Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Two Girls and a Lake House...

It's hard to believe that these past nine months are done and I'm now standing in front of three months of summer. I look back on the person I was nine months ago and I chuckle.
She had no idea what God was about to do in and through her.
She had no idea how much God was going to change her and reveal himself to her.

And as I look past these next three months and try to put myself at the end of them I hear those exact same things rolling through my mind.
God isn't done here.
In fact, He is just getting started.

At the beginning of the year-when all I wanted to do was move home, go to community college, and live on the same road as the rest of my family- a lady across the road from my parents passed away and her children put her house up for sale.
I had always adored this cute, yellow lake house and I specifically remember walking past it one day and saying, "God, I want that house. That's all I want. I thought I wanted to go to school, travel and serve you, but really all I want is to live right there in that house."
To which I heard God clearly speak and tell me, "I can give you that, but that's not where you will stop. I have much greater plans for you and that is not where you will stay."
So, obviously, I brushed that off and continued going to school.

Of course at that point, I had no idea what lay ahead of me in the next eight months.
I had no idea that in April I would go to a conference with my friend Liv and that we would both get a vision for us to become interns at my church, get a place together, work, and be active in ministry over the summer.
But that's exactly what happened.
So, as she and I stared at this huge and daunting vision for our summer we started to chip off little pieces.
See if an internship is possible, find a place for her to work, find a place to stay, figure out if we can afford this, figure out if this is rational....and the list goes on....
As things started to fall into place, the only thing that still felt unbearably daunting was finding a place to live. Apartments were incredibly expensive and most wouldn't do a three month lease. People within the church offered to lend an extra room, but we held tight to the vision that God had given us for living in a place of our own.

And then I remembered my conversation with God earlier in the year about the little, yellow lake house. He said "...that's not where you will stop." But, before that He said "I can give you that."
"I can give you that."
"I can give you that."
"I can give you that."

I don't know if you heard me when I said that apartments were expensive and way out of our budget, but I will say it again. Apartments were expensive and way out of our budget.
So the prospect of an entire, furnished house was basically a joke.

I prayed about it for a few days and it continued to rest at the forefront of my mind, so rather than praying about it, we started praying for it. For two weeks Liv and I prayed and fasted for the yellow, lake house. With about a week before we had to move, we decided it would probably be best if we called the owners to see if they would want to rent it, even though it was on the market for sale. And also to see if it was something we could fathomably afford.

So I called.
I never mentioned a price, but we talked for a while and she said she would get back to me. I expected it to take several days before she called back with a decision, but within a few hours I got a call back and we had the house....for half the price of what an apartment would have cost, might I add.
How God did that, I'm still trying to wrap my head around.

So here I am-
sitting in a beautiful, little lake house and waiting for Liv to move in this evening.
All I have is oatmeal, popcorn, tea and about 3,000 spices in my cupboards, but I somehow had enough to feed myself and guests last night. I leave the room when I find a spider because no one is here to kill it for me. I am overly protective of all the antique breakables and I have a mini-panic attack when my sisters daycare kids come storming through the house. I barricade myself in the bathroom when I hear a strange noise, because I'm convinced that a murderer has just broken in.
Honestly, I'm not sure how this is going to go. I'm in some new territory and I have no idea what this summer holds, but I do know that it hasn't even begun and God has poured out His blessing and favor upon us in an incredible way.
These next three months are going to be an adventure, for sure! But I'm pretty confidant in the man behind the wheel.

Now sit back and enjoy this view with me.....

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Miracles, Signs, and Wonders...

A few weeks ago my friend Liv and I got this great idea to go to a conference called Miracles, Signs, and Wonders.
You'd think that going into this conference I would be expecting huge, extravagant, miraculous things being performed by wild, Spirit-filled believers....but I wasn't. To be honest, I'm not sure what I was expecting.
Something a little more normal I suppose.
Something subdued and peaceful where everyone just loved Jesus and when they bumped into each other they'd be miraculously healed and pixie dust would sprinkle over them and they'd giggle and lift their hands in soft, quiet, meditative worship.

Okay, maybe not quite that extreme, but you get the picture....
And as I walked into the church on the first day and took my seat I slowly began to realize I was pretty far off base with my expectations.
I come from a fairly charismatic church, so I'm used to a pretty expressive worship.  But then Kevin Dedmon came out and spoke about the power of laughing over desperate situations.
Yes, laughing.
I was oh-so-confused.

I watched as people were doubled over in laughter at seemingly nothing.  "Amen!" "Come on!"and "WOAH!" were flying around the church every few seconds. People would stand, jump, scream, shake, fall....and the list goes on.
Needless to say, I was a little out of my comfort zone.

The first day came and went and I left quite a skeptic.
I knew the Spirit was powerful!
I knew He encountered people!
But this?
Making people act drunk and, for lack of a better and nicer term, CRAZY!?
Was that the Spirit? The same Spirit that was living in me on a daily basis???
I just wasn't so sold.

I'm pretty sure this was the point that God smirked and said, "Challenge accepted."

Day 2 came and Patricia King spoke an amazing message that brought no clarity whatsoever.
They moved into a time of worship and then they did an alter call for something or another. I watched as people flooded to alter and were slain in the spirit (for those of you that are like I was and don't know what that means being toppled over and pinned to the ground under God's power).
This "being slain in the Spirit" was one of the things I questioned the most. I watched as people fell to the ground and I couldn't help but doubt.
They are doing it just for show. 
They think that's what they're supposed to do. 
It's all a mind game. 

And as I sat in my chair and doubted what I was seeing I heard God give me a little challenge, "If it's all just a show and a mind game, then go down there and stand."
Challenge accepted.
We now had me challenging God and God challenging me...obviously, we all know who is going to win here.

I walked down the aisles and made it to the alter and I stood there.
I'm standing.
I win.


Down I went.
Into a row of chairs.
And eventually onto the ground.
And, judging by the massive scuffs on my boots, apparently everywhere else.

People continuously came and prayed over me and I have never in my life felt such power coursing through me. My entire body felt like it had electricity running through it.
My mind ran in and out of visions and reality.
God spoke so deeply and clearly to my soul that I could hardly hold myself still.
Some incredible things happened as I laid there on that floor, slain under God's mighty power.

I tried to get up a few times, but to no avail.
So, I just laid there and let the Spirit wash over me.
Eventually, people stopped praying...and the alter got quiet except for the rolls of laughter coming from a lady laying on the ground beside me.
I tried to get up, but couldn't.
So, I just laid there some more.
....and then some more....
....and then a little more....

After almost two hours of laying on that floor I was finally able to sit up.
The church was pretty much empty.
People had all left for lunch.
Liv sat next to me on my left and this laughing lady was rolling around on my right.
She'd been belly laughing for two hours.
TWO. HOURS! Ummm...OW!
Nonetheless, her laugh was incredibly irresistible and contagious and before long we had joined in.

So, there the three of us sat.
One a stranger and the two of us blissfully bewildered at her laughter.
I'm sure it was quite a beautifully strange scene.

From that point on, God changed me.
That Spirit, the one that threw me on the floor and sent electricity through my veins for two hours, is the one that is living in me at this very moment. It is the same Spirit that is living in me as I check out at the grocery store or sit in class. It is the same Spirit that fills me during worship, even in this traditional and conservative environment.
That Spirit's power is in me on a daily basis and I have been given authority to use it to advance the Kingdom.


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