2017-2018 Monday, Jan 14 2019 

From the blog post before this one, and the following year of my life, it’s not difficult to pinpoint some obvious blessings. 2017 brought refreshing and healing, but mostly only in contrast to 2016. Honestly, most days have felt like I was in a war ever since the start of 2016. Be it small or big, a war each day none-the-less. However, let me start with the good highlights. 

Vinnie and I continued visiting each other almost every other month after the Africa trip. The Lion King on broadway during a day in NYC as my birthday present was a highlight. We celebrated my cousin Jennifer’s wedding to Brandon in a glowing chapel between mossy trees, near the water of Charleston, SC… On a hike in the mountains of Tennessee after that wedding, Vinnie proposed to me. It was private, at the top of a waterfall we had climbed. That was in October 2017. We married in April of 2018 and spent a few days in a quiet mountain cabin (that were sweetly gifted to us). Quickly after, we loaded a uhaul and my car to make the drive/move to New Jersey near Vinnie’s family. About a week after the move, we honeymooned in Iceland for 10 days, a self-drive tour around the whole island. We had both dreamed of going there before we met. The landscapes were the most breathtaking I’ve ever seen. Vinnie already had multiple part-time jobs, and preached occasionally at his church. Thanks to my boss’ referral, I got another flexible job in event decorating. Renting an in-home apartment from family friend’s of Vinnie’s to live, we started doing RTF (Restoring the Foundations) ministry sessions with people in a church office (like we were both trained). Some months into marriage now, those have really picked up to keep us busy. It feels so much better to do the ministry WITH him. We’re good partners, and we use it at home, too. God lined up everything for us, beyond what we could have planned, and into the smallest details. Since marriage, my Mom visited and we flew to Canada to attend my cousin Aaron’s wedding to Kristin. It was on Stag Island, a small river island community reached by ferry, with only bikes and four wheelers for vehicles. Vinnie tried waterskiing for the first time as it’s an island family tradition to ski at 7am every morning. The tradition was not skipped by the bride even on her wedding day, Fahrenheit temperature in the 40’s that early in the morning, while we were there in September on Vinnie’s birthday. 

Health :

Of course there were other challenges, but the biggest challenge has been my health. I’m writing this to update anyone who desires to know, in good detail. People have asked and been told in part, but it has just been difficult to figure out how to write it “correctly.” I’m going to give the “facts” of my journey. 

Right after our engagement, I was sent to a hematologist/oncologist for having a high platelet count, peaking at a little more than a million and a half (200,000-400,000 would be healthy for me). There I was diagnosed with Essential Thrombocythemia. It is one of three types of Myeloprolific Neoplasms (rare blood cancers). It is caused by a mutation in the persons DNA that tells their bone marrow to produce too many blood platelets. It is not inherited, but developed from an unknown cause. They have no real cure. However, this is NOT cancer as most people know it. It’s a blood condition; and although it can contribute to things like clots, strokes, heart attack, hemorrhaging, slow blood flow, pains, etc; the condition itself is NOT life threatening and can be lived with and managed. The medications for it are limited and not nice, starting with a low-dose of a chemo-like pill that lowers the platelet count. This is what I started on, and stayed on for a year. At first, my fatigue, pains, headaches, and issues with cardio exercise went away as the platelets dropped; but then my skin developed dry patches, my periods got worse and increased to two a month, my immune system was compromised, and my hormones lost balance. I was already in a rough place and had just grieved my Father, so I didn’t connect that my inability to control my stress and emotions that entire year was actually the medication. During the times I was taking a high dose, I had my worst breakdowns. Those were leading into January 2018 which is when I got Mononucleosis. I was also in turmoil leading into marriage about birth control because of the risks of getting pregnant for the baby while on the chemo pill. Also, being high-risk if I got pregnant while platelets were high. Birth control pills themselves, increasing a risk of clotting… It’s surrendered to Jesus. haha. 

In the first couple weeks of mono my tonsils swole so large they were cutting off my airway, hence a wrong diagnosis and antibiotic, then a steroid. [Side Note: Vinnie was working day and night in NJ during the winter which probably caused him to be sick Christmas day with his family, and to total his car in the beginning of January. After his car accident, he flew down to settle up with Mom on getting my Dad’s truck. That gave us a couple days together, but besides that visit, we were apart for a little over 4 months leading up to the wedding.] The steroid helped symptoms but then the mono exhaustion and low fever came right back as my stress levels and immune system were still compromised. The mono medications kickstarted what I thought was a yeast infection. It ended up being (or perhaps turned into after treating yeast) bacterial. It wasn’t until well into marriage that we realized it was a UTI. An upper bladder infection, with multiple bacterias. Until this, I had NO IDEA how truly debilitating a UTI could get, or how intensely it could effect my emotions, mind, and energy.

