I have the greatest intentions about recording what I’m learning and keeping up with all that’s going on around me, but these days it seems that things are happening faster than I can jot them down. This is my attempt to get up to speed.
I made a trip to what I so lovingly call the “hippie store” yesterday. It’s this natural foods co-op near my house full of all kinds of organic treats. (I found coffee berry juice – yes, from the coffee berry before people like Starbucks take out the pit and roast it for the delicious cup of Sumatra I’m currently drinking. I’ve yet to try it, but it’s full of 906% DV of Vitamin C.) Places like this makes my heart ache in a joyful, hopeful way for so many reasons. To some, it’s just a little grocery store, but to me its a reminder of memories and dreams. Sometimes I’ll stop and realize how odd the things that make so much sense inside my heart must seem to those around me…this is one of those times.
My heart is aching to remember the dream I had last night. I fell asleep for a nap around 6:00pm and suddenly woke up this morning twelve hours later. In the cool light of the dawn I laid there having bits and pieces of my dream come back to me, but only generally, not a complete grasp of what happened. There was a lot of action and activity. I remember fire and storms coming to take on the whole city. I remember the people around me preparing in fear. I remember being at the top of a skyscraper. You should have seen the sky. The storm rolled in with these clouds that looked like fire. It was incredibly majestic.
God hides things for us. These days I feel like so much has been hidden in my dreams. Some mornings I can’t even begin to remember what I experienced in the night, but I’m learning that even if we can’t explain what’s going on inside, things are happening in the spiritual that will eventually – just in time – overflow as fruits in the natural. As a writer, this has been a transforming lesson. You go from always feeling the need to record, to seal, to solidify the lessons, to understanding that spiritually these revelations are still being sealed and worked from the inside to the outside; second nature. What a wonderful thing to trust the Holy Spirit with all that is growing inside our hearts.
I ache for the re-location that is to come. The fulfillment of recent dreams and desires. The fellowship that is just upon the horizon. Increased fellowship with the Holy Spirit and the desperate. For now, God in His grace, has created a greenhouse tent around me – cultivating on the inside, protecting on the outside. He really is THE Teacher.
I’m absolutely stunned. Amazed. I knew that this year was going to be good, but I had no idea. Truly being a year of surprises, the past two months have inspired, surprised, and delighted my heart with the things of God in more ways than I could have ever dreamed or anticipated.
My heart aches for more. More revelation, more desire, more dreams, more fruit, more opportunities, more prayer, more fellowship, more delight, more creativity, more overflow, more JESUS.
This past weekend Stacie, Angie, and I went out to the Hostetter’s for Lee Marie’s birthday. Next thing I know, Mona Lee, Lee Marie, Bethany, Emily, and I are all in what I like to call “The Upper Room” with tears rolling down our cheeks and smiles bursting from our lips. We had listened to Mike Bickle teach on the second, third, and fourth seals that will be released into the earth, spoken of in the book of Revelation. His teaching had started a conversation about what the last days would look like, and what the Holy Spirit is doing now in the earth to prepare the hearts of men. This conversation left us in a pile of tears alternating between overflowing joy and laughter, all in complete amazement of the goodness of our God.
I look back through the weeks and see how my heart was prepared for this weekend. In this environment of worship it surfaced only to be hung in the air with anticipation and hope.
DREAMING WITH GOD:
In the late fall I found “Dreaming With God” by Bill Johnson. A set of circumstances caused me to learn about Bill Johnson and put him on my “book list”. Another set of circumstances entirely caused me to find. I’ve read through half of the book in two days, and as I read and learn it’s confirmed that this hour was the time to read this book. Like the weeks that prepared me for this past weekend, I see how my heart was prepared for this book.
