This is yesterday’s post. I’m sending it to you from the LIBRARY! Still not workin’ at my house! Grrrrrrr……. Keep praying friends, we WILL get this worked out! Also, I have not had time to proofread this post so if you wouldn’t mind being my editors today, if you find a typo please let me know! Thank you!!! J I love you guys!
While I was at the conference over the weekend, God really touched me. In more ways than I even realize. But the major breakthrough that I had, was my heart. I’ve been talking recently about how I’ve “felt off” and things just weren’t “quite right”. Well, last Sunday, a week before the conference I had reached out to God during worship and He reached back in a mighty way. (I love when He does that! You can read about it here.) It was during worship that God showed me we had reached a plateau. It wasn’t a bad thing; in fact it was actually kind of a nice little resting spot. It was quiet and had nice plush green grass for my little sheep teeth to munch on. Spiritually I was in this place with God where “sweet intimacy” is really the best way to describe it. You know those times with your husband when you’re just hanging out at home in front of the TV, you’re not really talking to each other, you’re not really doing anything, and you’re just there together. You laugh, you smile at one another from across the room, you graze your fingers across the top of his head as you walk by his chair, you know, that kind of sweet intimacy that only comes from being together for an extended amount of time. It’s not bad in any way shape or form, not in the least. But yet, there are times when you’re in those places and you begin to long for something more… fiery.
That’s where I was with God. Like I said, it wasn’t a bad place, but it was making me hungry for more of Him working in my life. And I had been praying to that effect lately too.
And there was something else that I had been praying for, something NO ONE knew about. I had been feeling “numb” and I didn’t like it. I kept wondering if I was depressed or something. These amazing things have been happening in my life and yet I didn’t feel like I could fully enjoy them. I wasn’t happy about them. It was the strangest thing. And honestly, I was starting to get worried about myself.
At the same time God had been teaching me a lot about the power of His love. And OH BOY is it some POWERFUL STUFF!!! Woo!
So here I am, God’s pouring out blessing and favor all over my little head, and yet I wasn’t felling loved by Him, I wasn’t feeling satisfied by His blessings, I wasn’t happy about them for more than a mere moment or two, I just felt stuck and I DID NOT LIKE IT! For months I have been praying (as part of the Morning Prayer) that God would “open my heart to fully receive His love for me today”. I knew that I can only give what I have been given. I can only bless others with what I have been blessed with. I knew that God was pouring His love out on me every day in wonderous ways, yet I didn’t feel like it was getting through, being fully received. I knew that insecurity in His love for me was the root of a LOT of really bad things, a LOT. So I wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss a single drop of the love that He had been pouring out for me, and yet I felt like I was. Why?
But then I went to the conference. God had been preparing me for what awaited me there. Him. In full force He showed up and He showed up with FLAIR! He showed up in the face of every single gorgeous woman that walked through that door. He showed up in their voices as we sang and made one of the most beautiful sounds I’ve ever heard. On Friday night I wept at the sound of those beautiful women singing His praises as He filled my heart with love for them. His love for them. That night, as we sang, I gave Him my ministry, my books, my writing. I told Him that it didn’t matter to me if I sold another book as long as I live, the ONLY thing I wanted was more of Him.
And the funny thing is, I really really meant it. I ended that service up at the altar with my forehead pressed to the carpet and saturating it with my snot. Yup, it was the ugly cry. I did a LOT of ugly crying this weekend. Oh, come on, you know the ugly cry. The one that starts in your TOES and comes out in choked sobs with more salty tears and clear snot than you can shake a stick at! The kind of cry where you can’t seem to breathe anymore because you’re crying so hard. Yeah, you know what I mean. That was the point He had me in at the altar Friday night. Ugly crying begging Him for more of Him. It actually surprised me how desperate I had become for Him.
As I pulled myself up from the tear-stained floor (that mind you they didn’t want coffee on, but snot and tears, sure that’s OK.) I felt better than I had in a long time. Just like you often do after a good cry. Our group went back to the hotel and had quite the late night hoot-a-nanny. I didn’t sleep a wink between my BFF snoring like a chainsaw two feet from my head (we staged an intervention the next morning, CPAP machine here she comes), and this weird fear I had picked up about evil spirits roaming through the hotel rooms making it necessary for me to stay awake so that I could tell them to leave if one managed to find its way into our room. It wouldn’t have been smart of them. So the next day when I managed to pull myself up I wasn’t in the greatest of moods anymore. But I kept telling myself that God gave Esther’s husband a sleepless night the night before their big breakthrough so maybe that was what God was doing for me… I wasn’t wrong.