ALL IN ALL, I had 5 months of mono and pretty much 7+ months of UTI stuff; two months of antibiotics for the UTI, and still months of management “things.” Plus about 4 cold-like viruses after moving to New Jersey, two of which turned into sinus infections. I thought I used to get sick a lot before, but I have never had a year like this one. It’s one thing to catch a lot of things, it’s another thing to not be able to get over them; even with every natural trick in the book and good diet. ** During all of that, I planned a wedding and packed to move, then executed the two. I have no shame, I am bragging here, lol. However, THAT was the GRACE OF GOD (and help). 

Note: I know so many people that have it so much worse. I just want to say to everyone who has dealt with long, chronic ailments, or invisible illness: I honor you for the years of fight. When you’ve seen every doctor, tried every medication, diet, herb, supplement, oil, etc; received every prayer, caste out every demon, repented of every sin, declared every scripture, rested, exercised, googled, spoken life, forgiven everybody, dealt with every emotion, done all the inner and external healing, and surrendered it to God… I don’t care what people say out of ignorance, you’re a beast. 

Faithfulness :

When I couldn’t get out of bed the morning of my wedding, friends dropped gifts at my doorstep containing a t-shirt that said “Not Today Satan.” — When the wedding and move were over and I was in total exhaustion, I got really sick. Mono was dragging out like a sloth. God told Vinnie it would be done in Iceland. I was not well, but we went on our honeymoon in faith. As I got over jet lag, the mono left too. — It just so happened that the father of the family we are renting from is a doctor. He handles my bloodwork, and was the one that figured out the UTI, getting me the right medication and help. Seriously, I practically have a live-in doctor. Only God! — Just in the past few years I joined a Christian sharing plan (insurance alternative). The majority of the medical bills I’ve paid out of pocket, the finances were restored with a check that came right after out honeymoon. 

Now, Vinnie and I went to the annual regional conference this October to gather with the other RTF ministers. Great worship, extra training, updates, and practice. I’ll sum it up by saying I had a significant healing experience there. I’ve been instantly healed of things before, but this was a little different. It began with a British woman approaching to pray for/practice on me during one of our workshops. She said, “Hello! My name is Elizabeth and I go by Liz.” I said exactly the same thing to her. She prayed over my health issues and then it started. It concluded almost an hour later with just me in our hotel room. I don’t know how to explain it other than it’s “done” but it’s still going on. Immediately after, people said I looked different. I felt different. I thought different. I was lighter and had more energy. Even though God gave me peace to take the chemo pill in the beginning of my diagnosis, he made it clear that day that that time was over. Minus a stomach bug right after this 2019 new year, I have not been ill since this happened in October, and can feel how much easier it is to recover from things without the medication. I am soooo much better, and yet it has still been a daily battle, just different. 

I always value what difficulty teaches me, but it’s not about everything that I learned in this, or what God showed me or didn’t show me. It’s about my dependency on Him. 

As far as a life and ministry update: Vinnie and I are working, doing RTF sessions, enjoying friends, family, our church and married life. We were taking this year to settle into marriage, heal, and for me to recover. The goal is to be full time in ministry/missions, and to take RTF around the world. We have a lot of options and open doors/ people and nations that really want it. Our connections put together are already pretty broad. We are willing to go anywhere God calls us and could easily just start on a line-up, but for now, we are called here. God knew exactly what we needed. When we get another “go” from God, I can explain more about what we do, goals, prayer and financial support (when applicable), and maybe get my blog/Vinnie’s website/RTF website/and some sort of newsletter all connected and going… but not right now. It’s 11pm. 

Africa, Hope, and Dirt – 2017 (16and15)  Thursday, Jul 20 2017 


I guess I’ll give a rundown of life since my last blog before I dive into this one. In between work and things, at some point I went to North Korea with a choir of people from many different nations. I cannot write much about that on here… A few months after that, I applied to go through a training in inner healing/deliverance prayer ministry. It’s called Restoring the Foundations (RTF), which I encountered when I was in South Africa in Harvest School the year before. The training was in North Carolina and lasted the first five months of 2016. 2016 was horrible for many reasons. However, in the midst of the worst year of my life, my Father was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer and died a little over a month after I returned home from training.

