lot of time into details. I went to college for Advertising, so I’m really good at promoting events like this. I’m also really fancy with posters, creating promo materials, videos, web, fundraising and a variety of other things that would have been PERFECT for this event. But God said to wait.

BAH!

That’s the worst. I hate waiting. It’s like how a two year old probably feels when she has to wait to eat her birthday cake after it’s been sitting out on the counter all day. Even as a child I had issues with that. My birthday, my sisters’ birthday, my brother’s birthday, my mothers, fathers, who cares. I would steal the candies off the top of the cake regardless of whose cake it was, which usually resulted in a lot of annoyed people investigating later. But nobody gets to dangle a chocolaty masterpiece in front of me for a whole day. It’s basically rude.

Well what God showed me from this simple story, and what I hope you take from it as well, is that the details; the flashy lights, the colourful costumes, the loud music, the tiny little pamphlets that someone hands you at the door…those things are a nice touch but they aren’t as important as His ministry time. I think it’s natural to fuss over the details – there’s a lot to do and a lot to get ready. And frankly I like flashy things. But God has been pressing the story of Mary and Martha into me hard, saying, “Just do as Mary did. Spend time with me. That’s all. I’ll take care of the rest.” That was basically an invitation for anxiety to take over and send me plunging off the nearest bridge. I lack self-control and have too much control all at the same time. God wanted control of this event though. And so I waited, checking my watch every few seconds mind you, but I waited. I put all the details on hold and started just hanging out in God’s presence. I’ve done basically nothing for this Love Encounter so far, because God keeps telling me to wait and simply rest at His feet. And you won’t believe what’s been happening.

First, I’ve had people come up to me and basically volunteer to do things for this event before I even had to form the sentence to ask. My team has started falling into place without me having to raise a finger. Everyone has been stepping up to the plate the moment I say the words, “The Love Encounter” and somehow all the fidgety flashy details just don’t seem that necessary, and the ones that are necessary are coming together on their own. It’s still a trust thing – I have a fear of the weekend coming and looking ridiculous and going off poorly and having that all come back on me. But God keeps his promises. And I had to realize that if I want God to move at this event, I need to do things His way. And if under twenty people show up – that’s His way. That was his plan. Those twenty people are his priority. If two hundred people show up – that’s His way. I think part of the reason that God told me not to advertise was simply because I know how to do it. I think this is him testing me. He wants to see if I’ll really let him take care of the details Himself when I know exactly how I could do everything. Well, so far He has been taking care of it. I’ve been chillin’.

My only job for this for a long time was to drink a latte and spend time with a guy who in most historical paintings has a great beard, and who loves me beyond what I can imagine. Crap, how can I say no to that? All He wants to do is show me His love. His power exceeds my understanding. The details are all coming together, without me fussing over them. Quite frankly, God doesn’t need my help to plan an event. Maybe it’s time for me to just get out of His way.

God’s been pressing into me that in order for me to speak of and demonstrate His love at The Love Encounter, I need to first experience it and see just how far and how deep it goes. God loves me. Wow. I really don’t deserve that. But He needs me to see it before I preach it.

Now I command thee again (or recommend I suppose, to be nice) to spend ten minutes with the King of Kings yourself, even if you haven’t done it in years, even if you’ve never done it in your life. Just see what happens. Sometimes God likes to blow our minds. Sometimes He’s just asking us to spend a little time with Him and it can be enough to transform our anxiety into peace and give us a better understanding. So be with the one who loves you – there’s no need for shame. God doesn’t dig that. He has no hidden agenda. He doesn’t want anything from you. He just wants you. (Thanks CS Lewis).

Later players.