Hidden: Learning to Be Known

The simple meaning of hidden is not seen, not known or not easily found or recognized.

When I moved to Redding, CA, I didn’t expect for this to be the overwhelming theme of my new life.  I didn’t know that it mattered so much to me if people knew my name, how many friends I had, or if others valued the giftings in me.  I didn’t know the potential effects of what feeling this way could bring.  What you don’t know, you just don’t know.  However, I learned very quickly when I moved away from everything familiar.

One of the prevailing things that I believe is that no matter what situation we are placed in, whether it feels amazing, hard, or painful, God will use it for good.  I’ve witnessed it first-hand time and time again, and this experience has yet again proved this to me.

When I became pregnant with my twins in 2014, I stepped down from leading worship at a large church, which was what I call a religious shock for me.  I was so accustomed to ministering publicly to people on a very regular basis that I believe it filled part of my heart that the Lord was designed to fill.  When you go from leading hundreds and even thousands into the presence of God in worship and leading a small group of amazing people to leading your 2-yr old and twins in the womb, it can make you feel as if you aren’t accomplishing anything for God…which is the biggest lie ever.  It’s a works mentality that I think many operate in…feeling like we have to do for God.  It’s a hard thing to recognize while you are in it, so I believe that’s one of the key reasons why God led me to step out into this time of being unseen.  Even then, I suspect I didn’t feel all of the hidden effects immediately because of my large following on social media throughout my twin pregnancy, which probably filled that void a bit.

This kind of reality can go one of two ways…it can lead to utter depression as you fall deeper and deeper into the belief that your life has no purpose or value or it can lead you to breakthrough in your thinking.

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When we moved across the country to Redding, CA, we moved to a place where I knew 4 total people…not to mention, they had their own lives to manage and couldn’t therefore, be available at every beckon call.  My husband was and is, at the time, working from 7am-9pm 5 days a week (except for a few exceptions).  This put me home with three littles by myself all day for 5 days a week.  Talk about being unseen.  If I worship, my only witnesses are God and my kids who can barely speak.  If I sit around all day, my kids won’t sell me out.  If I work hard in my house or writing, no one will see or recognize value in that.  If I want to have a conversation with anyone, it’s either a phone call or my next best option-my three year old.

This kind of reality can go one of two ways…it can lead to utter depression as you fall deeper and deeper into the belief that your life has no purpose or value or it can lead you to breakthrough in your thinking.

For the first month or so, I was riding on excitement and newness…expectancy and hope.  After realizing my husband wasn’t going to be home more anytime soon and therefore, my involvement in local activities and the church was extremely limited, I began struggling.  I lost vision.  I would wake up and just want to go back to sleep.  I would get bored and feel like I’ve missed my “calling”.  I would feel hopeless when thinking of my dream of leading thousands to the heart of God through worship being reduced to me sitting at home alone 60 hours a week.  At the same time, I was super sick battling a parasite.  Every Sunday when we would go to church, the Lord would renew me and give me visions of the things He had still called me to do.  I would leave there feeling expectant and relieved.  However, it would diminish as the week went on, and I was once again, unseen by humans the entire week.

I can’t name the day and time or specific moment where it happened, but at some point, my heart and mind shifted.  One Sunday, I heard the Lord telling me He was taking the veil off of me, and I felt a heaviness lift.  Another day, I heard the Lord tell me that I didn’t trust Him.  At the same time, I had a vision of me standing on the side of this cliff debating whether or not to jump off.  I told the Lord outloud, “I’m giving it all to you.  I trust You.  I don’t care if circumstances aren’t what I want them to be or if I have to deal with disappointments along the way…I trust You.”  Immediately I saw me jump off of the cliff.  I went down and further down and further down (wondering the whole time what was about to happen, ha) until I landed in the arms of Jesus underneath this rocky cave.  We were hidden underneath, but there was a river running through.  I heard Him say that He led me here, so that I could learn that He is enough and He is my source of value.  If no one ever saw my giftings in this lifetime, it was more than enough that He sees them and He values them.  I sat there in that vision for a good while.  I was looking straight into the eyes of Jesus, and He was smiling at me.  It was a beautiful moment for me as I realized that He sees me and knows me.  These were just a couple moments out of the many small encounters, but I realized I was NOT hidden as I suspected.