In the grieving process, God told me to “Go talk to Hope again.” Years before when I was in the prayer tower of an orphanage/mission base in Zambia, I met an “African child” named “Hope” in a vision. Conversations with Jesus and Hope were an odd part of my healing, but through it I felt like I should go back to Zambia. I didn’t know why, but I wanted to go back to the prayer tower, and also just sit in the dirt in Africa. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about third-world… village dirt… that helps me get my head on straight. Ever since Dad’s death, I had the overwhelming need to go sit in a village with a Momma and her kids that can’t understand a word I say. I finally went for the whole month of May. (Minus the fact I was 3 days late because of illness). When I arrived, I met the baby who was recently left at their mission base gate, 2am in the rain. Although common in other places I’ve been, this is rare there. Later, I found out her birth name is Hope.

I flew out of New York and stayed a week before and after with my boyfriend, Vinnie and his family there. Vinnie and I became friends during RTF training, and he stayed in touch afterwards during the nightmare of Dad’s last days and death. The rest of that year was turmoil for me, with Vinnie loving me like Jesus, and me in a sometimes numb sometimes internally violent confusion over it. That’s all another story. 2017 brought some freshness. It was supernatural how God called Vinnie to Zambia too, months before, but it didn’t happen until the very last minute. He arrived two weeks after me, and did RTF ministry and classes with the kids and staff, for which they were very grateful and blessed. They are family to us now.


I spent some days crying, praying, or cooking alone in my flat. Some days were full of tree climbing, dancing, kids, village walks, errands, and loud prayer meetings. A couple teens and our friend Kennedy would take us to see his “family,” and then around the village to whoever needed prayer that given day. I had forgotten how this made me feel… doing the only thing that makes me feel fully me, fully happy, like I had never known myself before. It’s not complicated there, it can’t be complicated. It’s the simple gospel. Jesus is the answer to everything and they have no other answers. Vinnie is in shock at the miracles and I’m finally home again like I am in so many similar places. People healed and delivered – from torment and witchcraft, from pain they’ve had for years, from sickness and headaches, from a painful rash all over her body that disappeared… Three lame people got up and walked… This is the simple gospel. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. This is God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10.


Now, for IT. The one I can’t get out of my head is the girl they took us to that was “tormented by demons.” I felt intrusive as Kennedy took us inside the mud hut without invitation, and then into the side room. The dirt floors are nicely swept with blankets spread out. There’s a young woman pressed against the corner, covering her face, trying to hide from us. Kennedy urged us to approach her when she would not come. Knowing that the blanketed floor was the bed, I said, “Our feet are so dirty, are you sure it’s okay?” With him urging us still, we took off our sandals to slowly walk over on our equally nasty feet. I’ve done plenty of deliverances and prayed many prayers, but a gentleness and love took over me that was beyond my own for just a minute. I reached out to take her hand. She did not reach for mine, but opened hers just enough for me to hold it. I prayed and told the spirit of fear to get out in Jesus name. The next time we saw her she was NOT the same. The next week she smiled, thanked us, sat with us, and laughed with her baby. Looking back on it, and the tangible love that was beyond me, it makes sense. Only Love can cast out fear. 1 John 4:18.

I was shortly hospitalized with Dengue Fever within 12 hours of returning to Tennessee, but recovered well, yet frustrated. Re-entry is never easy for me, but I kept feeling like I had missed something, or didn’t get enough of… whatever it was. On top of paying hospital bills without insurance and counter-culture shock, I’m still processing that bad year and trying to make major decisions. There were multiple “miscarried promises,” in my words, so I’ve been grieving more than Dad. Just being real, I would declare through tears that God is still God, and good, and faithful, but the faithful part I was mostly trying to convince myself of. After Dads death, I trusted God because I had no other option but to trust Him, not because I really believed Him. Hope was my initial healing, but rebuilding trust and faith have been step by step. So tonight, I sat down with Jesus repenting, praying and started in on one of our discussions with me venting all the ways I don’t trust Him so He can heal a little more. Always best to talk to Truth, Himself. However, some worship song came on that got me on my face in tears. It’s a strange thing to have the tangible glory and presence of the triune God come in and INTERRUPT your regular chat with Jesus. Doesn’t make a lot of sense, but when the weighty presence of God shows up in all that He is, you cannot stop from worshiping Him. All my words, questions, concerns, even praise, are no longer relevant. I can’t do anything else but worship the God of the universe on my face, and LOVE walks up to me, gently takes my hand, looks me in the eyes, and tells fear to go.

