When I was young, one of my favorite things to do was to read with my dad. I can remember changing into my pajamas and crawling up on my father’s lap and having him read me a Dr. Suess book (one of my favorite authors as a child). There was just something about the way my dad read those books—I think it was that he often read those books with such emotion and with humor. More importantly than that though, I can recall that when I climbed up on his lap, this feeling of safety and refuge in my father’s arms. My father was not a small man by any means and to climb into this heart 6’4” beast of a man and as you can imagine, being a 5 year old, there was this eminent feeling of safety. It was this memory of sitting in my father’s lap that came to mind as I was reading the following passages:
“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should be made void. For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…” I Corinthians 1:17-31
In preaching the gospel, I noticed scripture is not just talking about preaching the gospel to the unbelieving…but notice it says, that to “us who are being saved (aka have a relationship with God) it is the power of God.” The implied meaning, we have to preach the gospel to ourselves first— that because of the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood on the cross, I can and have the right to climb into my Father’s lap of safety remind myself of who I am apart from Him and how he adopted me into His family.
If I am honest, I sometimes forget this and the words of the gospel lose meaning because I have heard it time and time again…but the chapter in I Corinthians goes on to say: “but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that HE might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God. But by HIS doing, you are IN Christ Jesus, who became to us, the rightness and sanctification, and redemption, not so we can boast in ourselves, but we can boast in the Lord.”
Translation? God chose the overlooked, the weak, the hated, the unlikely and the mediocre so I would know and boast in the transforming power of God. In other words, God chose you and me in spite of our past and feelings to declare truth to ourselves first and then to declare this message of hope to a desperate generation. However, I don’t want to preach. I air on the side of safety and hope people can see I am different or I bring my friends to church to hear about Jesus when all I have to do is share my own story of redemption or I struggle to offer Jesus as hope in conversation for fear of rejection or I back down from telling people that apart from a relationship with Jesus they are doomed to hell or this or that…but the passage says:
“For Christ did not send me to baptize.”
This could read “For Christ did not send me to make friends, or to lead worship, or to get out of debt, or to make people feel good, or to gain others’ approval, or….insert your own focus here, but to PREACH THE GOSPEL not in cleverness of speech.” Are all the above mentioned things good things and help lead others to a place to be able to hear the gospel? Some of them…but the point is, when I am focused on something other than preaching the gospel, I miss out on the “power of God the Father” at work.
Back to my story, I do realize for a lot of people, their fathers may not have been a safe place and all too often, I have heard of their father’s not being a safe place. But if you will just indulge me as I make my point. All too often, I forget that that moment of safety and refuge, and that our heavenly Father is waiting for us to put on our pajamas, ready ourselves to listen to His story, not one of humor but a story of redemption, as we sit in the safety and refuge of His lap.
This story is not “clever in speech,” but is one of transformation of our own hearts so that as we share the “word [story] of the cross” and how that transformed us we are careful to not sugarcoat the message of the gospel. And when we boast, may we ever boast in the fact that God looked down, chose the unloved, the broken, the second choice, the unlikely, the unnoticed, the overlooked and the weak to redeem and declare redemption to a generation. Join me in making a conscious effort to climb up in our Father’s lap daily, to preach the saving, powerful word of God first to ourselves and to not shy away from opportunities to declare truth to unbelievers no matter the cost.
“How He loves us! Oh! How He loves us! Oh! How He loves…” the kids
sang during club time. And as they did, Stacy, a middle school camper,
had things she needed to discuss. One of the last nights of YFCamp
Canyons, Stacy marched right outside the door of the clubroom as the
rest of the campers sang, and gave her heart to Christ for the first
Her cabin leader, Linda, came up to me afterwards and shared part of
her story. You see, Stacy’s mom had been diagnosed with cancer about
four months prior and was struggling all week with how God could love
her and allow her mother to struggle like that! But, as the song
played, the people sang, and the Lord’s presence fell, Stacy was moved
to talk with both her Linda and another head leader, Dave about this
Jesus she had heard so much about and ultimately give her heart to
Him! How amazing is our God! And to think, the Lord allowed me to be
apart of it.
