A Family of Gardeners
From the beginning to the present moment, the theme of God’s flourishing life has come to define my story (Gen 1, Isaiah 35:1-10, Psalm 65:9-13, Psalm 92:12-15, John 20:12-18).
I come from a family of gardeners. I was born in the Great Plains Midwest, in the Flint Hills of Northeastern Kansas. My family’s agricultural bent was formed generations before I was born through immigrant farmers but solidified in my story when my parents met at a Kansas agricultural college, studying Horticulture and Turfgrass Science respectively.
Beyond biology, my parents gave me specific gifts. Who I am as a student, as a writer, and as an adventurer comes from my dad. After my dad served in the military to get his education, he went on to get his doctorate in Turfgrass Science and write editorials. When I was about 10, I decided that if my dad could get his doctorate, I probably should too. However, like some of the best childhood dreams, this idea didn’t come back into my conscious mind until Jesus made me so hungry to learn that it drove me to seminary. While both branches of my family are known for their DIY projects and problem-solving skills, my mother’s leadership instilled my value for practicality, accessibility, and applied learning. As a university-level greenhouse collections manager, she has such a vast working knowledge of horticulture that throughout my years in Girl Scouts exploring the outdoors she was a field guide, identifying outdoor plants’ names, properties, and related anecdotes in stride.
Despite appearances, the ecosystem of the prairie is incredibly diverse. In the same way, God exposed me from an early age to an incredible amount of languages, people groups, nations, political beliefs, religions, and worldviews. My father’s house was on the same street as Hillcrest Elementary School, which in the late 1990s and early 2000s, was the sole experimental ESOL (English as a Second Language) school in Lawrence, Kansas. I attended elementary school with students from over 100 countries, many of whom were the children of International Students at the University of Kansas. Since my father’s house bordered the elementary school and I loved learning, my interest in non-Western cultures, languages, and people was permanently formed through proximity.
I have a twin sister. As the story goes, our names were selected by lot when my two half-brothers and my parents voted. Through the process, my sister and I both unintentionally received botanical names. My sister’s name Lauren means “Victory”, which relates to the laurel leaves that Greek Olympians wore as crowns.
As someone who loves organizing information visually, I would much rather explain my name using a pictogram.
- Haley: My first name Haley means “Hayfield or Harvest field” in Old English.
- Lynn: My middle name means “River” in Welsh. It is also my dad’s middle name and makes me think of the pure rivers of living water that belong to Father God.
- Nus: My last name means “Seed”, and originally came from the German word Nußbaum. While I grew up hearing that my father’s relatives shortened our last name to Nus after they immigrated from Germany to the US in the 1800s, as an adult, I now wonder (but don’t really know) if they were once Jewish.
- Linguistic Representation: Through no intentionality of man, each of the languages (English, Welsh, and German) represented in my name relate to my actual ancestry, along with French, Scandinavian, Scottish, and Irish ancestry that isn’t explicitly named. I’m not surprised that as an adult, God has used been weaving each of these regions to influence my faith, through their histories and my current friendships.
As these separate elements of my name (Field, River, Seed) are combined, they ultimately come together to form a garden. Therefore, my complete name means something akin to
“Fruitfulness or Flourishing”
Other little clues in my life remind me of this meaning, like :
- The high incidence of twins in my family
- My capacity to bear fruit in both good and challenging experiences
- The amount that I apply and reproduce what I’ve learned
- A sense of calling to harvest disciples from the nations (Apostolic bent)
- A sense of calling to be a bridge between different cultures, denominations, time periods, and industries, to increase the inheritance of Jesus Christ’s spiritual descendants
Given what my name means, it’s not surprising that some of my first encounters with God were in my elementary school’s outdoor grass fields.
Calling Experience: Finding Hidden Treasure
As kids, my sister and I spent a good amount of time outdoors. We’d roll over rocks looking for rollie pollies (pill bugs), race home to be the first to pick just-ripe raspberries, and dissect my parents’ flowers. Amongst the gravel at my father’s house, I used to go looking for limestone chalk rocks for drawing, finding ones that were chalky white enough to use against the cement.
