Saturday, December 24, 2011

It turned out exactly the way they'd been told

“As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed. Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!” Luke 2:16-20 MSG

The Lord gave me a good kick in the butt yesterday. And as I get older, the further along in my walk with Him I go, I realize more and more just how refreshing His correction and rebuke are. Condemnation and guilt bring on the dark heavy feeling of "wow I'm just not doing anything right" but when the Father speaks conviction and correction into your heart its freedom. Its like an invitation to change and become more like Him and it feels GOOD. Its crazy to say it feels good to be rebuked, but when it comes from Him it really does. It feels like love. It sets you free, it brings you home. 

Scott and I have not had the easiest of transitions down to South Carolina. And we often feel crazy for coming down here, especially when we seem to have no fantastic news in the natural to share with all of our friends and family about us moving down here. Ya know, last February when we came it was like wow Hey everybody, we have a word from God! We need to move down to Fort Mill South Carolina! God told us to go be a part of MorningStar ministry and that we need to be in that area for what He is about to bring us in to! Scott is leaving his job, we have no money saved up, no car, we will move into a small house with another the time we had Selah and another baby on the way. But God said it! So nothing mattered, and we were full of expectation. And God really did show up. Not in the ways we expected, but He did. He provided for us for months when Scott had no work. People were extremely kind and generous to us, we got a free car, checks in the mail almost weekly to support us...It still wasn't exactly what we had seen or felt like God said, but He was providing. And we lived in hope, just knowing soon this will all turn into exactly what God showed us. And a few months turned into almost a year:) And still. Things have changed, but we are pretty much in the same situation. Not feeling anywhere near walking in the promises of God. Our own house to minister out of, and money that will provide more than enough to support ourselves,but also support others which is what we feel we've been shown. We haven't seen anything CLOSE. 

So the past couple of weeks I've been grumbling. I've been asking all of our close friends to pray for us. I've been crying out to God. Wondering why He has forgotten us. Wondering where we went wrong. Explaining to the Lord, we've done everything we can! We've obeyed you, we've given away money, we've joined in ministry, we've sowed in faithfully and more than we can even afford to our church. We've prayed and worshiped and cried out. I mean, really. I've been giving Him an ear full. I've told Him I'm mad at Him for bringing us here just so we could continue to fail. We've contemplated packing up our bags and moving back in with our parents and giving up on South Carolina all together. And finally yesterday, I got a good slap in the face.

I was complaining to my husband once again. About finances, how we can't buy people Christmas presents blah blah blah and why is God letting this happen and why isn't He fixing anything and maybe we are doing something wrong... And Scott firmly started rebuking me using these words

"Its NOT about US! Its not about us. Its not about us. Its not about us. It is NOT ABOUT US. Its not about US. Its not about us. ITS NOT ABOUT US. IT IS NOT ABOUT US. ITS NOT ABOUT US!!!!!!"

I just laid on the bed in my pitiful state crying and laughing as that correction flowed into my heart and broke off that spirit of selfishness I've been carrying around for weeks. 


We came here for God. We came because He said to. And we won't leave unless He says to! 

He brought us here. It doesn't matter whats happening. None of it matters. It doesn't matter what we can see. All that matters is Him. And WHATEVER He wants to accomplish. 

Now I know full well. We will receive these promises. The word of God is truth, and His truth will always be fulfilled, if He speaks it, its WILL manifest. Just look at this whole creation. He spoke light and we still have it! 

But its not about us. We have what we need. We have food. We have a home. We have housemates that have welcomed us in and really shared everything they have with us. Its not ours, but they are being given a chance to minister to us. 

We have no clue, what the Lord is doing right now. Really we don't. But we know what He has called us to, and we know He called us down here. And we won't budge until He says otherwise. Because we live for Him. Its what we really want anyway. We want our hearts to be so totally sold out to Him. Because He is worthy. His love makes everything worth it. 

Please forgive me if you have caught a glimpse of my selfish spirit in the past few weeks or months for that matter. I'm young. God has a lot to do with me. But He is changing me:) 

Grace and peace to your hearts friends. We love you. And we bless you in this awesome, crazy, journey with God.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just A Dent in the Universe, But What A Dent!

I can't say how crazy it feels that I am so impacted by the passing of Steve Jobs.  It really is crazy to me.  He's from a completely different generation.  I used to think that the Apple was more of a cult than a demographic being reached.  I also felt that their products were mainly hype and over priced.  Even from an early start, I remember how my Fourth Grade computer class was filled with Commodore 64's and one lone Apple IIGS in the corner, specially reserved for those that excelled in skill and behavior.  Both of which I was lacking. Besides, we used an Amiga at home.

Steve Jobs started slipping into my life with the advent of the ipod.  I'm sure many begin their story that way.  I remember thinking,"1,000 songs?  Whose ever going to listen to that many songs."   Little did past-Scott know he would now have double digit gigs worth of music and love the variety and accessibility.  I finally succumbed to getting an ipod, didn't have to loose my self-built PC, an acceptable compromise.  Steve creeped in further when I began getting more interested in Web and Graphic Design.  I was forced to ask why so many in the field preferred Mac over PC.  After much thought, fiscal research, customer reviews, and prayer I told Tabitha, I think we should invest in a home computer and it should be a Macbook.  Shortly after I was following the delivery truck online to see when our 15" Macbook Pro would arrive at my door.  The speed, user friendly nature, and lack of constant updates and viruses quickly sold me.  I drank the cool-aid and joined the Mac groopies.

I hadn't realized how much one man had began to effect my life.  Tabitha had to point out how I had started to edge new buyers toward Mac.  He was showing up in events great and small.  Steve's influence was at my wedding via our reception playlist.  He was there helping me create a more relaxed presence during the birth of Selah.  And he was superhero during recent long car rides, as Selah was soothed by streaming Little Einsteins on Tab's iphone.

And one of the most awesome things Steve has done is happening today, by helping me grieve the loss of our son.  As many of you know, Tabitha and I were expecting again when we moved to Fort Mill.  A few months after our arrival we learned that we lost the pregnancy.  To us, a person is a person, no matter how small, so he become part of our family as soon as we saw the plus sign.  True to form, the Lord had told me early on that it was a boy.  As a Father, I was very excited and have taken the loss pretty hard.  We don't agree with what happened and don't take our optimism as ignoring our right to grieve.  But see, we believe that even something that is devastating can become quite amazing if placed into God's hands.

See, it wasn't Steve Jobs that actually impacted my universe necessarily, as much as it was how I used the products he helped to create.  It was also that I let him make a dent in my universe.  I like how Steve said,“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”  I believed him when he said the iPad was a magical product.  I don't think he said that because of what the iPad was, an incredible machine, but I think he said it because he could see how everyday people would use it and how everyday people using that machine could impact the world for the better.  I think it's rare to see that kind of optimism and hope for humanity these days.

Though our son was only here for a moment, he has created a huge dent in our universe.  We are learning it more everyday and we are learning how to allow him to be an impact on our lives everyday until we see him again, face to face.  Just one more element of the "here but not yet" paradox of Christianity.  Our son was scheduled to arrive this week.  Which probably has a lot to do with why Steve's passing is impacting me so much.  There are still lots of tears to be shed, maybe for Steve too, but there is so much hope in us for what our experience can mean for the future.  And I just want to honor him, as our son, by recognizing that dent he's made on us, openly and honestly.

We feel closer to God than ever before.  We are becoming more open to the reality of Heaven.  We are growing in love for Selah and are becoming excited for the opportunity to love the children we will have in the future.  It really is amazing just what can impact us if we let Him do His thing.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

His goodness

Have you ever tried to see everything in your life as God's goodness?

Like literally, every day, no matter what the season, step outside of the situation and hold firm on the word that says "He works out all things for the GOOD of those who love God and live according to His purposes" (Romans 8:28). Don't be confused with my statements, the scripture doesn't say all things that happen to you are good if you love God and live according to His purposes, it says He works them out for good.

