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As I can I want to offer a fresh word of encouragement sharing from my experience how our Father God meets us in the middle of loving and living out our faith to draw others to freedom. The road to freedom can seem long and hard not unlike the experiences of those living as refugees from war torn nations, those walking out of years of abuse and pain in broken relationships, those facing the reality check that comes with unplanned pregnancy, and the great journey to healing from trauma. I fully believe we are offered so much more than we ever experience as Christ followers. We settle for a life in bondage to the elemental nature of this world and continue to live as Hagar when in fact we are daughters of Sarah.
Galatians 4:3131 So, brothers [and sisters], we are children not of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
25 (0) By David:
(1) I lift my inner being to you, Adonai;2 I trust you, my God.Don’t let me be disgraced,don’t let my enemies gloat over me.3 No one waiting for you will be disgraced;disgrace awaits those who break faith for no reason.
4 Make me know your ways, Adonai,teach me your paths.
My eyes have been open to the Lord's provision in a new and intimate way. It says in Psalm 24:14 that "Adonai relates intimately with those who fear him; he makes them know his covenant." He has been faithful to do just that in this season of surreal change affecting individuals and communities globally. He intimately meets and opens our eyes as we lift our eyes to Him. He has been working so clearly in this season of uncertainty that in the moments when I rest in Him I can see Him at work. I see the gifts He is drawing out of our children and how vital they are to the work of the ministry, I see the passions and positions they have taken in our home that have been augmented as we have had to intentionally press in as a family to find a rhythm to continue to allow others in, adjust to new daily living patterns and remain a united team. I see them join with us in new ways as together we have been seeking His will and His path for our family, our ministry and our community. I see Him working in those joined with us in this work and making new avenues for ministry and connecters. I see Him working in those stepping in to meet needs not only for the work here but in the community, church body and larger community. I see Him working to open the eyes of those here in forced rest, in this place of refuge where the limits imposed have given no choice but to face self, to face the heart, to face harsh realities. In this season I have seen fruit surface from things once dead and see and hear His call to trust, to obey, to follow and not join in the disobedient response of fighting to have things the way they were when He is calling us to what they could be. He is calling to us and opening new paths of creativity, productivity and community. He is faithfully and gently leading us in paths of righteousness and making our treasuries full [Proverbs 8:19-21] and opening the way for new life, new hope and new provision.
May you have open eyes to the provision of the Lord! May you know that He is good and fair! May you be lead to do what is right and how to live His way!
Adonai is good, and he is fair;this is why he teaches sinners the way [to live],9 leads the humble to do what is rightand teaches the humble [to live] his way.10 All Adonai’s paths are grace and truthto those who keep his covenant and instructions.11 For the sake of your name, Adonai,forgive my wickedness, great though it is.
12 Who is the person who fears Adonai?He will teach him the way to choose.13 He will remain prosperous,and his descendants will inherit the land.
Psalm 25: 8-13
21 All your people will be righteous and will permanently possess the land. I planted them there as a tender sapling, the work of my own hands to display my glory.22 I will multiply the least of you into a thousand and the weakest one into a mighty nation. I am Yahweh, and when the right time comes, I will accomplish it swiftly!”
Recently my mother gave my daughter a plumeria branch to root and grow. I found it most interesting that the best way to do so is simply by placing in soil and keeping in the light and warmth. I find this illustration to be such a clear example of what I have learned through many seasons of walking with women in day to day living. So many times running ahead thinking I need to "water" and "touch" daily in order to see growth when in reality many women come as that branch: cut off, bare without roots or leaves. Why do I think my job is to soak them when there are no roots to take up the water? What will be accomplished by pulling it up everyday to see if there is a root forming? Why do I think I have to disturb and control when really the best that can be offered is the right conditions : soil that has been prepared by the Holy Spirit, light water to provide initial moisture, and a place of warmth and light to sit and let the unseen work begin. As a housing ministry this is what our homes should be places with prepared soil full of light and warmth. Just as the tree will begin to root in these conditions when left undisturbed so the Holy Spirit is allowed to work when I stop interfering and simply do my part to keep the atmosphere and conditions clear of disturbances, warm and allow the light to enter. The Lord is the one moving in their hearts to remain in these conditions and He is the only one who can cause the rooting to begin...then it is time to water...then is when the growth will begin. How we fight and demand growth when it is not ready, before it is time and before this initial rest in the right conditions. The discipline of starting this process again and again can feel tiresome and this trust that the Lord is working when I cannot see it can be trying. Yet, again and again I see the fruit of starting at the beginning and pulling back from pulling out every tool, every process, every path to healing and starting in this place of rest and trust.
8 Yet some of the seed fell into good, fertile soil, and it grew and flourished until it produced more than a hundredfold harvest, a bumper crop.” Then Jesus added, shouting out to all who would hear, “Listen with your heart and you will understand!”
18 God was delighted to give us birth by the truth of His infallible Word so that we would fulfill His chosen destiny for us and become the favorite ones out of all His Creation!
