She-Rah, Sighing and a Stallion

Recently I had the privilege of praying with some of my beautiful prayer warrior friends.  One of them, I even call She-Rah:  Prayer Warrior Princess.  We are a part of a team at our church that gets to do personal prayer ministry with individuals.  One and a half to two hours, just for one person.  A long time ago God began using people to teach me about "the one".  Jesus cares about everyONE.  He wants us to invest in the ONE.  I love this ministry because I get to focus on just one person at a time-to honor and care for in prayer.  There are few places I'd rather be on those nights.

Sometimes our team gets together to do some training and practice.  The other night these warrior princesses in my life ministered to me for a brief time during our practice.  One person was leading that part and the rest of us were to ask a question:  "Jesus, what lie am I believing about you?"  I wasn't feeling well that night, so I had already decided that I wasn't really going to participate.  (I live in a land called "Of Course", where God does things that I wouldn't have necessarily seen happening, but Daddy knows best and just goes for it.  Because I choose to submit to Him-many times ;-)- He brings me along for a ride anyway!)  So…of course I was the first person to get an answer, and that meant that I was the one that was supposed to receive ministry in that session.  (sigh)

Literally, I sighed.  

Loud.  

I didn't feel like participating.  I just wanted to look in from the outside and coach them through it.  

But, no.  Jesus wanted to dispell a lie.

In my open-book transparency, I often still censor what I'm sharing with the world for good reason. Everyone just doesn't need to know everything, and there are plenty of women in my life with whom I share life with.  For some reason though, this month has been highlighted to me as "Singles Awareness Month" @ my church (not really, but it just feels like it is) and I thought I'd share some thoughts for the sake of amazing women in my life.

The lie.  "You think that I'm always going to be just your friend, but that I'm never going to be your groom."

Boom.

Story of my freakin' life.  How often do I say it?  "I'm always the friend, but never the bride."  "He thinks I'm such an incredible woman…sucks I'm not attractive enough."  "I'll have great guy friends until the day I die…but am I ever going to have a husband?"

There I said it.  

But does that really mean that because I've thought those things that I really don't think that Jesus is going to be my groom?  The Bible tells us that Jesus is coming back someday, and that he is coming back for his bride.  I believe that.  I believe that Jesus is the ultimate Groom and that someday I will be with him in Heaven.  I also believe that He's my friend; I've a friend in Jesus. (Click for a belly laugh).  

What Jesus was telling me was that deep down I am actually relating my expectation of Him to my wonderings about whether I'll ever go from "awesome, incredible, amazing, sister in Christ" to bride.  I just didn't think I was doing that…until I asked. Dang those questions!  

So in this prayer session with my friends, I asked Jesus if there was anyone I needed to forgive for this lie being in my life.  Together we walked through a couple of items there and then I gave that unforgiveness and frustration to Him.  I asked Him what he would give me in exchange for that junk and do you know what he gave me?  

Bay-Azteca-Stallion (Original image)

Yes, He did.  He gave me a stallion.

So I can wonder all I want to, whether I will ever make the transition from "amazing friend" to a bride someday, but I don't really have to.  All that does is feed a lie that I already got rid of.  I have to admit, it's still hard to believe.  Really.  But I choose to believe that my stallion is out there-or right around the corner; I have no clue.  

In the meanwhile, I will continue to be aware of my singlesness because I can't seem to get away from it…at all.  Might as well enjoy a great message on either marriage or singleness here. (March 3, 10, 17) 😉

 

 

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The Night Before School Starts

So many thoughts run through my head on a day like today.  It's Labor Day, the last day of the summer without kids.  The day before I am, again, responsible for making sure that 50 4th graders are literate citizens…so that the prison system can be just a little bit smaller 10 years from now.

I woke up this morning with some tasks to complete for the greatest youth ministry in the Metro DC area.  Check.

Got to soak for some time and listen to some teaching by Bill Johnson and be encouraged.  Check.

Then I moved onto some personal errands, including what was probably the largest charge I've ever had to pay at CVS Pharmacy (nothing major, just the vanity of my skin:).  Check.

Thought about doing some school work, but didn't get much farther than checking my email.  Check. Checkmark

Got inspired to plan to go see a band of a couple guys who teach at my school for my birthday.  If you're around on September 17 and would like to come, please let me know!  All friends are welcome.  You can find a sampling here:  The Running Record.  Planned my birthday event.  Check.

