We are co-laborers with God and you are God’s cultivated garden, the house he is building.
During yesterday morning’s service at Times Square Church, Pastor Carter Conlon shared,
“Get ready for a journey!
Your life is going to change.
Your future is not going to be like your past.
You’re going to live a life that brings GLORY to God!
You're going to have a breakthrough.
And you're not just going to sing about it, you're going to live it.”
His whole sermon leading up to this statement, I was “Amen-ing and hallelujah-ing!” Everything he spoke of is exactly the journey the Lord has had me on for the past five years. Interestingly enough, it has been five years since this blog journey began and the Lord REALLY began to have His way in my life.
I was already in reflective mode, pondering the post I might write and share as a glorifying synopsis to the One responsible for every ounce of transformation radiating from this life. He set the stage. I am a living testament to every instruction Pastor Carter Conlon provided yesterday, is true.
1.Read the word yourself
2.Connect with others
3.Set yourself apart
4.Consume the WHOLE word of God - no hypocrisy – no picking and choosing palatable
5.Get ready and Go on the journey!
Reading the word for myself is exactly what Holy Spirit led me to do five years ago. It is His encouragement through me as well. Devotions are nice and easy, but Holy Spirit taking you on a journey is where it is at!
Connecting with others – others with a heart for following fully after God – did come next. The Lord brought women into my life ready to grow and transform. We could turn to one another for prayer and support and encouragement. We were, and still are, iron sharpening iron, doing life together – across multiple denominations.
At multiple points I had to agree with the Lord and say, “This (fill in the blank) cannot go where YOU are taking me. I choose JESUS over (fill in the blank)!” This was and is a hard one. “Fill in the blank” can be a relationship, habit, behavior, addiction, mindset, fear, or concern. Many times, it will be related to the thoughts of wondering what others will think. When we set ourselves apart for God, pruning and purging takes place, but oh how good is His grace!
Reading all of the Word of God, and allowing it to change me, rather than me attempt to change the word to my liking – has always been my desire. It takes courage to humbly say, “Lord, You know best. I don’t. Help me understand, embrace and follow after You.”
The journey is remaining consistent with these four keys. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. It is easy to fall out of the word. There will be attempts to disconnect us from others and keep us distanced. Temptations will come attempting to (sometimes succeeding even) have us fall back and away from being set apart. Not all of God’s Word is pleasing to read and embrace. Have you ever read Isaiah 20? After the prophet said, “Here I am Lord, send me!” God asked Isaiah to walk around naked – for three years – just to prove a point! Hard to embrace? Just a little.
But we FREE WILLINGLY choose to continue to respond to Holy Spirit – our Comforter, Counselor and Teacher. We continue to repent and keep going when we do fall down. We get back into His Word and presence. We choose to reconnect when we realize we’ve chosen the pain of isolation far too long. We choose to press on towards the mark and high calling – WHATEVER THE COST!
This is my encouragement for YOU today. I pray you declare, “I am getting up and I'm going with God! I want to see what God will do!!”
God has been speaking the RISE UP message to my heart for over four years, and He spoke it again through the words of my Pastor at Times Square Church, "We are being called by God, as the Church of Jesus Christ, in this Nation, to RISE UP and take a God appointed journey. We are. Get ready for a journey! Your life is going to change. Your future is not going to be like your past. You’re going to live a life that brings GLORY to God! You're going to have a breakthrough. And you're not just going to sing about it, you're going to live it."
This is 100% true – for the vessel willing to search God’s word, connect to the body, set yourself apart, and accept the whole word of God. Godspeed my friends!
Praise and GLORY be to God for the past five years!!! The journey will undoubtedly lead to vision, compassion, a sense of authority, the will to fight for others and TRANSFORMING more into the likeness of Jesus Christ!
September 3, 2014 - Began the LiveEatSweat Blog (link)
May 16, 2015 - Completed Spartan Sprint (image, link)
August 16, 2015 - Completed Spartan Super (image, link)
Aug/Sept 2015 - Strong Magazine Highlight (image)
October 11, 2015 - FIRST LES45 Group Challenge (link)
November 2015 - Shepherdess Rise Up Study (link)
March 1, 2016 - SECOND LES45 Group Challenge (link)
June 2016 - Mission Trip to Dominican Republic (link)
God began to move me from behind the keyboard and blogging, to going LIVE - completely outside my comfort zone!
September 12, 2016 - THIRD LES45 Group Challenge (link)
September 27, 2016 - Rise Up! Is Back (link)
November 21, 2016 - It's Time to RISE (link)
April 13, 2017 - Rise Up! Devotions Book Launch (link)
June 2017 - Rise Up! in Dominican Republic (image)
October 9, 2017 - Rise & Pray (link, YouTube)
October 17, 2017 - Rise Up Commitment Seed Planted (link)
God was calling me to move from behind the camera, to meet with women in-person - again, outside my comfort zone...
Jan-March 2018 - The FIRST Rise Up Commitment (testimonials)
February 2018 - Embraced my call to teach, encourage through the prophetic and facilitate healing as
the Lord leads
April 15, 2018 - Launched Podcast (link)
Sep-Nov 2018 - The SECOND Rise Up Commitment
December 13, 2018 - Beyond at BrewHa (YouTube)
God was calling me to move from a select group to a public forum where all were invited
May 2, 2019 - National Day of Prayer
May 23, 2019 - Launched "My Voice His Story" Memoir
June 23, 2019 - Launched the THIRD Rise Up Commitment in local homeless shelter with five women
August 10, 2019 - Reach Out! With roughly 200 folks (image)
God has been moving me from inside the public platform, to outside declaring His Love and Word!
Wherever you are HE is faithful to accept what little we believe we have to offer and multiply in ways BEYOND our imagination!!
"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:5
Transcript from: Day One - Beyond - Glory School
I am getting ready to embark on a new season. Well, first of all, the new season is my oldest daughter is going to be a senior. She's actually starting the first day of her senior year today and my youngest daughter is a sophomore.
