Ode to my mother.
I love my mom so dearly and I am encouraged to see how she is being molded and transformed into the likeness of Christ. God is showing me the evidence of answered prayers from thyears past. There has been a lot of family stuff in the last few years, where the enemy has tried to rip us apart and tear us down individually. In the midst of this madness the Lord is moving in tremendous ways – He is lavishing His love on my family. I especially see His sweetness on my mom right now. The things she says and does are so different than what I witnessed in her three years ago. I am amazed at this movement in her life. Thankful for how Father is loving on my family and using my mom as a bridge between family members.
I met wi my 5th grade friend today for a little Bible study action. She has such a hungry heart for the things of God. We started reading the book of John. Afterward we prayed it up with Stacy and her men-tee. These two precious ones are growing in the faith. God has them on a fast forward track.
I’m not sure what else to write about…tonight was pretty crazy.
We had Uprising at the Elmwood housing projects, which we do once/month. While getting out of the car, I met a man who was stumbling down the sidewalk. He admitted that he had had a few beers already, but was interested in what we were doing. I invited him to our worship service and he decided not to get beer and join us. As we started worshipping, he turns to Amanda and me and says, “I like this church, this isn’t like other churches I have been to.” We ended up praying over him. He desires freedom. He desires to be the man God created him to be – without all the addictions. God loves him dearly and is also craving freedom for this man. It is available. He is available. I trust the Lord will set him free as he submits to Him and releases all the baggage he’s been lugging around. Freedom is available!
Tomorrow should be interesting. Our team is loading up in the big white van for Mount Carmel’s House of Prayer – which is 3 hours away. A day trip. We get accustomed to these long road trips together. I like it. Time in the car with the family, worship, fellowship…good times.
Surprise me God!
How is it going for the rest of you crazies that are doing this experiment? I would love to hear updates!
We were iced in today. No school, no group at the women’s shelter, no office time…a bit of a lazy day.
My time with Jesus this morning included a look into Genesis 24 – Rebekah is brought to her husband Isaac. What a beautiful story of God’s divine orchestration on a marriage. If you look at this story with eyes of faith you see the beauty between the relationship between the servant and the Lord. He is looking for a wife for his master’s (Abraham’s) son Isaac. He decides to throw a fleece out there, ask God for some specifics. Before he even sees Rebekah, he puts this request before the Lord, “Let the woman I ask to get me water also get water for my camels.” This is no small thing friends. How many camels did he have accompanying him? 10. That’s right 10. A camel can drink up to 25 GALLONS at one sitting. They are some thirsty creatures! Do the math…25 x 10 = 250 gallons of water. Dang Gina!
The next woman approached while he was still chatting the the Lord. While he still putting in his request to the Lord, here comes his answer. Can you get me a little drink? Yes, and while I am at it, can I also get some for your camels? Oh my word! Can you imagine the look on this servant’s face? Am I hearing correctly? Did you just volunteer to get water for my 10 camels? This woman had some muscle and she wasn’t afraid to bless others either. She had no idea what prayer had just gone up…for her own benefit and blessing. Now, this woman Rebekah is presented with the biggest surprise of her life – a husband. He pierces her nose (see, it was cool back then too) with a gold ring and gives her some jewelry before they head to her crib to meet the parents. Of course there is much more to the story, but she ends up agreeing to go back with the servant and meets her beau Isaac for the first time and they get hitched. I wonder what was going through her mind and heart as she put the veil over her face before meeting Isaac for the first time. I
So, tomorrow morning think about the possibilities. God wants to surprise us. He wants to bless us, teach us, and refine us – because He gets the glory. He loves that.
Lord, surprise us tomorrow.
Let us be the answer to someone else’s prayer.
Here’s a random one:
I had just been praying for Mexico the other day while we had our prayer/dance session in the gym. I asked the Lord to re-connect me with a couple I met at a retreat who had just returned from Mexico in January because I wanted to hear more about their mission trip. Joyce called me last night to tell me about their mission trip.
SMG: Day 4 February 21, 2008
The morning started off with a family gathering. Every day starts out like this – except for Fridays. Today we did our Romans Bible study. Chapter 5. Sin entered through one man; righteousness entered through one man. After that we ended up praying for two very influential people in IL, Oprah and Obama. I will just leave it at that for now. The Lord reminded us that in His Word, Jesus gave us the ability to move mountains with faith as tiny as a mustard seed. I have some mustard seeds in my kitchen pantry just to remind me how itty bitty they really are. Tiny.
Where is your faith today?
Even if it is tiny – you can say to that mountain, “MOVE!”
What are the mountains you are dealing with?
Tell them to move.