Scott and I have really been trying to live by the truth of this verse for the past two years. We've hit some dark times, that are not good by any means. There was nothing good about losing our first son in May. Nothing good or Godly about giving birth to a baby that is not living. And we were really challenged by this concept of stepping out of the situation, and calling out our Father as good. And repeating this verse over and over, reminding our hearts and minds that somehow some way God WILL work this out for good. And that is just one out of many "not good" (in our perspective of what is good at least) circumstances we've had in our family this season.  Can we ever fully know how it will work out for good? Sure, why not. God is our friend:) Will we ever know? Maybe not, but we've chosen Him therefore we've chosen to focus on Him no matter what comes our way. Our family motto is to focus on God's goodness. If we focus on His goodness, we don't always NEED answers. Its great to have them, its awesome to have revelation on the whys. But when our focus is Him, we can face pain with our eyes up knowing that His love will cover us. We don't have to find answers to soothe us and comfort us for our distress. We only need to come to the Father. His burden really is light.

I love the scripture in Habakkuk 3 that says "though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines...though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are not cattle in the stalls, YET I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the victorious God of my Salvation!"

David wrote many Psalms on the reality of His suffering and crying out to His God, wondering if God was there or if He heard Him. And here in Habakkuk the prophet is saying, these things happen. Even to people that serve God. There is nothing wrong with you if you face hardship. Suffering does not mean He has lifted His grace from you. The bible is filled with songs of suffering, from people of GREAT MIRACULOUS faith.

We've no formula for how to face difficulty. The only thing we know is God and His justice and love shining over us as banners. Won't you join us in glorifying Him? More than your circumstances? More than your fears and worries and pains?

Those are just a few insights into our every day conversations. I really have the best husband possible for me. He leads me to God. He encourages me to find Him in all things. And not to focus on what is temporary or fleeting. But what is eternal. And WHO is my King. I love learning with Scott and growing in this area of just loving Jesus more. Getting our focus off of ourselves and onto the everlasting one. I'm proud to have such a faithful leader as my husband, and such a faithful lover of the King.

As far as testimonies go, how about I begin to share an awesome one? :) Hopefully Scott can fill in more in another post.

Scott has been studying web design and since moving to Fort Mill really felt Holy Spirit leading him more and more into times of study and discussion with other W.D.'s in our area. Well sure enough, God opened up an opportunity for Scott to have FULL TIME work in the area of web-design. No applications, no job hunts, no daily interviews or postings of resumes on job websites each day. None of which are bad things by any means! The Lord gave Scott some excellent teaching through one of his best friends and founder of a web design company called Dreamstar. And Brian Feister (Director and manager) has given Scott a wonderful opportunity to be taken on full time as kind of a paid internship. He has such confidence in Scott's ability to grow quickly in this field and has really given our family and awesome opportunity and blessing. Thanks Brian and Liz! You guys have sown into us so much and we pray God will use us to give back to you for all you've done!

Its hard to believe some days, that we've been here for 7 months with no income. And now within a matter of weeks God has opened up this full time work in something Scott really feels called to and something he fully enjoys. He is currently working days and studying nights so that he can learn really quickly and get more work. Please pray for my husband and encourage him when you get the chance. He is really making huge sacrifices for our family an he continues to spend a couple nights out of the week alone with Selah while I am off at dance or teaching dance.  Also wakes up and takes care of her on his own some morning while I am out training for the half. And then stays up late hours to study. He has handled this transition with such grace and strength and my respect and adoration for him has grown tremendously. Please love on Scott and bless him. He is such a great man of God.

As always thanks for following. We love Jesus! And we love sharing His goodness with you all.

Blessings and favor from above

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

the peace of God, which transcends all understanding

My heart is full of gladness and passion in anticipation of the words I am about to share with you here in our blog. We have truly been on a beautiful journey. I've heard many in the faith who have gone before Scott and I look back on their life and say "we've had some turmoil, we have had great distress, but we don't ever regret those days and the way we followed God in that time" Its TRUE! My friends, Scott and I have said many times to you, we have days where we can only take one step and then breathe and thank God we could take just that one step and then have to stop and pray in order to make it to the next. However, despite the grief and anxiety of these times, we bless the Lord. We wouldn't take any of it back. We have no regrets with our choices, because we have chosen Jesus.

This morning I feel like I could weep with sympathy over one of Paul's letters in Philippians. Philippians 4 Paul...oh by the way, if you're reading this and have no idea who Paul is, no worries. He is an awesome follower of Jesus in the bible and I will gladly share his story with you some time if you want:) Anywho, Paul is writing a letter to the body of Christ the "church" in a town called Philippi. He is thanking them for their prayers for him as he travels and extends himself greatly in order that the gospel of Christ the good news will be spread throughout the land so that all can know and fall in love with this awesome son of God who came that we might have life and have it MORE abundantly!

In the 4th chapter of Philippians Paul says these words
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Ahhh these words are like poetry to my ears right now. Rejoice in the Lord always! The Lord is near! and he goes on to explain that by living in this rejoicing, spinning your thoughts into prayers and anxieties into petitions you will obtain this great peace its a peace that TRANSCENDS ALL UNDERSTANDING.

Scott and I know all about transcending all understanding. We are doing things and saying things, that are transcending any formula of life or Christianity that we have ever known. And we are dwelling in peace.

The voice of the Lord is beautiful. I wrote in my journal this morning in my dialogue with God
"we are learning more and more that while your voice may be still and small it is also deep and fulfilling. Your voice brings joy and hope and confidence and when we follow it, there is rest and deep peace beyond all human understanding"

To bring you up to speed on where we are at now in our journey, Scott has received part time work writing! WOW! He is helping someone whom our family considers one of the greatest spiritual leaders in our area to write his first book on finance and business in the Kingdom. This is a big deal. Scott has really felt the Lord calling him to writing for the past year or so, but has never "studied" or worked in this area. Just goes to show, you CAN have your dreams and eat them too:) Although Scott has put in some personal time to studying the art of writing and reading a TON of books. We know the favor of the Lord is what brought him this job and beyond being grateful for the small income we now have, we are grateful to the Lord for hearing the silent cries of Scotts heart and bringing him this part time job.

I was offered an opportunity to "nanny" for our housemates daughter Mary Ella in June in exchange for paying rent. So I've found a little job of my own:) The month that they asked us if it was something I was interested in we had less than $100 in our bank account and just took it as a sign from the Lord that this was how he would be paying our rent from then on! I've so enjoyed being with Selah AND Mary Ella each day, its an awesome gift and its one of those gifts that gets better as the days go by. Being with these two girls everyday is an awesome way I think for us and our housemates to bond, and really become more of a family than just people who live together.

I've also been asked to teach some dance classes at MorningStar's dance school which I will begin doing in the fall.

We are still living month by month. Really day by day. Asking the Lord for what we need each day. And really living in strong confidence that if we NEED something, our God is faithful to provide it. Today I don't have money to buy groceries next week, but when next week comes and we need groceries, the Lord will give us groceries! Its not a way that I desire to live for the rest of my life, but its changing us and deepening our love and understanding of our awesome Father and his love for us.

 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Thanks for following along in our journey. There are always ways you can partner with us through your prayers. If you would like to know specifically what you can pray for us, then just ask God and I KNOW He will reveal it to you if we have need. We love each of you so much, no matter what our relationship status may be, you are a child of the King and therefore we have great love for you. And we are truly grateful that you would read this blog and follow us in your heart. May our awesome God give unto you everything you given to us by way of your love and concern for us.

Peace Peace

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

more than we can handle?

Just wanted to write you all a quick update on what's been happening in the past couple of months down here in Fort Mill!

Scott and I have been going through pain and difficulty at a level we've never been at before. Which can only mean one thing to us, we must be going higher! and going deeper! Think about it, the stronger you get, the more battles you win, the harder your enemies must fight to persuade you to quit. We had a couple of weeks where it seemed like it would not end. Around every corner was another curve ball that we had to simply allow ourselves to get whacked with and call out to God as our literally only ONLY source of strength. Bigger battles, bigger giants, and in the end we will also be bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter than ever before. We have become so sure of the high calling on our life and we are willing to continue to trust God and lean not on our own understanding.