They're not just going off to school today. I have this sense and I have been feeling for the past couple of weeks now that I'm also going to school and it's the glory school. What does that mean? It means that the Lord has been speaking to my heart about His glory and discovering what His glory is and what it means and what is the outflowing of His glory?
I'm going to begin to share little tidbits here and there about the glory and really just share as He leads. Yesterday I Googled “glory” in the King James version. There were 375 occurrences on GLORY.
I'm going to be in the glory for three months. This morning I was reading in scripture Genesis 31:1, Genesis 45:13, Exodus 8:9 and Exodus 16:7. These Scripture led to a few stories. The first one was about Jacob and Laban’s sons getting jealous that he was becoming wealthy and he was doing well. The second was Joseph where he had become wealthy after his jealous brothers threw him in the pit, but God was restoring, reconnecting and reconciling to his brothers and ultimately his father. The third story was about Moses and Aaron praying for the frogs to leave. But the then Pharaoh does disobeyed yet again and would not listen to the Lord. The fourth was the glory of God being connected to providing meat and bread to the Israelites in the wilderness.
The four things that stood out to me was the Lord instructed Jacob to leave after the jealousy and he listened and he obeyed. That's something I'm praying for us today as well myself. The second that stood out to me was that what was intended for evil can be turned for good just like Joseph. He was thrown into a pit. Many of us know the account where it seemed like Joseph encountered one challenge after another in Egypt. The third nugget was that the Lord answers prayer when we are led with compassion, but we should not attach ourselves to the outcome. Finally, the Lord provides. God desired obedience from the children of Israel when He instructed them to collect the bread in the morning and collect the meat in the night, to collect the double portion on the sixth day, in order to rest on the seventh day.
The theme for me this morning is listening to the Lord and trusting there is wealth and abundance in the Lord. There is goodness in the Lord, but He also desires that we listen. Which is exactly what I am doing.
The Lord has been speaking to me about going BEYOND. Last year in May, I was on a prayer walk and He said, “Here.” I was praying in the Spirit and the sound “aqui” continued to roll off my tongue. Aqui in Spanish translates to “here” in English. He then laid out these seven components He was speaking to my heart, if balanced, would reflect the face of Jesus Christ. There's a whole story to I may share in the days to come.
The seven areas: God at the center of all that we do – center and forefront.Everything flows from having a connection with the Lord through Holy Spirit, prayer, scripture and a great profound love for Jesus. The second and third components are having a high calling and taking care of the essentials of this life by tending the vessel that the Holy Spirit resides in. Finally, ministering in our marriages, with our children, ministry or place of employment, and then carrying the glory of the Lord, the presence of the Lord, into all areas that we go into; the grocery store the bank work wherever we may find ourselves in her home, especially and so.
He's been saying, “All right, it's time. It's time to live this out and it's time to allow Me to minister”. So I'm entering a season where I am going to continue to pray. I'm going to continue to love the Lord. I'm going to continue to be led by the Spirit. I'm going to be getting into scripture on Glory.
I know my calling. I know what God has called me to. He's called me to teach and encourage and to facilitate healing and to minister through the prophetic by sharing with others. I know that He's called me to love my husband well, my daughters well, the community well and the Rise Up Community.
One thing that I've not been doing so well is taking care of this vessel, and so it's time for all of these components to come together and for Him to really minister to me first and foremost. This is kind of a season of rest. This year has been challenging and been a lot of spiritual warfare.
But I believe the season was essential to understand that when we press into the Lord that the enemy is going to be right there. This was something I wasn't really actively conscious and aware of I guess, nor doing something about it. The Lord has equipped me and I can now see things for what they are.
You are invited to join me on this journey. I say join me on this journey because this is really considered day one. I foresee this going on for a few months. So if you want to come along great. If not, that's okay, too.
I will only be sharing on the YouTube channel. He has made it very clear to withdraw from Facebook and Instagram. He wants His voice to be the only voice that I'm really listening to and leaning into right now. I love to follow people like Larry Sparks, Lana Vawser as well as Nate & Christy Johnston. However, He really just wants to speak to me and have me listen to Him alone.
I just pray in the name of Jesus. If you're watching today that you and I would do what the Lord is asking us to do and trust that He is good and He is a God of abundance. I ask in the name of Jesus that if there's something going on that was intended for evil that you would be able to trust the Lord to know that He can transform circumstances into being utilized for HIS good. I also ask in the name of Jesus that we are led to pray with compassion for people just like Moses and Aaron was and then take our hands off of the outcome and the response of those people, trusting the Lord. I pray we trust that the Lord will provide and He will give us just what we need for that day, but to seek Him that day for what we need to seek Him for first thing in the morning and even in the night, just like the manna in the morning the meat at night. I pray that we were seeking Lord in the morning living off that bread of life the word of God, and then at night closing and trusting that he will even speak to us in our dreams.
So I pray this was a blessing to you. Take care. God bless and have a great day.
They looked at one another as if to silently question, “How could she have known?” I knew what I had experienced just hours before was Holy Spirit preparing me to allow Him to be revealed…
We all experience a degree of brokenness and heartache. God has made it clear the circumstances of one are no greater than another. However, we are fully aware what some live through just feels more weighty and horrific than what we can imagine.
Physical abuse – almost to the point of death – at the hands of a spouse and in front of a child.
Years of addiction to some substance or another, choosing a high over a child, waking up in a prison cell wondering “what happened”; daily wrestling shame and remorse, fighting to find worth.
Poor choices leading to having no place to go, losing your children to foster care, wrestling with constant anxiety, and fighting to live an honest life.
Brokenness and abandonment leading to layers of deep and high walls, cutting off everyone, wandering to high and far places – constantly searching – never settling.
Loss after loss, murder and suicide, abuse and torture – relentless depression and anxiety – while doing everything to fight for a child and a peaceful life.
We may read, and identify. We may read, and compassion wells up inside. We may read, and conviction pricks our hearts to reassess those things we identify as wrong or unjust in our own lives.