Not only was the Lord calling Stacy, but also calling me to step out
and be stretched. I went to YFCamp Canyons with the intentions of it
just being another camp where I would support the cabin leaders and
clear the way (distraction-wise) for the Lord to speak. But, the Lord
in His grace and sovereignty, had other plans. So this week, as a
result of the band’s van breaking down on the side of the road, not
only did God call me to be a head leader at YFCamp Canyons, but a
worship leader as well. And as a result, I was on stage leading “How
He Loves Us” as Stacy made her way out the door. How amazing is our
As some of you may or may not know, I have been struggling with how to
couple this calling of youth ministry with the calling of leading
worship. How amazed and humbled am I that God chose to use both in one
setting! All I can say is that God is continuing to affirm my calling
in both and I am trusting His direction as I continue to walk with
And as I grapple with what that looks like, one thing is for certain.
God already knows–the future, the integration of ministries, and the
passions of my heart. As I think about how that translates to the
mission of Youth for Christ–to see that EVERY kid be presented with
the life-changing message of the gospel–I am grateful for the way in
which God called Stacy to Himself and grateful for your partnership
that allowed me to even “work” a week at a camp and get to be a part of
this journery for her. YFCamp Canyons has forever altered the lives of
at least two people and I am sure many more! So, from Stacy and I,
thank you for your part!
I am undone.
bar·ren [bar-uhn] (adjective)
1. not producing or incapable of producing offspring; sterile: a barren woman.
2. unproductive; unfruitful: barren land.
3. without capacity to interest or attract: a barren period in American architecture.
4. mentally unproductive; dull; stupid.
5.not producing results; fruitless: a barren effort.
However, a few weeks ago, I heard a message about barrenness that stirred my heart and spirit and no, it was not about singleness at all! In fact, this message was about Hannah, a woman who was barren for a few years.
(This story can be found in 1 Samuel). So the story goes something like this…Hannah was married and in her time, if you did not get pregnant within the first year of marriage, you were looked down upon as a woman. So, Hannah was married and they had not had a child together yet. Her husband, Elkanah, was also married to another woman, Peninnah who happened to have sons and daughters. Talk about a good season of Housewives of Elkanah.
Anyways, so for YEARS, Hannah’s womb was barren and this is where the story of 1 Samuel picks up. I cannot even imagine what that must be like–to be married to man who has multiple kids by his other wife…talk about shame! But, I love Hannah’s response. See, Hannah, loved God and believed in Him. So, one year, Hannah, went with her husband to make their yearly sacrifice to God. While in the temple, Hannah cried out the Lord.
Actually, my Bible says, “Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. And she[Hannah], greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly..”
The story then goes on that Eli, the high priest came up to her because he actually thought she was drunk when in reality she was so at her end of her barrenness that she laid everything out before the Lord, even made vows to Him. After Eli heard her condensed story of her taking up a few matters with God, Eli just asked the the Lord grant whatever Hannah requested, and the following morning, she worshiped before the Lord.
Fast forward a year later, and the Lord allowed her to give her son, Samuel (the first son of many daughters and sons) back to serve the Lord. Samuel became a mighty forerunner to proclaiming Jesus’ coming…all that from a barren womb.
So this pastor was talking about how Hannah represented my generation and how we, as this next generation need to be praying, pouring our hearts out, and giving birth to the next generation of forerunners. Not that the Lord needs any help in any of this, but our job is to intercede and pray for Holy Spirit moments…for this next generations’ awakening and courageous spirits.
Of course, this got me to thinking, what other barren wombs were talked about in the Bible? And I have to tell you, I was BLOWN AWAY by the significance of each barren womb. So here is the list:
1. God promised Abraham and Sarah a son well past their childbearing years. Anyone remember a kid named Isaac, the descendant of Abraham?