We are still living with The Smith's and we are still enjoying being their house mates. God is really starting to cause our friendship with them to grow deeper and they are really wonderful people. We are so grateful to not just share their home with them, but to share in fun conversations late at night and early in the morning. Its good fellowship and they have been so gracious to share their entire home with us:)

In May the Smith's offered to give us free rent if in exchanged we watched their daughter Mary Ella for the month of June instead of them sending her to day care. What they didn't know was that when they asked us if we would watch her, we had about $19 in our bank account and no idea how we were going to pay next months rent. YAY God!

I've been spending my days these past couple of weeks with Selah and Mary Ella and it has been so much fun. It was just the right amount of change and challenge that I needed to add to my days, not to mention Selah has a play date ALL day everyday without us even leaving the house! Its fun to watch them interact together and giggle and squeal with one another like little girls!

Scott is really pursuing his passion for web design. He kind of feels like and can see the way God has been slowly drawing him into this as a possible career for quite some time. And he really enjoys it. He is mostly self taught, with the exception of the few conversations he gets into with other web guys on occasion. And he is doing so well:) I'm really proud of how he has taken  this time where it seems like no doors have opened for him to have work, and really used it to bear fruit and bring prosperity. Way to go baby! I'm so proud of you for not giving up and continuing to pursue learning and growth from home each day! There are so many other ways you could have chosen to spend your time, but you are walking with Holy Spirit and choosing to obey each day.

The Lord has put us into contact with some other people in the area that are kind of in the same place as us right now. Little to no income spending their days praying and following the voice of the Lord wherever it might lead that day... Its nice when we can all get together and encourage one another with awesome testimonies about receiving huge checks in the mail, cash underneath the doors of apartments, divine appointments where people buy groceries or take us out to dinner or coffee etc...its awesome to see how we really don't need anything but God. And other people are finding that out too:)

We are doing really well. Along with all of the difficulties and honest turmoil of this season, there has been so much fruit so much joy and so much of God's goodness knocking on our door each day.

He is faithful. And we are continuing to walk with Him, seeing a path, but not knowing exactly where or when it will turn. We love Him:)

Oh yea! In other news...I'm starting to train with my housemate to run a half marathon AND Selah can finally wear pigtails in her hair:) YAY

Thursday, May 5, 2011

He writes the best stories

We are living a really awesome life. You know how people always say "I don't want to brag..." but then they do brag? Well I want to brag. I want to brag about my awesome Father God. He is so amazing. I want to brag about the story He has written for my family. I want to brag about how good He is and that He LOVES me and KNOWS me and sees my needs each day and meets them. I want to brag about knowing God. And being a child of God because my life is so completely incredible and He is worth bragging about because He is my life and He has made my story and my families story into what it is today.

"I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless your name forever and ever- with grateful, affectionate praise. Every day with its new reasons will I bless You- affectionately and gratefully praise You; yes I will praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord and highly to be praised , and His greatness is so vast and deep as to be unsearchable"

God is just so good. We really don't have any new news here except just to tell you to get to know Him. Trust your lives to Him. Let Him take you wherever He wants to take you. Get off your butts and give yourselves over! Its the BEST thing you could EVER EVER EVER say Yes to!

We love Him. His peace and His love are covering us and changing us and growing us and making us into the best possible versions of ourselves.

So all I wanted to write here were praises to our Father. We praise you God! You're so worth it! You're so worth all of our honor and praise and worship to you. You are beautiful and perfect in all of you ways and we love the way you do everything. We love your decrees we love your commands, we love your law and we love your character all of who you are is good and we bless you.

As for updates: our family is doing so well. We are walking in the delight and peace of the Lord. We are so rich. And so full. We are still unemployed and living on top of our friends townhouse. And we are still reaping the fruit of knowing Jesus:) Isn't that all that matters? We're rich. We don't have much, but we have it all. We've found contentment in this place. We're practicing not worrying because its stupid and pointless and gets us no where. Instead of worrying we pray. And guess what? it WORKS. Philippians 4:6 says don't worry about anything, instead pray. We are so free and so excited about this adventure. There are so many pieces of the puzzle missing, but we are growing in God which is far more valuable to us than our possessions ( which are all still in NY:) then security in our bank accounts, far better then knowing our future or having a plan for tomorrow. He has a plan, and we walk with Him!

We love you all and are grateful for you and your prayers over our family. You are apart of our story, your prayers are being lifted up and you are partnering with the Father to write the greatest adventure for us! Thank you!

Trust God, today. Stop waiting until you have what you need to trust Him. If you have Him, you have what you need. Just give up on waiting to be ready, or rich, or perfect, have a job, more this or that. And just give yourself to Him for whatever He wants. Its so much better!

We love you and bless you and your families as well.



Sunday, April 10, 2011

On April 2nd I turned ONE on April 3rd they gave me cake!

 Just wanted to update you with some photos from Selah's 1st birthday party! We celebrated on Sunday the day after her birthday with a small group of great friends and their kids. I made some awesome rainbow cupcakes with cream cheese frosting...which later sent Selah into an unfortunate sugar crash:( But! it was a great day had by all:) with eating sweets and praying some blessings over Selah and her many awesome years to follow.

Having a one year old is so much fun! Selah has always been active since the womb, but watching her walk around everywhere in the house, get out onto the floor with all the grown ups at church and dance and worship, and explore climbing under and over everything that gets in her way is such a joy. We really love who she is, she is so full of life and fun. We are so grateful for her and could not possibly ask for a better first year for Selah.

As for other news, we are learning so much about our awesome God its hard to even contain it all. Good thing he instructs us in our spirits as well as our minds so that in some way we will remember and retain it all. We've had so much time to just sit and listen to God, we feel more connected to Him then we have in a long time and it was really necessary for us. We are coming to find more and more that we don't really care what happens while we are here, we just want to love Him and trust Him more, He is so worth it. He continues to provide for us in fun ways like random checks from friends and family, a car that we paid $1.00 for that is in excellent condition, and the roof over our head that we should not be able to afford right now:) We really want to bless and honor all of you who have been standing with us and contending for us. You know who you are! So to YOU, we bless you, and we ask God that He would pour out blessings over you and your family, that you would reap greatly from what you have been sowing into us and that you would receive favor just like we have in these past two months. We especially want to thank our parents and  our siblings who have continued to believe in the vision that we have, never once have they told us that we were foolish, or that we should not go through with what we feel God saying. We are sure they have been worried for us, like any family would be, but they have not projected any of their fears or worries on us and we believe that is a major part of why we have been able to stay so strong and so confident in this season. THANK YOU:)

We've had days where we don't understand how we are going to make it, why we don't have a job yet, will we ever have a job!? etc...but then God shows up, and fills us with confidence in Him and makes us realize once again that we could do everything in our power to succeed,but being connected to Him and following His words has been our greatest success yet! This time is so precious to our family, and although it is totally hard and scary to watch the money in your bank account decrease weekly with no clue of how it will be replaced, we wouldn't trade this time/process/growth/trial for anything literally anything else in the world.

So blessings to you friends and family that have stuck by us and believed in us and continued to encourage us even when to mans eye it looks like nothing is happening. So MUCH is happening! Please carry these testimonies in your heart, and consider trusting Him in ways you never have before.
We love you so much!

And thanks for all the birthday wishes and blessings for Selah too! :)

Selah's banner
Homemade birthday hat:)
Homemade cupcakes and cupcake stand!

Inside of her rainbow cupcakes!

Sugar crash:)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Goodbye March, Hello April

God has continued to move forward, even when Tabitha and I are not aware of it.  We end March and enter April with deeper fellowship, a car, a first Morningstar conference, and a first birthday.  Though to the world, we may seem to be sitting still, so much is going on.  I think the beginning of Joshua reflects many key shifts that we are experiencing.