When these moments took place, a mindset shift occurred.  Every morning when I would wake up, those familiar feelings of hopelessness would try to come, but instead of accepting them I would persevere and say, “Nope.  God sees me and has something for me today.”  It’s developed character in me to where I am who I say I am.  I am the same person behind closed doors that I am in a room of people.  If and when I lead worship again, it will be the same way I worship in my private life.

See, when we are hidden, God can use it to show us the hidden things in our heart that we would be better without…the thought patterns that need to shift and the revelations that need to come.  It teaches us the value of being along with Him and feeding on fresh revelation every day.  It also teaches us to dream no matter what the reality is in front of us.  When we dream full of hope, it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy in which you start building that dream without even realizing it!  God is so good and faithful! We just need to trust Him and His goodness!

I have in no way, shape, or form arrived, but I have discovered the key to walking out of hopelessness is understanding that I am not only seen and known every single day, but more than that, VALUED by Jesus.  While I don’t believe I will be hidden my entire life as God has given me huge dreams, I believe the hidden times are hidden treasures.  If we can learn to embrace these moments, we will develop the character necessary to sustain us when we are seen by others and in the public light.  Don’t try to escape out of being hidden from people.  Understand that God sees you, loves you, and values you and is ALWAYS working something in you.  Turn your eyes and heart to Him instead of to a physical reality.  Bring your Heavenly reality to the earth!

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To Love is to BE Vulnerable

We live in a society often driven by control, fear, and insecurity.  So many don’t even realize they’ve accepted a counterfeit to the fullness of live that God offers.

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Vulnerability is a bad thing, right?  It subjects us to the scrutiny of others, leaves us open for ridicule, and exposes our hearts.  How horrible are those things…at least that’s what society can tell us and condition us to believe.  Many would look at the picture above and say, vulnerability is like that in the sense that I’m too fragile to be exposed in a rough and cruel world; it’s imperative I protect myself.  However, I’m here to say that true vulnerable is imperative to growth, it’s imperative to live, and it’s imperative to your relationship with the Lord.  It’s the beauty that shines light to the world, and it’s the grace-filled thing that grows in the rough places.

When I moved to Redding in January, I kept hearing the word “vulnerable”.  I knew that was something God wanted to develop in me…the ability to be free enough to be vulnerable.  I’m not referring to being vulnerable to people who have hurt you over and over as boundaries are a godly thing.  The type of vulnerability I’m referring to is the kind that forces you to abandon fear and control.

If you were raised in a home where performance was key to acceptance or where you were told to “suck it up” and “quit being so sensitive”, vulnerability is something that can be difficult to walk in.  It forces you to open up to the possibility of failure or being exposed.  However, it is vital to life.

How do you know if you are gripping fear and control?  You can find it in your thought patterns.  Here are some indicators:
1. If you won’t repent to people even when you feel like you did nothing wrong because you don’t want people to believe anything negative about you. The same goes for if you were wrong.  Life is not about being right or wrong; it’s about loving.  I’ve repented to people when I felt as if I was totally being misunderstood, but through repentance people see a glimpse of your heart.  Who cares if you feel like you’re on top?

2. If you don’t like being around people who challenge you because you feel like you don’t have all the answers and they will think lower of you.  This is rooted in the fear of being seen or known.  The reason one fears this is because they believe lowly about themselves, and do not have a revelation of how the Lord sees them.  Man, you are so loved.  When Jesus looks at you, he sees purity and beauty.  You don’t have to perform for Him.

3. If you believe being wrong is the end of the world. This is an indicator your find your identity in being right and in control. Offense is huge indicator of the fear of being vulnerable.  We all must realize that our identity is in God and not being “right”.