2. Isaac prayed for his wife Rebekah’s womb to be opened. Two sons were born, but no one would remember Esau and Jacob [whom God later changed his name to Israel], right?
3. Jacob married Leah and Rachel. Rachel’s womb was barren until the Lord remembered her. Anyone recognize the names Joseph or Benjamin?
4. Manoah and his wife had an encounter with the Lord and the Lord opened her womb. Does anyone remember a weenie named Samson?
5. Mary was impregnated with the seed of a Holy God…technically, not barren because she didn’t have a chance to conceive before she bore the Savior of the world…but I feel I have to at least list her because she was still single and God opened her womb alright! Mary then gave birth to only Jesus, Savior of the world!
6. Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth and Zacharias, were for YEARS barren until the Lord opened her womb. But no one significant came from that pregnancy, right? Just John the Baptist!
You have to read what the Bible says about this one! Zacharias was told in advance he would have a child and this is what was told to him: “Your wife will bear a son, and you will give him the name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb. And he will turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. And it is he who will go as a FORERUNNER before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN…to make ready a people prepared for the LORD.” (Like 1:13-17).
So what is the significance, you may ask? Spiritual barrenness always precedes spiritual awakenings. We need to begin to pray for God to birth a generation already filled with the Holy Spirit who can turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, to make ready a people prepared for the Bridegroom’s coming!!!! If you are barren, sing! If you are desolate, cry out to the Lord! If you desire to see our city, state, nation, and world ready for Jesus’ return, cry out to your Abba[Heavenly Father]! Join me in praying for this next generation to awaken and arise!
“Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child;
Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you have not travailed;
For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous
Than the sons of the married woman,” says the Lord.
Enlarge the place of your tent;
Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, and spare not;
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your pegs…
But you will forget the shame of your youth,
And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
“For your husband is your Maker,
Whose name is the Lord of hosts;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
Who is called the God of all the earth.
“For the Lord has called you
Like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” says your God…”
“Now that I think about it, you would be great launching our new Empower Campaign and working with Moody Bible Institute Collegestudents!” said Ben. My heart leapt and is still leaping for joy at the new things the Lord is placing in front of me. It has been a long and different journey these past six months and I am excited that God has called me back into ministry with Youth for Christ. Just as it is a new season of ministry, it also is in a new location—Chicago!
Let me fill in the missing pieces for you. I have learned a TON over the last six months, but the overlying piece is that God is greater than my own boxed-in idea of Him. After leaving Palm Beach County YFC, I ended up working for a church as a ministry assistant. In my finite mind, I thought I would begin to be discovered as a worship leader and have the chance to record songs and work on my music. As in many cases, my ideas do not always line up with God’s, and this was not the case. Even though I have been leading worship for 4th and 5th graders, there has been a great sense of loss. I didn’t realize how much I would miss and was wired to do ministry with Youth for Christ.
As I reflect, I understand that God called me to sacrifice Palm Beach County YFC so that I would remember Whose I am, first and foremost. He has also taught me to surrender. I realized when I initially left YFC, I wanted to stay in the area. I said I was holding things loosely in my hands, but I was not willing to go anywhere for Him—only inPalm BeachCounty.
Not even 3 weeks after the Lord convicted me of this, a friend called me from out of the blue and said that he had been praying about who to hire for a new position at the Youth for Christ inChicago(called South Pointe YFC) and my name came to mind. He wanted to find out where I was in my career. All that to say, I am blown away by God’s goodness and faithfulness to me!
So in May, I will be moving to Chicagoto work with Youth for Christ and Moody Bible Institute. My job will be to recruit and train Moody students how to live abiding in Jesus and how to share that story of Jesus with kids they meet. Then these college students will go to YFC programs and other ministry partners all over the country and world! “Exceedingly, abundantly, more than I can ask or imagine!” So, the mission continues—to see that EVERY kid encounters the life-changing person of Jesus (the gospel in the flesh) and to have a front seat to seeing Jesus “set captives free.”