"Moses, my servant, is dead." Joshua 1:2

I think we are learning more and more that the things we used to do in the past won't work.  The old way of praying just doesn't work.  The old logic is now faulty.  The old standards now fall short of revealed dreams and expectations.  The old signs are no longer useful, pointing toward things that have already been fulfilled.  We are in a season where we have had to admit to ourselves that what once was, no longer is.  I was once in prayer about John G. Lake, yearning for those healings to happen again.  And I desperately wanted the days of John Lake to return, when I heard the Lord say," Scott, Lake is dead."  It has been a difficult experience.  We always want to "re-live" the "Golden Era", but that is not scriptural.  The Lord says that the latter will be greater than the former, therefore the Golden Era is not something in the past, but something yet to be entered into.  This is the truth that we are forced to believe in.  What once was was good, but it is nothing like what will be experienced if we would simply let the past pass.  The past to present was awesome, but the present to future will be legendary.  That maybe why it is so difficult to believe it.  I do like a good fairytale.

"As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you." Joshua 1:5b

We have heard so many testimonies here about people who have done the same thing we have done.  We have met several families, many from NYC, that left home with nothing but the word of the Lord to guide them.  No home, no car, no jobs.  Tabitha recently met one woman that has been here for 8 years with no job and the Lord continues to provide for her needs.  There is something about promises, especially really good ones, that we are tempted to disqualify ourselves from.  Part of us has been tempted to think that God will not be as good to us and that we are trapped in struggle.  Yet, we find ourselves with a very nice car that was given to us by an amazing family from Kansas City.  Just as Moses knew the goodness/fullness of God (Ex 33) we are now seeing God's goodness go before us and feel like we can inherit what He has called us to.  What a sign (a car) that God is getting ready to move us into something!  The prophetic speaks of cars as dealing with the family/personal identity and a movement of God.  This car comes to us from the International House of Prayer.  A car that came literally from intercession.  Oh yeah!

"When we heart it, our hearts melted, neither did spirit or courage remain any more in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath." Joshua 2:11

We are learning that God has truly prepared this place for us.  We came here with a lot of fear and mistrust, but that is breaking.  No one likes being wrong, especially after taking such a big leap.  More and more we are realizing how perfect this place if for us.  God has placed some awesome things here for us.  Tabitha has found out that she has opportunity to dance, we both have opportunity to pursue the prophetic (Tabitha just finished the Advanced Prophetic Conference and is putting her knew knowledge to immediate use), and I am finding new outlets for writing and developing ties to people I would have never dreamed of pursuing God with.  It is quite awesome.  We are gaining boldness, not because we feel like we have so much to offer, but because of what God has done.  We really do feel like our destiny lies in this place.  We are beginning to contend for a home and roots for our children.  We dream of Selah, Baby-on-the-way, and siblings to follow would have roots here and be a part of this place.  More and more we are seeing with all 6 senses that He is Lord.

"Yet a space must be kept between you and it, about 2,000 cubits by measure; come not near it, that you may [be able to see the ark and] know the way you must go, for you have not passed this way before." Joshua 3:4

Even now, I'm writing from our Solemn Assembly that we attend at Morningstar the first Tuesday of every month.  We are learning how to approach God, how to follow Him, and stay in relation with Him in a completely new way.  We believe that we are entering into something completely new, something never seen before.  So many people ask me if I'm looking for a job and I say," Nope."  They often think I'm shirking back from responsibility and don't understand.  If you believe that, then try what I'm doing and see how it goes, lol.  I don't get upset, because I don't understand it myself.  We are walking in something that we have never encountered before.  We do feel led to ask for a house though. It makes no earthly sense to seek a house when you don't feel like seeking a job is necessary, but that's what we feel like we're supposed to do.  Some ask how I know that those are words from the Lord.  All I can reply is what the Lord told Jeremiah when he asked, we'll know it was Him when it happens.

I know that all this must seems strange to most people.  To some it is an exciting adventure.  It doesn't always feel so exciting to us, lol.  We believe that we have left a season of being constrained and are now on a journey to find the fulfillment of our destinies in God.  And we know it looks to some like we are asking for a house that we haven't earned, and are asking for resources that we haven't earned, and are asking to be a part of a move of God that we did not lay the foundation of... (Deut 6:10.11, Joshua 24:13).  We know.  But the Lord is just that good.  And yet it truly comes down to one thing and just one thing.  The moss important thing being developed is " for me and my house, we will serve the Lord," Joshua 24:15

 Blessings on you, faithful readers.  May the eternally happy God demonstrate His justice and righteousness to you.  May you see Him clear mountains that you stopped asking Him to clear and bring you into lands you once believe in, but have chalked up to fairytales.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A new address:)

If you have ever seen or read Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a who you will remember that great moment when the whos shout from the tiny speck "WE ARE HERE, WE ARE HERE, WE ARE HERE!"

That's been our anthem for the passed 2 and a half weeks. We are here. We feel this overwhelming sense like we have to shout it from the rooftops to make sure that God and anyone that God may involve in our journey may be made aware of the fact that we are here and we are ready and willing for the next step.

Why does there have to be a next step though?

I think this is what we've been pondering since we've been here. Why can't we just be here? Isn't that enough. We just obeyed God and flew our 11 month old 3 suitcases a couple carry on's Swires # 2:) ...that's right, thought I'd just sneak that in there to make sure people are really reading. Anyway, we just flew all of these things to a whole different part of the Country, and did we do that in order to find out the next step? Or did we just do it as a step. A step that is good enough, with no next step in mind.

I guess it was both. But we are really learning that doing nothing is OK. Maybe not doing nothing, but rather not doing what we haven't heard God tell us to do. Which is what we usually do don't we?

OK all the dos and do nots are probably sounding confusing. Let me simplify.

Since moving to Fort Mill we have spent our days like this:

We slowly get up in the morning and bring Selah into our bed.
We watch Selah crawl around on the blankets and pillows and giggle and roll while crawling all over us sort of as a morning cuddle time and wake up ritual lately.
Then, we make breakfast.
I go for a run.
I return from my run, and we hang out with Selah.
Scott goes for a walk to MorningStar and smokes his pipe, and reads some books and studies his bible.
Scott returns from MorningStar.
We eat dinner.
We take a family walk.
We may watch a movie or spend time with our house mates.
We frequent the local grocery store and coffee shop for our "needs" :)
We sleep.
We repeat.

And while man may tell us there is a flaw in our schedule because we've not left ample time for job searching and looking for the next step. We feel intense peace. Peace like a river. That we are officially lost in. We are floating. Feeling weightless. Feeling like God has given us the greatest gift in this time and we don't want to mess it up. We don't want to over look this precious time together and assume that this time of rest is not in fact "the next step". We don't want to assume the position of the world and stick ourselves in quickly in order to find security and comfort in money and our own living space. Which is not a bad thing, we don't think its wrong to want or seek those things, but if you seek Him first, and He hasn't told you to seek those things yet, then we definitely think that's wrong. We don't live according to the ways of the world, but to the ways of the Kingdom. What affects and burdens the world, does not have power over us. Though the world may fear the state of the economy, our economy lies in Heaven, where there is never any lack.

Read Romans 8:5-8 below

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

The mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. We are truly in the midst of life and peace here. Not just saying it so we can believe it, but feeling it and seeing it and being it in a more true form than I feel I've ever experienced in my life. 

We've received many prophetic words since being here. One of which was given to us by a woman in the grocery store while we were looking for some burger paraphernalia. I was carrying Selah in the Ergo carrier (meaning she was in a baby carrier snuggled up against my chest) and the woman stopped me and asked if I was nursing. I told her not anymore, but that I did for 7 months (I'm proud of my 7 months!)...the woman just lit up and got so excited, and started speaking to Selah telling her that Mommy gave her such a healthy and wonderful start and that because I gave her that start she will have a healthy life. She then proceeded to tell Scott how I trusted him as a husband and how I looked up to him and loved him deeply, She then told us to continue to love one another and honor each other, and she ended the time with getting quite close to Scotts face making eye contact with him and blessing him and telling him that we must hold on to the word the Lord has given us and we are not to let go of it because it is good and it is true and it will come to prosper.

She said a lot of other wonderful things, really blessing Selah and blessing us as a family and giving some cool words of knowledge about how she could already see us working together as a family unit. Saying intimate things to us about the way we treat each other in our marriage that are really only seen in private so we knew she was speaking straight from God.