In the same way, I was relatively good at scanning surroundings and people in elementary school. I asked a lot of questions and sometimes made adults uncomfortable because of how much I noticed. School was my comfort zone, and while I sometimes got into trouble, I had some phenomenal teachers who took an interest in me and kept me challenged.
Seeking, scanning, and uncovering was solidified as a theme over my life during times when I sat bored on the playground. From chalk rocks, I moved on to hunting for small fossils in the mounds of pea gravel. To me, this capacity to find fossils reminds me of re-discovering the riches of history to understand what God is doing now and in the future.
As I came into later elementary school, I struggled with loneliness. I would walk in the fenced grass fields behind our school, play with the neighbor’s dogs, and talk to God. While I still wasn’t sure why I needed Jesus, I had an intuitive sense that God must be real and very powerful. As my loneliness intensified, I began to pray, saying, “God if you love me, please help me find a four-leaf clover.” Shortly thereafter, I began to find my first four-leaf clovers.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”Jeremiah 29:13
The exercise of seeking and finding would help me remember that I was seen and valued. To me, this bent towards finding four-leaf clovers reminds me of miracles, signs, and wonders that God reveals to those who seek him.
As I continued spending time with God outside, I would sometimes get the sense of being watched over, or see pictures of things that were hard to describe. In one memorable experience, I remember seeing a gentle, safe, older version of myself who was good with children. I was surprised that she looked so much like me but also felt that it was weird because working with children didn’t yet resonate. Today, I recognize that God used this encounter to give me hope for what it would mean to be older and start reflecting on what I appreciated in adults.
Around this time period, I also found several women’s wedding rings as I traipsed among the grass. While I wanted to keep them at the time, my teachers had the good sense to return them to their *very relieved* owners.
To me, this experience of finding wedding rings speaks to the restoration of the Bride (the Church).
Overall, each of these calling experiences remind me of the hidden treasure found in knowing the Lord.
“I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”Isaiah 45;3
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.Matthew 13:44-46
My son, if you accept my wordsProverbs 2:1-8
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
In response to my loneliness, God sent me outstanding friends when I was about 10, including one friend whose love for me changed the trajectory of my life. Due to trauma, my behavior at school had become extreme. As she reviewed my choices, my friend Glenda said bluntly, “I don’t think this is really who you are. I don’t think you are truly like this.” Along with the conviction that came from a series of stupid choices, her discernment shook me to the core. Her consistent friendship that year created in me a hunger to figure out a better way. While we ultimately had to separate to attend different middle schools the following year, the love she had for me inspired me to learn Spanish, to honor her Mexican heritage.
Drawn by her love for me, I studied Spanish for another 7 years, throughout middle school, high school, and early university years. During that time, which I consider My Numb Years, I struggled with depression and despite the genuine desire to learn, was desperate to know if I could trust God. While my mom had forced us to go to church occasionally for a few years, I struggled there. I had many questions about God, but couldn’t find other people who were able to answer them. While I knew nothing about supernatural ministry at the time, I intuitively felt that if God were real, he would have the capacity to radically heal my mind from depression, and would inspire the people around me to be less judgmental. To my surprise and in spite of depression, I did ultimately make it to high school graduation after years of living one day at a time. I was intuitively aware that God must have been involved in keeping me alive that long, and I decided to use university as an opportunity to seek him.
Once I finally had more freedom, I began to heal. I gradually came off antidepressants, lost weight, and started to ask serious questions about God again. I started pursuing Jesus and made a variety of diverse friends. I struck up an unlikely friendship with a Catholic student who loved me in spite of my imperfections. She invited me to attend a lecture by a priest who had come to campus to talk about his experience as a deliverance minister. In spite of his lack of enthusiasm and lack of choice in the job, I began to realize there may be legitimate answers to my questions.