I knew this call was going to stretch me. I had no idea how. A couple weeks ago it was brought to my attention an individual connected to the group I am ministering with had made some considerably unhealthy declarations. The remarks oozed with darkness and actions threatened what I sensed God wanted to do. I committed to the ladies I would pray for the situation.
“Lord, push back – and out – the darkness that resides and believes it prevails, by the power of Your Spirit and presence. When I, or others in Christ, walk into the space, I pray darkness realizes it is not allowed to stay. YOU desire my Sisters in Christ be healed and made whole more than I do, please deliver them from the tactics and antics I’m being told are taking place”. I was then led to reach out to a faithful and trusted prayer partner for council and agreement.
Again, I give you an eternal truth: If two of you agree to ask God for something in a symphony of prayer, my heavenly Father will do it for you. Matthew 18:19 TPT
Prior to our session this week, I felt “off”. I was more fatigued than normal. I felt irrationally emotional. Thoughts bombarded my mind I knew were not my own. Something was attempting to convince me I did not need to show up for the week’s session. My husband could tell something was up. When he asked me what was going on, all I could do was cry.
How do I share something he doesn’t understand? How do I describe something I don’t even fully understand? He is going to think I’m crazy (more than normal ;) ). Then I felt like Holy Spirit needed me to share. I sensed this was going to be a testimony of faithfulness my husband could not deny. I believed the situation possessed the potential to be a faith builder for many.
“I feel like someone is feeling suicidal. I feel like someone really wants to hurt themselves. I can feel the heaviness of thought running through their mind.” I looked up to make eye contact and found compassion in his eyes.
“That’s deep”. Translation: I really don’t know what you’re talking about, but I believe you believe it and it’s genuine, or you wouldn’t be crying in the way you just were. He gave me a hug. I went on to get ready, blared worship music and praised while doing so. Then, I was on my way.
After opening the session with worship and prayer, I could not escape the need to pray for the one contemplating self-harm or even taking their own life. The tears again welling up, a notable quiver in my voice, and an urgency I hoped the gals understood.
After prayer was when I noticed – SOMETHING was resonating with them, their glances provided clues I was not off base. However, it was not until the end of our hour and a half together, just before we entered into our departing prayers for the week, that I learned what had been going on.
One gal expressed her challenges for the week prior, making her requests known for what lie ahead. I pointedly asked if she was the one prayed for. “No, but it is someone connected to us. It is no one in the group, but someone connected with us.” The other gals confirmed and proceeded to share the individual whose challenging words and chaotic behavior weeks prior, had free-willingly decided to part ways. SHE was the one wrestling with the dark thoughts I believed Holy Spirit was revealing… Talk about needing to call on Holy Spirit to help decipher mixed emotions!
On one side, God was being praised for answering prayer. On the other side, a very serious concern for the soul in torment elicited more concern and a need for more prayer. On one hand, five women just witnessed the faithfulness and love of the Father by placing her situation on my heart and and moving me to publicly pray. On the other hand, there was relief from the chaos they felt subjected to. On one side I was grateful I could share this testimony with my husband so he wouldn’t think I had drifted farther than he knew what to do with. On the other, I was burdened and saddened that it was true.
Jesus! Teach, comfort, guide and share truth. Please.
WE prayed. I left. I did not share with my husband. Something inside me wanted confirmation what I was hearing was factual. The next day, I witnessed with my own eyes, from the soul herself, the torment she is living with. My heart sank and I prayed.
I know I reiterate all the time about the importance of you and me hearing from the heart of God. I know I share posts that confront our complacency and hopefully lovingly convict us to remove distractions from our lives so we can hear from God through His word and prayer. I know it may feel intense, overwhelming and maybe a little too much for some. I hope this testimony confirms God’s heart to us… HE IS THE ONE desiring we set aside distractions and hear from Him. This is only one example WHY.
Our ability to free willingly make time to hear from Him above all other voices this world throws at us, could mean eternal life or death for someone. It could be the healing someone either does or does not receive. It could be the next faith building brick a loved one needs. It could lead to the demonstration of God’s love the world around us desperately needs to see. I finally did share with my husband how the events unfolded, needless to say he was speechless yet in awe at how God had moved for one many may likely have given up on.
Be encouraged today to spend time with the Lord. Give Him what little you believe you have to give. Position your heart and soul to hear what His Spirit is saying. Take in the truth of His Word. And please, if moved to do so, pray for the healing of those lost and bound by darkness, who have concluded there may be no other way, but out.
Our parents did not model what it was like to live married as God intended and prescribes through His Word. Praise God we DID have my husband’s grandparents to look to as an example of commitment. Commitment was, is and will always be the cornerstone of our marriage.
Commitment was the word I shared with the pastor marrying us so many years ago, as the most important element to live out until death do us part. She was stunned. She shared many couple share love as the most important, or maybe a good plan, or having lots of things in common. In my heart of hearts, I knew all of those things could change, fail, or simply not be present for a season. I also knew in my heart of hearts after moving out a couple days following my seventeenth birthday, commitment to him was vital if I never wanted him to feel rejected like I had.
The first eight years of our marriage consisted of babies, building, and growing. It also consisted of selfishness, fighting addiction and one another. It was hard. Then, Jesus.
Jesus called our whole family to Himself in the fall of 2008. He called me back after years of wandering. He called my husband after years of not believing. He called our daughters to enter relationship with Him at the tender ages of five and seven. Our lives changed for the better.
We were equipped. We were poured into. We were prayed over. We lived in a season of thriving for nearly eighteen months. And then we didn’t…
This new life, while a blessing, brought its own challenges. We didn’t know what we were up against in the spirit and slowly things began to fade away again. AS CHRISTIANS, living for GOD, we found ourselves separated twice, bickering non-stop, and continuing to fight for our own way.
“But this is what God needs me to do!” I would argue.
“Who am I to argue with God?!” my Husband would lament.