4. If you can’t take constructive criticism because when someone criticizes you, you believe it means they don’t like you or don’t see the gold in you.  Just because someone might see something in you that needs to be pruned, doesn’t mean that they will reject you or that you are not chosen by God.  Your perfection does not determine your stance with God; Jesus already did.

5. If you can’t slow down in life to enjoy the simple things. I often see people who struggle with control busy their lives with things they can control in order to avoid being vulnerable and facing the issues in life.  We all must learn the importance of simplifying life.

6. If, when a wrench is thrown in your plan, you lose it.  Life will always give us unexpected things, but it doesn’t mean that our day was a failure or unfruitful.  God is in the wrenches, and He often uses them to expose the lies that need to be removed from our minds in order for us to have more of a revelation of truth.

7. If having children is an emotional struggle for you, and you find yourself getting angry with them. Sometimes, as mothers, we don’t even realize that often what makes us so angry with our children is the feeling of lack of control.  We must remember we were not meant to control our children, we were meant to steward and love them.

8. As wives, and this one is a little more intimate, when you find it hard and tasking to have sex with your husband.  For some, this is linked to control and the fear of letting go.

9. You feel as if you can’t share what you’re going through for fear that people won’t think you’re as “strong of a Christian” that you want them to believe.  I’ve learned that the opposite is true.  Most who have walked with me, have seen me cry and heard my heart when it was broken.  It was from seeing my heart and my response to pain, of being open and running to God, that taught them to do the same.

Being vulnerable is so important and critical to life.  Without vulnerability, we can miss out on the relationships that God puts in our lives and the fullness of each day.  We can be so afraid of being right and in control, that we are never sifted and molded by God and others.  We can fear others and their opinions so much that we never experience the beauty of community.

Ultimately, vulnerability opens our hearts to receive things that God has for us.  Vulnerability makes us like a child again…desperate and full of faith to believe God shamelessly for everything He has for us.  In Joel 2:13, we are told:
“Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

Rend your heart…meaning violently rip open your heart in vulnerability before God.  He is gracious and compassionate.  He is GOOD.  When we know this truth, it makes the opinion and fear of man seem so minute.  Who cares if you make a mistake or if someone rejects you?  When you know God is good, and He will not reject you it doesn’t matter what happens.  You can’t lose with being vulnerable before Him and in the relationships He has placed in your life because He has already accepted you.  You have nothing to lose because you have Him.

Life is too short to hold your heart in a guarded and far off land from God and others.  Ask Him to help you be vulnerable before Him.  You’ll learn that, and He will teach you how to be vulnerable when it comes to every aspect of life.  You’re not going to miss it.  He’s on your side, and your heart is His.  He will pick up the pieces when your heart is broken, and He will lead you when you are afraid.
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Steady Heart in a Fearful World.

One thing that everyone is being taunted with lately is fear.  Whether it be from personal situations to the terrorists attacks to what will happen next in life…there is always an opening for fear.  So many believe fear is normal and is acceptable.  So many operate in it without even knowing it.

How do you know you are operating in fear?  Some feel it literally grip their hearts and paralyze them.  While others mistake it for anxiety and try to control any and every situation they are placed in.

I never personally realized I dealt with fear until about 3 years ago.  It started with waking up in the middle of the night paralyzed with fear or feeling like something was in the room.  I remember walking past my daughter’s room in the middle of the night and peering in the guest room seeing, in my imagination, terrifying things. I would pray, read scripture, turn on worship music, turn on the lights, and have my husband pray over me.  Nothing would stop it.  For weeks, I went without sleep.  Now, we aren’t talking about some girl who has struggled with fear or had something traumatic recently happen to them to trigger this.  It was all out of the blue and to others, I was a thriving Christian leading worship every week.  What was wrong with me? I wanted to know because I wanted to be free.