That morning we got a s l o w start. Which set us up perfectly for the divine appointment that Tammy and I had prayed for and God had planned for us. But then this appointment also managed to make us miss the entire morning worship time. So now my not great mood is slightly more intensified.
Like I said, I had been struggling with an inability to focus on the positive and instead I was focusing on the negative which stole my joy. And this is NOT me. I’ve never been that type of person.
So now, through the entire first session of the morning I felt like I was in this cloud of negativity. And even though I kept trying to think about the positive things God was doing right then and there, I just couldn’t hold onto them.
All through the day, the cloud lessened, but it never went away entirely. And I hated it. I did my best to push through it, but there was only so much I could do. At lunch I looked at my friend Karen and told her that God had said, “Before you leave today have Karen pray for you.” She has a deliverance ministry. So right then and there, behind my book table right out in the open in front of everyone (not how I would have planned it), my three friends laid their hands on me and prayed for me. And while it was nice, and I cried, inside I knew that “that” wasn’t it. Karen wasn’t done yet. And she wasn’t.
By the final session of the conference I had only sold one book. And I’ll admit I was pretty disappointed about it. I had been hoping for a mortgage payment to come from these books, and I’d only sold one. So I stood there with arms high and heart abandoned and told God, “If I don’t sell another book, I will still love You.” And it was at that moment that Tammy quickly started grabbing all her things and then leaned over to me and said, “I’m going out to the table!” I smiled at the fierce loyalty of my friends and received the tiny shred of hope that had been handed to me. “Maybe we WILL sell some more books today.”
Well then the speaker and the praise leader both kept saying “Give it all to Him”. And I stood there searching my heart and said, “Lord, what more can I give you? What of me have I not given You? PLEASE tell me so I can give it to You!” To which He reassured me that there was nothing more. Which then made me ask, “God, then why can’t I sell these books? What am I doing wrong, what’s going on that is keeping people from buying them? I don’t understand.” And immediately Karen was at my side with both hands on my shoulders praying intently for me. I couldn’t hear what she started with, but the first thing she said was, “Lord, please help her know how much You love her.” And that was all I needed to hear. I knew that “that” was it. I had been praying it for weeks and here was the moment. I grabbed onto both her hands with my own in total abandoned agreement to whatever the Holy Spirit led her to pray for me. The ugly cry came back out in severe force this time because now I was holding someone’s hands and couldn’t even wipe my nose! But it didn’t matter, God was doing something, and I knew it was something BIG. I knew it was something completely and totally necessary that I wasn’t allowed to leave with out it. A new heart.
That’s the only way that I can describe it. As I stood there with Karen’s hands on my shoulders and her words in my ears I began to feel a tingling warmth deep inside my belly. Now, the Bible talks about the soul being in the belly of a person, because that’s where all the really deep-seated emotions are felt. So when I felt that in my belly I knew that I knew that I knew God was breaking chains deep inside me that only HE could break. And He was using Karen to do it! Not the evangelist, not the super certified pastor who’s been doing it for years and years and it’s what everyone knows him for, no. He used my Karen. My friend. My friend who knows what it’s like to stand in faith and obedience and be broken down because of it. She knows that pain just like I do. And that means the world to me.
As we pulled ourselves apart and went to worshipping singularly again I said, out loud, “Jesus loves ME.” And for the FIRST time I felt it go from my head all the way down to the very pit of my stomach and bounce back out as the most giddy joy-filled laugh. It felt so good that I said it again, “Jesus love ME!” And as my laugh started before I was fully finished with the sentence I realized that for the first time I REALLY REALLY believed it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always believed it in my head, that’s NOT by any means NEW information. But it was a new revelation. The best way that I can describe it was that before I had a pair of handcuffs on with a few links of chain between them. With my hands chained together I could only hold a small amount of the love that God was pouring out over me. And over the years I had filled it up; my plateau. But right there in that sanctuary through the words that my FRIEND spoke over me, God BROKE that chain and my hands flew apart and can now be FILLED with His love for ME.
The power of God’s love is TREMENDOUS. I’ve said that before and meant it whole-heartedly. But now when I say it, I understand what I’m saying. I “get it” now. Yeah, He died for us all, that’s great. No, the miracle is that He died for ME. He didn’t die for all of us as a whole, He died for all of us as INDIVIDUALS! And THAT is the miracle.