Another occurrence was at church last Sunday. As I've mentioned we are attending MorningStar for church and it has been an awesome experience both Sundays we've been here:) There is a great sense of freedom over the church, people spend time in worship painting, dancing, sitting, standing, kneeling. There is so much expression and our time there is so deep. We are really grateful to be challenged by the word each week, given a chance to connect with God and also a chance to receive ministry afterward. This week we had an awesome time getting some words from a small team of prophetic ministers in the church. They gave us a few words about our transition here, and how we will fall into place quickly, God has THE timing and THE place for our family and it is coming soon.

We've been encouraged, to say the least. We are dwelling amongst a lot of people who have had the same type of experience where God kind of asked them to just leave everything and move down here with no certainties except His word.

We have a lot of time to dialogue about what we see and feel like God is saying. We have time to connect as husband and wife, to open up to each other and work through things that we might have been stepping over in lieu of our transition and sort of stressful weeks leading up to moving. 

So I guess what we want you all to know, is we are doing well. We are enjoying the sunshine, reconnecting as a family, resting, and re-aligning. We feel God's presence, and we know He has called us here for something greater than we can imagine or dare to dream of.

We spent some time at the Solemn Assembly last Tuesday that MorningStar does once a month. It is a day of prayer, worship, and fasting from 8AM-8PM. While I was there this time I started to talk to God and heard Him so quickly and so sharply. I feel like you can hear Him and interact with Him so much easier in places where people are very open and willing to hear from God and where there have been generations and generations coming and worshiping Him and listening to Him (such as the campus at MorningStar). Anyway, I heard Him clearly say to me that what we are experiencing now is not even the tip of the ice burg.

Most people say, "this is just the tip of the ice burg!"

And the Lord said to me, this is not even the tip. This is barely even a sliver of the amazing destiny that I am bringing you and your family into in the years to come.

Our hearts are filled with excitement to serve a God that brings us on a journey that literally lasts a life time. And is always growing with us. We will never out grow our callings, we will constantly grow into them.

And one day, we will be giants:)

I am almost 3 months along in my pregnancy and feeling great. I'm experiencing little to no symptoms, which is really amazing. I had a really good pregnancy with Selah and although we prayed for it I didn't imagine that this one would be even better and it already has been! glory to glory:) Baby Swires #2 will be born this fall, sometime late September or early October. Keep mine and babies health in your prayers!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Believing in Fairytales

One can only imagine the kind of responses one gets as an adult that believes in fairytales.  We are a dying breed.  I am not received well by others when they find out I have never denied the existence of Santa Clause.  I don't see why I should when there is no proof he doesn't exist.  I believe the burden of proof is on them, as they try to prove a negative.  Good luck. 

It's ironic to me that adults, who are consumed with discussions of freedom during these colossal upheavals in the Middle East, are actually in an extreme bondage.  There is a major lack of freedom in our world and it is the freedom to believe in something.  The irony is that one must not believe in anything, because to believe in something is to exclude something else, and excluding is considered hate crime in Today's public mind.  To think and reason is fine, as long as one does not draw a conclusion.  What a hopeless state to never be allowed to come to the end of a journey of discovery.  One can believe in reason itself, but one cannot actually have an outcome.  And Heaven help the one that comes to an outcome that isn't logical to the world around us.  Which is what Tabitha and I have done.  We have come to believe that the world we see is less and less real than what the world tried to get us to believe. 

I remember once as a kid someone showed me a hologram toy.  Put a penny in a slot and it would appear in the middle of a bowl.  Grab for the penny in the bowl and it wasn't there.  I believe that sums up how people try to grasp at the things of this world.  Tabitha and I are foolish enough to believe in another world, another reality.  We even dare say this reality is merely a hologram of the real, and we desire to find the real which God has hidden for us (Prov 25:2). 

We are finding more and more the truth of reality.  That Jesus Himself is the substance (Colossians 1:17) of Heaven and Heaven is what we desire.  At some point as Christians, we must say that scripture is the defining point of our thought/belief process.  The inspired, with out error word of God is either correct or wrong.  CS Lewis once said that we truly know what we believe when the belief becomes an issue of life or death.  Or G.K. Chesterton commented on people's habit of making absolutes out of correlations by saing we don't count on it as much as bet on it.  We have seen so often that first one must do this before this can happen, drawing a direct link, and do admit in reality there is no solid connection, merely a correlation.  We are on a search to discover what our hearts know to be true, that God is the only real thing.

Scripture says this in lots of ways.  Mathew 6:33," Seek first the Kingdom of God...".  We all love that verse, but rarely practice it as an absolute.  Just a few verses earlier, Jesus warns to build up our stores in Heaven where moth, rust, and thieves cannot touch them.  Hebrews describes the physical Tabernacle as only a shadow of what was real.  It was something that could be touched and experienced, but it was far from the real thing.  The Song of Solomon tells us that when the day comes the shadows will flee.  Tabitha and are doing our best, Holy Spirit in us is doing most of the work, to recognize the real, so that when the day comes, what we have devoted ourselves to won't be merely a shadow that disappears when the light of day comes, but something of substance that will be revealed in dimensions and beauty that we could never have guessed at.  So we believe more in what we can't see, as if NOT seeing it is better proof that it is real than the circumstances we are physically living out.  After all, faith is the substance of things hoped for and not seen.  The reality of all these things are found in Christ (Col 2:17). 

It may seem like we have begun some sort of risky venture, but it's not actually risky to us.  "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot.  The job, the apartment, and other tangibles, weren't actually real.  They were merely holograms of the deeper truth; God is provision.  We are so grateful that so many of you are traveling with us deeper into this Kingdom.  This fairytale where it doesn't matter how many dragons there are, the Prince will always slay them in the end.  Where maid doesn't remain in bondage to familial or societal tradition, and will one day become the Bride.  Where the poor will eventually inherit the Kingdom when the King arrives and sits upon the Throne.  We're so grateful that you believe in fairytales with us and we hope you will continue reading about ours. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Back to Brooklyn

"There is a spiritual principle that anything which comes too easily or too quickly is usually insignificant. If you want to be a part of something truly significant, you will have to pay the price." --Rick Joyner A Prophetic History Part 1

Scott and I used to always pray that God would take us through such intense times such as the one we are in right now. I can recall many nights at college where I would stay up late in the night in prayer and worship, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone with God. Hours would pass and I feel like all I would say was more,more,more Lord. I would cry, and pray, and beg the Lord to let me know Him more, to let me experience Him in ways that would radically change my life. See I knew from experience, and from reading stories in the scripture, that to KNOW something usually literally translates into, to experience something. I knew full well that to love God, and know God, and pursue God the way that I desired would take more than reading the bible and going to church every Sunday and having some Christian friends. It had to be deeper, and it had to shake me and rearrange me and my thoughts and my perspective or else real physical life time change would not occur.

I really wanted to need God. Scott and I always said when we were married, that we wanted to live in a way that we were completely dependent on God. Not just that we would sometimes have to utter a prayer to get us out of  jam, but that we could literally walk through our whole life pointing to anything and everything and saying that's from God, this is from God, God did that, and this...EVERYTHING. We didn't want to be able to say anything came from the work of our own hands. Its a nice idea. Makes you feel courageous and really bold when you pray it. But when it actually begins to happen, you feel completely helpless. We are at a point in our lives where we can't do anything to better our situation. We don't have the resources to make things better, we don't have the status in the world to just quickly climb up to some sort of good standing. All we have is Him. And we can feel it. And its good, but it costs a lot.

We got a word from a friend a few months ago in prayer. She said she really felt like the longer we stayed in NY the more chance for us to get hurt.

What I might have failed to tell you is that Scott and I have felt God calling us out of Brooklyn for almost 2 years now. I think we were just too afraid to step out into anything. We wanted to have all our ducks in a row. Things just kept coming up, at first it was that we were newly married and had no money, then we were pregnant, then we had a good church, then we had a new born, then our whole family lived close by, we had security in our apartment. Things just kept coming up. And guess what, they always will. For the rest of your life, something will happen, something will come up, its un-ending. Life never stops moving. Even if you sit completely still and hold your breath and close your eyes, it still keep moving.

