And Behold…YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

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In Matthew 28, we hear an all familiar passage of scripture called, The Great Commission. In these verses, we hear Jesus talking to His disciples saying, ” Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all that I am commanded you. And Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Listen with me again…

And Behold…Listen. Observe what I am about to say. Don’t miss this, Jesus is saying…

I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, TO THE END OF THE AGE.

Be clear, this is post crucifixion and resurrection.  The 11 have shown up in Galilee, as Jesus directed, to get His direction.  He meets them there and he says, GO. Make Disciples. Baptize. Teach. AND BEHOLD. I got you. I’m with you. I’m for you. I will never leave you. There is nothing you will ever have to do, bear, walk into or through where I won’t be there.

Someone needs to get that down in their spirit so far, it will never again find it’s way out.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. He sees you. He hears you. The One that formed you, fancies you. The One that created the universe is calling you to your destiny. TODAY. But never to do it alone. Everywhere you go and everything you go through, Jehovah God is on your side.

A year ago, I determined that freedom was mine and I declared right then and there that if God be for me, I would no longer allow excuses, fear or past failures to keep me small, keep me HIDDEN. And He’s been with me, like He always was, since. What’s this year been like, you ask…let me tell you.

Days following my declaration of freedom at the Northwest Women’s Conference, my husband’s office got word that it was closing and everyone was out of a job shortly thereafter. He is still unemployed and GOD IS WITH US.

Eight months ago,  in the middle of a vertigo episode that ended up lasting the first eight months of 2016, I fell and ended up in knee surgery. HE WAS WITH ME and healed me.  I was walking the next day.

Four months ago, while on a missions trip, I had a medical emergency and found myself lying in a South African hospital experiencing what could have been the end of my life. AND HE WAS WITH ME and saved my life and used me to love on the woman in my room and her daughter.

20 days ago, I had cancer and was having major surgery and I sit here, writing this now, cancer free. HE WAS WITH ME.

6 days ago, I laid off 24 people on my team. HE WAS WITH ME.

I share all this to tell you to GO and trust that He is with you, WHATEVER YOU GO THROUGH!! The nations are waiting, Church.  If we step into what we know God has called us to and He is our traveling companion, there is nothing we cannot do!! AMEN?!?!  It is time we link arms with God and others. Throw off every fear and step!  Just one. Decide today that you are going to put all that is behind you and press on to the call of God in Christ Jesus. Sisters…ALL that is behind.  Good, bad and everything in between. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Gear up, take up your sword (Bible). Put on the full armor of God because this Jesus following life is not for the faint of heart.  It is for the faithful follower who has a Father in heaven that calls every resource to battle with you, for you and enable you to take ground for the kingdom!!!

Decide, as you read this, that you are going to posture yourself appropriately before Him to hear his direction as the disciples did. The demons of hell cannot prevail but stop helping them!!  Throw off every hindrance that you know is contrary to the call.

Friends…WE CANNOT DEFEAT THE DEMONS THAT WE CHOOSE TO DANCE WITH. 

In Isaiah 6:8, we read, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”

The nations are waiting….GO. MAKE DISCIPLES. BAPTIZE. TEACH.

AND BEHOLD, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. ♥♥♥♥♥

All my love, Tribe. B~

 

 

When God Sends a Text

“God trusts you, Bren. He told me He does”

*Whew* Doesn’t that just floor you?! It did me as I read the text message laying in a South African hospital preparing for surgery on what was supposed to be a short term missions trip with a dose of vacation. 🙂

He trusts me.  I didn’t even know how to process that but the truth of it resonated in my spirit and shook me to the core of my soul.

What was I to do with this other than believe it to be true.  I was in a hospital in Cape Town, South Africa and what came was surgeries, days in the hospital and a long 26 hour trek home to Seattle with my body bandaged and a healing process that would take me weeks into the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons because He trusts me. As I cried big tears, I simply replied to the text, “Thank you.” and I headed into the operating room.