Talk about creating a confused environment for our children. I thought I had this divine order of living thing all figured out. He did not want anything to do with it if the picture I presented was what it looked like. But God and His good grace.
In January of 2015 my husband was so ill with influenza he lay on our couch with a 105° fever for nearly nine days. I could have cared less. Harsh, I know. I had so many reasons, so many justifications for WHY I didn’t need to care anymore. I had an arsenal to come back with if he took even one shot with his words. I had examples all around me of Christian women I knew that had left their marriage (some even encouraged me that some marriages just don’t work out), and God seemed OK with it. Needless to say, God needed to deal with me and my heart. When Holy Spirit very clearly instructed me to sit with my Husband, take care of him, and tend his needs the entire week - I did. When He reminded me of the bedrock of my perspective on marriage to remain committed until death do us part, and to remove divorce from my vocabulary and list of options once and for all – I did.
This year, we took a BIG HIT. HUGE. Praise God He had prepared me for it, but it still hurt – deeply. This time, though, I didn’t have an arsenal of justifications for being hurtful in return. Separation and divorce were not an option (although there was a break to "breath" and allow Holy Spirit in) – God had effectively pruned those “options”. COMMITMENT, again, was the Word repeatedly coming to mind... NO MATTER WHAT.
I began to seek God, rather than solace in my pain, and ask what was going on. How could this have happened? Why?
Little by little, Holy Spirit began to reveal to me some scenarios where I had deeply hurt my Husband. He had never shared the hurts with me, for fear of communicating selfishness. However, when I went to him with what I believed God had shared with me, his facial expression said it all. Thank You God for sharing with me!
As we moved to heal and "make right some wrongs”, God laid very specific love actions on my heart to follow through on, specifically to minister to my Husband. God always knows our hearts. He is just waiting for us to ask Him what will impact the hearts of those we love, and minister to them in the most profound of ways.
Something began to happen. The Lord began revealing my heart’s desires to my Husband – and HE WAS RESPONDING. These were “little things”. I thoroughly enjoy laying in the hammock with a good book and maybe even slipping off into a cat nap in the summer. Once my Husband cut the trees down that hosted my peaceful resting place, I no longer had that small pleasure – and I missed it. As part of meeting a heart desire for my Husband, I purchased a bike to ride with him and go places with him. We talked about this becoming something more than just a leisure ride every now and again, but no firm commitment to make it practical.
Within the span of about two weeks, after following through on the love actions God had placed on my heart, the following shaped up…
My husband bought a couple posts to plant in our yard so he could hang the hammock up again. Swoon. While he was away on business, a hitch arrived on our front porch. A hitch that would support a bike rack the two of us would then be able to haul our bikes on and go on bike tours together. When the tiniest of packages arrived that would eliminate the “pop-pop” sound that could wake up the entire house when just one of us was preparing breakfast – my heart burst!
Yesterday, when he asked me to open the door and close it again with no sound, I lost it. Sure I was grateful it would no longer urk me to no end, but I was grateful for something more. My Husband was beginning to gain confidence in those small whispers and then FOLLOWING THROUGH. This is HUGE. He was beginning to respond to Holy Spirit – whether he realized it or not. But you know what? God needed me to do the same.
My Husband and I are on really different places on our faith journey, and our walks look completely different, but I know the same God we have faith in loves us both SO MUCH and desires to make Himself known through the little acts of obedience that are really magnificent, miraculous acts of obedience when we consider our journey up to this point.
Be encouraged today, listen to God and move towards His call on your life. His call will not exempt those closest to you - specifically your spouse or children – your family will always be God’s first priority in your life. If you’re willing to pray for others and trust God to minister to the multitudes through your life and voice, trust Him to do the same in your home, with your Husband and kiddos. If your commitment is waning in your marriage, take a moment to reflect on all the ways God Himself has remained committed to you, regardless of shortcomings, and allow a fresh wind of the reminders of His faithfulness to move your sails to do the same in your marriage.
Holy cannoli it is the middle of June! Almost the middle of 2019! How has YOUR year been going so far?
If I am honest, my year has been INTENSE. But God is good and did not lead me to believe it would be anything other. I simply didn’t know the circumstances that would make it so. Praise God for His grace as I’ve maneuvered through. Praise God for His mercy every single time I stumbled and fell flat on my face (which was a lot). He is ALWAYS FAITHFUL. ALWAYS!
He has been ministering to my heart – quite intensely – it’s time. Time for the change to come to pass. Time for transition to take place. This isn’t new. I have posted about this earlier in the year. It is as though that was the preparation, the lead up of sorts. The events of the past near six months have been in preparation for a moment of no turning back. It’s as though it is time to cross over into the FULLNESS I believe God has – no going back.
Imagine a mountain. I see the past 168 days of trekking up a mountain. There have been periods of rest on plateaus along the way. There have been moments where my footing was not as stable as it needed to be and I slipped down along the face of the landscape a bit. There have been moments when I stopped and looked out on the horizon long enough to capture the sunrise of revelation long enough to settle so deep within my soul a second wind lasted for days where the air was increasingly thinner than the elevation before it.
I’m sure you’re eager. Why such a climb? What has been going on? It seems almost like fiction…
The year was kicked off with more masses being discovered in my breast tissue following a lumpectomy last August. I literally found myself in the middle of a situation I was completely taken off guard by. I felt the tangible impact of spiritual warfare and became more privy to the tactics of the enemy on my life. I witnessed first-hand how the powers and principalities of the world will engage and attempt to activate my husband and daughters in his fight against God’s will. I experienced one of the darkest, if not the darkest hour (days) of my life. Another mass decided to rapidly grow and cause concern. The battle raged and only God’s mercy could keep me in the way I chose to respond to it on some days.
Intense? A little.
But the intensity of God’s presence and His Spirit empowering me to RISE each time I fell was overwhelming! He didn’t abandon me when I fell! He didn’t shun me from His presence! In fact, He drew me in even more.
