This month, I have been asking God to help me to come up higher into maturity in both my writing and waking hours. This is the first time I have intentionally outlined my monthly summary in order to weave personally complex themes and make sure that I have Jesus’ approval on each word before publishing.
Focusing on Just One Time Zone
In all the places I traveled from March to June, the Lord spoke to me about his long term plans for my life. As I passed through specific regions, the Lord explained some of his goals for 1, 3, 10, and 20 years out into the future. This process was really foundational to helping me trust God in the ministries that are emerging, for him to show me the landscape and share some details about things we’ll be developing years out from now. Having gone to so many places, I finally feel like a have a strong sense of how many of the details are meant to fit together, and that has released me to focus more on the present moment (staying in just one timing).
God is kind, and for some extreme words, he tells us well in advance so we have the capacity to adapt gradually versus all at once.
As a prophet who gets a fair amount of watchman dreams (future related prophetic dreams), I struggle can be all the more difficult to live in the present moment because I get distracted by details that aren’t relevant yet. For me, organizing the revelation is a way to cut the white noise. In plain language, I’m finding it much easier to rest in the present moment than I did before because I finally see how pieces fit together and can just focus on depth and maturity now.
I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.’Isaiah 46:10
For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.Habakkuk 2:3
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.Lamentations 3:25-26
At this point, I am hoping to return to Brazil in August to develop curriculum for children and teens to discern the Holy Spirit. The vision God has given me for developing these opportunities is so big that regardless of my geography, I will inevitably be working on this vision.
A Prayer to Trust God in All his Timings
May you perceive the purpose of God within your present timings,
And eagerly make peace with him as you wait,
May the Lord call you trustworthy as you pass through narrow places,
And comfort any area of rawness,
In the stillness, may you hear the Lord whispering his plans for your future,
May you not just hope, but have the strength to believe.
May the Lord give you deeper and deeper root systems
that it not even occur to you to worry.
Of all the things I value, I have loved gathering people lately. While developing community among friends and ministry settings is not new wine, God is adding a Luke 2:52 grace for relating to different kinds of people to my life as he brings the old wine into maturity.
Shadowing a Hostel in Community
One of the ways God helped me create community last month was actually to develop friendships with individuals in my hostel, and from that place of connection, address the loneliness of the visitors. It was awesome to see how Jesus encountered people and changed the atmosphere in a place just by nature of risking reaching out, relational warmth, and his own care for them.
Emerging Prophets Friends
Lately, I’ve been using a closed Facebook group to schedule times to meet with my friends from the Emerging Prophets program. This has been some of my favorite time to catch up with people, and I’ve started to be able to meet their children and pets as we keep building community.
At seminary, I’ve been employed as a Proctor (similar to a Residential Assistant or a Dorm parent) in order to develop community on campus. I’ve been impressed by the amount of transparency that’s already developed in the 1.5 weeks residents have been here, and excited to see how the strength of these bonds will improve the depth of what students are learning. Here is a picture of some classmates and I with our professor on the way to a recent trip to the Bible Museum in DC.
“God Who Makes My Heart Safe”
Right now, the Church is in a season where en masse, God is challenging individuals to emotional wellness. The majority of my time this month has been shaped by responding to this call to wellness personally and envisioning what greater wellness could look like for the communities I hope to develop.
Leaving Room for Others to Step Forward
On a personal level, I have been allowing this call to wholeness shift the way I am doing communication with friends and family, so that God brings an end to my over-functioning.
In general, I have a very high value for communication. I would actually say that good communication is probably my greatest core value. Because of this value, I have generally taken responsibility for establishing and maintaining social ties with friends and family members. Communication is so important to me that my default setting assumes that if there is no communication, there is no connection. In the past, the most memorable of my mentors have honored this value by taking a direct but gentle communication style. Without relatively consistent and clear (generally, direct) communication, I do not usually feel valued or believe there is a connection.
