Friday, July 12, 2013

I See a Generation Rising

During the last week of June and the beginning of July I served as both a bible study teacher and a family group leader for two weeks of Cross Camp. This week was extremely encouraging and uplifting to say the least. So many kids nailed down their faith after having doubts and uncertainty for so long. Due to the bravery of kids that were leaders in their youth groups examining their hearts before God,  a spark was ignited within other students which was amazing to see such a ripple affect occur. During this particular week God chose to use me to encourage and minister to both students and leaders which was very humbling. Leading 8th grade girls Bible study and Family group 12 was incredible in which some of those kids taught me more than I taught them during week one. I had the huge privilege to see students encouraging and ministering to other students at camp which was a beautiful thing to observe. They genuinely cared for each other and worked hard at getting along with everyone in family groups and so on. I saw students come together and rejoice greatly clapping and cheering each time a new salvation, call to ministry, and commitment was announced. This gives me HOPE in this generation. There are youth out there that Love the Lord and have a burning desire to please and serve Him. I was blessed to see that first hand during week one of camp. It was so good for my heart and soul. 

Not only do I feel that God has placed within me such a heavy burden for the youth of today, I also feel like He is choosing to speak through me in order to be a voice for them as well. Though there were many things that I saw from today's youth that were very encouraging...there were also things that discouraged my heart. Many of these kids felt all Alone. They felt as if there was no one they could confide in in their areas...even in their own youth groups and churches. Many kids, like me, had parents who did not go to church. They came with broken hearts that needed mended, wounds that needed healing, and baggage that needed to be dealt with. God did some Amazing things. He changed lives and brought Joy to these youth in ways that only He could. The thing that burdened me however was what are these kids going back to? Many of them truly desired to follow God with everything that they are. It breaks my heart knowing that many of them had to go back home to a place where no one was there to listen to them, disciple them, and show them love.

The youth of today need encouragement as much as, if not more than, generations of the past. They need to be fed spiritually and poured into so that they may pour out. I feel strongly that God has placed it on my heart to ask each of you to get on your knees for this generation. They need it. I've seen so much potential in today's youth to which it completely blows my mind when imagining what God can do in and through them. It breaks my heart to see many of them go home and not receive the Love, encouragement, and affirmation that they so desperately need. LOVE on these youth. PRAY for them. UPLIFT them and let them know that not only should they let anyone look down on them for their youth, but they should also be confident in the things God has called them to. I see God raising up strong warriors to build up and edify His kingdom. Because of this I feel such a strong urge, more than ever, to show love to these kids. It's exciting to see such an incredible young generation rising that is bold, brilliant, passionate, hungry, thirsty, and on fire for God! Please join with me in praying for them and so much more. 

"I see a generation Rising up to take their place with self-less faith. Self-less faith....I see a near revival stirring as we pray and seek. We're on our knees. We're on our knees...Heal my heart and make it clean. Open up my eyes to the things unseen. Show me how to Love like You have loved me. Break my heart for what breaks Yours. Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Free Flying

Have you ever closed your eyes and seen things that are indescribable? Have you seen something so vivid and clear as if you were literally in a whole other place? I certainly have. Heck, all my life I've been able to close my eyes and go to anywhere I'd like when allowing my mind to do so. My Creator, God, has created me to be a very creative individual. While some view A.D.D. to be a curse, I a lot of times see it as a blessing. The way He reveals things to me is hard to put into words sometimes. Luckily, He has not only created me to be a musician but also a writer. Though it may be hard for me to express how I feel vocally, on paper I could write for days.

You see, there is both good and bad that comes with being a very visual person. My photographic memory  is very strong which allows me to memorize music very quickly as well as other subjects. Of course with strengths there are also weaknesses. I feel that because I have this particular strength, it has become the very thing that Satan has used against me for years. Satan chooses to use my past to haunt me both in my sleep and when I awake. Due to being so visual, flashbacks attack my mind and try to take over. It's rare that a day goes by that I don't have to fight hard against this war with the Devil as he attempts to play with my mind.

Not too long ago I watched the movie Batman Begins and recalled one of the main points I've gotten from the movie. Batman's fear crippled him. It was his weakness. Evil used it against him to try and bring him down. It wasn't until he chose to become fear that he was able to conquer this great height. Suddenly, his immense fear of bats became his biggest strength. This fueled him to move beyond the past and terrors that would wake him in the night.

Satan used my fear of being hurt to cripple me for far too long. During the daytime I could find ways to distract myself from some of his tactics but each night, as soon as I would close my eyes, the nightmares would appear and the flashbacks would entice my fear.