During this same timeframe, I have learned more about spiritual giftings, resting in His presence and the importance of understanding who I am in Christ in order to fly freely. I have been blessed with an unshakable knowledge, God has surrounded me by women (and a handful of men) who will pray and intercede for me. I’ve experienced first-hand God preparing me for what lie ahead and trusted Him to move me through what He had already revealed. I was able to continue to take steps of obedience regardless of my circumstances, due to my growing love for Him and others. These steps of obedience are proving to be more fruitful than I knew they would be and a harvest is on the horizon. My prayer life has taken on a new life, hence, intimacy with God has grown.
I have received a couple words now in my spirit what God has been speaking. Turning point. Reset. Crossover. Interestingly enough this Friday is the first day of summer, or the longest day of the year, to which the days will begin to get shorter; an apex if you will. The midpoint of 2019? July 1/July 2.
This ascent is now looking more like a bit of a plateau at the top, not so much a sharp peak. The plateau holds within it somehow a reservoir of living water that must be passed through in order to, not return the way I have been brought, but to continue on along another side. Down? I don’t think so.
I am fascinated by the imagery God is placing before me. It’s as though He is saying to me, “A complete immersion in the Holy Spirit, like the river of living water spoken of in John 7:37-39”. As this vision is proposed before me, I smile.
“Can I float around for a while?”
Then I think of the Israelites walking through the Red Sea from Egypt and then again through the Jordan River from the Wilderness. They didn’t rest there, they continued moving forward as God made it so. They cooperated as led and moved on into the place of promise.
Moving and settling into the promised place – the place of FULLNESS – requires BREAKTHROUGH (another word He has been speaking to me). Breakthrough requires calling on Holy Spirit to manifest the fruit of the Spirit, self-control to ensure I follow His Spirit and not my flesh. I can see now why the battle has been intense. Shoot, it has been confirmed multiple times. God’s glory. Oh God’s GLORY is about to break forth in ways not known and I cannot wait. At the same time, I cannot even begin to describe what it may look like. I simply know it is going to happen and it may likely align with the glory of God described in Ezekiel 1:27 – 28:
26 Above the expanse that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone. And on the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man on it high up. 27 Then I saw as glowing metal, as the appearance of fire all around within it, from the appearance of His loins and upward; and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was a brightness around Him. 28 As the appearance of the rainbow that is in the cloud on a day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice of one speaking.
If your year has been intense to say the least, I pray you are able to slip away with the Lord. Allow Him to convict and correct and reveal His righteousness, prune and bring peace, trade sorrow for joy, and rest in Holy Spirit. Jesus, be made known. God, fill the earth with Your GLORY. Love, continue to come down. Holy Spirit, move us. Please let me know if I can join you in prayer.
He no doubt planted this seed in my heart this time last year and the blossom seems to be in full bloom eagerly awaiting the fruit.
The fruit of this fullness ushers in transition – transition from one place of understanding into another. Moving from one lifestyle to the next. Being called to grow deeper and ascend higher with the Lord than before. Image to image, glory to glory. The thoughts of both transforming and transitioning are exhilarating – yet invoke a degree of timidity.
After the blossom, the fruit. Like our apple, peach and pear trees, this next season of waiting is one of constant attention. The bugs and that which desire to devour the sweet succulent flesh and juices of the newly birthed goodness wait also with anticipation. The scavengers equally exhilarated to sink their teeth into the harvest.
God has moved me to write and complete the memoir He has placed on my heart. The launch will be the end of the lead up to the podcast series launched on May 24th. He has also established the connection to minister with women who have found themselves in jail and/or wrestling with addiction. It is hard to believe He stirred this desire in my heart over a year ago and ministry partnership with Mission25 will begin in just under four weeks. A vision He placed on my heart last year for a worship festival in our community is in the works and will come to reality in August. I love how God placed this hope on the hearts of many and confirmed the vision by bringing folks together to collaborate and make this His reality. Fruit. Fruit. Fruit.
But, bugs too. I sense so many see only the output of God’s goodness in the lives of others without fully understanding the battles being endured; without being privy to the itemized invoice of the cost being paid. We WANT to see the good, but not too much – don’t make anyone feel bad for doing anything less. We WANT to see the challenges so we know we can relate, but not too much – don’t make anyone feel uncomfortable.
I want God to be exalted and glorified. I want Jesus to be made known. I want folks to understand this walk is the most rewarding, yet challenging walk we will find ourselves on. There will be resistance. There will be challenges. There will be days when exhaustion appears to take over. There will be days when we may feel like we no longer want to whether the storms. There will be days, or weeks, where the enemy attempts to distract with false reports and pressing on every side. There will be days when we wonder if we will EVER get over this bad habit (sin) that seems to be a gatekeeper to the fertile pasture of MORE God has for us.
Every moment, every question, every doubt, every struggle is an opportunity to rest in and acquiesce to God’s grace and Holy Spirit. But we have to resolve to not camp out there. We have to agree to continue forward. This is where I sense God desires we simply “be” until the next season dawns. Like the peach, pear and apple tree, we need only remain upright, standing where planted, and trust the fruit will be revealed. We will have to apply our supernatural spiritually organic sevin dust: the Word, prayer, worship, following Holy Spirit, abiding in God’s presence, daily resting in His armor, and declaring His truths (rather than our opinions, thoughts or feelings).
Eventually the warm Son will break open fragrance and we will know it’s time. In the ripening, let’s rest where we are, under the shadow of His wings and KNOW in His timing we will break forth anew, in a place we’ve never known.
And it is happening rapidly in nearly every sphere of existence!
A new work area at work.
A new den at home (and a great room in the throes of being changed).
A new routine on Monday nights.
A new sport to learn and support.
Today, a new computer with new software and icons and – oh my Lord – everything LOOKS so different!
Don’t be so dramatic you might say. My marriage is changing. My relationship with my daughters is changing. Relationship with others is changing. Where I was and what God had me doing, is changing.
Change, for some, is almost too much to bear.