Over the past 24 months, the Lord has taken me on a gradual process of stepping back from overfunctioning. However, this process became especially noticeable over the past 6 months, as family members have needed to step forward to bear their share of responsibility for communication as I’ve been in transition.
God is challenging me to leave a gap for others to step forward in developing friendships and maintaining good communication with family so that I can rest. While I have not seen a significant shift yet in others’ responses, I know that by maintaining boundaries in the degree that I allow myself to initiate, I am ultimately allowing God room to move in those relationships.
Looking to God and Not People
Over the past 9 months, the Lord has challenged me to have a healthy agnosticism of other people. It is God who reveals mysteries, God who provides, God who opens doors, God who is responsible for making room in people’s hearts for us. While it is a reflex of will to leave the work unfinished, I am leaving room for God to answer God’s own prayers for my life, and just listening, agreeing, and declaring what he has thoroughly said.
One thing I did not expect in this season of transition was the degree that some people have been offended that I have chosen God over them. I know that God is jealous of this time in my life as a first fruits and I absolutely will not rush timings OR give others the attention he so deserves. The time doesn’t belong to me to give. The people who love me most have not been offended when I’ve chosen God over them in this season. They want better for me than they are able to give, and they understand that my best case scenario is him.
Lord, help us hear the song you sing over us so that we don’t need to take your place in the lives of others or try to establish our dreams by our own hands, without letting them pass through the fire.
Greater Depths: Sensitivity and Exposure
As I’ve given Jesus more access to my heart this month, he’s been sensitizing and tuning my emotions to God’s heart. I generally sense my emotions closer to the surface, but sensing God’s emotions feels 4+ inches below the surface. When God allows me to pick up on his joy, his grief, his anger, his excitement, there is a choice involved to tap into these emotions and voice them. There are specific situations this month where I didn’t take things personally, but in choosing to voice the complicated nature of God’s emotions, he transformed situations and people through it.
This month, Jesus showed me how polarizing deliverance ministry can be. When people sense Jesus in us nearby, the sensation of being completely naked can be terrifying. Even without intentional sin, being so exposed takes a lot of trust in the person ministering to you and the desire for God to make you bare and deliver you from whatever holds you back.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”Luke 5:8
How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.Psalm 19:12-13 NLT
At other times, being seen exactly as you are is refreshing
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”John 4:29
She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”Genesis 16:13
As God continues to pour out grace on for emotional healing, in this season, God is asking his Church, “Will you let me uncover you? Will you let others see you and help?”
God is safe, and he is there to help. If shame or fear of exposure is keeping you from receiving more of Jesus, ask him to be God who Makes your Heart Safe.
Responding to Injustice: Meeting Jesus in Grief
This month, an event happened where I was left holding faith for something alone in spite of what God had already spoken to others. While God ultimately shifted the situation, remaining in faith was unbelievably costly. Since I didn’t have words or even know how to pray at first, I often found myself praying, “Search me, Holy Spirit.”
In one encounter with Jesus, he demonstrated how to remain in lightness even as he himself passed through incredible grief.
In the vision, I kept only getting glimpses of Jesus. I wanted to know him more fully. He brought me to the side of a lake that belonged to me, as a site of past and present griefs. Jesus showed me his own body of water that was as a large as an ocean. He called it, The Ocean of “Why?”
I began to watch him backstroke in the water, and he invited me to join him. As he swam, he repeatedly wiped his face the same way you’d wipe off the dried residue of tears in the shower. As we swam and the water passed my ears, I heard whispers, speaking, and even screams of unconscionable words that grieve the Lord. While some were directed at Jesus, even more were directed at other humans.
I watched him continue gliding forward, eyes closed. I could tell that he was enjoying the lightness and joy of being in the water, but there were still deep furrows around his cheekbones, etched into his thickened sunburnt skin. As we swam, Jesus kept modeling being alert to the beauty of the saltwater breeze, the sensation of letting himself float, and the warmth of the sunlight. His robust sense of vida integral (life in complexity) helped me not be lost in the grief, but to be held even in the midst of it.