The days that prefaced this moment was spent traveling to Johannesburg then Rustenburg to work at a local bible school and even that was nothing like I expected.  I had been to this country and taken these trips for 12 years and I knew what to expect.  We work on projects that were needed, develop relationships with the students and missionaries and get to do some cool sightseeing that made us fall in love with the beautiful country that it is. This particular trip kept me away from the work the team was doing and I spent a good share of my time tucked away by myself in the administration office working on things that called on my attention stateside. As one of the EquipHER discipleship coaches for the #IamHER movement that has ignited in the Northwest Ministry Network Women’s Ministries, December’s theme was The Heart of a Leader.  It was my responsibility to write the blog and share God’s heart on this particular topic and in my study time, the Lord had taken my to 2 Colossians chapter 20 and the prayer of King Jehoshaphat as armies are closing in around Judah on every side. In verse 20b, the King simply says, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”  In some translations, it says, “Our gaze is fixed on you, oh God.” I finished the blog while I was there and sent it off to be bundled in the resources for the coming month.  I had no idea what the coming days would bring but that reminder, to keep my gaze fixed on God and not my circumstances, would be the very thing that carried me through and kept a God perspective that led to His text, and my assurance, that the God of the universe trusted me.

On my fourth day in country, I begin to not feel well and my husband, who was back in the states, would note as we FaceTime that I didn’t look like I was feeling well.  I assured him I was just tired and feeling slightly off but otherwise okay. That continued over the next couple of days and as I begin to feel worse, physical signs that something wasn’t right began appearing. On our sixth day in South Africa, we hopped a flight for Cape Town and I couldn’t stay awake…my body was sweating but I chalked it up to the heat of the plane and the hot temperatures outside. Days earlier, I had let another woman on our trip know I wasn’t feeling well and she checked in and I said I was feeling okay.  Self-Care was not a priority, just getting the team to where we needed to be and not disrupt anything was. Not awesome as I sit now making adjustments, post trip, but all part of God’s plan.  Within 24 hours and additional personal decisions not to seek medical attention, an internal yet growing external abscess would rupture and I would find myself in the emergency room with quick decisions made for surgery to remedy.

As I battled with the surgeon for another option, he quietly said, “Madam, You cannot leave the country without this fixed and if you had waited to come in or I delay long in performing the surgery, you could be dead.” Whoa, WHAT?!”  DEAD?!

As I began to cry, I just needed my husband and he was 10,000 miles away. I asked the surgeon to leave for a few minutes and I called my husband, only to hear him echo the words of a man that I just met that I had to trust with my life. And King Jehoshaphat’s words began to weave themselves into my heart and mind…”We do not know what to do, but our gaze is fixed on you, oh God.”  Amen, King. AMEN. We got off the phone, agreeing it was the right thing to do and I walked out to the waiting area where a dear friend and pastor was sitting and waiting and we prayed. And the folks prepared to take me back to the room stood nearby and waited as we prayed…We fixed our gaze, we trusted, we prayed and then we proceeded with the plan. As I laid there waiting for surgery, God sent a text through a very dear friend, “God trusts you, Bren. He told me He does.”

After my surgery, I was taken to what would be my room in the days to follow, and a woman and her child were already there in the bed across from me. As we began to chat and get to know one another, I couldn’t take my eyes of this wee one named Lindi. Her momma white and she, the most gorgeous shade of brown I had ever seen. My girlfriend, Linda, had arrived earlier and as we sat and listened to Lindi’s story, my spirit began to leap and rejoice for this life saved from a threat of atrocities that you cannot imagine. Lindi’s momma, given to her by the courts, loved Jesus but had found herself with her hope lost and a weary heart and mind. I knew why all this happened.  The God who created these precious two brought me to this country, this hospital, in this room, to restore hope and breathe life into this weary momma through the power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. We laughed, cried, and shared our stories and the Bible with one another. Lindi and her momma were a pure delight and the realest two people you could ever hope to know. Days later as I was preparing to leave the hospital, I hugged Lindi and her momma tight with promises to stay in touch over social media and emails and she, with a hope restored, simply said, “Who is this God that sent a woman from America to South Africa to give another woman her hope and joy back?” My reply simply this, “One who loves you so very much.”