That year, I was reminded that when I can feel no other joys in life, God begins the task of getting me back to just the “joy of my salvation.” I’m still waiting to feel it like I did, and understand it more, but it’s simple. It’s the simple gospel which is simply Him. He is my salvation and joy. He is the only real joy, everything else is a reflection.

South Africa and Mozambique Saturday, Dec 13 2014 

Harvest School 21 – the nomads

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I could write about traveling with an awesome 200 people from 30 different nations; the amazing people that taught and what they imparted into us; living in a Johannesburg backyard tent-city; zebras outside our Nelspruit classroom; dancing around a South African living room with a healed woman after her 8 years of crippling pain ended with a 5 minute prayer; Iris Ministries in the red Mozambican dirt; the value of water and Indian Ocean baths; Pemba hitchhiking and how God healed the leg of the Muslim woman that picked us up; the 6 hour camion ride to an African village to show the Jesus film; the mute girl that taught me so much; baptisms in the bush-bush; or the number of hands of our pastors that were raised when Heidi asked how many had lost family members to death by starvation. Or, I could talk about how desperately in love I am with Jesus, and how utterly dependent I am on Him; or how much I am NOT desperately in love with and dependent on Him – realizing how much more dependent and in love I could be… However, honestly, what I really want to do right now is decapitate the spirit of religion, control, and performance. With this I’ll proceed:
Yes, as followers of Jesus we are called to preach the good news, preach truth, save the lost, disciple believers, heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, and see signs/wonders/miracles follow us as we manifest God’s Kingdom on earth. However, how often do people in church judge and measure by these things, saying “A tree is known by its fruit.”? (Matt 7:20). We refer to salvations, miracles, churches planted, etc. as “fruit.” What does the Bible actually refer to as fruit? “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Gal 5:22. Yet, how many view excessive joy as immature and irreverent; peace and patience as lacking back bone; or self-control as optional? To be known by our good fruit would be to be known by the love among us (John 13:35). May everyone re-define the fruit of their ministries and their lives by these things because, “many will say to [Jesus] ‘Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform miracles?’ Then [He] will tell them plainly, ‘I never KNEW you. Away from me…” Matt 7:22-23. — As deeply as I hurt to see all people meet Jesus, be healed, and spend eternity with Him in heaven, even salvations are not my success. I have no control over who receives Jesus and who rejects Him, but I have only to know Him and be known by Him, to love and be loved. (The word “to know” speaking of intimacy.) “All fruitfulness flows from intimacy,” and it is my purpose to be one with Him – producing the fruits of the spirit, the things of His character. People can choose to eat and be blessed, or not. Every day we choose who and what and what parts we take/eat from.

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After some struggles in the beginning of the journey, a powerful class day in Jo-burg, and receiving a prophecy, I lay on the ground soaking it all in. I asked God if there was anything else He wanted to say before I got up for lunch. HA! He said, “Strength for the day.” I thought, “Seriously? After all that, that’s it? Just for today?” God said, “You don’t need strength for the whole world right now. Every morning rely on me for the strength for the day. Today, that is what I give you.” Praise God. I can only bear what He has planted inside of me through intimacy. I can only know Him with what He has shown me. I can only love Him with the love He has given me. Everything is from Him and to Him. He is joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I can do nothing other than yield myself to the One who is everything good, the God who IS LOVE. May you bear fruit by resting in Him. May you receive strength for today. May you know and love Him, right now, in this moment.

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Love and Power Friday, Feb 14 2014 

*Love is vulnerable. It can be taken advantage of.*

I see fear sometimes on faithful Christians and ministers, a fear that the over-emphasis of grace and God’s love for us, (and under-emphasis of God’s holiness, conviction, power, and purity), will produce mediocre, compromising, ungrateful, self-focused Christians. People that take advantage of His love, not returning that love or fearing God.

*Love is vulnerable. It can be taken advantage of, but that is it’s nature.*

Knowing Him is a balance. However, I believe when one has a TRUE REVELATION of God’s love and seeks to know how DEEP His love really is… they will not find it’s depth without encountering His holiness and power. Love and power/holiness go hand-in-hand in the spirit, and both flow mixed in His veins. It’s hard to see His love without seeing His power, when gazing with unveiled faces. You cannot know the greatness of His love without encountering His greatness in the pursuit.

*Love is vulnerable. It can be taken advantage of, but that is it’s nature. Love, the most powerful thing known to man, chooses vulnerability in all of it’s might and greatness. God is Love.* (1Jn4:8)

All the greatness, mysteries, power, and expanse of the Being of God, cannot be separated from His Love.