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.Isaiah 53:3
Later, on the same day as I was leaving Brazil, I was at a Christian conference where I had an extreme encounter with God. I was on the floor for at least an hour as the Lord poured out warm protective love on an area near my heart. When I finally did get up, the Lord sealed the experience over the following 48 hours and the plane ride back to North America. Through this encounter, God revealed himself as “God Who Makes my Heart Safe.” He keeps building my trust to see him this way daily.
“Where is a Safe Place for My Children?”
As God challenges me to trust HIM to be the one to make my heart safe, he is challenging me to trust him with the future of my ministry and personal life.
In this season of life, the Lord has given me a tremendous vision to see children and teens discern his voice, prophesy, and walk closely with him as an Acts 2:17 generation. I know that he will use my life to serve them and their communities and we’ll see ridiculous signs, miracles, and wonders as he leads.
Presently, I am designing virtual training opportunities for teens and children to know the Holy Spirit. As I develop these programs, I am scanning organizations around me to try to discern which organizations would lead to healthy ministry alignments.
In fearsome love, I am unwilling for these children to become a sideshow, to have their gifts exploited, or to lack the kind of spiritual covering that a robustly healthy community of faith will provide them. I am looking for leaders who exude safety and who can provide this sort of environment for my children. This is the largest calling on my life (Jeremiah 20:9), and the work is highly personal.
Bearing up through the Timings: The Timelessness of Worship
Just yesterday, I got a new case delivered for my acoustic guitar, so I will be able to practice as I take it with me to visit a friend in Canada, and then to Brazil.
While I wait on God’s timings for my ministry and future, worship is the only thing that cuts through the cost of waiting, of unanswered prayers, and the pressure of where I know God is leading me. When I focus on the beauty of Jesus, I can lose myself in the timelessness of worship, and I don’t have to come out of it quickly. These moments of timelessness give me the strength to re-enter into the present moment and remain undivided in my mission to establish safe prophetic cultures for children.
Music I’m listening to
This track (“Do you Know…?”) wrecked me this month: over the beauty of Jesus, over the extent at which God sees and values hidden sacrifices, over the way he continuously chooses us. This song was medicine this month as I waited for God to make wrong things right.
Lord, help us to perceive you singing over us.
I love the song “Pieces” by Amanda Cook, because it reminds me of how unafraid God is to be known. The safe, willing, sacrificially self-giving, whole, compassionate, faithful love of Jesus.
Lord, help us to love as sacrificially and holistically as you love..
This Brazilian Portuguese kids worship song repeatedly made me cry this month. In the chorus, Jesus sings about how he loved to go visit his friends in Bethany, and repeatedly praises Mary of Bethany because “She has time for me”. While this song is upbeat, you can tangibly sense Jesus asking all of us “Who will have time for me?” As I listen to it, I still get choked up sensing his yearning for our time, for us to value him most of everything.
Lord, take all of our time.
Books I’m Reading
This month, I read “Dethroning Mammon” by Justin Welby. One of the concepts that most stood out to me in this text was the idea of “what we measure, we value; and what we value, we measure.” The author makes the argument that some of the most valuable things in an organization are intangibles, things that are felt rather than measured consciously. However, as organizations become more conscious of those things, they may choose to adapt their evaluative frameworks to capture those things.
It reminded me of a situation where an employee of an organization had a particular gift for inner healing and wellness. When this individual steps into a room, his presence has an immediately healing effect on people who have gone through trauma or neglect. However, because that attribute isn’t measured as part of his performance review, I have not seen him as able to partner with God’s design for his ministry or receive the appropriate recompense for the value he adds to the organization.
Materialism drains the Church and devalues individuals. Many churches’ financial structures have been formed under the performance-driven ideology of capitalism, which frequently dehumanizes the humble and overcompensates the striving. Saint Oscar Romero, a Salvadoran Martyr also decried the Church’s responsibility to defeat materialism and defend the rights of the poor, saying “the Church has an even greater impulse to work for liberation of the earth than the communists have, for she knows that no paradise such as the communists announce exists in this world.“
Impact: Prophesy and Change the World by Arlene Westerhoff
Another book I’m reading this month is “Impact” by Arlene Westerhoff. One thing I love about Arlene as a prophet is the clarity of communication and accessibility of her language for teaching. Honestly, the value for clarity embedded in her writing is like medicine.