I had begun to enter into a turning point season in my life. Just as I began sensing hunger to know Jesus pulling me like a fish on a hook, I was in the middle of deciding where I would study abroad. You see, I had studied Spanish for such a long time that if I was going to grow, I would need to lead the country. I made a spreadsheet, weighed my options, and went with “my intuition” to select a program in Valparaiso, Chile. Little did I know, this program was one of very few that ran a Christian study abroad option. As I boarded the plane with my backpack and suitcase, I said to the Lord, “Jesus, if you’re real, I’m ready to know.” Several months later, I found the Answer to my questions, got radically saved and delivered from depression, had various supernatural encounters, and experienced a strong sense of adoption both to Lord and to the land.
Fields, Generations, and Nations
When I came back to Kansas, I retraced my steps to the same elementary school fields where I had encountered him earlier. I began to pray for God to reveal his purpose for my life, and he opened a door for me to start working as a tutor there. Over a decade later, the school was just as diverse as it had been before! I was surprised by the ease I found in acting as a role model, delighting in teaching kids to look for four-leaf clovers and make clover crowns at recess, among more serious things. Around this time, I also felt called to ministry, yet I felt that as a woman, I would have greater opportunities for leadership if I started within the Education sector rather than within the Church. After coming back from studying abroad, God also refined my vision for working with many cultures. I worked as a student in my school’s Office of International Student Services, helping what were the equivalent of my former classmates’ parents with immigration concerns, adapting to the university, and life in Kansas. As I graduated, I applied for an alternate teaching certification program that unexpectedly brought me to Washington, DC. In DC, I worked as a teacher for 6 years, supporting a mixture of native DC residents and immigrants from Central America, East Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and beyond.
Now that I’m older, God has expanded my vision for youth work to include:
- Coordinating Intercession for Youth and Young prophets internationally, in ways that will inevitably influence the redemption of physical land
- Seeking revelation for what God is doing among different age groups and in specific nations, with the goal of expanding young people’s access to Jesus
- Developing Prophetic Consulting Services for Christian Schools and Churches
- Teaching and Training on what it means to create healthy cultures of Revelation for Apostolic Centers, Local Churches, and Schools
- Empowering and Training Youth workers in gifts and best practices
- Traveling to establish and support youth (0-18s) ministries
- Developing synchronous and asynchronous training materials on supernatural ministry for Youth and Young Prophets
Ultimately, the intersections of this work will lead to pioneering new strategies for prophetic ministry among youth, through writing, business, media, and technology.
Lord, use my life for the flourishing of the generations of your Bride.
You care for the land and water it;Psalm 65:9-13
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.[a]
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing.
The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God.
3 Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
4 say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
7 The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
8 And a highway will be there;Isaiah 35:1-10
it will be called the Way of Holiness;
it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
9 No lion will be there,
nor any ravenous beast;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
10 and those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.Genesis 1:1-2, 11-13, 20-23
And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14
Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned and said to him in Aramaic,b “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.John 20:12-18
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no
wickedness in him.”Psalm 92:12-15
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In the last days of each month, as a way to worship the Lord for what he’s done, I write monthly summaries. These contain stories, media, and things the Holy Spirit taught me during that ~30-day cycle. They are part of a call to authentic scribal ministry, where I can share stories as they are lived about the power of God. While I still keep a certain amount of my life private, I select the most teachable, digestible moments each month to curate for people so that they can retrace my steps as a friend. I personally believe that people learn from narrative testimonies much faster and more enjoyably than from reading technical details in books. However, as you might be able to tell from the graphs, timelines, and symbols I create, I love those too. I wrote the first of my monthly summaries back in October 2020 when I started this blog during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s wild to be able to track how God has grown me since then. I really believe that the act of worshipping and commemorating God through writing each month is a large part of what has allowed me to sustain the acceleration the Holy Spirit has put over my life since then. If you are an emerging scribe, I highly recommend it. 🙂
Check out my Archive of Monthly Summaries
Click below to see:
Monthly Summaries from 2021-2020