Next we moved on into the gym for a different kind of worship, different to what we are accustomed to anyway (together as a group). Kristy first taught us how sign language to the song, “Holy Spirit Come.” I have been wanting to learn more sign language to songs, so this was great! After we did that song, the music was streaming through the gym and our veins and we worshipped through movement. This is another neat surprise, as I love to dance. I have been wanting to bust out the praise dance lately. Another neat surprise. There were flags, banners, IL state flag, and national flags. There was a lot of freedom as we danced before the Lord. It’s a pretty big deal because we have never really done this type of thing all together as a group. Toward the end I saw Sara placing the IL state flag in the center of the gym. I figured she was probably going to start dancing around it – so I joined in. With beautiful sheer blue and white material flowing through our hands we danced. Holiness sweeping over the land. Rivers of water rolling over the state. The national flags were placed around the state, overlapping one another. We expanded our territory as we danced around this large circle. Stacy came in with green. New growth sprouting. Amanda joined us with purple. Clothe the people with royalty. Gary joined in the circle with his staff creating beats on the hard wood floor. Apostolic leadership declaring freedom over the Body of Christ. Kristy and Sharon joined in with prophetic movement and song. The voices and actions of the saints bringing healing. Heather on the floor, near the flags in prayer. The intercessors have been travailing over this broken land. What a beautiful picture of what God is doing in this hour.
Later on I had the chance to hang out in the computer lab. Sometimes I miss supervising the computer lab. Filled with mostly elementary aged students, mostly boys. It’s always good interacting, asking questions, encouraging, helping and yes even disciplining. I thought I would introduce them to my friend, Saylah, who is a rapper I met while in San Jose, CA. Him and his wife are solid Christians with a conviction of bringing the truth and love of Jesus to this generation. So, I brought out the CD letting some of the kids listen. They LOVED it! Usually they listen to rap, not this kind of rap. I know the lyrics will seep into their spirits. I know the Lord will use Saylah and his wife to minister to these kids hundreds of miles away! I love it. It was funny seeing the reaction to some of the older boys when I asked if they wanted to listen to one of my Cd’s. “No.” Of course their perception of what this white Christian woman would listen to is much different than what they like to listen to. About an hour later I hear, “Miss Heather, I really like this music!” Ha-ha! God continues to break down walls. God is doing a new thing with music, sound, and worship. I am more than blessed to hear the noise of heaven being released on the earth.
SMG: Day 3 February 20, 2008
I love this experiment! God is so fun.
This report is a bit random as I share about the day, so bare with me.
Today began with a little personal prayer time in my room. Something compelled me to look back in old journals. I didn’t realize I had so many. I probably have at least 10-14 from the past three years. Flipping through the beginning pages of my journey in Cairo I was surprised by some of the things I had written. I plan on copying some of the prayers written for my co-laborers at Two Rivers…a little dose of encouragement from the past.
Also, I was compelled to read day 3 from Terry Esau’s book Surprise Me, reflecting on his experiment. A few quotes that inspired me:
“My deduction is that a praying Christian is carried by wonder; a prayer-less person carries the wonder and will soon get exhausted by carrying the infinite.” – Ravi Zacharias
“Imagine we are all hot air balloons and prayer is the hot air.” – Terry Esau
Am I floating today? Carried by the hot air balloon filled with prayer?
“Which is worse, misbelieving occasionally, or believing in nothing at all?” – Terry Esau
“Maybe journaling is a form of prayer.” – Terry Esau
“When I write I can almost feel God whispering thoughts to me.” – Terry Esau
Each of these phrases ministered to me this morning as I sipped my coffee.
Next was our first official prayer/worship at the Elmwood building (for the mornings at least). This is a new and exciting venture. After unloading our guitars, music stands, and even the jimbe we were ready to roll. It’s always fun worshipping in a new environment – inviting the Lord to do His thing. Loving on people in Elmwood. We asked that He would give these friends an encounter with Him.
A little office time before hitting up Melissa’s class. I never quite know what to expect in Melissa’s class. Either they are quiet and peaceful, or crazy rowdy. God is definitely working with these kiddos. If you haven’t read the past entry about her class, I suggest you take a peak, I think it is under “Cairo Kids” The atmosphere can change so drastically in a few short hours. I arrived at 1:00 observing a calm classroom discuss their weekly reader, and and by 2:00 I witnessed chaotic, rebellious children. I just prayed, that’s all I can do. God, have your way in this classroom. I did have a few conversations with students in the hallway, speaking encouragement and even praying with a few of them. I see such a hunger for the Lord in these students.
My voice mail held a surprise message from a woman I met at the One Thing Conference back in December. She wanted to connect me with someone who has a House of Prayer in MO. There is a conference this weekend for regional leaders and she was prompted to tell me about it. I won’t be able to go because of a different conference here in IL, but I was blessed that she thought of me anyway. It’s funny because I had been meaning to re-connect with her this week.
I received a sweet little post card from Peter and Johanna which was super encouraging! The prayers written on the back were timely for this season in life. Thank you Lord for wonderful lasting friendships.