The most impactful (see what I did there) section of this book so far has been Chapter 8, titled “Fathers and Mothers, Sons and Daughters.” In this chapter, Westerhoff explores the difference between childlikeness and childishness, which I have seen frequently blurred in family life and in settings where I have worked. It can be difficult for individuals to allow God to carry them into the kind of maturity that makes them healthy spiritual mothers and fathers.
According to Westerhoff, “Maturity is a pre-requisite for procreation.”
In other words, we cannot develop disciples (spiritual children) or lead our biological families effectively if we refuse to mature into the men and women that God created us to be. Immaturity paralyzes and renders the Church impotent to influence the world and lead effectively. As Westerhoff says, “God will not entrust adult-sized responsibilities to those who are spiritually immature.” The world urgently needs Christians to allow God to shape them into mature men and women of God.
Towards the end of the same chapter, she tells a story of a man who had made a vow to never grow up. This man had “confuse[d] being childlike with being childish” and it “hinder[ed] his ability to grow and enter fully into God’s call for his life.” Once he allowed God to bring him into maturity and chose to break this vow, God poured out many opportunities for blessing and promotion on his life.
Funniest Dream this Month
Towards the middle of this month, one of my dreams made me laugh out loud on waking. Through this dream, the Lord addressed the work of redemption and new identity he was doing in me and many others in this season. For context, cats in my dreams generally symbolize false responsibility/neglect and fish normally symbolize flowing with the Holy Spirit.
In the dream, I saw a cat with a nonfunctional right paw and legs. He had a partially functional left paw. When he tried to walk, he scooted and would flip his partially functional paw like a fish. The omniscient narrator voice in my dream said loudly, “Dory was an abandoned cat but a redeemed fish.”
I nearly died. Honestly, I think God knew I needed a laugh.
Leaving Room for Joy
Portrait of Provision
It is hard to describe just how intensely God has been invested in my wellbeing over the past 6 months. Long before embarking on a season of travel, the Lord spoke to me about his extravagant provision through various dreams where he would invariably send me chocolate ice cream and/or cake. As the Lord knows I have a sweet tooth, he wanted to make it clear that even my most nonsensical “needs” would be provided for.
God is true to his word. Here is a portrait of just *some* of the free desserts I had in June. These pictures do not include the abundance of cakes, cheesecakes, and cookies that are served at seminary with *every single meal*. I tell you, even as I try to pace myself, the Lord loves demonstrating his love by being over the top.
Another instance of the dramatic nature of God’s provision was an instance in my last week in Brazil when I had caught a minor head. I stayed at my friend’s mothers’ home, and she really went out of her way to make sure I had more than enough. She made me tea, got us fresh bread from the bakery, raw honeycomb, and margarine. She boiled hot milk and let me add freshly ground cacao. She gave me extra blankets and lent me a set of her pink fuzzy pajamas and slippers. It was gloriously extreme generosity.
God loves to take care of us. He really does! At no point in the last 4 months traveling have I been in lack, in danger, or without community. I have been welcomed and trusted and honored. God is teaching me that he is “God who Makes a Place for Me.” May the Lord continue to reveal the depths of his love for all of us, so that we can show the same love to others.
- Lightness, peace, and joy to displace heaviness, rawness, and pressure over events, geography, and timings
- Favor, holy boldness, and answered prayers for provision as I finally start taking risks to fundraise in earnest
- Grace to finish my assignments for seminary with clarity and long-reaching purpose
- The beauty of Jesus to go ahead of me as I spend time July with my friend in Toronto
- The right ministry alignments with emotionally safe and robust leaders. For God to make space for me and the children he is raising up as prophets.
- God’s perfect will for my return to Brazil