Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Exploding with Joy! (Part 1)

 Our weekend at Worship@8500 was more than I can describe in words. So many of my prayers were answered and the Lord blessed me even much farther beyond my puny little dreams!

Oh goodness, where to begin…

Well, let me start with telling you that this weekend (and these people) was not about the music. Although their music is fantastically outstanding and hugely beneficial to anyone’s walk with Jesus (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you MUST check out Enter the Worship Circle), the hearts and ministry go so so so much deeper.

From here I’ll tell you about it one day at a time:


The first morning’s session started out very intense. Ben Pasley invited Rebecca Dunning to step up to the mic and give her story first. She had a broken, beautiful, dirty story about being invited by the Father to become a daughter and stop being a slave. We laughed; we cried. Ben got up when she was done (or perhaps it was a little later on in the session… can’t remember exactly) and asked us if we felt like we’d been French kissed on a first date. Haha! Love that guy… He reminds me so much of my quirky husband… Anyway, after Rebecca spoke about her beautiful story of being an orphan, not knowing her earthly father, finally setting out to look for him only to find that he had passed away, discovering he had a family who he loved and who he told all about Rebecca and asked to find her and love her, we had the privilege of hearing from Chris Austin.

Chris stood up and told us about his poor pinky nail that had fallen off that morning after having been slammed between a hammer and something metal he was working on a few days before. He related that to how sometimes the Lord just wants to deal with us outright without anything to cushion the blow. That spurred an amazing “repentance party.” I have never seen an open mic like this before! I wish all open mics could be that raw and vulnerable and effective… Wow! So many people got up and confessed their sins, from not living as a son of the Father to not accepting love from others and so on. Then each repented for the sin they confessed and declared Truth and how they would stop and be different. Hope that makes sense…

I stood up. And spoke. And confessed. And repented. I confessed that I didn’t like people and I didn’t like relationships because they are messy and hard and it would just be easier to go about on my own and not need anyone. I repented of not loving God’s people and not allowing them to love me. I declared that I wanted to see others with the eyes of the Lord and to love others with His love.


No other way to express it.

And that was just the beginning…

A lot of Friday’s session was about recognizing that we are sons of the Most High God and we need to stop doing and trying and just BE sons. It’s just that simple! Because, you see, our Daddy in heaven is all about His Kingdom, which He established for His Son, Jesus, to reign over. And the Kingdom is all about family. So, Daddy sent Jesus to make all of us His sons, too, and expand His family. Because He wants to! And that is all that He wants.


After the crazy morning session’s intensity that was so rich and pure and lovely, we got to enjoy some time to process and eat lunch and hang out with all of the amazing, beautiful people we were blessed to be spending the weekend with. Oh, and I forgot to mention how absolutely stunning the scenery up there at 8500 feet above sea level in the Rocky Mountains was. Our tent was right on a lake so when we woke up Friday morning we could hear the fish jumping and saw a dear strolling along the lakeside.


Every afternoon they had breakout sessions you could go to and choose from. It was hard to choose because they were all so very very interesting and intriguing and I wanted to be at all of them! So Tom and I split them up. On Friday I went to “Kingdom” and he went to “Dreams and Prophecy.” At “Kingdom” we listened to the wonderful wisdom of Jack Taylor, who declared that he could just sit and talk about the Kingdom forever, which he pretty much did and it was great to soak it all in. He expounded on many of the points that had been danced around during the morning session and had so much wisdom to impart. You will have to ask Tom about his time at the breakout he went to…

We had the afternoon to enjoy the company of one another, grab some dinner (the five of us went to Divide and ate at McGuinty’s, which is the most amazing food I think I have ever had!), and chew on and process what had happened so far.

The evening session was all worship. **insert big goofy smile** It was so passionate and joyful and raw and dirty and wonderful! Karla Adolphe (who is absolutely beautiful and amazing, by the way, and not just her music, but her whole being) took the lead for much of the evening. Her bluesy style was catchy and did wonders for my soul. We danced, we laughed, we cried, we worshiped the Only One who is worthy of all of our praise. Mmmm….

It was good.

It was a wonderful first day and set the stage for much expectation for the rest of the weekend, which was more than fulfilled…

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Little More of Me...

I guess I should blog again, eh?

I think one of the reasons I don’t blog as often as I intend to is because there are ugly things in me that I don’t want to reveal and when I write I tend to let those things out, or I end up sounding really plastic because I’m trying to hide them. I will work on that…

Anyway, there has been so much on my heart lately.

I still really want to blog about the yarn projects I’m working on, especially the knitting because that is really new and exciting to me! I just never take the time to do it when I’m at home and actually have access to all of the pictures and what not… So stay tuned and I promise I will get that done sometime in the near future!

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It has been becoming more and more evident that the Lord desires for me to grow and develop and strengthen the relationships I have in my life (or will have in the future) as I crave genuine, quality fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Jesus.

It all “started” a little over 2 ½ years ago when we had a wonderful opportunity to meet with two very amazing people, Chris and Hannah, who we met at a very good friend’s wedding in Pennsylvania. We hadn’t known them 48 hours but the invited us to their house after the wedding and we got there at 11:00pm and enjoyed a few hours of coffee and very edifying conversation. Our whole trip to that side of the country I felt like the Lord was urging me to look at the relationships in my life and He put a longing in my heart for so much more than what I had at that point. Then in pops this beautiful couple who we have so much in common with and are looking to develop relationships with other brothers and sisters around the country, especially ones who were also serving in youth ministry. Not a coincidence, if you ask me.