So we were back in Brooklyn with two pieces of information. One was that we could stay at the conference center at morning star for a small monthly fee. And the other was that we could stay with a family from MorningStar whom we had met on our trip to Charlotte. They often rent out rooms in their home for students at the MSU (morning star university) and offered a room in their home to us for an even smaller fee than at the conference center. Although the money side of it was enticing, we wanted to make sure we went where God wanted us to go. So we waited and prayed and eventually really felt like staying with this family would be the best option for our family according to Holy Spirit:)

We are quite private people. I know you might find that hard to believe, but we have established a lot of boundaries when it comes to our family time and our home time. Not that we keep people out or never invite anyone in, but we are very intentional about having days when its just us in our home with no distractions and no plans. So we really feel like God will grow us a lot by living with another family and we are a little scared but since we are facing so many challenges right now, we are at a point where welcoming one more really doesn't matter! Plus we feel that there will be more of a blessing in store by spending time with this family than we can see right now!

Once we felt like we finally knew where we would go, which was last week sometime, we sat down to pray and discuss what date we would leave.

Keeping that word from our friend in mind, we really felt like we needed to make the date sooner rather than later. We also felt it needed to be sooner because, something would come up that would prevent us from leaving soon and we felt like we needed to just put our foot down and claim a date. So we literally sat in our living room and said "OK God we need a date to move" the date I kept having in my mind for the past couple of weeks was February 23rd, but when I said that out loud (by the way this decision was made on the 12th) Scott quickly said, "sooner!". But eventually we both agreed that February 23rd felt good. It gave some time to be with people and pack up, but not too much time to allow things to keep coming up and pushing our date further away. The date wasn't the best date to our family, but we felt like it was God so we are sticking to it.

We have been facing so much opposition about this move. In ways that are seen and ways that are unseen. There as been a lot of anger between our families since we picked that date, Selah has been sick, then Scott and I got sick. We have no car, and renting a vehicle one way to get our stuff down there looks pretty much impossible right now and really expensive. Things keep coming up.

Which is why I wrote that quote at the beginning. We are confident that we have to fight for this word. We are stressed out, overwhelmed, literally sick and tired, but we have intense peace that it is all for God. So we won't give up. We are encouraged by the many that call us, text us, and write us messages every day telling us they are excited for us and that they really believe this is God. We are being held up by His word and by your prayers for us. And it is working!

We don't know how we will pack our stuff, let alone how we want it to be packed. We are in such a weary state right now, and yet we feel so victorious. We just want to encourage you to keep going. In whatever you are fighting for right now. Even if you literally have no strength to fight. Please just put your confidence and trust in God. We promise He always wins!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

10 days to accomplish something

"In my mind I'm going to Carolina...can't you see the sunshine can't you just feel the moonshine, aint it just like a friend of mine, it hit me from behind. Yes I'm going to Carolina in my mind"--James Taylor

Scott and I spent many a day playing this song on repeat over the passed few months. Amping each other up for our big move, and trying to encourage one another and help us keep our focus on what we felt like God's vision, our vision was for this next season. So when we pulled into Charlotte a couple weeks ago for out mini vacation/scouting out the land trip, it came as no surprise to us to hear James Taylor singing this song on the radio the moment we crossed into Charlotte. We turned it up really loud, sang the parts of the song we actually know, and could not wipe these ridiculously cheesy grins off our faces. God is so fun. He does such awesome things for us to comfort us, especially in times when you have no idea if you're actually following His voice or not.

Well, we had no idea, until we spent 10 days in Fort Mill South Carolina just outside of Charlotte. God was pretty clear with us on this trip. He gave us confidence to go back home and tell everyone whole heartedly that we know we are supposed to move there.

When we got into town we grabbed some coffee, found a hotel, and then took a ride to our friends home for some fellowship and much needed encouragement. The Norbergs moved to Fort Mill about 3 years ago from the D.C. area with a journey/story similar to ours. Without wanting to share the details of their lives to publicly, they just felt God telling them to move there, and so they did! They didn't have jobs, but they had a home and they had a word from God and just followed it. We got to spend a lot of time with then while we were down there. And we are just so grateful for them! We really feel like we are getting an awesome taste of the fullness of God's love through these people. They don't reach out to us or encourage us out of obligation, but out of the sincerity of Christ working on and in their hearts. They hardly know us, but they love us, and that is Jesus:) We also met another couple that same evening, whom we soon came to find that we would actually be moving in with! But I'll get there later:)

The next day we went to MorningStar for church, I was expecting to have this overwhelming feeling when I stepped onto the grounds of the MorningStar campus. Feelings like: this place is famous, or these people are so different, or God is so present here! ...and I guess in a sense I did, but without all the glam only because I just felt like... it was normal. People dancing in the isles, and people up at the front of the church painting during worship, the thickness of God's presence on everyone I encountered. It just felt like, our niche, like we belonged there.

The days after were not so comfortable. There was a lot of frustration, a lot of toil, I woke up every morning with the need to have an agenda, and Scott had a need to just rest and listen to God. We just kept fighting each other on this for a couple days, trying to make things happen and go a certain way. Maybe there is a place for this in Christ, and maybe not. I've heard many debates. Some say, well you can't literally just sit back and do nothing because that's irresponsible, however I feel like Scott and I often argue the point that what if you don't hear God tell you to do anything? Does that mean you should just do whatever you come up with?  Or what if you feel at peace with what you are doing, and it just doesn't look like a good idea to the outside world around you? Should you start producing works that please your human flesh or please man, just to feel valuable, or responsible?

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14

"Lord I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God." Psalm 38:15

"On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command, Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about." Acts 1:4

"And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised." Hebrews 6:15

I guess something we came into contact with once again while we were in Charlotte was the concept of waiting. And when we shared this with mature people of the faith that we looked up to, they seemed to have this intense assurance, as they would just sit there and say to us "just wait" "just wait on God, He'll show you" , "seek God and wait on Him for the answers" why do we justify the not waiting? instead of the waiting which we find so evident written throughout the scriptures which we call our bible...our law.

So while we were in Charlotte/Fort Mill, we waited. We enjoyed ourselves, God put a lot of people in our path to confirm our moving down there. And He put confidence in us. We thought we would come home with jobs and a place to live, but we came home with more confidence in God and His design than we had when we left.

We prayed to God to give us a sign, to give us one physical thing we could bring home with us to show. Something we could have and say look, this is good, there is harvest and fruit in what we are doing!

On our way home from Charlotte we stopped in D.C. to visit our best friends Mitch and Katie where they presented to us a beautiful blooming yellow lily. Katie told us that while she was grocery shopping she felt Holy Spirit prompt her to purchase this plant for us, and she heard Him say "New life". She felt like God was saying we are going into a season of New Life, a life we had never experienced before. A life completely different from the ways of life than we have ever lived before.

That statement held much more weight than we knew of. We had faced so much opposition the first couple of days in Charlotte. It seemed like everywhere we turned people were steaming at us "THE ECONOMY THE ECONOMY!" constantly letting us know and wishing us luck on finding jobs...or belittling us because we didn't already have jobs, but we were planning to move there soon.

Yes this definitely is a new life. It should be normal, but it hasn't been to us. This intense faith. We want it to be normal. We don't want to say "having your ducks in a row=godliness" just because that is what makes us comfortable. We want to be blown like the wind, and by the wind of the spirit. And this is the new life, we have finally submitted to.

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the spirit." John 3:8

We did get to look at some apartments, dream about owning a house someday, visit a couple dance studios, and I got to take a ballet class:) We had fun, we enjoyed each other while Selah stayed back in NY with her grandparents. We sought God and we rested, and it seemed as though that was all we needed to do in order for things to start looking like we had some sort of a plan.

Friday, February 11, 2011

An even better offer we would not turn down!