We like things to stay the same, even if staying the same means being out of joint with others or God, settling for a stale, murky and dead atmosphere, operating out of fear of letting go, and remaining connected when God is counseling it is time to move on.
As I type the word “change” I sense Holy Spirit speaking, “Change implies you can always go back. Change is not what is taking place. Transformation is. ” Transformation – a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.
I can always move back to my old work cube, change the colors and flooring back to the same color and texture in my den, resume my previous Monday night routine, and not show interest in learning about tennis or go to matches. God seems to be speaking these things are a fore shadow, or indication of something new in the future, of what is taking place in my soul and relationships with Him and others – dramatic change in form and appearance never to return to the previous state.
When moving my cubicle, I had to pack up my old items and move it to the new. This was an opportunity to throw away items that were not going to fit the new space.
When renovating the den, we ripped up new carpet and padding, painted over new colors, and rearranged with new elements.
When transitioning from my Monday night routine, I had to trust God to continue on the very work He began through me, without me, and let go in order to lay hold of His heart in a new season.
Is all this easy? No. But it is necessary (so He tells me ;) ).
A couple weeks ago I shared a blog post alluding to God speaking ahead of time before one enters a challenging time in their life. Separation, threshing, squashing and pressing were mentioned. If you aptly concluded, “She must have been going through something or is going through something or is about to go through something”… D, all of the above.
With only a quarter way into the year, interesting is the most affable term to be used.
Our family had an amazing spring break. Truly. I shared a post about God speaking to me regarding being the “golden apple of His eye”, while on the beach. What I didn’t share was what He continued to speak to me following our time together.
He began to speak to me that because I am the apple of His eye, He will do everything to look after and protect me. Not only me, but the plans and purposes He has for my life, my children, those He has connected me with, and the future I’m currently oblivious to. As I listened, with spiritual ears, I was somewhat dismayed. A particular relationship, was going to appear to “take a hit”. But what would appear as a “hit”, was really God’s hand saying “this far and no farther”.
But why? You see, I am familiar with this. God has in fact spoken to my heart about relationships, particularly close ones, in the past. He has shared something was about to take place and there would be a shift. A shift that was necessary to continue to grow forward. Low and behold, it would happen. This has happened not once, not twice, not three times, but four times. I have learned when He speaks, “keep a distance…allow this relationship to rest…stay away until I say…caution and cut loose…”, I need to listen.
In three of those four scenarios, I in my desire to maintain what I considered peace and an appearance of maintained connection, would reach out and more damage would be done. God ALWAYS knows better than we do. Always. The fourth, when I was cautioned sitting across the table from someone, and this individual in fact played out behavior reinforcing God’s caution – I was grateful I learned the “hard way” times before to listen. But is it “easy”? No.
This time will be no different. There is a tension between what was and what is becoming. There is uncertainty that rattles our confidence. There is doubt that the new is really going to be a step in a more promising direction. And that is just what goes on in our own mind!
Change or transformation is also difficult because other people have a tendency to take our pruning personal. Others may not understand our directive to maintain distance. Others may be jealous of our ability and call to change, when they appear to be in a holding pattern (although they might not be if they saw the price being paid for change). Others may want us to stay the same because if we don’t, it disrupts the comfort zone they’ve established for themselves. The behavior and the way this plays out can look a variety of ways. Unfortunately, it isn’t always supportive, may come across as passive aggressive, and sometimes can get downright ugly.
Peter struggled with the pruning of Jesus, and took it personal as well. When Jesus foretold of His suffering, death and resurrection (the ultimate threshing, crushing and pressing we celebrated this past Friday to Sunday) in Matthew 16:21-28, we can see Peter’s response. “God forbid, Master! Spare yourself. You must never let this happen to you!” I imagine Peter wanted Jesus to stick around. I mean, just a few verses before, Jesus told Peter he would be the rock on which the church would be built. Peter was also looking forward to the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. How was Jesus going to build on and deliver the keys to Peter, if Jesus were dead?! How did Jesus respond to Peter taking His pruning personal?
“Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things that are of God, but those that are of men.” Ouch. I again imagine some serious offense and sulking going on.
It is a dangerous place to find ourselves in, when we think we have it “all figured out”. It is hazardous to conclude we have learned all there is to learn and operate from a static rather than spiritually organic place. It is fatal to allow our pride to speak up rather than be humble to the fact only God truly possesses the knowledge of good and evil and we can trust deferring to Him is in everyone’s best interest.
I may be a little “rocked” by all the change that appears to leading to transformation. But, I trust the Rock of my Salvation to keep me steady and cause me to be that which He needs. I pray you are able to do the same if you find yourself in a season of upheaval. I pray we are able to defer to the Master while we attempt to maneuver through transitional growing pains. I pray we don’t get stuck in the crushing, falling for the lie that this is all there is. I pray we hold onto the hope and promise there is fresh wine, fresh oil and fresh bread on the other side!
predicting what will happen in the future. In the context of Christianity, the word comes from the heart of God through Holy Spirit – not one’s natural mind.
But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak of His own authority. But He will speak whatever He hears, and He will tell you things that are to come. John 16:13 MEV (emphasis added)
All receive Holy Spirit when accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Some will press in for more, and the Holy Spirit baptism Jesus said would come and told the disciples to wait for in the upper room of Jerusalem. This outpouring was prophesied in Joel 2:28 and causes sons and daughters to prophesy. See Ephesians 1:13-14, Acts 1:5, 2:4 & Joel 2:28.
How does one know if what they have heard is coming from the Lord and it is not their own thoughts?
For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it delays, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3 MEV
What we have seen or heard from Holy Spirit in our thoughts and confirmed in Scripture, will materialize. It will happen, regardless of how long it may take. Can people get it wrong? Yes.