We are His favorite ones "out of all His Creation." We are so loved He sent His son to die. We are His.
3 And realize what this really means—we have the privilege of worshiping the Lord our God.For he is our Creator and we belong to him.We are the people of his pleasure.
He conceived of us before we were born, we were His. We were always on His mind and are never far from His presence....Do you know what these words mean on this journey of bringing hope through loving, caring, sharing and giving through God's grace, anointing, wisdom and compassion? Do you know that it means our role and part is a physical manifestation of His overabundance and care? Do you know that it means He is never far from His Creation and that our part is not required? He is present with each one...each lost and wayward daughter, each daughter bound and gagged in sorrow and grief...even there He is present! He is writing the story and we are here to simply extend a grace and mercy not our own. He is jealous for us and will never allow an extension of His love and mercy to be greater than our desire for Him. He moves in and upon us, He is at work in and around us, we are His.
As we enter fully into this New Year, my greatest desire is to live so fully yielded and walk so fully alive in Christ that this House of His Creation is truly operating for His pleasure. His heartbeat for each of us is so intimate and perfect. I am at a loss to fully describe the heart of God that I have had the priviledge of bearing witness too. The Spirit has opened my eyes to a new layer of His love for us...His love for those that are outcast, forgotten, left, appearing broken, missused, mistreated,...the time of healing appearing to be past and the long journey appearing to be too much. He is so close to the brokenhearted and His love story is so evident in each story. His desire to display us with love and care as a treasured and valued work of art worthy to be seen and shared.
May you experience a heart revelation of what it means to be His! May you know that your ministry of love is a gift! May you know the value of the price that purchased you for Him!
12 And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Three things that I have observed make a difference in a woman's readiness for change and openness to the journey ahead...a heart cry, a friend and her call to motherhood.
First, I believe that when a woman comes with a heart crying out to Jesus He is responding to her cry for help as it states in Exodus 22:22-23 22 “You must not exploit widows or orphans; 23 if you do so in any way, and they cry to me for my help, I will surely give it." Their heart cry has been heard by Jesus and we are His answer to love, to care and to meet her need to be seen.
Second, when a woman comes with a trusted, faith-filled friend who has already been through ups and downs with her, and remained availble and present it makes a difference. Our role as a housing mission is not a forever landing spot and has limits...we are here for a certain time, to meet certain needs in a certain way through a certain lense...but a friendship completely outside of this, that has endured, sets the stage for her to trust taking a life altering step. She will engage faster, stay longer and already have at least one experience with being open in a new relationship.
Third, when there is also a motivating factor of pregnancy, reunification or protecting a child from abuse she will come with a vision past herself. The call to motherhood is present inside each of us and as we experience the love of Christ and His mothering and fathering,we begin to trust and see beyond ourselves to a future.
It takes a strong cord to withstand the attacks that come when stepping from darkness into light. It takes many hands and hearts affirming, encouraging and interceeding and you and I are called to be those hands and hearts. These are the strands that work togther to construct the road out.
My heart cry is that those crying out to Jesus will come to our doors, that those already on the journey with them will remain faithful and remain on the journey and that we will not ignore or set aside the call to motherhood that the enemy so clearly means to decimate in the hearts of the women we serve.
He hears. He answers. He sees.
7 By your mighty power I can walk through any devastationand you will keep me alive, reviving me.Your power set me free from the hatred of my enemies.8 You keep every promise you’ve ever made to me!Since your love for me is constant and endless,I ask you, Lord, to finish every good thing that you’ve begun in me!
The lesson stirring in my heart may sound similar to lessons learned and shared over the seasons but many, including this one, are worth repeating. With each season and lesson there is a layer removed, an addition to, or a repetition that creates new paths of life...This time the lesson is on journeying into the dark and devestating places of another's life and learning how to remain on course, neither turning to the right nor the left, nor staying too long in a dark place that has no resolution, no end and no justification. Journeying with others as mothers and daughters and friends has taken me to darker and darker corners where the religious and the name of Jesus are interwoven with atrocities and abuses that are beyond comprehension. My heart is drawn to those so turned around that they are repulsed by the light. The place where the lie of NO HOPE and NO WAY OUT is branded into every fibre.
This is the devstation I want to enter and where I want to go to proclaim freedom, liberty and hope. I am not always good at looking away, I linger too long in an empathy that becomes a weight I was not meant to carry, I become overwhelmed and begin to drown in sorrow and oh so subtley conceed that maybe, just maybe that lie is true. I fight the need to expose all the evil and make it the battle cry to prove that I am not crazy, that others have to see and know how atrocious and without sense life can be and cry out for justice at all cost...yet, that does not honor the very reason I went into that place of devastation...I am here to draw out, to honor, to expose the treasure that is hidden under the layers or grime and filth. I am here to live out Faith in the face of Unbelief. I am here to give glory to my Father in heaven and to be a witness that He too is here and that there truly is a way out. Redemption, restoration and restitution are possible now, for me, for you and for each treasure hidden in the devastation.
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