I’m Pregnant!


I’ve been very sick for a few weeks now, and it was so bad when it started that I couldn’t imagine what could be ‘wrong’ with me.  By the second week of pain and nauseousness, I decided to spend a day fasting and praying to draw closer to God, because I thought I experiencing the physical manifestations of a spiritual attack (this does happen to me sometimes).  But that night, I had continuous dreams about being pregnant and knew it to be true.  One pregnancy test and a doctor’s visit later it’s confirmed: we’re going to be parents!  My husband and I are excited! 🙂

That said, it’s been a difficult first trimester.  I’ve spent nearly all my time lately either on our couch or bed–or floor, in a few rougher moments.  And I’m practically never sick, so not ‘functioning’ like this has been difficult and shocking to me.  I’ve done almost no reading, no researching, no meeting of people, no writing (even to journal), hardly any eating (though this is improving slowly)… It’s been a new and exciting uphill journey.

My joy level, fortunately, has been fairly high, so I don’t want it to sound as if this first trimester has been terribly awful.  In fact, with so many of my normal activities on hold, I’ve been able to spend many uninterrupted hours with the Lord in pure intercession and worship: singing a great deal in the Spirit, and marveling at the miracle going on in my body.  I’ve also felt closer to my family than ever–though we’ve always been a pretty tight-knit group.  These are definitely precious times, despite the constant nausea and physical pains.  I even think I feel the Lord more powerfully when pain allows me to cry more desperately to know and experience Him.


Ignorance and Responsibility


I work occasionally as a parking enforcement officer–a job I started to get myself through college, and have enjoyed so much I probably will never fully quit.

As I write parking tickets, I’ve often encountered angry people and have had to share with them what they’ve done, while still executing justice.  I’ve heard every excuse, and one time was nearly killed by a man who had parked over an hour in a 30 minute parking zone and, in rage, attempted to run me over with his truck before the police got involved.

One of the most common excuses is not knowing the rules of the road: “I didn’t know that wasn’t a parking space.”, “I didn’t know I needed a permit in that area.”, “No one told me I couldn’t drive through the bus center.”, and so forth.  Some of the people I meet are really nice people who really didn’t know they were in the wrong; more of them are lying (evidenced by the computerized system I carry of every ticket and warning they’ve had in the past).  Regardless, it’s the responsibility of those who drive to know the rules of the road (and of parking).  It’s my responsibility as parking enforcement officer to judge rightly and execute judgment according to the law.

I say this because many Christians neglect to actively pursue the Lord–even though it’s clear that love (demonstrated through obedience) is the first and foremost commandment.  We don’t, in the new covenant, have a rule book to follow as the Jews did; instead, the Holy Spirit writes the law on our hearts and connects us to God so that we can know and walk out His will.  Without the pursuit of God through the Holy Spirit (by reading the Bible, dialoguing with the Lord in prayer, connecting with other Christians in fellowship,…) we miss knowing Him.  And if we don’t know Him, well, He’ll still have to execute perfect judgment.

The season of God’s mercy is NOW.  Right now we’re alive and have the choice whether to learn God’s heart and choose His ways, or whether to drive our lives by our own rules.  And while I can give ‘warnings’ to those parked in the wrong spot (the gift of surprise mercy), God’s mercy is only available until we die, after that His judgment can be nothing but Just because He can’t go back on His word.


The problem with not feeling


Years ago I went through a long season of not wanting to feel any more.  I had been reading a lot on psychology and Buddhism and hypnosis, and started experimenting with ‘transcending’ my feelings so as not to have emotional pain and unrest.

Actually, I was successful in ‘not feeling’ for a time.

It was a very powerful time in my life–charmingly dark and powerful.  I was also working to develop my psychic abilities, self hypnosis, and vision of the unseen; and I was very successful in my occult interests.

There was a problem though, and I’ll tell you why I wasn’t satisfied with the “New Age” way of living: I became so good at not feeling that I didn’t feel anything.  My family and friends had shown me glimpses of love and joy, but I had stopped feeling altogether–no love, no joy, no peace, and so on–and yet, I remembered that I had often felt those good feelings in the past.  So slowly I began to soften my heart so I could feel the good parts again, despite the additional torment.