This is a post not to just update you, but also to ask for your prayer and support. This is a HUGE step of faith for me that I cannot do alone. PLEASE keep me in prayer as a new level of ministry has a new level of temptation and sufferings. I would also ask if you are financially supporting Palm Beach County YFC that you continue to do so. I am so excited about that! However, if you are not, and want to be part of seeing college kids challenged to live out their faith and impact the lives of kids around the nation and the world, would you consider supporting this new ministry venture? Check out the ministry that YFC South Pointe is already doing, by going to http://www.spyfc.org .
P.S. If you would like to be on an email update list on a monthly basis, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will put you on it!
Manna. def. “What is it?” For about forty years, while wondering in the wilderness, manna was the basic food which God provided to the Israelites. He also provided water and quail.
As I was reading Joshua 5, I stumbled over this verse and the Lord opened my eyes to a new thought. Verses 6-7 say, “For the sons of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, that is the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished because they did not listen to the voice of the Lord, to whom the Lord had sworn that He would not let them see the land which the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. And their children He raised up in their place and Joshua circumcised; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them along the way.”
For some reason, as I read the phrase, “and their children He [GOD] raised up..” the thought occurred to me. God had raised this generation up. Not only that, but God had provided everything they needed. They did not know Egypt except what they had heard from their parents. Another words, some of them were born in the wilderness and because the Lord had provided quail and manna day after day, they knew no other way to eat. They had never tasted fruit, milk or honey. But one thing they did taste was heavenly bread. Day after day.
How cool is it that God Himself raised up a generation for Himself to follow after Him? Not only that, He raised a generation that knew nothing else but that God rained down manna from heaven to eat day after day. What men and women of faith they must have been! I kinda liken it to this generation and technology. Kids these days take for granted cell phones and communicating through them, when I remember when there was no such thing as a cell phone and if you wanted to talk to a friend, you had to use a rotary phone that had a LONG curly chord so you could walk it to your room. But because that is the only thing they have known, that is how they communicate. It is just a fact,a given. How awesome that God raised up a generation that just trusted Him. That God was who He said He was. That He was their Provider and Warrior and for many, their Father. Those were the givens.
What mighty warriors for His kingdom! And I believe that God can do that again. That this generation, the Lord has set His seal on His kids and raised a generation that would know and trust Him, no questions asked. A generation that walks in obedience to be circumcised for Him and would walk forward with boldness and courage to take back the Father’s promises for not only their lives, but their lands and nations, too!
Father, I am reminded yet again that You do not even need me! That You alone can raise a generation that lives and have hearts that beat for you! Raise up your warriors. Feed them with manna from Your Word. Circumcise their hearts to serve only You. May Your words go forth from their mouths.
In Jesus’ name,
When I was in college, one of my favorite things to do was to send fun gifts and packages to my friends who were away in different parts of the country. I would spend literally days collecting fun candy, snacks, and random off the wall gifts for them. After collecting them, I would take a shoe box and decorate it elaborately and make it look like something that reminded me of them. This part would take me the longest…I would cut out pieces from different magazines, taking not only fun images but also random words that I cut out from those magazines and glue it all over the outside of the shoe box. Then, I would cover the decorated box with clear tape, so the images would not come off during delivery. As I look back now, one of my favorite things about doing all of that was imagining my friend’s face as they opened this beloved treasure!
Forgiveness is much like that gift. It holds treasures for days and is decorated with random thoughts and images. To “forgive” means to “cease to blame or cease to hold resentment against (someone or something); to grant pardon for (a mistake, wrongdoing, etc); or to free.”
In many ways, forgiveness is much being on the receiving end of one of my gifts or packages. You see, my friends didn’t always have to open my gift. They could have just picked up the package, took it to their room, and hid it away in some closet. They could have looked at who it was from and decided to put it in the road and run over it with a car or bike or foot.
But, they didn’t. Because they know me and love me, they would open that gift. Sometimes it is hard for me to think of forgiveness as a gift, especially when I feel like I was wronged or like I deserved something else. At the end of the day though, I must admit my own ways—in that I do others wrong all the time— and offer others and myself a chance to do things over.