What sorrow awaits the false prophets who are following their own imaginations and have seen nothing at all. …these prophets of yours are like jackals digging in the ruins. They have done nothing to repair the breaks in the walls around the nation. They have not helped it to stand firm in battle on the day of the Lord. Instead they have told lies and made false predictions. They say, ‘This message is from the Lord’, even though the Lord never sent them. And yet they expect him to fulfill their prophecies! Can your visions be anything but false if you claim, ‘This message is from the Lord’, when I have not even spoken to you? Ezekiel 13:3-7 MEV
Woah. Not only will a prophetic word materialize but it will also repair and help. But we can get caught up on the “people can get it wrong part”. If people can get it wrong, shouldn’t we as believers just stay away from prophecy all together? It’s too risky. There’s too much room for fallacy. Too much damage can be done. After all, isn’t salvation enough?
A natural and rational mind might draw such a protective conclusion. However, the written Word of God (our ultimate reference point), and the supernatural walk we are called to disagrees.
Follow after love and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. But He who prophesies speaks to men for their edification and exhortation and comfort. 1 Corinthians 14:1, 3
We are to desire prophecy, not resist God’s gift. A true prophetic word from God will be similar to what was spoken of in Ezekiel, the gift repairs, helps, edifies, exhorts or encourages, and comforts the body. A divine word from Holy Spirit will also reveal the secrets of one’s heart, causing them to fall before God in worship, revealing, God is truly revealing through the one sharing the word. See 1 Corinthians 14:25. If the prophetic word does not evoke such a response, it merits being subjected to testing and reproof by others. Note, even the appointment of others will come from God, not just anyone and everyone has permission from God to share their two cents on the matter. The Spirit of God within all parties will bear witness, or confirm the will of God.
All of the examples provided in the introduction are certainly encouraging! A NEW thing! A GOLDEN year! FRESH bread, wine and oil!
What we may often forget is that in order to enter into a new thing, an old thing must die. Death is uncomfortable, and can often produce sorrow, crying or pain. Who among us doesn’t understand how painful it can be to allow old mindsets, habits, behaviors and relationships to pass away while God transforms us?
God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. There shall be no more death. Neither shall there be any more sorrow nor crying nor pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
Sometimes we just see the glimmering gold, forgetting it must be tested in the fire, where tested equates to being examined or proved – to have one’s heart scrutinized.
I will bring this one-third left into the fire, and will refine them as the refinement of silver, and will test them as the testing of gold. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, “They are My people”; and they will say, “The Lord is my God.” Zechariah 13:9
We often do not think of the process for making bread, wine and oil. Fresh bread involves threshing, or separation of, the grain from the chaff that is then ground to a fine consistency before baking. Fresh wine includes being picked from the vine, squashed, and a drawn out process of waiting for the conversion. Fresh oil encompasses, again, being picked from the tree, grinding or pressing the olive to then separate the oil from the water and solids.
When a word comes from the Lord that seems contrary to words before it and not so encouraging, it may be easy to dismiss it or simply not believe it. Yet, when it comes to pass and events align with God’s prior revelation, we begin to see.
We begin to see Holy Spirit really does prepare and guide us towards things to come. We begin to see He really will protect the apple of His eye, as His Word declares (also a prophetic word or promise of God). We begin to see, in Jesus, we really are valued and looked after as God’s people.
As we begin to see His redemptive and protective hand at work in our lives, we become increasingly fortified, encouraged, and built up in Him. Our faith and trust in Him begins to abound even more. We begin to no longer fear the process He needs to take us through; WE KNOW He has our well-being in mind. When we know our well-being is attached to His GLORY filling the earth and others seeing and being amazed and placing their trust in Jesus, we can enter in with joy, confidence and peace to any situation or circumstance TRUSTING His word will come to pass.
God is ALWAYS good and I trust He, through this word, has repaired, helped, edified, encouraged and comforted in what may feel like or even be a season of dying, testing, threshing, grinding, or pressing to get to the fresh outpouring of blessing He has previously promised.
I pray this word came at just the right time in your life and love, trust, joy, confidence, and peace overflow in your life and the lives of those around you. Please let me know how I might be able to join you in prayer.
1 Corinthians 12:27 All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it.
Hebrews 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
However, I do believe the church should hold within it five roles and structure as laid out in Ephesians 4:11
Ephesians 4:11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
So what have I created? Well, first, I haven’t created anything – Jesus, through Holy Spirit has. If I were to place a label on it (doesn’t the human mind love to categorize things?), I would consider it something like a para-ministry. And what is a para-ministry? I’m glad you asked:
A Parachurch ministry is a ministry that operates outside of the confines of a traditional church. While many of these organizations have some type of connection to a church, those taking part in the ministry look at ways that they can give back to the local community and others in need in ways that a church cannot. Reference
This ministry began as a blog in September 2014. You can take a trip down memory lane if you like, by visiting HERE.
It wasn’t until 2016 another direction began to emerge from the blog and I sensed the Lord speaking to my heart about sharing what He was sharing with me with other women. Up to that point, I had been asked by other women to lead a challenge and have an online group, one for encouragement and support. Before I knew it a group of twenty women were joined together for one purpose, and without any self-promotion (also important to me). Even then, I drug my feet. In August 2016, I had reached out to the church leadership at the time, for prayer for direction. A word was spoken I still hold dear to my heart. Prior to going any further in the composing and editing phase, I asked my pastor, with my family surrounding me, what his thoughts were on publishing the book. "Go for it". Ok. My sense coming away from the conversation was that anything I could do would be blessed, because we need to move when God asks us to. I did.
Why was I timid? I had been burned (self-inflicted) before (this has been a ten year journey my friends) and I needed to KNOW God was the One moving me, or my relationship with Jesus, my marriage, children and other relationships were going to suffer.
In 2017, so many things shaped up. While I didn’t host any challenges, Rise Up Devotions was published, along with Courageous Humility and Rise & Pray. “Anything I can do is blessed”. In October 2017, when I sensed God wanted me to minister in person with other women, I really struggled. What would this look like? Who did I think I was? Am I “allowed”? All these questions came to mind.