The More Tuesday, Sep 17 2013 

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After a night on the mountain in June with my dear friend, I sat in the breakfast room staring out the window at the miles and miles of beautiful blue-green Smokey Mountains. A cardinal flew from window to window looking inside, trying to get into the nice house. I eventually thought, “Ridiculous bird, once you got in here and explored, you would get stuck and want back out into the mountain air.” Then I realized, sometimes I’m as dumb as a bird. My life calling that God is slowly revealing is NOT practical nor socially approved in many ways. Also, being in a waiting place is not pleasant. I had just complained to God, “Why couldn’t you have called me to an established career! Or a family! Or a typical American life!?” I must look like that bird trying to get in this perfect home that looks so nice from outside. That bird was not made for a house, it was given wings. It was not made to be trapped; it was made to live in the skies and the rolling Appalachians.

“I believe that God totally, absolutely, intentionally gives us more than we can handle. Because this is when we surrender to Him and He takes over, proving Himself by doing the impossible in our lives.” – Katie Davis ‘Kisses from Katie.’ I think it was almost a year before Haiti when we were in prayer. David grabbed my hands and prophesied: “What God is about to give you, you are going to need BOTH hands to receive.” Be ready for the more.

Our three shadows were behind us as we stood on the white rocky street between cacti and concrete walls. The fourth, a young Haitian man we had just met, was on his knee unloading his backpack full of mangoes into our hands. Zach had shared the gospel with him and I had run to get one of our French Bibles for him. For that, he acted as if he wanted to give us everything. I finally said, “Thank you, thank you! No more! You do not owe us anything. We simply cannot carry anymore.” He laughed through a sweet embarrassed smile, thanked us, and walked away, turning around one last time to wave goodbye. We stood, balancing all the mangoes in our arms.

A few months later, I was back in another house prayer meeting in the U.S. In the middle of it all (worship and such) little Isabelle (about 4yrs old) came to me and made me hold out both of my hands so she could put something in them. Digging deep in her pockets, (I thought I was about to get some food she found on the floor or something), she places something in my hands. There was nothing there. She continued to dig in every pants pocket she had, dropping “it” in my hands. Finally, she turned her front pockets inside out. I sat, holding nothing but air in my hands, as Isabelle moved on to Katie next to me. I smiled at Katie and this pretend game, saying, “It’s spiritual blessings. Haha.” This was actually more than a pretending child, it was a prophetic act. “[Lord of Heaven and earth] You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” Matthew 11:25. “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4. When I thought of God doing towards me what Isabelle had done, emptying her pockets into my hands, it brought me to tears.  The blood of Jesus was everything, and through Him, we have all things. God’s pockets are not empty, in fact, they never are.

Arms full of mangoes, arms full of children that just climbed me like a tree, hands full of air, hands full of blessings, hands full of God… I’m just thankful that even when I’m emptied out, it’s only to become full again. That’s the way God works when you just believe it. “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory…” Ephesians 3:20.

Zambia Wednesday, Jun 12 2013 

This is my late Zambia blog:

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The first morning, we were welcomed into a bush church. Emma’s Kid’s choir sang, people worshipped, and they danced to the front of the church with the offering. Bouncing butts and smiling big, they wrapped us in Chetenge material, piled vegetables and fruits at our feet, and handed us live chickens (dinner). We stood tightly crammed into the back of the big truck, bumping along the dirt road, ducking to miss branches and chewing on some unidentifiable fruit. I talked with the children and Collins (my new Zambian friend who is in the process of becoming a missionary pilot (my father is also a pilot for small planes)). I kept turning away though, to tell the tears not to come out of my eyes. I had entered Zambia almost emotionless, but was punched in the gut with a pain I had not expected.

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All of this was very normal to me, their life and culture. It was like coming home. I had stepped into familiar Haiti again for the first time in a year. However, I was looking into the faces of children that were not mine. Where were my brothers? sisters? children? My Haitian family? It wasn’t Haiti. In fact, it wasn’t even the same hemisphere. It was the strangest feeling I have ever experienced. I had a lot deeper issues to work through in those first few days besides the fact I kept trying to talk to everyone in Creole. I don’t feel God is done with me in Haiti, but I also don’t feel Haiti will be permanent. Zambia was step-one: away from Haiti, and to other nations. I faced the guilt of going elsewhere when Haitian children are texting me, praying for me to come back. Why couldn’t God make it easy and just call me to one group of children?! What I’m learning though, is that children are never ours to begin with. (Thank you, Mrs. Cheri). Like Abraham, I have to lay Isaac on the altar and simply believe God had a purpose for giving him to me. Now I find myself laying not just the Haiti kids and my future children on the altar, but my life calling in general. None of what I have actually belongs to me; it’s all a gift. Hold everything you have with open hands.
*So my heart is torn into pieces
and scattered around the world.*
Yet, the pieces are mostly happy, held by little hands. I remember shortly after Haiti: “Liz, the Lord is breaking you like bread for the nations. Do not despise the breaking process.” –Janet.