I told you that I used to pack the packages with many good things-toys, candy, and fun treasures. Forgiveness is the same way…sometimes there are layers of times where I have to forgive each layer and choose to take out another gift from the package to use to forgive. For different situations, forgiveness comes in different packages. Sometimes it is easy…but most days it is hard especially when my hurt and my emotions are involved. The only thing that keeps me on the path of giving the gift of forgiveness is knowing I have received forgiveness many times when I know I did not deserve it.
Sometimes, too, I need to offer this gift to myself and allow myself the freedom to make wrong choices and to learn from those mistakes. Many times, this is the harder forgiveness to offer since I want to just remain in the “what if” and blame stage.
Matthew 18:21-35 talks about a guy who did not forgive after receiving SO much forgiveness. Listen to his story and walk with me through these questions at the end.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
We have an opportunity to forgive people (sometimes repeatedly) everyday. Who am I in this story? What holds me back from giving the gift of forgiveness? Who in my life is the hardest person to forgive? What about that person do I need to forgive?
As we pray, let’s hand the gift of forgiveness to the person that came to our minds. Let’s give them a “do-over” and a chance to try it again.
Today, would you remind me once more of Your love not only for me, but for the person I need to forgive. Would you help me forgive them as many time as it takes to not hold a grudge against them? Help me to honor them and love them and serve them to the best of my ability today because I know it is what You would want me to do. Bring to mind something I can do to show them how much You love them through me! It may be only be Your grace I can follow through that today! I love you and I thank You for Your infinite forgiveness in my life and that You call me Your Beloved. Give me words to speak to display Your heart to others today! Thank you for sending Your Holy Spirit to give me words and actions to display Your glory in me today! I love you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
I walked by and watched April in a deep conversation with Janet,* one of the girls at YFCamp Southwind. And as I walked by, the memories of having deep one-on-one conversation with April came flooding into my mind! How the time flies! Even more overwhelming, is how the Lord has allowed me to see a student come full circle to student ministry. How honored and overwhelmed I am that the Lord would choose to use me in any shape or fashion! As it turns out, April was having a conversation and sharing her story of how she met Jesus with Janet. And as I walked and sat down on the rocking chairs that overlooked YFCamp, I saw more of the same—amazing young college leaders intentionally having conversations with students, listening to them, and weaving their own stories of Jesus into the conversations.
It with great sadness and also great joy that I share this story. For over a year now, I have been wrestling with the idea of leaving the employment of Palm Beach County Youth for Christ. Over a year ago, I felt the Lord prompting my heart to trust Him as He takes me in a new direction to first and foremost find my identity in Him again, and then to trust Him as he stretches me in the area of leading worship. With this, there comes the struggle to let go of the things I have known and loved in order to move my heart to new depths of love for Him alone.
With April’s story comes the reminder that God has allowed me to pour into young leaders so they can experience all the things I have experienced in the past five years of ministry with Youth for Christ. Please know that as I leave Youth for Christ as a full-time staff member, I join you in partnering with Youth for Christ financially. And I gladly do so…because there are still kids searching to fill an unmet need of Jesus. And the truth is, there is a cost to do this…. Without you and me giving financially, staff members cannot be on campuses, in neighborhoods, meeting kids and sharing the life-changing message of Jesus with them. You and I together must continue to support our young leaders like April who are being empowered by YFC staff.
Much of my ministry this past year was establishing a program that recruited, developed, and empowered young college and professional women to reach girls in this county. This program is being continued and enlarged. But it needs our financial help as well as our prayer support. Will you be part of this team? And will you consider continuing your support of the Girls’ Ministries?
Partnering now as a donor,
P.S. If you wish to join me in financially partnering with the Girls’ Ministries, please click on the Palm Beach County Youth for Christ tab or visit www.yfcteens.com and type “Girls’ Ministries” under the specific ministry option to give!