I sought the council of my closest friends. I sought the council of the Pastor at Times Square Church, as I believed him to be the pastor of my family’s home fellowship. I sought spiritual leadership from a spiritual mother. I sought the Lord in prayer and through multiple requests for confirmation. "Yes". When we visited a new church in our community, the minister spoke about Rahab the Harlot. If He could move through her, He can surely move through me.
Rahab wasn’t educated, trained, or indoctrinated. No. She only had the testimony of God’s faithfulness to the Israelites and would soon have her own. "Shanon, you have my blessing – GO".
When the curriculum was created for the Rise Up Commitment in late 2017, I asked my “spiritual mother” to review and provide feedback. She read, reviewed, and blessed the content. I believed, again, this was blessing and confirmation to move forward.
Even as I moved forward, I was always very upfront with gals, “I did not go to seminary. I am just a woman who loves the Lord and His Word, who wants to see others connect with His Word in the same life altering way I have”. My position? I am learning right along with you in many regards. We can trust Holy Spirit to be our Advocate and make truth known.
With the first commitment going well, I still longed for a covering and continued blessing for what was being done. I was concerned with operating outside of an unsanctioned covering. My spiritual leader was unavailable. The home fellowship pastor was impossible to connect with. Finally, God placed two gals on my heart to connect with. One? An associate pastor, now pastor. The other? One who had once been a mission’s pastor and embarking on a new journey with God. When I spoke with both of them, I simply shared I wanted to be accountable to others and have a covering, and that God shared both of them with me to reach out to. I believe they could sense my willingness to submit as the Lord needed.
My husband and children continued to bless my involvement with the ministry (although they might admit it's not always the easiest to share). My closest friends committed to prayer and correction when needed. My spiritual leader prayed and led when she was available. Gals agreed to cover. God had brought them all to my mind, and I knew I was to submit to them and prayerfully receive any guidance or correction God may lay on their hearts to share.
Para-ministry, that still seems to be the word fitting the best. What God does here is in addition to, a supplement if you will, to the local church and bodies each gal is connected with. Coming alongside women on their journey, with discipleship and growing together, in conjunction with their pastoral care. Many times when meeting on a weekly basis, the gals express to me their pastor spoke something very similar to what we had discussed. Thank you for confirming, Lord.
My focus on women only, is also a good indication this is not a church (in the traditional sense). God has never placed it on my heart to minister to men. His heart for this ministry? Minister to my Sisters in Christ (and soon to be Sisters) well, and they will minister to their husbands and children well, as Christ leads. I’m only a conduit. A conduit who may not hold pastoral accountability, but certainly feels accountable for every Word He places on my heart to share.
My goal is not to have anyone follow me, or rely on me. I’m like Chevy Chase in the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation scene where he is connecting the two extension cords hoping to light his house up – I want to facilitate a direct connection to, and hunger for, God’s Word and Holy Spirit so each gal learns to rely on Him as they grow increasingly more sensitive to His Spirit in their lives. Why? So they will RISE UP each day in their homes, communities, church homes, and places of employment as God empowers them to do so.
That’s it. That’s my hope and prayer.
The avenue to doing so is by meeting women where they are on their faith journey to becoming whole in spirit, soul and body, and then to teach, encourage and facilitate some degree of healing as His Word and Spirit leads me to do so, through the gifts He has blessed me with. This avenue has transitioned from an online platform to in-person, which is something many yearn for in this hyper connected era.
My prayer is also to continue to respond to His leading in all things... prayer, guidance, next steps - ALL THINGS - and be open to going wherever He may lead next. I hope that is your prayer as well.
Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have. And as always, I am happy to meet you where you are and join you over a cup of coffee or via a message, prayer or chat.
If you have never read it, I suggest you do. I then read about John G. Lake and Smith Wigglesworth. Leonard Ravenhill’s Revival God’s Way struck my soul to pray, as did Eric Ludy’s Wrestling Prayer. This was meaty stuff! Couple these words with God’s word to study the subject of LOVE and pray as I was learning – I was all in. My life finally became Jesus Christ’s FULLY! I have no doubt this set the course of the past ten years, regardless of the “giants” and challenges, and led me to this place, a modern day testimony taking place over the past couple of years I would like to share.
September 12, 2017 – Sent an invitation to all pastors in Whitley Co.
October 9, 2017 – Prayer Event
October 19, 2017 – Shifted focus to developing Rise Up Commitment
October 27, 2017 – Received a reply to connect with someone from the Prayer Room, to which I placed in my "back pocket"
November 3, 2017 – Dr. Ronnie Floyd President of the National Day of Prayer announced 2018 theme Pray for America – UNITY, based upon Ephesians 4:3
February 2018 – Moved to reach out to a female pastor in our community
April 28, 2018 – Meet a gal hungry for Holy Spirit and connected to NDP
May 3, 2018 – Attended 2018 NDP – I sat beside the gal I just met and learn she will soon to be lead for our county’s NDP chapter
June 13, 2018 – Current NDP lead and I meet in the prayer room in our community and discuss NDP
February 2018 – Two gatherings, one heart: prayer and worship for the glory of God and discipled souls in our county
PRAYER IS POWERFUL! And not just my prayers. This is not a rundown of what God is doing through me alone. No, it is a testament of prayers that have been prayed YEARS before I was probably even thought of. It is the testament of others who have prayed fervently for years since I was born. It is a testament of God’s desire to have His people humble themselves and pray. It is a testament God will unite the folks He has called to pray, and who are RESPONDING, in one accord for His purposes. It is a testament of hope for things to come. Revival. Freedom. Deliverance. Unity. An outpouring if His Spirit and Love! It is a testament that it is time to pray, and allow Him to transform our burdens to building as He leads for HIS Kingdom.
As we continue to focus on prayer in the Rise Up Community and Beyond experience for the last eight days of February, I want to encourage you to PRESS IN. I want to encourage you to lay everything else to the side and see what God has to say. Pray selfless prayers. Pray to know the heart and mind of God. Pray for Jesus to be seen and known through your life. Pray for Holy Spirit to intercede when you don’t know what to pray. Simply, pray.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.