"He's gonna turn it all around, just wait and see, He's gonna make everything beautiful, just in time"--Misty Edwards

In October some time, we were in church here in Brooklyn, and our pastor was talking about prayer and talking to God. We had a short little time after the teaching to just sit quietly and talk to God, and listen. It seemed as though the second I closed my eyes God began to speak. I heard His so clearly, in that kind of voice that fills your whole entire body, and you almost wonder if anyone else can hear it outside of your head and heart. I heard Him say 3 things. January 28th, Your move will be fast and surprising, Pack the two closets in your living room now because they will take the most effort.

I got really confident and encouraged from these words:) And Scott and I went home from church and began packing our closest. God was right, they did take a lot of effort;)

The January 28th kind of stuck in the back of my mind. But I never really believe God speaks that specifically until I see the thing He spoke happened. And then I always get really surprised ha.

A few days before January 28th we had a couple that really loves us make us an offer. They offered to pay for our way down to Charlotte for a week or so in order for us to scout out the land. Their idea behind it was, if we get there and find out we actually don't think we should be there, we would save ourselves a lot of hassle. Also they had hopes that we could have some time to rest, pray, get to know the area, maybe find work and housing before moving to the Relocation Center. We were so thrilled with this offer, and excited that we would actually be driving down there in just days!!

We couldn't stop thanking God for His awesome provision through these friends of ours. Once again He had written a better story! And we were so grateful. We had no idea what we would do once we got there. We had some people we wanted to spend time with, we wanted to spend time at MorningStar, and spend time with our friends Christopher and Katy, an awesome couple that had really prayed for us getting there, and even opened up there home if we ever wanted to stay with them! We had lots of ideas, but no plans, and on January 28th...we started to drive:)

An offer we could not turn down

Remember that verse I wrote a few posts ago from Psalm 138?

"The Lord will perfect that which concerns me..." vs. 8

Guess what...its TRUE!

Somehow I came across a relocation center at this church MorningStar down in the Charlotte area. The one Scott has been following for years. And now our family had started to follow and support together. Anyway, I had gone on their website almost EVERY day for months and months. Reading about all they have at their church, reading about their leaders and their schools. They have a university, a day care, AND a k-12 program! ...that's a side note:)

So after looking at this website daily, I finally noticed they had an extended stay program/ a relocation center. See, the campus that MorningStar is on used to be where PTL was. PTL was a huge ministry back in the day, maybe the 60's and 70' by Tammy Fae and Jim Bakker. They had a dream of having a Christian resort, for people to come to from all over the world and stay at their conference center/hotel and attend conferences with well known speakers/pastors. Anyway, their dream came true! And eventually they had to leave that property, but Rick Joyner and his wife Julie took over the property when God had them start MorningStar.

Because so many people move down to the Charlotte area, I guess MorningStar thought it profitable to rent out rooms in their conference center for people who are in transition. People like us:) We found out all the information quickly, we would rent a room at this hotel for extended stay $500 a month. And with the awesome provision God had JUST given us of about $7,000 this was possible! We crunched some numbers ;) and found that we would easily be able to afford to stay there, continue to pay off whatever bills we currently have (school loans YUCK!), and still have enough to buy groceries and have extra! We figured we could stay there for about 3-4 months before our money would completely run out:) But we were confident God would give us a job and a place to live before that time was up.

So we applied and got a room reserved for us for February 1st. We were scared, but everything seemed to be falling into place so quickly and so smoothly! And all we had to figure out now was how we would actually get there! So...we started to pray.

OK, now what?

"I believe there is a writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us, interacting with us, even, whispering a better story into our consciousness" --Donald Miller Searching For God Knows What

Searching for God knows what. That's exactly how Scott and I have felt these past few months. I'm sure Selah at her young age could even feel it too. The uncertainty, the stress of trying to muscle together some sort of plan. Even though there already is one. And its better than any we could come up with. Why do we do that?

Our small group talked this week about Jacob and the details of how God's plan worked out for him. God promised the birthright to Jacob even from birth. The moment he was born God said that the older which was Esau, would serve the younger which was Jacob. And for some reason, Jacob's Mom got worried that this wouldn't really happen. I guess she freaked out thinking God wouldn't actually do what He said He would do, she still thought that Esau would receive the blessing. Even though God clearly said Jacob. So she created this manipulative plan, covered her son Jacob in fur because Esau was a furry man. And tricked their sick and practically blind father into blessing Jacob whom Isaac (the father) thought was Esau. This then made a huge ruckus in the household, causing Esau to burn anger toward Jacob to the point that he was ready to kill his own brother. Jacob had to run away from his family, and faced all the crazy consequences in his life. All to cheat his way to the promise God had already given Him.

The craziest part is. God STILL kept His promise. Even after this kid tried to steal and deceive in order to get what her wanted.

Find this story in Genesis 25-33

We all sat there confessing to trying to mess with God's plans for us. We hear/feel/see/think/dream about some sort of story for us.  Everyone does it. We feel like there is a big story that we are apart of just like Donald Miller writes about in his book that I referenced above. And I have been proven over and over again, when I allow the writer to write my story, its better. And I'm better. I'm a better character in God's story than in my own. I don't know how to write myself as well as the writer does, of course not, He's the Author! and perfecter!

Anyway, all that goes to say. We got really tense in our house. Where are we going to live? Where will we work? How will we get there? BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH noise noise noise planning toiling toiling...worrying and worrying which gets you know where. I once had a friend that said worrying is like sitting on a rocking chair. All you do is rock, but you get no where.

When we finally settled down, and committed once and for all to go about this in the way we felt most peace about. Doors started to open. We stopped toiling. We stopped applying places, sending out our resume's, trying to basically sell ourselves in order to get down there. We just gave up. And gave in. And it seems as though, that was exactly the story the writer wanted to write. Because the story started to get good, instead of hopeless.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wait=to remain in readiness for some purpose

Our little apartment has been in the slow process of being packed up in anticipation for God's word to manifest. Some days Scott would say where is my...I felt like my answer was always "its packed!". We've not had to rip open many boxes, but it has happened more than once:)

To many of you North Carolina still doesn't make much sense. So I think I should share a bit what has happened inside our lives which has brought a connection to the Charlotte area. However, I want you to keep in mind, you don't need a job,person,or place to bring you somewhere. You just need a word. One word from God, and we will go. If we had nothing in North Carolina and God told us to go we would. It may sound foolish to some. People wonder, do you have family or friends or ANY support down there? And my thought is always...who cares?

We've come to a place in our lives where disobedience is not really an option. We don't really have the choice for God to ask us to do something and to just say no and give the reason why we can't or shouldn't or won't do it. We've seen his faithfulness so many times in our lives by saying yes. And even if it looks foolish to man, its wisdom to God. The one who is wisdom itself. So no offense, but we've stopped caring what you all think:) I hope you agree that, that is a good idea, rather than a bad one. But if you still think its a bad idea to live this way, we don't blame you, especially if you haven't given it a chance. How can you believe what you have not experienced? We can only let you follow our story and see how it works out for good. And invite you to take the same kind of journey. But we can't MAKE you believe that how we live is a good idea. And that's OK with us:)


What is MorningStar?

MorningStar Publications and Ministries is a diverse and expanding international ministry founded by Rick and Julie Joyner in 1985. It began with the biblical mandate of Matthew 24:45-46:

Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?

Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.

To comply with this mandate, we seek to always serve the Master's household, not be served by it. Our ministry motto is:

“We will not use people to build our ministry, but we use our ministry to build people.”

One of the primary ways that we are called to do this is to provide the household of faith with the highest quality spiritual food that is timely, or “meat in due season.” Our goal is to help strengthen the church by helping believers become the strongest Christians possible, and therefore true light and salt in the earth. This is the focus around which every aspect of the ministry revolves. 

This is copied straight from their website

Which we could encourage you to look into!