I LOOKED AT a workout video online, but for some reason didn't actually do it.  Thought about exercising.  Check.

Found some new friends on Twitter, and am looking forward to following them…they're quite amazing people, so I expect to be inspired often.  Acquired more reasons to sneak on Twitter during my lunch break.  Check.

Looked on Craigslist (again) for a home for my friends who are waiting so desperately on Jesus to see what their next step is.  Loved me some friends.  Check.

Thought about some random facts:

-In 6 days I will be the exact age my mother was when she gave birth to me.  (my mother was married, and had her 3rd child the day she turned 32)  Felt behind.  Check.

-My nephew is the same age that I was when he was born.  Felt old.  Check.

Listened to this song on repeat-My Romance, with Rick Pino.  Romanced by Jesus.  Check.

I am currently on Sweep Me Away, with Charlie Hall.  Being swept off my feet.  Check.

 

Please allow me to share my monologue that I am processing with Jesus right now ….

Jesus, YOU are the center of my life.  You are the engine that runs my day and the oil that keeps that engine healthy.  I choose to walk in your Spirit, and to embrace who YOU are to me.  More than that, even, I choose to see myself how you see me.  I choose to be the woman of God that you've created me to be.  Whether I am finding new friends on Twitter, picking up a prescription, or soaking in your powerful presence, I want to be actively aware of what you are doing and how you are moving.  I want my sense of you to overwhelm the senseless voice that whispers in my ear…the crap that reminds me just how unvaluable I am to others, and that places other people's opinions higher than your opinion of me.  I want to know my value, even on my most worthless of days.  I want to want to spend more time with you than I want to spend it with people…and then to actually do that.  I repent of my choices to allow other people to determine my worth, and I present my heart to you…broken and ready to be whole.  I was made for more than this.  I want the overflow of how much you love me to overwhelm the people that I encounter everyday.  Meet me where I am.  I need your grace.  I need your love to move through me.  The enemy is very nervous about the ways that you're going to change the students in my classroom this year.  He is try to shake me…unnerve me…annoy the crap out of me with other people.   In my moments of forgetting that my struggle is against him and not the people around me, he has had measly thoughts of victory.  He has been wrong.  In my weakness, Lord, you are made strong.  As my muscles get broken down when I put strain on them in weight training, and then built up again when I eat healthy doses of protein, so does my spiritual muscle when it is strained…and you feed my spirit with YOU and your words.

"You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience?  This detour doesn't come from the One who called you into the race in the first place.  And please don't toss this off as insignificant. It only takes a minute amount of yeast, you know, to permeate an entire loaf of bread.  Deep down, the Master has given me confidence that you will not defect. But the one who is upsetting you, whoever he is, will bear the divine judgment."  Galatians 5.7-10b (MSG)

My final thoughts before I hit the pillow for some more soaking time (I need to absorb Jesus' presence to the fullest extent before I hit that classroom tomorrow)…Jesus has more for my life than I can see in the natural realm of my sight.  God is bigger than what I can see or feel.  He knows every detail of every situation I could face and feel anxiety from.  He's know every insecurity that would tear me down when friends reject me.  He wants my heart, my devotion, my time, my thoughts…and He won't relent until He has every part of me.

Blessed beyond what I deserve.

Not Just About Pig Puppets

"Ha!  I remember when you used to r100_0618ead to us from The Azusa Street Papers in LifeCore!"-Amber

"I did that?"-Me

"Yea.  You loved the stories!"-Amber

This past Friday I got to spend some time with a really good friend of mine from college, Amber.  She came into DC for some work and contacted me.  We hadn't seen each other in almost seven years, since her graduation from North Central.

Amber and I met in the fall of 1999, when she moved onto my floor as a college freshman.  I was a leader on my floor and she was one of the girls in my LifeCore group.  We hung out on Tuesday nights from 9-10pm (or if you know me…some stayed until about 12:)  She's from Pennsylvania, so we'd bonded over that immediately, and she just became one of my girls very quickly. The next year I had the opportunity to be Amber's RA (Resident Advisor) for the second half of the year and she was a leader on my floor.  