It wasn’t until years later that I learned Jesus really can, and wants to, take away all our pain–that regardless of circumstance we can rest in the fruit of His Spirit.  The irony is that to receive the Lord’s peace, we must circumcise our hearts–making ourselves vulnerable by cutting away the skin of our hearts, that the softer part would be out in the open.  This is contrary to our thinking because initially it is so painful to sacrifice even our wounds to a God we can’t see; it takes a great deal of trust and faith.

The alternative, however, is the hardening/thickening of the heart–an empowering of the self in order to block out emotional intrusions by building up a defense barrier.  This is one of the ways which seems right to man, but leads in the end to death (Prov 14:12).  The higher and longer and stronger we build the wall around our hearts, the more we cover up uncleaned wounds, perceive happiness and peace when there is none, and the harder it becomes for the wall to be destroyed.

It’s painful to be vulnerable (thus, the Biblical analogy of circumcision, which I’ve heard is painful as well–and increasingly so with age); but, it’s also necessary to rip emotional problems and wounds out by the roots, which requires entering into the most sensitive places.  And it’s not just about reaching the sensitive places, but about allowing Jesus to adequately and thoroughly heal and cleanse us from the inside out.  The Lord Himself is the only one trustworthy to handle our hearts, so we can put it all in His hands!


Happy anniversary to us!


Yesterday was Ben and my second year anniversary!

On July 7th, 2007, we had a beautiful and joy-filled wedding and an exciting, adventurous honeymoon in the Bahamas and Florida.  Then enter our first year of marriage…. What we didn’t share with people at the time was that our first year of marriage was very very rough.

Everything each of us brought to the marriage, spiritually speaking, seemed to multiply as soon as we became “one body” in marriage.  I, especially, was very emotionally and mentally awry, and I became violent and difficult to live with–living with myself was particularly hard.  It was at this time that I started seeing a secular psychologist and psychiatrist (again), and attempted to stabilize myself through medications, knowledge, positive thinking,… (again).

The change in our marriage occurred right about the one year mark.  We had each been seeking the Lord with great fervor–not together, though we’ve always prayed together in the evenings, but independently.  And I’d been going through a deliverance ministry with a pastor who was physically pulling the spiritual forces of darkness out of my life a little at a time.

It wasn’t until we each became spiritually stable independently that our marriage fully reached a place of not just comfortableness but intimacy.  And that intimacy keeps growing on a regular basis, and is especially wonderful when our connectivity with God is high.

We can now testify that a marriage anchored in God is very rewarding!  We hold each other accountable to walk worthy of our callings by staying in the Spirit.  And when there’s a problem, we are able to quickly identify that it’s us and the Lord against the enemy–never Ben against me or me against him.  When we approach marriage from the standpoint that we’re always on the same team, with the Lord as our coach, there is no problem that can’t be defeated.  The Lord Himself can always bring perfect peace, joy, and love to a marriage.


My Spiritual Independence Day


Happy American Independence Day!  Today is also the anniversary of my baptism in water!

I was baptized, first,  as an infant in an ELCA Lutheran church, per German tradition.  I won’t say there’s anything wrong with baptizing infants, but true baptism is a personal choice.  As I began to understand my own relationship with the Lord, I wanted to demonstrate my commitment to Him through baptism.  I didn’t have a home church at this time, so I went back to my family’s Lutheran church and met with each of the pastors until I had convinced one to baptize me ‘again’–this time by immersion, since the word baptism literally means ‘to immerse, to submerge, to cleanse, to overwhelm’.

I consider that this “second” baptism was my ONE baptism, as Ephesians 4:5 says (“one Lord, one faith, one baptism“).

The baptism in water is a baptism of repentance (Matt 3), an appeal to God for a good conscience (1 Peter 3:21), and a baptism into death as we symbolically (and in our hearts) lay down our lives for the Lord that we may be resurrected in Him with a renewed mind (Rom 6).  Baptism in water isn’t the only baptism (there is also the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the baptism in fire; Matt 3:11), but the baptism in water is special because it marks our heartfelt commitment to God the Father and the significance of our decision to follow Jesus by sacrificing ourselves.  And while we should continuously ask for more of the Holy Spirit and to be refined by His fire, it only takes one heartfelt baptism in water to enter into a covenant commitment with the Lord.