Recently I enrolled in an Entrepreneurship class through Shawnee Community College. PS It is free! Bonus! Tonight was the first night of class, and I was a bit late after finishing up with the Club House at Elmwood housing projects. I will have to tell you about that another time, for now I will stick to the subject. I was sitting there in class trying to get all my papers together and I hear, “Heather, I didn’t know you were taking this class.” Looking up to see who is behind the voice, I see Rita a friend of mine from a nearby house church. We both start laughing thinking to ourselves, “this is more than just an Entrepeurnship class.” God is so strategic. It gets better. As people are introducing themselves and sharing their motives for taking the class we hear various passions being expressed…construcion business, tiling business, real estate, restaurants, small gift shops, and even a publishing company. The man who runs a publishing company “happened” to be sitting right next to me. I couldn’t wait for the break to ask him more about his business. Really, I was hoping he was a Christian, and I felt he was. He had that spiritual papa look to him, if you know what I mean. Rita, Greg, and I were chatting after class and I asked him what the name of his publishing company was, and the name gave the answer I was looking for. He is in the business of publishing Christian books. YES! Recently I have been stirred up to write a book. Probably a book sharing testimonies that inspire faith. After the writing conference in Redding I decided that I would not jump through all the hoops the world puts out there for writers, if God wants me to write a book and have it published, he would just have to open strategic doors. That’s just how I feel it will happen for me. So, here is yet another fun connection in the Kingdom. Rita and I prayed after class together. I think I am really going to enjoy my Tuesday nights. Time in the car to reflect, sing, pray, read (just kidding) will be an added blessing as I haven’t had much alone time in the car lately. God certainly has many surprises in this class and I look forward to opening each one.
SMG: Day 2 February 19, 2008
Crammed into Heather’s car (not me, I don’t have a car yet) we were on our way to visit Joseph in Cape G, which is about 45 minutes away. I had a couple missed calls from numbers I didn’t recognize, so I called them back to see who they were. First one, wrong number. The second missed call was quite a surprise to me.
“Hello, did someone call Heather earlier?”
“Uh, Heather…Oh, prayer Heather?”
“Yeah, I guess that’s me, who is this?”
“This is ____________ from Paramount Pictures, we met a few weeks back on the prayer walk.”
I am thinking, “Woah, this lady actually called me!”
We had met during a prayer walk at Paramount Pictures. She works there and hosted us on her lunch break. The whole thing was pretty cool, getting in with our IDs and having our names the “list” was all new to me. She took us on a tour explaining the happenings at Paramount, while giving information about the spiritual climate as well. The prayer walk reminded me of our summer prayer walks in Cairo with the YouthWorks teens. As we take them to different sights, we give them some history/prayer requests and let them go for it. I was wide eyed looking at the cool stuff at Paramount Pictures as we lifted up people serving in the Entertainment Industry. It surprised me to hear about many believers creating art to glorify God. After our prayer walk, I thanked our guide for her generosity and perseverance in such a unique place of ministry. Really, I was impressed with what God was doing within the Hollywood studios. This was not at all what I expected to observe.
Just yesterday while in church, at the Charleston Health Club (yeah, sometimes I do church a little different) I noticed that the brand name of the machines – “PARAMOUNT”. I asked the Lord to raise up a house of prayer in Paramount Pictures – what the heck, they are already running 24/7. I asked about my involvement in ministering in Hollywood. Lots of questions. Anyway, this whole journey is really new to me. I am not really into the “Hollywood scene”, I am not into television shows, famous people, who’s dating who, clothing styles, or anything like that. It is funny to me that God is raising me to up to pray for people in Hollywood. At first it terrified me, the thought of meeting famous people and ministering to them, praying over them. It kind of freaked me out. Now, I kind of like it. Not because they are famous, because they are real hurting people like you and me who need to encounter a real God who loves them deeply. He wants to set them free.
So, this brings me to my little surprise today. This woman who works at Paramount called and asked if I would consider being her prayer partner. WHAT? Are you kidding me? What an honor! So, now there is a bridge built from Cairo to Hollywood.
You have the best hook ups.
SMG: Day 1 February 18, 2008
Already the SMG (Surprise Me God) experiment is off to a great start!
It’s always fun to look back at old journals.
Where have I grown?
What was I praying?
What was I learning?
What was I doing?
These answers sometimes surprise me as I pass through old journal pages.
Yesterday I opened an old journal, but this journal is a bit different than the rest. Filled with magazine clippings, artwork, scriptures, prayers and my imagination running wild. The Starbucks napkin glued on the page caught my attention. There was a prayer written on the top. This prayer was for personal growth in a very specific area – something that I desired to see God do through this weak vessel. Immediately I was carried back 1 1/2 years – the summer of 2006 waiting at the Kansas City airport to catch a flight to Denver. I had been blessed with the opportunity to return to Alamosa, CO as a starter for YouthWorks. The summer prior to 2006 I had spent working in Alamosa with YouthWorks (a youth missions organization). At the airport I had some time to journal and reflect, so I wrote out a couple prayers on random napkins. Without going into specifics, the prayer I had written back then has been directly answered as I reflect on the “now season” in my life.
I love how He constantly reminds us of those things we ask for, knowing that He has already, or is in the process of answering.
Remember, if you are praying according to His will (Word) your prayers WILL be received. [1 John 5:13-15]
Where have you recently been encouraged by specific prayers for yourself being answered?
PS Please let me know if you are doing this SMG experiment. I am so encouraged by your faith! Let’s share our testimonies together…