“I am going to go to youth group on Sunday night,” Cathy* said. “If you are going, then I will go too,” piped in Katie,* Cathy’s cousin. It is so incredible to look back on the journey of these two girls. Beginning in Girl Talk on Palm Springs Middle School campus when they were in sixth grade, these two young ladies are entering their sophomore year at John I. Leonard High School. Wedged somewhere in the middle was the awesome memory of YFCamp Southwind 2009 where they both made commitments to follow Jesus.
And it is hard to believe we are leaving for YFCamp Southwind in less than three weeks! The awesome part is that from the campuses I serve on, we are taking sixteen girls, four amazing Girl Talk leaders and two “Work Crew” members (these are the girls who are going to serve behind the scenes. Cathy is one!) The exciting part is not the number of girls going, but the Cathys and the Katies who will have the opportunity to make the same decision that both Cathy and Katie did at YFCamp—to follow a God who loves them and sent His son to die as a payment for the things they did wrong!
None of this could have happened though without the year-round girls’ ministry, Girl Talk, that met weekly on campuses at local schools throughout the county. And these ministries are funded by you! Your generosity is directly creating stories of change in not only young lives like Cathy and Katie, but also Girl Talk leaders as well who are being transformed as they point others to Christ! Your investment in Girls Ministry at Youth for Christ costs over $25,000 with $15,000 still needed to finish this year and summer well.
We only have about six weeks to reach that goal! What would you be willing to give to reach another Cathy with the life-changing message of the Gospel? If not you, then who will be these girls’ advocates? No amount is too small. We can reach this goal together! Thank you in advance for your gift this month! You can give online at www.yfcteens.com/donate and put “Girls’ Ministry” in the memo line!
Also, if you would like to pray for some of the girls going to YFCamp Southwind, please email me at email@example.com and I will email you a prayer card of a girl who has been impacted by YFC’s Girl Talk which would not exist apart from people like you giving generously. Would you pray for these girls as you give…if not you, then who?
*The names have been changed to protect the students’ identities.
So, I was challenged about a month ago to really seek the Lord and to re-write Psalm 23 and as I was emailing it to the lady who challenged me, I felt I need to blog this. My prayer is that you may even do your own Psalm 23 Remix. For me, even re-typing it has brought up life and hope and love once more. May His love pour over your soul as you read the intimate thoughts between me and my Beloved.
The Lord is my Husband and Maker and Voice.
I shall not go to anyone else for my identity or encouragement. You, Lord, alone are those things.
You sit me beside the loud, crashing waves and You calm me.
You let me cry in Your presence as Your hands gently wipe away my tears.
You lull me to sleep with the sound of Your songs and speak Truth where I can only hear lies.
You attune my ears to Your Voice so I can hear and believe all that You say.
You promised never to leave me or abandon me along life’s journey.
Not even grief or loss or separation or discouragement or feeling tired, weary, worn, like I need a vacation, believing in lies can keep me from You.
I will trust You and allow Your peace to sweep over my soul.
You place me and hold me in the palm of Your hands and even when I feel the most alone!
You have something SO much better prepared for me than I can even fathom or imagine! Forgive my doubt, Beloved!
Surely, You are Faithful even when I am faithless!
I will always dwell, abide, and linger in Your presence because Your love is better than life. You surround me with songs of joy in Your presence!
I commit my life once more to You, my Husband, my Beloved.
May I walk beside You all the days of my life and live only for You.
Your promises do come true and I am reminded once more of Your faithfulness as I look back and see Your hand of love and faithful provision!
And I long to ever be enveloped in Your presence.
def. A marked change in appearance, character, condition, or function. transformation.
This morning, as I was having my time with Jesus, reading the story of David and Saul in the book of I Samuel, the Lord softly spoke these words, “You, my dear, are in a cocoon.”
I have been contemplating this all day long. You see, I have known for about two weeks now, that I have been embarking and on this season of loneliness where the Lord is drawing me to Himself and all I want in my life at this time is a spouse, kids, and the American dream. And yet, I know the Lord is calling me to a deeper place and a higher call in Him.