Scott will come and write more about what's behind MorningStar for him and his family. But simply put, Scott has been following the ministry, their pastors, teachings, and writings for over a decade. He went to a conference there years ago called Harvest Fest and heard Rick Joyner the lead pastor say something along the lines of "if you don't have a home, we invite you to come make us your home"

Scott has been interested in, and extremely passionate about prophecy and prophetic ministry since he was young. He loves the idea of receiving words straight from the mouth of God to deliver to a person, or a church in order to bring them guidance, direction, and encouragement! He has sought after mentors, books to read, teachings to listen to on the gift of prophecy. And has found that its just either not very acceptable in most churches (not all, but most) or its just not at the level that he longs to see it at. MorningStar is based on prophecy. The whole church and ministry started all from words from God. It wasn't a man made idea or plan. It was all given to the pastor and other leaders around the world through visions, dreams, and prayers. They love prophecy there. And we do to! We really feel like becoming a part of this community will grow us and challenge us in ways we've been crying out for. And we want to move down to that area and invest in that fellowship because of how much they have invested in us through the years.

But like I said. We feel like MorningStar is a huge reason why God is calling us there. But not necessarily the ONLY reason we are going. The only reason we are going is because God said to:) As of now we think its for MorningStar, but with our experience in the past, its always so much more than the thing you think it is. We are so limited in our thinking, dreaming, and perceiving. Which is why we follow God. His ways are ALWAYS better.

Knowing the what and the how

Here's an entry from my journal on November 10th 2010

"I'm feeling overwhelmed about moving. We know you have called us to North Carolina. It is just in us, and we know its true. But we have no idea how it is supposed to happen. Are we supposed to look for jobs? Are we supposed to just move? We really have no place to go, and we definitely don't have the fund in our bank account:) but we don't doubt that you will and can do anything. So I just, we just, need to pray. Please God, how we are supposed to get to North Carolina. Open doors for us. Show us the peopled and the places that we can get in touch with...We trust you, and we surrender this situation into your hands trusting that you are guiding us. Speak Lord!"

The months between October and February were a shock to us. We've been living from paycheck to paycheck in Brooklyn. Partly because of our low income, but mostly because we felt God leading me to stay at home with Selah and not work. So it was mostly a choice that we would live very simple, frugal lives in order to have me stay at home with Selah. Its been a sacrifice, but one that we feel is obedient and that really pays off every moment:)

We always feel its best to be honest. If we are not honest with where we are at and where we were at in this season, then people don't have all the details and tools to be encouraged with. So in all honesty, we had some things come up where we had to use our savings, I had to have a lot of dental work, we are still in the process of paying baby bills from having Selah 10 months ago! Our savings account as of a few weeks ago had about $10 in it, and our checking account was hardly ever above $200. And we continued to pay all of our bills ON TIME, and to spend money for fun things as well. Like I said we've been frugal, but God still stretches every dollar so that we don't feel suffocated by finance issues.

In the natural it looked impossible to move the three of us down South. With our eyes we could see the facts, no money, no jobs, no job openings, no place to live, and no car to get there!

North Carolina, although we felt strongly we could be there by January, was looking further and further away with our eyes, but feeling close and closer in our hearts. It was a strange time to look and see nothing, but to feel such abundance and harvest and clarity in your spirit that you are supposed to go through with it.

Here is a verse I held onto in this time, sent to me by an awesome friend of ours called BJ:)

"The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy and loving kindness, O Lord, endure forever; forsake not the works of Your own hands" Psalm 138:8

Everything looked like it was sitting still. People were questioning us left and right "any word about North Carolina?" "any jobs lined up? " "got a moving date?"

Our answer to all of the above: "Nope. Just a word from God."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

October: We went into a season change just like the world outside

"For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace, and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome." Jeremiah 29:11 Amplified

Our family has been feeling the tension of a need for change ever since Scott and I got married and I moved in with him in Brooklyn. We really love Brooklyn. Let me re-phrase, I really love Brooklyn. Scott wants to be out in the woods!, but we really have enjoyed what God has brought us to here. Especially our awesome church community at North Brooklyn Vineyard. Scott and I both agree, we've never been to a church that is so full of fellowship and friendship! Its amazing!! I think in the second week we were attending this church we were invited to dinner at our pastors house along with some other new couples in the church. We were plugged in and connected to people so quickly, and not just "church" people, but people that were real and genuinely wanted to know us and pursue a relationship with us, while we all continued to pursue a relationship with God. Its been a really healthy atmosphere for us. We've had so much support, especially with the birth of our first daughter 10 months ago:)

So although we didn't see ourselves planting roots here, we really love the community here. We are by no means running away from something we dislike, but we are just trying to run into obedience to God. Which even if its hard, its always the BEST way to live.

In October we went to visit with our best friends Mitch and Katie. Every time we visit with the Luse family we leave more fired up about following God than we were when we came. We receive intense encouragement and God always shows up and ministers to the needs of both of our families when we are together. We are so grateful for our friendship with them! And especially for their honesty with us for what they feel like God is saying about our situation.

We could barely finish our first meal together before Mitch and Katie jumped on the opportunity to pray over us and ask God what He was saying for our next move.

The presence of God came in an unmistakable way as we sat around the dinner table. We could feel Him and hear Him so clearly, a time that we will always remember.

God was speaking to Scott and I about leaving New York. Telling us clearly and bringing the four of us (6 of us if you count our babies:) into agreement that it was time for us to pack up and transition to a new beginning. However, there was a very serious spirit of poverty that Scott and I needed to be delivered of before God could continue to show us where we were to go.

I will write out here a few characteristics of a spirit of poverty, if you identify with any of these feelings, don't hesitate to ask God to come into your heart and remove these lies! He has come to give us a life and give it MORE abundantly! (John 10:10)

  • Feeling that there is never enough
  • Feelings of constant lack
  • hoarding--not just with stuff, but with money as well because you feel like if you let go of anything you will not get it back
  • fear of giving
I think the biggest thing that Scott and I struggled with was a fear that there wasn't enough. This could be a spirit that we picked up on our own, or something that we've carried through generations. Whatever it was, we were set free from it! Praise God!!! Since being freed from this poverty spirit, we've been able to give more away than ever before. Because we are really confident that "The Lord is my Shepherd and I shall not lack" Psalm 23

We were feeling like if we left Brooklyn we would not be provided for like we have been here. We were scared to step out because we weren't sure of the outcome. We've built up a certain security in Brooklyn, that wasn't based on God, but that was based on our finances and our home and our things.

Now don't get me wrong, Scott and I don't feel like its wrong to have things. We believe having money, a house, a car, nice stuff like my new iphone:) and our sweet Macbook pro are all GREAT! We don't think that following God means you have to HAVE to have NOTHING and content. We just think that in putting your contentment and confidence in God, that no matter what you have how much or how little, you still believe in Him and you still believe He is good! He is good because that is who God is. Not because of what He does. Although what He does is amazing also:)

Anyway, we left DC feeling a new sense of freedom in God and ready to seek Him on where we were to go! And when:)

An Ephesians 3:20 life

"Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think-infinitely beyond our highest prayers,desires,thoughts,hopes or dreams-to Him be the glory..."
Ephesians 3:20 Amplified

One thing Scott and I have been sure of from the moment we decided to do life together was that we wanted more. We wanted our lives to be full. Full of everything God has to offer and like this verse says, even more. We knew full well that when we committed to live out this verse in Ephesians that there would be a great cost. And we surrendered our dreams, our thoughts and desires. Everything we ever wanted and thought we were supposed to be and do with our lives. We gave that up and told God, we want more. We want more than we could possibly dream of we want it for our marriage, our careers, ministry, friendships, children. We want MORE than we can imagine, and we will do anything to give you complete control so that we can live an Ephesians 3:20 life.

There are many ways in our life that we find God working this verse in us, and making this word to be true in our life. However we are entering into the most gigantic leap of faith we have ever thought capable in our little lives. And we invite you to share in our journey. Whether you believe in God or not, we want you to follow us, watch what God does, and be encouraged! He's alive! And He is GOOD, so good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

We really believe that God has an awesome design. And great dreams for our life. And we agreed to allow Him to work those out in us forever, literally now and for all eternity, to do whatever He wants so that we can experience the absolute best. Like I said before there is a cost to live this way. It takes an intense amount of faith that cannot come from our own efforts, but only through a relationship with God. It also takes a lot of surrender, release of control over our lives and the lives of our children in a way that may seem crazy and unpredictable, but we will never say No to God! Its not in our vocabulary!

Come join us in our victories and our struggles. And praise God with us for His goodness!