Being baptized in water was a very special day for me–as it should be.  I was baptized in the bay at my parent’s summer property with only a handful of close friends and family.  I cried through the whole ceremony because I was so moved by the gravity of my commitment to Jesus.  I could barely say the vows I had chosen.

I didn’t plan to be baptized on the Fourth of July, but the symbolism is perfect!  Just as we celebrate our country’s freedom, I am celebrating my personal freedom through Christ.  Praise the Lord!


It’s a spiritual battle


Last night and earlier today I was under intense spiritual attack.  It began after I’d experienced great victory with the Lord, and it was so sudden and unexpected that I was feeling weak, depressed, lonely, physically sick, exhausted, …, all at once and couldn’t quite remember how to deal with it (even though I counsel my good friends on spiritual warfare on a regular basis).

I reached out to a few people for prayer, I considered that I should be praying for strength, or taking authority over the lies of the enemy, and yet I continued to engage negative thoughts and wallow.

Then a friend spoke to me and mentioned something like, “it’s okay, we all feel down sometimes”.  I can’t explain what happened in my spirit, but it was like Truth rose up inside me and my spirit shouted, “No! It’s not true!  It’s a spiritual battle!  I’ve been up against this before and won!”

Too often we give our flesh credit for what is happening in the spiritual realm.  But Ephesians 6:12 says “Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  When we feel anger, or sadness, or fear, or hopelessness or any other negative thought it is a spiritual thing.  There are deceptive spirits speaking lies to us.  It doesn’t matter how believable those negative thoughts may seem–they are all lies!

But 2 Corinthians 10 encourages us that if we have chosen Jesus Christ as our Lord, then we have spiritual weapons available to us through the Holy Spirit: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”

Our job is to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:5).  When we hear ourselves thinking a thought that is in any way negative or outside the nature of our Lord, we choose to cast it aside.  We recognize that it’s false, claim the truth, and let the truth sink into our spirits setting us free (Phil 4:8).

This is exactly what I chose to do this evening, and I’ll testify that there is nothing better than the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23), and complete freedom in the Lord.  If you’re a Christian, this is absolutely available to you all the time, no matter the circumstance; but you do have to choose to resist the temptation and lies of the devil!


Different parts of the body


Some months ago, I found myself comparing myself to another Christian.  I began to feel like my gifts weren’t as useful as hers, and coveted the skill set of my dear friend.  Then the Holy Spirit immediately spoke to me, giving me this illustration:

The Lord is creating His body to be like a buffet table of choice desserts.  There are cakes, and cookies, and pastries, and pies–desserts of every kind!  And within each type is are many unique varieties; not one dessert is exactly the same though some are more similar to others while some are quite unique.

Each recipe has its own unique ingredients–some are more basic, while others exotic.  And each must be made in a particular order so that it can come out just perfectly.  It would be a terrible mistake for one to get sugar prematurely, or too much flour, or to be baked as a bare pan…

You, beloved, cannot compare yourself to another because your recipe is entirely different.  Only the Lord knows the recipe, and it’s Him who is preparing you.  Have faith!  Stop resisting and objecting to His perfect plan!


What about the heathen who have never heard?


I used to justify that Jesus is not the only way to heaven with the emotional plea that surely a god who is love would not judge everyone based on one ‘truth’ since it’s not culturally and readily available to everyone–that would be unjust after all, and the Bible says that God is a just god.

The truth is that Truth exists outside of what we feel or choose to believe. I’ll spend a lot of time in future posts breaking down the little bit that I know about who Jesus is and how I know. For now, let’s leave it at this: we have a very limited understanding of who God is and how He speaks, so let’s try not to limit what we think He can/will do.

2 Corinthians 5 says that everyone has a groaning in their hearts to be reunited with the Father in His heavenly dwelling place. We also have the promise that those who seek the Lord with their whole hearts will find Him (Jer 29:13, Prov 8:17).