Spending my breaks at work reading and praying over what I’m digesting in the Spirit has begun to transform my work-life. A few weeks ago I saw this man sitting in our cafe at Starbucks. He had this big table all to himself, scattered with notebooks, pens, highlighters, and to my surprise and excitement, the Bible. I’m used to having corporate meetings take place in our cafe, or Donovan, our favorite high-school homeschooler (missionary kid who loves Jesus) finishing up some assignments, but not the Word being studied over coffee – hello, there’s a coffee tasting for you – “Perfect Pairing: try a bold cup of Sumatra to wash down the hard-hitting truth from 1Timothy”. Okay, that was lame. Theresa Marie, less coffee, more Jesus.
On my break I went over to this man to ask him what he was reading. He was studying Psalms and we started a conversation about how it’s important to get the Word in your heart, not just in your mind, so that it might overflow naturally into the world around you. He asked me if I was in ministry, and my immediate thought was “well, yes!” but then I realized how much my idea of ministry has changed since the days of working for Teen Mania Ministries. I’ve learned in the last year that ministry is to be faithful in whatever the Lord puts in front of you. I’ve learned that there is no box that can contain the ways of the Lord, and with His desire being to have all men know and love Him, we must saturate the lives of all men. I think of it as if we’re “infiltrating” these dark places with light. Working among the kings of this world and gaining influence in the lives of individuals. This way of living and loving – in the marketplace – isn’t quite what we imagined when we think of ministry, but it’s the heart of the Creator to be involved on a heart-to-heart level.
In the last year and a half at Starbucks I’ve learned so much about myself, people, and Jesus. Yes, Jesus. I’ve learned so much from Jesus through the environment of Starbucks. The Lord is speaking to you in your circumstances and the “day to day life” that is usually just cast aside as nothing spectacular and mundane. There are lessons to be learned each hour and opportunities to shine the glory of the Lord in unimaginable ways with His direction.
Life is a process. “The will of God is as much process as it is outcome” (Bill Johnson) The Lord delights in involving us in what He’s doing in the Earth. He’s using our creativity, our individual personalities, equipped with His power and love to move the hearts of men. We need to be ready. We need to make ourselves willing and sensitive to what He desires. A tree does not grow up and bear fruit overnight. Take a lesson from the Earth, from the Creator and His creation, it’s a process of growth. Some of you might find yourselves in a season where you feel as if you’re just now sprouting through the fresh soil, while others are beginning to see the formation of branches decorated with blossoms – a hopeful encouragement of fruit to come. Enjoy the journey.
He is at work in us and all around us. With creativity in His nature, He delights in growth; life springing forth. He delights in creating circumstances that inspire growth. As we live out what He’s put before us with great faithfulness and excellence, He’ll begin to expand our sphere of influence. So much of what we actually see is just a result of what was first unseen. The unseen can be left unseen, or through the secret place – in a place of prayer – can be called into what is seen, what is manifested in the Earth. Don’t let these dreams and desires for the hearts of those around you stay unseen and seemingly lost in your hopeful imagination, but be faithful in the place of prayer and communion with the Holy Spirit to bring into the Earth what He desires. Your day to day life is your environment and opportunity to be faithful in this. With the Lord, nothing is insignificant. He is a God of purpose and order. In His Wisdom He makes all things work together for good.
I hope that these truths inspire you to be purposeful in what we are deceived into thinking is ‘nothing special’. You’re living the good life, these are the days, be faithful and useful in them. INVADE the kingdom of this world in whatever sphere of influence is entrusted to you.
With all of that being said, I’ve been understanding so much more of how our words have power to bring either life or death. God spoke the world into existence. There is power in the tongue. Every time I open my mouth, I’m faced with the opportunity to encourage or discourage; to bring life or death. The words we speak are such a practical and powerful example of how can we can bring the Kingdom of God, the spirit of Love, into our spheres of influence.
I’ve now been in this chair for several hours, sipping Sumatra and sparkling water, singing to Jesus, reading and writing. And while I haven’t gotten up other than for more coffee and to sing and dance around an empty house, it’s been a very productive day in my heart. It seems that the sun has won over the clouds and I’m in for a beautiful winter afternoon.
I can’t wait for summer, for more reasons than just the obvious…
HE IS AT WORK.