                There’s a knock on my door after sleeping off a sinus infection, day two. (The affects of three travel days without sleep). Three sweet Zambian girls peek in with thick accents, “Collins wants to know if you are feeling better… and can we plait your hair?” They teach me songs in Bemba, and I teach them the cup game. I play with first graders, we worship with Peter and Alick, get to know the Egyptian doctor, host government officials, dedicate Patrick’s Porch (the purpose of the trip and a whole story in itself), perform a silk banner dance, dance until sundown, spend time in the prayer tower, hand out gifts, and we’re sad to leave. The team, missionary hosts (Wikelund family), Collins, Xavier, Tika, and baby Tika join us back to Lusaka from Mufilira. Thus began two ridiculously relaxing days in a grass hut at the Safari Lodge. The moans of lions wake me in the morning, frogs jump out of the toilet, deer/antelope lick my wrist, monkey’s leap through the grass, baby Tika is tied to my back, we watch Duck Dynasty on a laptop in the loft, and there’s more good food than I could ever eat. Our last night is spent at Flying Mission Zambia, closer to the main airport.

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I’m on my way back, flying over the Sahara before I realize why I was miraculously sent. Unlike Haiti, I didn’t see any crazy miracles, salvations, deliverances, do evangelism, preach or anything of the like. Zambia was a short trip with better living conditions. Honestly, it felt more like a vacation. If anything, I returned with my joy back and a clear mind. (God cares about things like that, you know. You can’t function as the Christian you’re supposed to be without the fullness of His joy). Anyways, I’m sitting on the plane reading letters from Collins and the girls. They wrote them just like the Haitians did after only a week! Then God says, “Who are you to think you can determine what is most fruitful in my Kingdom? If it was only for one person… I can accomplish just as much in one week in that one, than your four months of harvest season in Haiti.” His ways are higher than mine. I’m a grain of sand in the Sahara.
“I was coming to understand that what it means to be real is to love and be loved until there is nothing left. And when there’s nothing left, and we feel we’re all in pieces, God begins to make us whole. He makes us real. His love sets us free and transforms us.” –Kisses from Katie

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Weeding the Garden Sunday, Apr 14 2013 

“Lord, weed the garden of my heart again!” was the cry to God that came out of me several weeks back. It was spoken without much thought of how perfect that analogy is, but the words raged up out of the depths of me.

Going back about three years ago, I remember a totally different season of my life. It was time for something similar – house cleaning. Being so excitedly desperate for God to take over every part of me, I ran, shoving boxes and boxes out of the windows of my soul as fast as I could go. However, out of the corner of my eye, I saw that one falling box I had just shoved out the window was marked “Jesus.” I grasped the window in a moment of horrific panic. I felt someone behind me and turned around to see that it was Jesus himself. He held me, laughed, and said, “It’s okay honey, that was everything you thought about me that was false… things you thought up or things the world and people told you that were wrong about me. I want to replace it with more of my truth.” Over the next painful and freeing year of my life, that is exactly what happened. Sometimes, He’s not putting the pieces of your life back together – He is making ALL THINGS NEW! (1 Corinthians 5:17).

Now, a few weeks ago, a few hours after praying that prayer for God to weed the garden of my heart, He showed me myself in clarity and counseled me (Isaiah 9:6), revealing the roots of my emotions and removing them. As He took out things like fear and rejection in a matter of just minutes, I said, “I’ve already been free from those! Why were they there?!” God said, “I have to continuously weed the garden of your heart, just like any garden on earth! This is why it is important to be alone with me sometimes; it is part of following me. The weeds were small and not yet choking your plants or affecting your fruit, but they were there, growing from the seeds that were thrown at you. Let me weed regularly and then I will also water!” That He did, refreshing every part of my heart. So, if you are in need of rain, weeding may have to happen first. Let the gardener do His work.