Oh friends, I remember so many years ago when I read in Isaiah 6:8,9a, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go,” and I screamed out loud…”HERE I AM!!!  SEND ME!!!”  And I meant it.  And I still do.  All day, every day. He is my God, my healer, the director of my steps.  And I will follow Him anywhere. But there was a day when even I wouldn’t have trusted myself. My choices were contrary to the word of God, my actions and words were wounding and destroying relationships and missions was the last thing on my mind.  As I matured, repented, healed and stood confident of my restoration, the enemy would attempt to get into my mind that God couldn’t trust me because I was always one decision away from being “that girl” again. Well, as the sum of my parts, I am that girl and her freedom song is sung loud and proud and no devil will throw arrows at her again…because my God trusts me.  He told my friend, Aaron, so.  And He told me so through a text message and has confirmed it to my heart ever since…over and over again. And I do go as He sends me, and I will still go…again and again as He leads because He trusts me to do what His will directs, even to the very edge of my life and back. He is my God and I am His daughter. #IamHER

As I am home healing, back in the states, I have found myself processing all the emotions of my trip and all that happened.  God doesn’t expect our humanity to take a hike when we go through things that are scary and leave us, in our flesh, feeling alone. But He is right there with me, whispering words of love and trust and if I listen really carefully, I think I can hear King Jehoshaphat’s words, realigned just a bit for this quiet time in my life, “When I did not know what to do, my gaze was fixed on you, oh God.” 

I love you, Tribe. I could not be more grateful for you if my mind and heart tried.  Thank you for your prayers, support and love.

 

 

 

 

I am called

If you live in the Ellensburg, WA area and are college age, you don’t want to miss this event. I couldn’t be prouder to serve alongside Charity and just see what amazing things that God is doing in and through her!

 

God is up to something extraordinary in our community.   Many college women from CWU freshmen to seniors are awakening to the call on their lives.  What does it look like when we live out our calli…

Source: I am called

Let Them See You in Me, Lord

It’s my heart’s cry. You know the one. It’s the cry that resonates so loudly in the chambers of you heart that if there were nothing left, it would cry out and ripple throughout every fiber of your being. Let them see You in me, Lord.

Let them see that there Is.Nothing,Left.But.You.

I am a life surrendered to the process of holy sacrifice even in the midst of my humanity.  In the midst of my angst with my thoughts, weariness over career, and the life-changing adventure of marriage and motherhood…nevermind the beckoning of full-time ministry. Let them see you, Lord.  Let them see the God who meets us at our best and worst. The God in the moments that we soar and those we wonder if we will ever find solid footing again.

It’s all I want.  Let them see you in me, Jesus.

Amen.

 

American Arsenal

This woman, the blogger writes about, is my friend, my inspiration and my sister. You wont find a more dedicated woman to being the best version of herself and inspiring others to do the same. It is a well written, thoughtful expression of honor and gratitude from one American to another. From one life giver about another. Bravo!

Wild heart. Gypsy Soul. Rebel with some class.

We don’t personally know each other. Somehow through “creeping” one profile to the next, we became Instagram friends some time ago. Maybe it was that we both have huskies, solid American pride, and share a love for wine and a passion for working out. Or maybe it is that we both see truth in the quote “what if I CAN do it”. She even has a little journalism background as an Advertising Executive at CBS Radio.

I am inspired by a woman who I have never met and you’ll see why. She is an American Soldier. Her name is Jennifer Ruth Davis and she’s a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army. She currently serves as an Intelligence Analyst for a National Cyber Protection Team under the U.S. Army Cyber Command.

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I don’t even know what that means but she clearly is a bad ass. And smart. She must be smart. She is…

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#IamHER – The Epiphany

A moment. That’s all it takes, Sisters. As Mother, we know it takes but a moment for our children to soil even the best of Easter outfits. As Wife, it was just one moment to become his Mrs. And as a woman, called by God…it was that one moment that changed the direction of my life and suddenly clarity in my destiny was crystal and the doors swung wide and welcomed me to the party that others in my life knew all along. I am HER.

Let me back up before I’ve lost your attention and you begin to wonder if I’ve lost my mind. This particular moment was at the Northwest Ministry Networks Women’s Conference 2016 and the Director of Women’s Ministries, Angela Craig, was unraveling my heart with every word spoken.

I know you know what I’m talking about, Friend…that moment you are listening to someone speak and you feel like they just read your mail. Yep, it was that moment.