Thank God I was surrounded with the right people at that point, and God used such a horrible season to miraculously set me free.  Some people experience a moment of freedom, while others walk through a journey.  Mine was the latter.  I began meeting with my best friend’s mother, and through a journey of memory lane, we uncovered so much of my wrong thinking.  I had had close people in my life experience horrendous things in their life, specifically at night, after messing with witchcraft.  Through witnessing this, the enemy had warped my mind and what I believed.  From all the way to thoughts of “if I speak out truth when I’m afraid, the enemy will hear me and use it against me” to the simple thought of “bad things happen at night”, God began stripping these lies from me.  In addition, there were specific “traumatic events”, that I revisited and invited Jesus to come into the scene.  As silly as it sounds, God created our imaginations for intimacy with Him.  There we can meet and talk with Him and often find ourselves emotionally or physically healed.  In this process, I was set free.

From then on, deeper levels of unveiling fear.  From my personal fears of rejection to fearing something bad would happen to me or my family, God  began walking me through these.  I remember at one point after the twins were born, being so fearful that ISIS would show up at my door or that I would have to see my kids suffer in this world.  Through moments of journaling, God spoke to me about my fears and taught me that I can come to a place where, through love, fear does not exist.  God spoke to me that there is a place, where even physical pain, will not shake you.  We can be so caught up in Him and who He is that we will not be moved.  We will be steady.

So, what is fear rooted in?  If you trace it back to it’s origins in your thoughts and memories, you will most likely find shame.  Shame keeps us from our identity.  Shame does not tell us we are perfect children of God or that we are protected.  Shame tells us to hide because we are not good enough or that God did not choose us.  Shame tells us it’s bad if we die because we might not make the cut in Heaven.

From the time we are born, the enemy works strategically to create “shaming moments” in our life to see if he can open a door to ultimately build a stronghold of shame.  You can think back to your childhood and probably remember moments of feeling ashamed, abandoned, unloved, or unwanted.  It can be as silly as not being consoled while you were sick as a child or your parents saying “I’m disappointed in you” or “no one will ever marry you”. It doesn’t have to be a seemingly monumental moment to everyone else, but it will strike a chord in your heart.

How do you get through these things when it feels like an unorganized, messy, and painful collection of tangled weeds?  Ask God to come in.

He organizes everything.  He reveals everything. He heals everything.

When I was dealing with fear at night, as soon as I started praying and begging to be set free, God began giving me dreams at night.  I would dream that I was in a room full of demons, and I would be screaming “JESUS!” totally confident.  They would immediately leave.  I have goosebumps as I type this.  He was teaching my identity and authority.

When I began dealing with fear of abandonment, God began recalling dreams I had as a child and certain moments in my life I needed healed.  He also gave me a dream of being set free in the process to hold on to in the difficult moments.

When I began dealing with fear of rejection, I went to Him with a painful memory.  It was from a time in junior high when I was at the lowest point I had ever been in my life because of certain personal situations.  My best friend at the time wrote me a letter telling me that “I was a downer and no one wanted to be around me”.  I mean..it was truth as I was extremely depressed and no fun to be around at the time.  But ultimately, it broke my heart because it spoke to me that I was unloveable and unwanted.  I went back to that moment in my mind and invited Jesus in.  It was like I was literally back at Fontainebleau Junior High, standing outside of the brick building reading that letter in between class.  In that moment, Jesus walked up to me, snatched the letter from my hand, ripped it up and threw it away.  He took my hand and told me, “I am your friend. I will never abandon you.”  Healed.  Instantly.  Loved.  Instantly.

It is from a place of knowing these truths, that fear cannot exist.  We must learn to filter our thoughts and beliefs through the truth and character of God.  We literally have to clean and renew our minds in order to ensure we are operating from perfect love and not fear.  When you remember something, and there is pain or shame or fear, do not ignore it.  That pain is an indicator that God wired you with to know that truth is missing from that place.  Go to God with it and be healed.  He desires to teach us who we truly are…HIS CHILDREN, CO-HEIR WITH CHRIST, & RADICALLY LOVED.  Even in death, we cannot lose.

