Sunday, April 11, 2010

Doug & Becky's

I remember being thrilled when my cousin invited me ...

I remember leaving work that first night ...
I remember wanting to back out and just go home ...
But my cousin was expecting me, so I went.

I remember walking into the quiet room ...
I remember seeing people spread out soaking in the presence of the Lord ...
I remember hunger welling up in my heart and knowing I was where I should be ...
So grateful I had come.

I remember Doug saying that they would pray for me ...
He said they would ask the Lord to give them words of knowledge for me ...
I was excited and scared at the same time ...
What would God tell them about me?

They prayed and one by one shared what God spoke ...
I sat in silence as they spoke about who I was ...
About things that God was placing inside of me ...
They prophesied a gift of healing in my hands.

I remember driving away that night, marveling ...
Their words had touched a deep place in my spirit ...
I remember the hunger to experience more ...
I remember coming back nearly every week for six months.

Doug & Becky are a young couple with a gift for the prophetic. Once a week, they opened their home to young people; it started as people from their church and grew to include others. It was a small, intimate gathering; nothing like anything I had ever experienced. Sometimes Doug would teach; someone played guitar and sang or we listened to CDs of worshipful, "soaking" music; we prayed for each other and learned to recognize the voice of God together.

I remember the night Doug explained what the voice of God can sound like. He said it can be that thought that that comes so quickly and gently into your spirit and mind, that you go "oh, where did that come from?" (Well, something like that; he explained it much better). That was an "ahha" moment: I realized I had heard the voice of God before but never recognized it as His voice. This answered so many questions in my heart. Every week then we would practice hearing or rather recognizing God's voice as we prayed for one another (and any new people who would come) and asked God for words of knowledge for each other.

It was all preparation for and the beginning of the beginning of the walls coming down around my heart. But that didn't happen until I did my Discipleship Training School at Youth With a Mission (YWAM).

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Early Years

So as I promised, I'll now begin to tell my journey with Jesus.

Boring stuff first, well, okay, I shouldn't call it boring, but it doesn't feel unique:
I grew up in a Christian home, a solid Christian home and I am forever grateful for the foundation my parents laid in my life (THANK YOU, Mom and Dad!). At some point before ten years of age, I accepted Christ, prayed the prayer. But my understanding was limited, of course. As my understanding grew, I prayed the prayer a few more times, each time with a fuller knowledge of what I was doing. I spent a great week, each of three summers, at the best camp in the world (here's a shout out to Circle K Camp: you're the best!). There my heart grew in hunger for the Lord and desire to be fully devoted to Him in truth and purity.

However, during my early teenage years, my Christianity took on a strong legalism though I did not recognize it as such at the time. I also placed walls around my heart in an effort to protect it from pain and disappointment.

Legalism: it was born out of a desire to be pleasing to the Lord, but a misunderstanding of how to do this. I did the "right" things out of obligation and to uphold my reputation. I remember consciously "training" myself to walk through a store without moving to the beat of the music playing because it was secular (read: secular equaled bad). I would never say 'dumb' or 'stupid' because those were "bad" words.  And I made other silly rules for myself. I was doing the "right" things, but from a heart of pride. Yes, I was trying to please the Lord, however there was no joy in it. And I was attempting to maintain a reputation of who I thought others thought I should be. It was very unrewarding! And in my heart, I felt the hypocrisy of it.

Walls: early in my teenage years, I experienced some relatively small disappointments. They hurt, more than I expected them to. And I began to question the goodness of God; specifically, the goodness of God towards me ... Could I truly trust Him? So I built walls around my heart to ward off further pain and disappointment. If I didn't have any expectations of God or others and if I held people at arms length (never sharing my heart, who I truly was), I would avoid pain, right?

I spent my adolescence striving to please God on my own strength, yet holding Him at arms length. Were it not for the grace of God on my life and His constant pursuit of me, I don't know where I'd be! Seriously ... God has been so good to me!

There were also precious times when God began to capture my heart and mark me as His own. I read a book called Extreme Godchasers by Tommy Tenney one summer. It ignited a desire to know and experience God. I spent hours every week that summer on my face before the Lord. In that time, I began to sense God's calling on my life though I could not yet verbalize it. I sensed incredible grace being poured out on me and a realization that I was being raised up for something.

Because of times like this, a strong hunger developed in my heart. This hunger kept me pushing forward, because I knew God had a plan for my life. And my heart hungered to experience more of Him. Through conversations, a cousin sensed this hunger in me and invited me to Doug and Becky's. But I will leave that for next time ...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Never Before ...