As I think back to my readings in I Samuel, I have observed several things: First, the Israelites declaration that the Lord was not king enough for them and their cry for a “king.” (I don’t need a king, I just need a husband, even though I have the Husband who holds me in the palm of His hand and loves me…but, I guess that is not enough for me.) Second, I see the Lord anoint Saul as king with a flask of oil and as he steps into his place as king, we see him disregard the Lord and do his own thing (not that I have ever disobeyed God and tried to create my own outcome…) Lastly, I see a warrior king when David is anointed with a horn of oil and God setting out to redeem his people through this man with a heart like His.
And here is where I have landed for today. I relate to David. I know God has called me to a deeper level of His anointing. I long to be called a woman after God’s own heart and one who pleases Him alone, but I don’t want to actually have to go through the journey to learn the lessons that David had to learn to make him that man. Period.
So David is anointed and called and God was calling and teaching him in this time of waiting…because, at the time David was anointed to be king, Saul was still alive…very much alive…and because God’s glory had left him, Saul was miserable and tormented and who pray tell should Saul call on to sing away the evil spirits? None other than David himself.
And did this kingship happen overnight? Nope. So many times in this journey, I have just wanted to be there. I want to be where the Lord has promised me without the markings of lessons to be learned (ones that I know will be used to minister in the future–integrity, authenticity, humility to name a few). Anyways, it didn’t happen instantaneously. In fact, I am pretty sure it took a few years. I mean, from the time of his anointing and calling to the time we see him fight Goliath in chapter 17, a few years have elapsed and either Saul was forgetful and stupid, but he didn’t even recognize David as the same minstrel who played worship in his presence for his soul to be stilled…or maybe he just thought David was too young…either way, what I heard this morning was the Lord saying, “Christen, you are in the waiting, the cocoon, if you will, and there are lessons to be learned in this time as you allow me to wrap you in my arms of safety.”
So, of course, I had to look up metamorphosis. Did you know that the first stages, all that is required of a caterpillar is to eat. To eat, and eat, and eat…shed skin, then eat some more….
Once that has happened a few times and the caterpillar’s body has begun to morph, the last thing it does is go into a time of a chrysalis or cocoon where all the caterpillar is doing is waiting as the Lord is changing its heart, soul, mind, body into a beautiful butterfly or moth. AND during that time, it is still and there is no eating….just rest and waiting…and waiting some more…until two weeks later, the caterpillar has new wings….
So for me, I feel like I am in the stage of a cocoon. These past few years as I look back, I have felt completely hungry for the Lord. I have eaten and digested His word. I have grown. I have been transformed. I have eaten and not been satisfied and grown some more. I have morphed and learned to listen and eat and morph…until these past few months.
I have often felt over these last few months like spiritually I have been trying to eat and hear what the Lord has to say and I feel like I am hitting a wall and I can’t help but compare it when I knew I heard the Lord speaking. And really, I am in the cocoon stage. And all that is supposed to be required is to just rest as He transforms….no striving…no chasing after boys that are prospects for future mates (not gonna lie, not really good at the not pursuing boys…)
But, I know I am being called further into this cocoon…this season of loneliness…and it is bittersweet. On the one hand and why I am most scared because there will be no one else to rescue. I can’t look to a boy to be my rescue. And if I am blatantly honest, I don’t want to be alone. I like to hang out with people. I like to be in the midst of groups and be the life…
On the other hand, the Lord is my help. The Lord is my Advocate. The Lord is my sweet taste and Husband. He provides and calls me His own. He gives me an identity and makes me significant. And as he wraps the cocoon tightly about me, HE transforms me as I wait on Him…He prepares me for the next journey…and as I sacrifice both my will and desire I am struggling with this metamorphosis.
Lord, help me to be so satisfied in You as You teach me how to wait and transform me even more. I need You to hold me tightly during this time and be the completion of me…In Jesus’ name. Amen