We the church need to be, now more than ever, who the Bible says we are. We are an imitator of Christ meaning we are called to walk fearlessly in love always displaying the character and power of Christ.  To do that, we need His power first displayed in our hearts so His love can come clean out the gutters of our minds in order for us to fully live like Him.  Steady. Constant. Fearless.

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A Golden Season in the Golden State!

About 3 years ago, I became desperate for freedom.  Things in my life began to surface that I never knew were there, and I was crying out to be set free.  The Lord used this to connect me with people who have forever changed my life.  My, now, spiritual mother led me on a journey of learning my authority and the character of God.  I fell in love on a new level with this perfect Father who I learned offered me a safe haven, a refuge, and a radical place of love.  Of course, when you come to that place, there’s no turning back and your desperation turns into a fervent hunger for more.

Out of this, my heart began begging for more revelation of who I was created to be.  What does being a child of God mean?  I needed to know this because I wanted to teach others.  At the time, I was in youth ministry, and anyone who was around me knew without a doubt that my life was changing…that I was no longer ok with simply stepping on stage and singing a pretty song or offering “logical” advice.  God began stirring the gifts in me, and the only appropriate response is to stir others’ giftings.  I promise this is going somewhere, haha.

In this season, a particular church began feeding this desire.  Their passion for worship and for the love of God ruined me.  Their quest for more, no matter what the cost, stirred me to expect more out of life than a white American picket fence, surface perfect family.  A dream was birthed to visit this place to experience the environment.

In February 2014, this dream came true, and I went to Redding, CA with a group of friends who were equally hungering for the Father’s heart.  I. Was. Wrecked.  At the first service, I heard the Lord saying during worship, “You are waiting on a prophetic word from a PERSON to have a revelation of me and the greatness I’ve placed in you.  You won’t get it because then the enemy can twist your mind to attribute the change in you to a PERSON. You will see me face to face, so the only One you can attribute my words to is ME.”  Holy. Moly.  The following song I went up for prayer as they felt the need to pray over people.  I remember looking around as person after person kept walking past me to pray for someone else.  My thoughts…”I’m not important.  No one sees anything in me. God doesn’t have anything for me because I was predestined for a normal life.”  Right before I broke, I saw a man coming towards me from across the room.

When he got to me, he grabbed my hand.  I literally felt like a magnet took over me.  I grabbed his hand with my other free hand and couldn’t let go.  Immediately I began to weep…like ugly, uncontrolled weeping.  The thoughts still going through my head, “Something is wrong with me.  I’m crying.  Other people are having these great encounters, and I’m crying.”  The guy started speaking over me, “Don’t compare yourself to others.  Jesus wants you to look him in the eyes.  Look at him.  When the fire comes, it comes in different ways.  Sometimes it’s an uncontrollable passion, and sometimes it’s a warm fire that you sit next to in comfort.  Right now God wants you to sit next to the fire and take comfort in Him.  He sees you.”  The guy proceeded to pray for other people around me, but never let go of my hands.  The WAY he prayed over me showed me the character of God.  That, yes, there are other people in the world, but God sees me, knows me, values me, and loves me.  There is greatness for everyone if we would only see it.

From this visit to Redding, CA this Louisiana girl was undone.  Little did I know that a dream was birthed in my heart to immerse myself in this environment even further.  See, I had become hardened to dreaming because I viewed dreams as an avenue to disappointment.  I would casually mention moving to Bethel to my husband, but never thought any further about it.

Around September 2014, I had a dream that I was driving up a mountain in a car with a man.  We were gradually going up, of course.  All of a sudden, he said, “Take a sharp right!” As I did, the incline became steeper.  When I woke up, I knew change was coming.

In October 2014, in my quiet time with the Lord, he told me a new season was coming and not to be afraid…that He was with me and would show me what needed to be done.

In August 2015, God started speaking to me about my heart dreaming again.  I even periscoped about it.  He was preparing me for my dreams to become a reality.  In mid August, my husband and his best friend took a road trip to Redding, CA to drive one of my good friends up to their school.  To keep it simple, my husband came back a new person. It was like shame, insecurity, and hopelessness had been wiped off his back.  While there, he prayed this prayer, “Lord, if it’s Your will for us to move here…make it very clear and provide a way for me to provide for my family.”