If you know my story, you know of the early adult years spent acting out of childhood sexual abuse, adult rape and my life as a momma, raising her two children. My promiscuity was there, which was simply looking for a father’s security when my own earthly father was so very sick and you know of my rejection, time and time again, from family, from relationships and from the church. For those that love me best, you know my life now and it’s fullness of God’s healing with the help of tools…classes, counseling and care from God, a great mental health professional and a wonderful man that is now my husband. My healing required total surrender to the One that created me and could put me back together, in His desired fashion.  My trust was critical to the necessary steps that, at times, I couldn’t see in front of me but I knew He would confidently navigate me through. Verses 18-20 of Hebrews 6 in The Message paraphrase says this, “We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us.”  It’s where I have sat for years now, secure in His grip…and will continue to, all the days of my life. I know what He saved me from and continues to keep me from, even now.

To tell this story, you need to know that 2+ years ago, God called my husband, John, and I out of the local church and into the Throne Room. We’ve attended church only a handful of times, at his prompting, and have allowed each week to pass with a deepening intimacy and healing that only isolated time with Him could have brought. This time brought serious rebuke and questions from folks around us. Our kids went to school at our church when they were growing up, our daughter and son-in-law were serving as youth pastors in the very church we were leaving, and we had attended there for over 17 years. When you serve and are visible in your pursuit of the things of God as we are, there were those wondering how we could step so far out of obedience, quoting their own personal biblical translation of <in my best KJV voice> “Thou shalt not forsake the gathering of the brethren”.  When unable to meet, due to scheduling, with our senior church leadership to share our hearts and plans, they lovingly sent emails that conveyed their trust that we knew the voice of the Lord and were stepping obediently and that we were always welcomed to come home, should God direct us. They were sure to add that they would be there, arms wide open. Those emails from Dr. Troy Jones and his wife Jana, along with Ricardo and Karen Quintana are amongst our greatest affirmations and treasures. We love them so very much for their love, care and support.

It wasn’t our church leadership that questioned us, Tribe, not for one moment. My goodness, and with all grace I say, we have a long way to go in our support and empathy for those following God’s direction when it differs from our own opinions or takes us out of our own comfort zones.  

After 2+ years of waiting on God, in the beginning days of February 2016, the Holy Spirit spoke to both my husband and I and said “Your season of wait is over.  Behold, I am doing a new thing.”  We were already feeling some of this as God had physically moved us from the house we had been living in to a much smaller two bedroom condo as empty nesters. The empty nest season already brings a momma’s heart much emotion but then to leave the space you’ve raised your babes…well, let me tell you…it’s a heart work, for sure. So days after moving into our new place and hearing God’s words, we knew to wait as we had, for HIS NEXT STEPS…instead of once again filling our calendars and populating church pews. 13 days after moving in, I was landing in the East Africa country of Malawi, not even close to prepared for, in my assessment, what God would do in my heart while I was there but every bit prepared as His daughter whose has sat in His presence, surrendered. It was the most challenging trip I had been on after 12 years of back and forth to the continent of Africa. God had a plan…and it prepared me for THIS.ONE.MOMENT.

Upon arriving home from Africa, my husband lost his job on a Friday in March and the invite to come to the NWWC was calling my name the very next morning, Saturday. So there I was, in the pew, listening as Angela Craig, Director of Women’s Ministries for the NWMN, was sharing the history of the Assemblies of God church formation and the richness of diversity found there. Women like Jenny Evans Moore along with her husband…African Americans and a Woman, founding the church with others like them, full of the Holy Spirit, at a time when segregation was running rampant in our country and folks didn’t like either preaching from the pulpits. You see, a woman with a past like mine,  was/is often rejected to serve and definitely never approved to speak in some gatherings and certainly not from the pulpit or platform. My own mother, back in the 70s, was not allowed to teach Sunday School because she had been divorced before.  Nevermind that it was before she came to Christ and my biological father was an adulterer. Nope, not fit for teaching about a redeemed life in Sunday School.  Again, I remember on a missions trip one year to Mexico, the missionary on post there said that everyone in our group was allowed to speak from the pulpit on the goodness of God, except me, because he didn’t want the women in his congregation to feel that promiscuity was approved by God.  Nevermind that I was almost 10 years removed from that season of my life…healed…redeemed…set free…Nope, that missionary was holding the shackles to once again bind me to my past. I sat quietly free, disagreeing but honoring his decision, knowing my time would come to share of his goodness, refusing the bounds of bitterness that could have held me long after I left that place. I knew that while many felt me unqualified that it was only God that qualifies the called…and I was confident that one day, God would give me my voice to help heal the brokenhearted and aid in setting the captives free. Too many times I was refused, rejected and reminded of what I had done and the explanation that it disqualified me from speaking. I could lead small groups, I could help on the conference team for my local church but rarely, could it be from the stage. It was this message that Angela spoke so eloquently of.  She quoted Don Ross, NWMN Network Leader, saying that the only man that you need permission from has already given it and that man is Jesus.  WOW!  WOW!  WOW! I was called. I did hear Him clearly.  The conference theme was, Her Voice, and I knew, in that instant with tears streaming down my face, that I.AM.HER. I really am.  I am the woman that confidently declares that Jesus is Lord and I have a voice. I am the woman that depends on her God to do good through her for His glory.  I am set free, redeemed, restored and renewed by His touch, His presence and His favor.  I am a daughter of the Most High God and I have been given permission, for such a time as this!!