We were reminiscing with several stories from college the other night, including that one Saturday morning, the second week of school when I physically threatened a guy from our Brother Floor (Yea 4 East-Carlson!) for making her uncomfortable.  As a 20-year-old girl, much shorter than 18-year-old him, I looked up with fire in my eyes and firmly said, "You need help, dude.  And I will hurt you if youWil the pig ever do anything like that to her ever again!"  He didn't.  Amber confirmed it the other night.  He never made her uncomfortable again.  Ha!  I guess having two older brothers to practice fighting with helped, huh?

Amber and I also remembered awesome floor gatherings-like the floor meetings that I'd have where my  leaders and I would wear certain articles of clothing over other articles of clothing, and I'd break out my microphone and we'd do karoake…along with choreographed dances.  And some of you thought that you knew me.  Ha!  If you've never seen me in pig pajamas, wearing pig slippers, pigtails in my hair with pig scrunchies, dancing around with a pig puppet, well…you don't really know me all that well, do you?  I have no desire to go back in time and be in college again, but I will always remember those dance parties my college days fondly.

The thinking pig Don't get me wrong though.  Bible college isn't just all about dancing around with your underwear on your head, rewriting popular songs to sing to your brother floor (like going from "I Wanna Grow Old with You" to "I Wanna be a Sister to You"), dedicating songs to your brother floor on Delilah, playing with pig puppets, playing Four on a Couch and singing your heart out with your curling iron.  (Boy, this list could GO ON!  And wouldn't you love some pictures to go with it?  Dang film cameras!  Will have to scan some pictures in someday.)

**Meet my pig puppet, Wil.  This is him as "The Thinking Pig".  I bought him on my first trip out to NCU, my senior year of high school.  Yes, I still have him.  My grandchildren will giggle at that face someday.  Before you lose all respect for me, know that this little piggie has gone to town and brought many smiles to many faces…including anyone that realized that it made it into our Neshaminy High School's, Year of '97 Senior Class picture.  (Thank you, John Terrence!)

A thoughtful moment from my evening with Amber has been stuck on my opening conversation.  The Azusa Street Papers is an odd-sized book that we had to get for a class at North Central.  It's a collection of 13 issues of a paper that documented testimonies of what God was doing in a revival that happened in the early 1900's.  This paper was printed and passed all around the country to spread the word that God, indeed, did still move in miraculous ways!  People 0032_azusa_street-paperswould flock to be a part of this revival that was happening in this small part of Los Angeles (yes, LA!), and then go home with joy and hope that God can do the same things through their lives!  The stories that some think are so crazy and unbelievable about the Bible….many of the same things were happening among the people in this move of God!  I was so captivated by reading testimony after testimony of healings that took place, and my heart was so moved by the stories of what God had done in the lives of thousands of people.  I loved that odd-sized book…and I guess I would just sit and read the stories to people, including my LifeCore girls.  Ha!  I don't remember it, but it makes sense.  I really  did love that book.

Here I am, about eleven years later, and I am still captivated by how God moves…except a lot more in "real time".  I can't even begin to describe what He is doing in my heart right now, simply on this blog.  Over New Years I got to join 5 of my good friends in going to Kansas City for I-HOP's OneThing conference.  (I-HOP the House of Prayer, not of Pancakes:)  I-HOP is leading one of many prayer movements throughout the world.  It's pretty awesome.  They have a 24/7 prayer room, that is currently streamed online for free through their site.  My life has been blessed and my heart has been stirred.  And guess what…people have been healed and filled with joy, and they're taking joy and hope back to their homes, and around the world!  Ironically, that same year that I became captivated by what had happened through the Azusa Street Revival…that's the same year that I-HOP was founded.

These are merely two moves of God…He moves in miraculous ways all the time, in big and small ways…but these are two that have impacted my life. 

I guess I just found it humorous that so much has been happening in my heart, to the overflow of joy and hope, and that it's been quite an awakening in my spirit…and then that Amber reminded me of this crazy obsession that I had with something similar back in college.  I don't think the obsession ever went away, but I do think it has been dormant for some time, peeking up but not truly coming to the surface until now.

One of my prayers for today…Acts 2.42-47

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Can I Pway fo You?

My nephew, Ryder, now associates my ice pack with my back problems…

So I just got up to get my ice pack, and when I got back he said to me, "Mim, can I pway fo you?"

"Yes, of course you can!"  I said.

"Dear Jesus God, thank you for Mim.  Pwease make her feew better.  Amen.  Do you feew bettah?"