He returned, and the following day a job opportunity opened up for him in REDDING!  Seriously, God?  If that wasn’t clear enough, it was with a group of men that he loves and admires and, to put it simply, fulfills dreams of being financially free.  If that wasn’t clear enough, the following weekend, we went up for a prophetic word and the lady said, “I see the Redwoods…yall are like the Redwood trees, growing big and strong.”  The pastor next to her stated, “You both have been searching for direction and I hear the Lord say, ‘Make preparations. I’m going to speak to you and show you where to go.  It’s going to be like…Go left.”

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Ok, we get it!! So guys…we are moving to Redding, CA!  I know that God is going to be so near and dear in this season, and I am so excited to have even more dreams awakened and stirred! Their heart for worship resonates so much with me as a worship leader and their desire for more is our anthem.  Jared will be walking into his dreams for business as he is an entrepreneur at heart.

Please be praying for protection, clarity, and His presence to be our best friends as we make this huge transition to a new state, culture, and season!  We love you all!

Walking out of the Storm We Were Never Intended to Have

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Life can seem so difficult.  Every day is not perfect.  Every situation we face is not glamorous.  If you are a mother, you know that each day brings different obstacles with ever changing children.  Even amongst mothers, you can often times feel ostracized or forgotten or find yourself being talked about.  Life isn’t perfect.  It was never promised to be.  However, I do believe God’s intention is for us to always…AKA 24/7…operate out of an abundance of JOY and PEACE.

How in the world am I supposed to maintain peace when I don’t have the answers to everything I face?  How do I stay at rest when I face dozens upon dozens of situations daily that each require a unique and specific response to be one full of grace?  This has been my heart’s cry to the Lord the past few weeks.  God, I just want to know you…to be unified with you.  I want your peace.  I want your joy.  I want to be a direct reflection of You to everyone I encounter.  How, God?  When I have 2 crying babies and a 3 year old who is begging to be held, what am I supposed to do?  When I find opposition to the things you’ve put on my heart, what do I do?  How do I better reflect you?  What do I need to do?

I’ve realized the answer is not what I expected.  God was never interested in WHAT I did, but who I BELIEVE Him to be.  When our emotions are shaped by what we do or how others respond, we’ve missed it.  When how well our day has gone determines how happy we are, we’ve missed it.  We’ve missed it.

The answer is simple…Who am I?  I am a child of God.  What do I believe about my God?  What do I believe He has to say about me?

I believe if we understand His heart for us, we will come to a place where we will not be shaken by life.  So what does He have to say about me?

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”  Romans 5:1

We are at PEACE with God.

We are RIGHTEOUS.

We are at peace with God and righteous, not because of anything we have done or could ever do, but simply because Christ died for us.  Simply because God sent His son to earth to reveal His (God’s) heart for us.  It is not one of judgement or condemnation, but one purely defined by selfless LOVE.

When we realize this, and live by this, anxiety flees.  Doubt flees.  Frustration and insecurity flees.  In the Old Testament, when the Israelites were afflicted and poisoned by snakes, the Lord instructed Moses:

“Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” Numbers 21:8

When Moses lifted the serpant up on the staff, everyone who looked at it was healed.  In John 3 , we see:

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

The healing did not come just from them looking at the snake.  It came because it caused them to look up towards the Father.  We do not get free from sin by staring at our flaws or wrestling with our own minds about what we should/shouldn’t do or by listening to what everyone says we should be.  We get free by looking to God.  In John 17:3, it says:

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

We look up to the Son for eternal life.  Eternal life is to KNOW God.  When we know His character, what ails us no longer can affect us.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

It does not say, fight the devil, and he will flee from you.  It says SUBMIT to God.  When we submit to the character of God, meaning when we submit our thoughts and emotions to God, the enemy has no choice, but to flee.

