ASK HIM! LISTEN! RESPOND!
”Too much to say much.”
I heard that quote recently and it's a bit like what I’m experiencing at this very moment. I realize it’s been a hot minute since my last outpour. Sure…there have been videos but, let’s be honest, the Lord’s gifted me with words, NOT video production. LOL.
Many weeks have past and I have few sentence structures to show for it. And quite honestly, I am thankful for the silence. I’m thankful to be broken down to my barebones with minimal narration…because how do you utter the significance of souls being saturated in Spirit over the click-click of plastic keys? I am thankful to be so brimming with life that jumbles of letters do little justice. I am thankful to be beyond intimate with the Creator of the universe and to be living my life for Him in obedience…whether or not they are captured through communication.
But please trust Him when I say…little words does not equate with little work.
Jesus Christ has been doing SO much that it actually has kept me from writing. Isn’t that freaking sweet?! It brings me measurable stress picking which testimonies to tell and what pieces of my heart to magnify and frame up by way of words because of the depth and breath of His glory!
Too much to say to say much…and yet He’s told me it’s time to write.
It’s month nine and my team just finished our first week in Uzhhorod, Ukraine. Our ministry this month is relationship centric and over copious amounts of coffee, we listen to life stories and give hope for His glory. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, people are coming alive in Christ.
Here is just one testimony…
A couple days ago, I was craving some alone time — a rarity on the Race. I decided to go to the coffee shop (duh) near by where I’d planned to sit and people watch (duh, again). But as we neared the shop, it turned out that, unbeknownst to me, three of my teammates were also planning to go to said coffee shop. Now, please don’t hear me wrong. I LOVE my teammates but there are times where a woman must withdraw and be alone on a coffee date with God and no third, fourth or fifth wheels. Ya feel me?
I bowed out from the group and asked the Lord where He’d like to go.
**Quick side note: Now, I know that language may seem incredibly strange. It was sure weird for me eight months ago! But I can tell you in truth, when you start inviting God into the littlest of decisions and details of your life, you’re guaranteed to commune with Him EVERY day. What an adventure that is! I’ve found it’s about actually laying down your agenda and asking Him what He wants to do.
Let me break it down for you…
“God, I’m trying to spend some time with you. There are a lot of coffee shops to choose from. Which one should I go to?” I prayed. Sometimes I just say it in my head which is all good. This time I happened to mutter it out loud while walking down the street — I find it helps me focus my prayer when I can hear myself speaking.
God responded, “Go to Eat Me.” Which is a coffee shop in the center of town.
“But it was closed and under construction the last two times I went by.” I reminded Him — LOL.
“Trust me. Let’s go.”
So off we went and as I strutted (literally! When I’m walking hand-in-hand with Holy Spirit, my feet can’t keep from struttin’), I hear Him say, “I’m going to have someone for you there.”
Like I said…an adventure.
I walked up to Eat Me and would you believe it? It was wide open and ready for business. Go figure! Making myself comfy, I ordered a latte with house-made cinnamon-cardamon syrup (not pertinent to the story but absolutely delightful to drink!) and then sat and observed for 20 minutes. There is just something about knowing Holy Spirit has asked you to be somewhere specifically…it gives you different eyes. By the Spirit, I tested out all the people in the room, asking God who He was leading me to until there was no one left. it wasn’t the two men in the corner laughing and joking over espressos, the business folks I made eye contact with a couple of times or my server. For a quick second, I questioned if I heard Him correctly but He confirmed…
And then in she came. At 4’0”, she bounded in with her mom, a beautiful, short blond. I sat and watched as the server presented the little girly with a piece of chocolate cake and huge vanilla milk shake. Her eyes as wide as saucers, she quick snagged her spoon and carved out a sizable bite. Girly and I exchanged glances a couple times and but my smile was met with shy eyes.
I observed for another 20 minutes only to witness an interaction riddled with tension. Girly insisted on trying mama’s drink and when mama tried helping herself to a bite of cake, girly threw a fit. Even in a different language, one can always decipher the whine, “Nooo! It’s mine!”. Girly huffed and puffed and mama ignored her, diverting her attention to her phone, until girly had enough. She pushed in her chair and stomped away, leaving mama at a loss with her head in her hands.
At that moment, I heard Him:
“Go tell her she is a good mom.”