Now that is something to get excited about, I AM FREE!!!  Thank you, Jesus!!!

THAT, my Sisters, was my moment.  Don’t get it twisted now…and let me be very clear.  I was ALREADY redeemed.  I had ALREADY been given permission. I belonged.  I just joined the party in the self recognition of my freedom and the rights He gave me.  I now stand without doubt, discouragement or disqualification that I.AM.HER. I am the woman that God created me to be.

Please know, Beloved, that NOTHING afforded me in that moment or any other moment is something that you, Mighty Warrior, cannot have, possess, apprehend or be confident of.

In Ephesians 1: 3-14, it says this. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

IamHER5

HE.CHOSE.US.  HE.PREDESTINED.US.  HE.SEALED.US.

YOU.ARE.HER.

I.AM.HER.

#IamHER  – Now we start a global movement. We will proclaim that we are who God created us to be.

You have all my love, Tribe. Let’s get going!

B~

The Healing of a Broken and Contrite Heart

Dusk

He was in the dusk of his final days and I knew the time was drawing near  that I would need to either step out or lose all chance of receiving the one thing that I needed most from him. Forgiveness. I had stalled on this conversation for years and allowed time and distance to be the manifestation of my fear and neglect to the relationship.  I had ignored, time and time again, the prompting of the Holy Spirit to reach out, dig deep and allow humility to heal not only the relationship I ruined but also, my broken and contrite heart. My heart, in this situation…lay broken and  battered from the abuse I had inflicted on it from the decisions I had made and continued to make.

Yes, I had done this. And to me, there was no coming back or restoration that could be had. Was it worth a try? Absolutely not.

Yet…

Would the fear of not knowing if restoration was possible, add water the streams of unforgiveness and create a river of bitterness that would flow into an ocean of endless waves of grief, self-doubt and loathing every time I remembered?

I knew that it would and to live on without this man and  a lack of forgiveness consuming my heart, it was unbearable to consider. I knew I must step in faith, knowing whatever the outcome, I had peace in the offering. No matter how selfish it felt to know that I would remain among the living with sweet relief while he lay riddled with cancer…I had to act.

Yet, fear.

And then I found myself in Psalm 51. David. His sin in the matter of Uriah. Murder. Adultery. His feelings of separation with God. And his holy repentance.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” (v 10-11)

David’s anguish before God and his pleas for a clean heart and a right spirit align in us all our inherent need for the presence of the One that formed us. The cries of a broken and contrite heart to the One that began it’s beating…

“O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (v 15-17)

A Holy God. And His assurance in His Word that He would not despise a broken and contrite heart.

Ummm….What?!

I had wounded, abused, beat up, thrown down and despised my heart time and time again for my transgressions and He would not? WOW.  This was the moment where fear and selfishness no longer had a voice because true repentance and humility sang the sweet tune of praise to a God that restores, redeems and forgives. And in that moment, He did just that.

And courage found it’s place and love walked me through it.

And forgiveness was given.

From both my God and my Tribe.

And myself. To myself.

In fact, that night that I sat weeping in my home office, writing words of repentance that I wished I could say in person, God gave me the most beautiful vision of Heaven that I was able to end my letter with giving comfort that this man could have in the knowledge he was already resting in the arms of his Father and Creator.

My letter was read to him just a short time before the sun finally set and the heavens welcomed this warrior. As he lay weeping, he said these words…

“You tell her I forgave her a long time ago…”

“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.” (Psalm 103, v 10-13)