As we were finishing up our late night - wee hours of the morning visit, we started to pray for one another. Hannah was praying and spoke over my life in a way that I had never experienced before and will never forget. She talked about how she saw a very rich light or liquid like water around me that she felt represented deep, rich relationships. There were other details that I so wish I could remember word-for-word, but that is the main idea that I got.

Since then, we have continued to draw closer to Chris and Hannah, even though we live so far apart (they are actually in Kentucky now, which is still far away…) and haven’t had the opportunity to see face to face again yet. They are very dear friends who still bless us in so many ways. And all from a couple of days’ divine appointment.

Anyway, all of that is to say that the Lord has been working on my heart in the area of relationships for quite a while now. And He isn’t letting up… You know how they say you are either in the fire, laying on an anvil being hit with a hammer, or in the water? I definitely haven’t felt the water aspect of that process much yet…

I tend to try to get through life with as very little contact with other people, especially more than surface-level interaction, as possible. I don’t know what my problem is. Maybe I am afraid people will find out who I really am and not want to know me anymore. Maybe I feel like I don’t have anything to say that is worthwhile to others and I don’t want to bother people with my worthless thoughts. Maybe I don’t want anyone to see how much I really need them because I feel like that would make me come off as needy and annoying and weak and then they would leave me and I would be devastated. Maybe I am just lazy and don’t want to put forth the effort. Whatever it is, I have a very hard time maintaining relationships.

I am learning and growing though. I am learning to identify my thoughts and feelings more accurately (i.e. when I am angry or offended, usually I really am just sad and disappointed.). I am not allowing myself to hold grudges but I am choosing to forgive and walk in grace and mercy.

This weekend Tom and I and a few of our very dear friends are going over to a worship gathering in Divide, CO, put on by Enter the Worship Circle, called Worship@8500. This is something that I have been looking forward to for several months now. This is an answer to prayer to have an opportunity to get away and be refreshed, renewed, revitalized and develop new relationships that will push me closer to Jesus. I am probably more excited about this than I have been about anything else this year. One of the main purposes of this weekend, as described by one of the leaders involved is:
“…moving forward together, …not going back. Forward in maturity. Forward in forgiveness. Forward in Kingdom authority. Forward in dynamic sonship. Forward in honor.”
I cannot express to you the feelings that swell in me as I read those words! This is everything that I have been longing for and searching for and feeling has been missing for so many years. What a beautiful blessing the Lord is giving us to have this opportunity! And what a blessing that the Lord made it possible financially and He provided people we love and trust to take care of our kids so we can go with peace that they will be safe and loved.

We leave tomorrow night. I feel like I kid on Christmas Eve….   =D

(Sorry this got so lengthy... If you made it all the way through, thanks for sticking with me!)

Monday, June 6, 2011

This is Why

So apparently I am still not very good at this keeping up a blog and staying in touch thing.

Oh well.
I will keep trying!

I have been making all these plans of what to blog about and pictures and topics and stories, etc, and I just haven't taken the time to do it. Mostly because a lot of what I want to blog about is knitting and crocheting and I've been more interested in actually knitting or crocheting than blogging about it... So I will work on getting that blog post up soon.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share a beautiful moment I experienced a couple Sundays ago...

Every 5th Sunday of the month we gather in small groups to pray for our missionaries and for our brothers and sisters in persecuted nations (such as North Korea, Somalia, etc.).

Now for the life of me I cannot remember which country I was actually praying for (which is slightly embarrassing, but not the point of the story so I will confess it and move on), but I was honored and blessed to be standing with two of the most beautiful young ladies I have the privelege to know.

They were both in high school and a part of the youth ministry when Tom and I started as directors over 3 years ago and have since graduated and moved on in life. One of them went to YWAM for 6 months and is now back in town and going to beuaty school. The other is going to college in California and is home for the summer. Both have beautiful hearts and are such a blessing.

Standing in this group with these girls and listening to them pray, pouring their hearts out to the Lord on behalf of these brothers and sisters who are suffering, brought tears to my eyes.

This is our legacy. This is why we do what we do.

I'm not bragging or even claiming that who they are today has anything to do with anything we have done. I am simply marveling in the honor the Lord has given us to know these young people and to come alongside them and spur them on to do the great things the Lord has called them to do. And the blessing it is to watch them step out and walk in that calling.

Some people think we are "crazy" for working with teenagers and giving up a Friday night to spend the night at the church with 21 young people, getting very little sleep and playing silly games. Some people don't understand why we are so super excited about little triumphs like: a teenager remembering a point in a lesson we taught on something they are dealing with in their life; or a 16-year-old girl wanting to put together a power point slide show for her parents that she is willing to share with all of the parents because she is so passionate about the call of the Lord to go to Thailand; or one of our students wanting to draw a narwhal on the van we are driving to Denver in for a 3-day adventure of loud music, late nights, and crazy praise.

Some people wonder why Tom doesn't get a "real job" to "provide for his family."

Some people wonder why we are still in this little town in the middle of the desert at this small church with so many struggles and trials.

This is why we do what we do.

This is what the Lord is doing in Altared Youth Ministry.

This is the joy that keeps us going.

This is the beauty and the wonder that the Lord Jesus Christ sees in this generation of young people.