During the last weekend of May I attended the LIFT conference for worship leaders held at Passion City Church. So many great things happened to which I am still trying to grasp my mind around. One of the main things was my FREEDOM. Yes, freedom (read this as if you're watching Braveheart). During night one of worship I began to weep. I was in the middle of trying to worship God and just couldn't go to the places I normally could go to when I closed my eyes. It broke my heart. Usually when I'd close my eyes I could see this:


The sunrise on Lake Malawi in Africa

Looking out the window on the way to China

The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

 But this particular night I couldn't see anything while trying to worship. Not only could I not see anything, I couldn't sing the words and truly mean what I was saying. I knew if I continued to sing it'd just be making noise. I felt as if then and there God was moving me to just sit down and allow Him to do a work within me. So, I sat down and oh did He work. I began to close my eyes and just listen to the music that was surrounding me in the room. Immediately a flash of images raced through my mind. Now, all of the things I am fixing to share will sound very crazy most likely....that's because it is crazy. It's like nothing I've ever experienced while worshiping. I began to visualize the first picture above of lake Malawi. It's like I was there all over again hearing the waves crashing and feeling the wind blowing strong. All seemed peaceful. Then it began to storm. The sea was raging and the fear became crippling. As I sat there and saw these images run through my mind I began wishing for it to be dry. I then saw the clouds roll away, the sea disappear, the sun come out, and everything beginning to die around me. Nothing was green, the dust was overwhelming, and everything looked so lifeless and tired. Then I found myself wishing to see water again. I then found my self in the midst of the ocean drowning. The fear returned and everything seemed so hopeless. Then out of the blue was a victorious right hand reaching into the dark and deep ocean with a light around it. I saw myself grabbing the hand and being pulled up. Now, above water, I gasped for air. The very next thing I saw as my eyes were closed during this song that was being played was the shore line with a single chair placed on the sand. All was peaceful and well. I then saw myself sitting down in the chair and another chair appeared by my side. 

I know... I know....Weird right? Crazy. I was as thrown off by it as all who reads this. Like I said, I never had an experience like this before during worship. It was so vivid and clear as if I was truly there. I honestly feel God placed these images in my head for a reason. As I stayed up that night trying to make sense of everything God had placed on my heart and mind....things began to click a little. Five years ago I was delivered from a very destructive upbringing. Since then it has been a rollercoaster of life events for me. From learning what it's like to be bold and share my story with others to dealing with death, heartache, burn out, wandering, and let's been a heck of a journey with God. I've experienced times where all was well and wonderful. However, I'd take it for granted and forget to praise God in the midst of the good times. Then the storms would come into my life again. I've grown used to the storms these days. They've always seemed to come and go for me. It's almost easier for me to Praise God in the midst of those storms. Often times I would beg God for the storms to die. Then I'd get in over my head. I had to learn the hard way to let my "yes be a yes" and my "no be a no".... I did too much in order to make myself feel that I was worthy enough of being used by God. Then came the big burn out. I spent almost a full year chasing shadows that wouldn't satisfy. I was living in a desert land where all was dry and my heart was apathetic. I then ran back to God and things seemed good again. However, I forgot what it was like to be in the water and trust Him. I became overwhelmed with church and the things of God that I began to drown in it. I'd serve Him and do everything I felt I should do without ever going to God Himself to pour into me so that I could pour out. Then....oh boy...then....God reached His hand to me and pulled me up. He rescued me yet again and brought me to the shore. SO, this is where I am now in my life. I am at the shore. Sitting in that chair that has been empty for too long. And I am Not alone. There is a chair beside me and though I may not always see it, I feel it. I feel the power of the Holy Spirit within me. It is stirring up my passion and compassion for others and eternal things. I'm so relieved to be at this place in my life again. A place where I know that I am where I need to be and I am doing what I am called to do. Ultimately I am called to make much of Christ...Not much of myself or others....but much of Christ.

This all occurred during night one of worship at the LIFT conference. By the last night of this conference I began worshiping all out when I realized the song I was worshiping to was the same song I sat down for on night one. I closed my eyes and every single image raced through my mind once again. Then came the overwhelming feeling of FREEDOM. I've never felt so free to worship my King. With no holding back and no distractions, I danced for joy lifting praise to my Father in Heaven! Louie Giglio then said that God had laid something on his heart that he felt led to share. He said "I feel that some of you have been burnt out and holding back for far too long. I know you, because I am you. I've been there and done that. Many of you are like a dove trapped in a cage just waiting to be free. It's time that you stop letting your life situations, the people who have hurt you, and your fears cripple you from breaking free! Let God open that cage door. It's time you start soaring for God again. Lift out yours hands and fly!" Uh......say what!?!? At first I was like "Wow, that is so ironic...." then I was like" God is so good and truly works all things together."

Needless to say that night I broke free and soared. I made the decision to stop letting that fear cripple me any longer. Though this in itself scares the mess out of me most times. I let God open that door to the cage I stayed trapped in for too long. Now I've become fear. Fear to Satan that is. I've caused him to fear that I could be a world changer for God and be unstoppable when chasing after Jesus with everything that I am. Is Satan still fighting back now that he see's me more of a threat? Oh yes, more than ever. However, in the midst of this huge battle...God is still doing what He does best. He is still shinning provision and protection over my life. So now instead of allowing my fears to cripple me, I'm allowing it to fuel my passion and push me even further into the waters.

With all this being share, this is what God has laid on my heart to tell to each of you who have chosen to read this blog entry:

"Stop living trapped in the cage. Let God open the door. You won't regret it. Be the dove that has been released and fly like never before! He's equipped you with armor. He is by your side. BE FREE and always remember to run into His arms."

"Be strong. Take courage. Don't be intimidated...Because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down. He won't leave you." ~Deuteronomy 31:6