LOL - Are you kidding me?! Talk about timing! That’s when you know it’s the Lord…when it’s nothing you yourself would think of or even want to do. In that very same moment, mama glanced up and made eye contact with me (the first time since they sat down). I automatically mouthed, “Do you speak english?” (very few people speak english here). “Yes.” She said. Surprised on how not surprised I felt, I asked, “May I come over there?” “Yes.” She responded.
I got up, walked over and knelt at her feet. We exchanged brief introductions and then I just came straight out and said it (I find it best to never waste Holy Spirit time): “The real reason I came over here is because God told me to tell you, you’re a really good mom.”
Okay, now hold up a minute and think to yourself. What would you expect the reaction to be to that?
“Oh, yeah…you know. I try my best.”
“I guess I have my moments.”
Maybe even a weirded out, please leave me alone, “thank you.”
Not even close.
Mama looked deeply into my eyes through a gloss of tears and said, “No, I’m not.”
Without a flinch I responded, “Well, you better take it up with Him because I’m just the messenger.”
And just like that, every door in her heart’s home flung open.
This woman displayed the kind of courageous vulnerability this world desperately needs. She ushered me into her past and showed me around her deepest longings. Hospitably, she cracked open her soul and allowed me to stay awhile. She told me she waited seven years to have a baby. She cried out to God over and over for a child but now that she has one, she is worried she isn’t actually fit to be a mom. We talked about her relationship with Jesus…how her self-deprecating thoughts do no one but the devil a favor. She described her daughter’s fiery personality that often declares her way to be the only way. She admitted feeling frustration, bordering rage when her daughter doesn’t obey and, even more importantly, she recognized the shame that quickly follows. Classic deceiver and accuser junk the enemy loves to use on our deepest longings.
On she went, carrying her heart on her sleeve as it sloshed to and fro, spilling emotion over the sides. And then you know what happened? The Lord took over my mouth and began speaking His truth. He claimed her to be His daughter! He told her how much He loves and delights over her every single day. He explained how her daughter is created to honor her as her mother; that the family tree isn’t just by happenstance but that there is reasoning and purpose behind God’s family design. He gave her revelation about the way her mom’s lack of affection has effected the way she loves. He told her by choosing to love her daughter the way Jesus loves her, all the time, without condition, her daughter will love her own someday children with the same love, thus breaking the generational lack. That she actually gets to teach her daughter how to love unconditionally by loving her unconditionally in Jesus’ name!
After all that, she just stared. Then she said something that truly did surprise me. “It’s crazy that we’re talking about this right now because for the past two days, I haven’t been able to even look at my child, let alone tell her I love her or hug her. I’ve just been so angry and it’s made me so depressed. I can’t believe God would say all this to me now.”
Leave it to God’s perfect timing. When we are our weakest, His strength is made perfect.
Then Jesus gave me a question: “Have you ever prayed for eyes to see your daughter the way Jesus sees her?”
You could see the revelation shower her face. “No! But I want to! I will pray that!”
So we did. I prayed over mama and then…it dawned on me.
“May I pray over your daughter before I leave?”
And with a sweet smile, she called her daughter over.
As I prayed, we declared girly’s passion, zeal and fire to be gifts and that Jesus created her to be a mighty woman of God who He will use to actually change her part of the world! We prayed for a soft, tender and obedient heart…one that seeks to honor and uplift her mother and father. We proclaimed her to be a warrior, someone that fiercely stands up for Truth…and in the same breath, that she would be as meek as Jesus Christ. We prayed boldness, joy and selflessness over her life and that she’d be a game changer for the Kingdom of God. One that fights for justice, righteousness, grace, love and mercy…a daughter of the King who seeks to love Him with everything that’s in her.
The coolest thing…I have this new habit of praying with my eyes open and because of that, I got to watch mama look at her daughter while I prayed. Ya’ll! Her eyes actually CHANGED. I watched them transform from cold stones to deep pools of fresh water and the tears that trickled down poured out from an overflow of love! She was seeing her daughter how God created her to be!
And the thing is…When we see people the way God created them to be, we treat them — we LOVE them — the way God created them to be loved.
A life lived for Jesus, and thus being filled with Holy Spirit, is one big adventure…but it’s not just adventuring for yourself. If we pay attention — I mean actually listen — we will hear God all the time tell us where to go, who to speak to, what to say and more importantly, what to do. Our job: respond in obedience. God’s hope is that we’d invade each others lives with love and truth, not fearing the outcome but rather pursuing past ourselves that keeps us at arms length.
So ask Him! Listen! Respond!
And let’s love others like they were created by God to be loved.