Well, I said I was going to start writing about where I've come from in my journey with the Lord, and I will. But tonight, I want to take a few minutes and write about something I'm beginning to walk in now.

I've spent the last seven months reading through my Bible. I'm almost done. I've been in the Word more than ever before. I've been consciously making it a priority to spend more focused time in the Lord's presence. I've been pursuing His face, pursuing His presence, pursuing His heart. And now I'm beginning to sense a change within my heart.

There's a growing sensitivity; a growing tenderness towards the Holy Spirit.

A few weeks ago, I wrote this in my journal:
"Never before has my heart been so tender before the Lord. Last year this time I was coming out of three months of bitterness. Only after three months did the conviction of the Holy Spirit reach my heart that I recognized the bitterness and repented. Now after only a few hours, my heart is repentant before the Lord and the bitterness is laid aside for the grace of the Lord. Thank You for tenderizing my heart. Thank You for pouring Your grace out upon me and Your favor upon my life. Thank You for making me more like You. Thank You for Your love, for the gentle conviction of the Spirit upon my heart. I do love You!"

This morning I came home from work after a frustrating night of work. It wasn't anything big, just little frustrations, little annoyances. As I crawled into bed, my heart cried out. I felt such a hardness and a darkness falling upon my heart as bitterness and resentment festered. I recognized anger and a spirit of offense building within my heart.

In that moment upon my bed, I knew I had a choice. The Holy Spirit was bringing His conviction as I recognized the emotions within my heart. I could have held onto my anger and offense; I could have held onto my rights. But by the grace of God, I released the emotions and asked for forgiveness and cleansing by the blood of the Lamb.

I've experienced bitterness and resentment before. I've held onto them in the past as my right. And I know by experience that I can't grow in the Lord and cling to a spirit of offense at the same time. That is why I am so thankful for the tenderness within my heart to continue to desire the Lord. It's a tenderness that recognizes and responds to conviction by the grace of God.

I pray that as you seek the Lord, He will grow this tenderness within your heart as well. I pray your heart will forever be soft before the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

              ... Kendra Sheree

Friday, April 2, 2010

Last night, I was at Gateway House of Prayer in Ephrata. It was a small crowd, just myself and four other women. Jimmy Nimon came by and ended up ministering prophetically to each of us.

WOW!! Did he hit the nail on the head when he spoke over me! I am so thankful for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Time and again, the words of others by the insight of the Holy Spirit have pierced to my heart, calling forth truth, boldness, faith, and confirming the things the Lord has been whispering to me.

My heart has been stirred up since last night. The Lord had already been stirring within me, but now it's stronger. The word for the year was boldness; the theme of this year was walking in my calling and destiny. As I stood and shared from my heart to my church nearly two months ago, the only thing I remember is a strong impression that that was NOT the last time I would be sharing my heart in front of others. Jimmy confirmed this last night. It is time for me to open my mouth or let loose my pen as the case may be. And speak and testify to the things the Lord has done in me and has shown me.

So, dear readers, whoever you may be (note: I now have a hit counter on the right, so even if you don't comment, I can still see if you are reading!), over the next few weeks or months, I am going to share the journey the Lord has brought me on. Starting with where I've come from and all He's already done, then where I am at now and what He is doing now, and what I am sensing is coming.

He is so good.  Of this, I am convinced; and my conviction won't be changed. He holds my heart; He is forever trustworthy and faithful. I hope through sharing my walk, you will be encouraged to pursue Him deeper, trust Him stronger, love Him longer, bless Him greater. He is worthy of all glory: anything good in me has come only from Him.

Blessings ...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Waltz in the Rain

My responsibility is obedience to the call of God. God's responsibility is everything else.

There's a dream in my heart. It was a dream in God's heart first.

It's not mine to lose if it belongs to God.

It's a lesson I've been learning this year, step by step, moment by moment, as I trust God with the dreams of my heart.

These dreams don't really belong to me.

God dreamed them first ... and then He decided to place them in my heart.

My response is obedience to His leading, His prompting.

Then I let the results in His hands.

The dream was His first ... He wants it more than me.

Trying to manipulate, negotiate, take control will only be to step outside His timing and will never bring the desired result.

These dreams are not mine to lose or gain if they belong to God.

Said another way: When I realize that my heart's dreams where first God's and I let them rest in His hands, it removes all worry, all fear. I can't lose something that doesn't belong to me in the first place.

It's a dance of trust and faith ...

It's a beautiful dance of partnering with Jesus ...

A waltz in the rain with my Love!