God Thursday, Mar 28 2013 

I’m imagining a person who has been blind and deaf their whole life. If that person were to suddenly gain sight, what a shock it would be to them! I assume they would have an overload of emotions. For that reason, you would not be wise to instantly have them stare at a sunrise, gaze at a complex colorful painting, or watch a movie with a lot of special effects. Easing them into such things would probably make it easier for their mind. If they later gained their hearing, you would not, within the hour, take them to a concert. However, with every new discovery in these senses, it becomes more apparent to the person that there is “so much more” to be experienced in this way.

That is what meeting God is like. As He displays glory, truth, and love in all of His beauty, it’s obvious there is “so much more.” There is always another part of God to know better. He is from everlasting to everlasting. This is our hope. This is our humility. So, we can always find the door, and step out of that same grey room, or step out of that nice little house we’ve been in. Walk His streets, move through His mountains, and over oceans, and into oceans, and over clouds, and into the other universes of all that God is, Jesus our guide to Himself.  For He has been, is, and forever will be, Yahweh.

Then when you go back and find people in their houses, with His grace, show them the trees in their yard before you race them into the sky. Let discipleship be done the way Jesus did it in you. Crawl, then toddle, then walk, then run, but don’t run too fast. Let those people show you what they saw in their house that you were moving too fast to see. These are the secrets of our glorious God and each one is precious and valuable, just like the jewels that are hidden in every person made in His image.

Happy New Year Everyone! Wednesday, Jan 2 2013 

From my end of 2012:

Just as the colors fade, the leaves fall, and the bitter cold brings clouds that shade the land with winter weather, something happens in the atmosphere. The conditions would freeze rain or throw sleet but instead, the ice falls soft and slow. This glittering dust magically white-washes the dull grey season, covering creation. (In moderation) Only my God could take something so cold and hard and make something like that happen. There’s nothing but miles and miles of snow covered, flat Indiana fields on either side of the highway, frozen creeks, and a circular rainbow around the blinding sun. The voice of the earth exalts the Lord and hits me with its familiar frequency. We are driving back south from seeing some family in Chicago. Tomorrow is New Years Eve.

It’s been a good year, but after Haiti, difficult for many reasons. I’m thankful for the freedoms I’ve had my whole life in my nation and the wealth and blessings made available. Yet, the greatest poverty I have seen is in the U.S. and westernized cultures. To have a great need, and be ignorant of it’s existence. To be thirsty, but reject the water given to you. To be hungry, but ignore the feast before you claiming you are full. Full of ability, control, and pride keeping you from the One that gave you life itself. You can see your wants but you are blinded to need. In America is this most heartbreaking poverty I’ve ever seen. -Job 8:13-15&5:17-20- The U.S., appropriately is my “home” and much more difficult to minister in than Haiti. I have not seen much more than a few sick healed since returning. -Mark 6:5-6- Things that should be so simple become complicated. I so want America to see their need for God, to find Love and realize that He is a Person. I love where I live and am glad for the time I’m here, but my heart is elsewhere… but maybe it is always elsewhere as long as I’m in this world. God has been teaching me a lot, mostly through things that have pained my heart (or body). Some things, I have not figured out the lesson in them yet. Even so, I feel incredibly blessed.

In this icy holiday season, I flashback to the blazing hot climate in Haiti to a memory that’s been on my mind lately: We were racing “motos” down the rocky, dusty street in Croix des Bouquets. The land itself is beautiful and Haiti is a pleasant place to me simply because of the people in it. However, you do not ride through a city street without seeing “third-world” scenes, some ruble left from the horrific earthquake, and smelling burning trash. In our first few weeks, this was my first time riding a motorcycle, ever. I was behind Wesly on his moto, getting thrown into the air with the last few bumps as we “won” the race. We then turned onto the semi-paved road and took off, eventually weaving through traffic. I yelled, “Where are we going?” Wesly responded in his thick Haitian accent, “Somewhere.” That was totally a Caribbean answer. Being newer to the island it took me a minute, then I realized I was totally okay with that answer. So, this is my life right now: I’m on a moto, passing the pleasant and not-so-pleasant, going “somewhere.” I don’t know where, but I don’t think I care because I’m not the driver. I never have been the driver, I never will be, and I like it this way because I know Who He is.