"In so many ways, I do." 🙂  

Love this kid!!!

They Don’t Even Know

Kid_in_armorWhen I was in ninth grade, I remember competing at a fine arts competition and hearing a particular song sung over and over again.  I recall thinking it was funny that so many people chose that song. No matter how many times I heard a girl (it usually was a girl:) go up on stage, in her poofy hair and long dress, sing that song that day, I teared up each time. 

Warrior is a Child, by Twila Paris

Lately I’ve been winning battles left and right
But even winners can get wounded in the fight
People say that I’m amazing
Strong beyond my years
But they don’t see inside of me
I’m hiding all the tears

(Chorus)
They don’t know that I go running home when I fall down
They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
‘Cause deep inside this armour
The warrior is a child

Unafraid because his armour is the best
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest
People say that I’m amazing
Never face retreat
But they don’t see the enemies
That lay me at His feet

They don’t know were words that resounded in my head…no one really knows!  Well, Jesus knows, but sometimes (if we’re really honest) we encounter crises of faith and we question whether Jesus even knows.  The fact of the matter is that the whole point of Jesus coming to join us here on earth for a season was so that He would know (as in experience), even as we know.  Jesus gets temptation, and He gets being let-down.  He gets it when Satan is telling Him lies and He has to decide to choose the Truth instead.  He may have never sinned, but He understands the human condition resulting from The Fall.

I guess these are really my pondered thoughts…Sometimes we just don’t know the battles that other people are facing inside, and sometimes others don’t know the battles that we’re facing inside.  Inside battles can be so enormous, and while someone might see a taste of it on your face, in a comment, or in a blog post:), they really don’t know.  But there’s something to intercession and fasting that I’m learning about-and not even as an intercessor, or a faster, right now. 

No matter what kind of battle I’ve been facing over the last several months, God has simply been blowing me away with His faithfulness.  I have been a warrior-but feeling like a child.  But God has been choosing stronger people in my life that are standing as warriors to fight for me.  How humbling.  I’ve had so many people telling me that they’re praying for me, and that God has been placing me on their hearts.  I’ve had people tell me that they’ve been interceding and God just puts my face in front of them…This has been happening for months!  Just like Hannah, He hasn’t forgotten me…although perhaps our physical goals are a little different:) 

The funny thing is that those people, they don’t know

People don’t have to know.  I mean, it’s good to share our hearts and struggles and sins with each other-that’s vital for growth.  But when people choose to go to war through prayer and fasting, they don’t necessarily have to know what’s going on…God just uses them in battle to fight because they’ve made themselves available to go where He is and obey.  I’ve been humbled knowing that none of the people that have been praying for me have known the depth of why they’re praying for me.  (I’m not even totally sure of that depth)  They’re simply obedient people who love God and love people…and boy do they love to pray:)

29 points!?!?

Perhaps I’m a hard worker, and perhaps I’m quite passionate about what I do, but I would be a fool to take credit for something that God has done.  He is so good, and so kind to us in our weaknesses!  It just so happens that I’m a teacher and I teach all kinds of kids, with all kinds of weaknesses…here’s a snapshot of a great thing God is doing in my classroom…

Email to a parent from earlier today…(name has been changed)

Matt is definitely improving in reading!  His fluency and
comprehension have both bumped up quite a bit on the DRA test.  And on
his MAP test (on the computer).  His normal growth by the Spring would’ve
been 15 points, but he actually grew 29 points in half the time!!!!
That’s fantastic!  He’s still at about a 3rd grade level.but his growth
over the course of just months is great!  I’m so proud of himJ

…and this was a part of mom’s response…


YOU SHOULD SEE ME AT MY DESK CLAPPING AND DANCING IN MY SEAT.  WE HAVE BEEN
WORKING SO HARD WITH HIM AND WITH THE READING. 

…my conclusion?

God is SO faithful to accomplish in us what we can’t do in ourselves, by ourselves…

Monthly Marathon

In pursuit (again) of being healthier…I’ve been inspired to complete a marathon a month.  Don’t worry, I haven’t gone off the deep end and gone crazy…

Over the course of a month, I will pursue walking/jogging 26.2 miles.  This should be doable, right?  Pray for me.  I’ll let you know how that goes:) 

Hey, if anyone else wants to make that goal, we could definitely pursue that goal together…if you want to add biking in there too, you can.