The events that happen between the passing thought that something is missing, the wondering what or who is out there, and actually finding that there is a god and that He’s a specific God, is unique for each person—perhaps even drastically unique for some individuals (like the heathen).  I’d like to share a very small portion of my own experience as an example:

Sometime after my third serious suicide attempt—and, by-the-way, I did know there was a God and that Jesus was God at this point; I’d even experienced personal miracles—I had a very unusual encounter with the Lord.

You see, I had been walking in direct disobedience to what I knew was God’s will for me, and yet, was so charmed by the apparent benefits of the devil’s power (I had, somewhat knowingly, made an agreement with the devil) that I wasn’t totally convinced that Jesus was the One I wanted as Lord over my life.

Yet in a moment of intense emotional pain, I walked into my bedroom after an early-release day of high school when the whole neighborhood was quiet, and in my heart felt a groaning that something in my life was not and could not be fulfilled the way I was living it. I don’t remember if I went as far as to make an audible prayer at this moment, but my heart definitely cried inside me something like: where is the Lord!?

Then, I began to hear music—like an orchestra was marching right outside my window (not just a ‘band’ but a full orchestra!). It was the most beautiful music I’d ever heard, and music was so important to me.

I started looking out my windows for the source of this wonderful music, and it was overwhelming loud, but there was nothing to see.  The street was completely empty; no cars in any driveway; nobody.  And it sounded live, but I began checking to see if maybe a radio was on, only to find that, no, they were off.

So I listened.

I laid down on my bed and listened.

And as I did, a man’s voice, deep and gentle, flooded me.  It was an audible voice, and I knew immediately it was the Lord’s.

He sang to me, accompanied by the music, and along with the song came pictures—it was like a panoramic video came before my eyes as small fragments of my life shown in high speed across my vision (likely my entire life, though I could only remember a handful of the images afterward).  To the best of my knowledge, the voice of the Lord was singing to me the song of my life.  It knew and made audible my every desire, my every anxiety, my every hurt—and I remember feeling as if my whole subconscious (which I had been longing to get to through hypnosis) was being audibly presented before me.

This lasted for several hours—I was surprised when I finally arose to see my clock.  And of all the images He showed me, one stood out more than the others: a short glimpse of friends gathering and laughing at an outdoor wedding reception (I could only see the group from their waists down, ironically, but held onto the vision knowing it would occur at my wedding)—and, yes, the vision was fulfilled when I got married several years later.

There’s more to the story, and I didn’t actually return to the Lord directly after this experience, but I’ll leave the other angles and details for another time.

So, back to that poor heathen who wants to know God but is too far physically and culturally from the Bible distribution centers and missionaries…

Why is it so hard to believe that if God can speak to each of us in any way He desires, He can’t also speak to this person?

So, why is it so hard to believe that if God can speak to each of us in any way He desires, He can’t also speak to other people?

He could choose to speak through a missionary, or a suddenly appearing Bible, or creation itself… Or He could speak through an angel, a dream, a vision, or even His audible voice.

Those thoughts about ‘what if somebody else won’t find the Lord’ is preventing YOU from finding Him. Have faith! He’s going to draw those “heathens” to Himself using their environment—just as He’s drawing you to Him using yours! Remember: the Lord’s people will come from every tribe, tongue, people group, and nation—and that means EVERY (Rev 5:9).  There may not be a many in every nation who find Him, but He promises that each person has equal opportunity to search for and understand the truth, even if the circumstances are vastly different!

So, let’s talk about you… You may be pondering my story thinking: ‘My life sucks; I’ve tried to kill myself too; why wouldn’t He have spoken to me audibly?’ Or perhaps you just don’t feel like you hear Him and are wondering if maybe He didn’t “choose you” (He did: 2 Peter 3:9!).

Let me encourage you in this: if you are thinking about the Lord—even to wonder if He doesn’t exist—if you are asking yourself all the difficult questions about who He is, and why He did or didn’t do something, or whatever, then you ARE being pursued by the Lord. He is trying to talk to you! You may have so much traffic, so many voices, in your spirit that you’re confused about which voice is His, but KEEP LISTENING, keep seeking answers! You don’t need the audible voice of God, you just need an attentive ear!