May 20, 2012 – Jesus is my home (oldblog) Wednesday, Dec 26 2012 

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My last week in Haiti was the most intensely scheduled and fruitful week there. It was great to have people that I knew from Tennessee come in. Steve Hepperly and his son Taylor came, along with Michael, who was a newer believer at their church. We hit the ground running. Gabriel made announcements in Creole into a microphone while Steve held the loud speaker on top of the bus while we drove through a village. At nightfall we showed the Jesus film, preached the gospel, and gave testimonies to a large turnout. As Becca and I prayed off the rain and voodoo drums, haha, Steve and Mike prayed powerfully over the people. Another day, in one morning, we visited four different schools to share the message of Jesus, give testimonies, and encourage the kids. Amazingly, we got into a massive public school (there are not many of those compared to the U.S.). In that school, we split up into three different groups and went through every classroom really quickly! I was with Zachary and Kelsey, and Wesly was translating for us. We took turns doing Way of the Master with each class full of about 50 energetic kids each! I lead it with two or three amazing classes. One class, after they all said “Amen” at the end of the ‘sinners prayer’ to Jesus, they erupted in cheers! They had no way of really knowing we were done talking to them, but I could see the joy of the Lord on their faces and filling the room as they felt their sins washed clean. Fifty kids, literally, jumping up with their hands in the air, huge smiles, and applauding. That same afternoon we went to a prison. We dropped off some Bibles with the workers and went around to every cell, doing Way of the Master, giving testimonies, talking with and praying for the inmates. All were very open to the message of Jesus and a few were physically healed. They would have ten or more men living in a cell about the size of my college dorm room. Many short conversations with them broke my heart. Overall, there was definitely way over 1,000 new brothers and sisters brought into the Kingdom in just one week. Glorious! It wasn’t even over!
We headed towards some other mountains into the countryside where Gabriel and Roldan were originally from. There was something about this place that felt more like home than anywhere else. If I were to go back to live and minister in a place, it would be this area. This area around Gonaive, in Artebonite, is one of the most central places for demonic activity and voodoo in Haiti. Mike had told us about the time he went there years ago, how he targeted that zone and wanted to go back, but the Lord had held him for a time. Finally, we are there. Gabriel’s family owned a garden on a lot of land. As we wandered through this beautiful garden, the group ahead of me ran into a woman that said she had been fasting for missionaries to come there. Apparently, they never see white people in that area. Near nightfall, we went next to the place they were housing us, to the tarp church packed out with worshiping people. This was by far, the most refreshing, energetic, and Spirit-filled service we had been to in Haiti. Mike said it was for him too. The presence of God was thick. After being so spiritually drained, I felt like I had been thrown into a beautiful pool. The people were so hungry for God, full of joy, and they knew how to worship! The kids too! I can’t explain what as surprise, shock, and breathe of fresh air it was for all of us.  Amazing things happened in that service and people, like the pastor, had received prophetic words that we were coming, including a woman that saw us come in a dream. They fed us the most amazing meal that night and I slept well with the cooler mountain air, even on the floor. The second most amazing thing about that night was while we were gone, all the kids got together and prayed all night at our orphanage. The older ones prayed in the Spirit after their Acts 2 experience. Three of the children manifested demons and the rest of the kids cast them out of them. Seeing them after coming back, I was just so proud of them and their hearts for God.
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Graduation was like a service with songs and a message and a filled church with our friends and the older children! We were all dressed up and got out certificates for completing the mission’s school. Mike spoke to each one of us and with Steve and Pastor Hubert, prayed over each of us. It was an emotional time.
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We also took another great trip to a gorgeous beach where we played, and two more acquaintances received Jesus into their lives.
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Seeing the Hepperlys and experiencing that last week was the most refreshing time for me and the other girls after struggling through a lot. By the end of it, I felt like I could stay another four months! Saying goodbye to the children at our orphanage was the hardest. I hugged and kissed each one and held Abigail because she was sobbing. Mimit (the woman who works there and cares for the kids) was really my sister. It’s more difficult leaving people when you don’t know when you will see them again and they are not just a facebook message or unlimited text away. I was the first to leave the day after Mike left with the Hepperlys, so all the other students were at the airport with me early in the morning, giving hugs. I cried the whole first flight to Miami as I read letters, and I heard there were a lot of tears after I left. Returning to the U.S.A., I immediately traveled to my cousin’s college graduation and had a great time at the beach with family. Back in Tennessee, I have a lot of social events and meetings to go to, not to mention job hunting. It feels weird. Part of me felt like I had never left, but most of me felt grossly out of place. With comforts and everything, I feel like being back there. I mostly miss our kids… but for now, I’m settling in to pray about the next step. All I have to drive me every day is my personal mission statement Mike had us write before leaving: “I exist to manifest the kingdom of God on earth by loving and honoring all people, taking the truth of Jesus to all nations for a harvest of souls, and promoting unity in the world-wide church. Living in purity and peace, I want to help people personally encounter the living God and His love, creating places of refuge, sanctuaries for God’s presence.”

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