Is this making sense?  Therefore, when we find ourselves “struggling” or “wrestling”, we need to do ONE thing.  Look up to God.  See who He is.  His good nature.  His awesome and merciful character.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:6

We are accustomed to reading “cast all your anxiety/cares on him”, but often miss the first and last part of this verse.  HUMBLE YOURSELVES…because He CARES for you.  Someone who is anxiety free is someone who is humble because they know the character of God.  They understand that Jesus being fully human and fully God is not waving a paddle around punishing everyone who has made mistakes.  On the contrary, He cares for us and understands how we feel and what we are facing.

The world will always try to speak to us about who we are and offer us lies.  People will hurt other people because they, themselves are hurt.  This is why we cannot let people specifically shape our view of ourselves or God.  When we feel  as if we’ve been bitten by the lies of the world, we must look up to our good and merciful Father.

Thank you Jesus, that when we receive a glimpse of You, we become like you.  The answer to all of our problems or challenges is in Your very nature.  Therefore, God remind us to simply look up to you and to submit to you when we find we’ve walked into storm.

Oils vs. God

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While typically I would need to offer a FDA disclaimer when speaking of oils, it seems more fit to do a Christian disclaimer for this blog:
I believe that God is GOD.  His desire is to always heal.  He can overcome toxins we’ve put in our bodies and the junk we put on.  He can heal us in a moment, a second, and instantly.  His will is to do such.  I am not attempting to condemn anyone, and all of this has been written in love.

Now that my intentions and the belief of God being our ultimate healer are taken care of, we can talk about how He desires for us to interact with His creation.  What is the balance between using oils to heal and God being our healer?

When God created us in a garden do you believe that He did it for a reason?  If you believe He thought out our salvation by sending His Son Jesus to conquer sin and death, you better believe He was intentional in WHERE He created us.  Go back to Genesis.  It is easy for us to picture bare Adam and Eve in a garden, but maybe not so easy to think about all 5 senses alive in that moment.  Our feet bare touching the beautiful grass beneath us.  Our full body rubbing against the herbs and plants growing all around us.  The smell of Cedarwood and Lavender calming us. The taste of organic and ripe apples in our mouth.  Can you grasp it?  What a glorious sight.

We would daily be absorbing and inhaling essential oils.  Was that an accident?  If God is truly intentional and genius, I think not.  He wired us to operate best when interacting with nature.  Don’t believe me?  Check out scripture.

“Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47:12

He is intentional as well in HOW he wired us.  Our sense of smell is directly linked to our limbic system, which is our emotion control center.  Why would He create us in this way?  He gets joy from us interacting with His creation because He fashioned it to show His glorious nature.  His provision.  His intelligence.  His beauty.

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.  Proverbs 27:9

Oils (perfume/incense) bring joy to the heart.  Hmmm, blasphemy?  No, He designed us this way.  It’s how He displays His workmanship.  While some question the wording on Young Living’s website in regards to special blends like Joy, it is important to remember that they are forced to use that verbiage by the FDA.  They are not allowed to say, “Joy soothes feelings of depression.”  What I am not saying is that using the oil Joy will rid everyone of all of their emotional baggage and trauma.  I believe it is key that we turn to Jesus and acknowledge our negative thinking patterns in order to bring truth.  However, the oils do bring about feelings of joy as they stimulate our brain, which can help us get clarity on our emotional issues.  They should never be used to escape our heart issues, but rather used to expose what’s wrong in a manageable way in order to find freedom through the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.  If an unbeliever finds relief from depression using oils, I personally believe it is a testimony to the goodness of God in His creation.  This is the grace of God.

Another wonderful verse:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  Romans 1:20

Creation shouts of His glory.  And that is oils included.  When people approach me about oils replacing God, my answer is simple.  Oils do not replace God.  They show that He is a genius, and He loved me enough to make something grow out of the earth that can give me relief from any ailment.  Do I believe that God can heal me without oils?  Yes!  Totally!  God doesn’t need anything to heal.  However, the scripture offers wisdom as to how we should live. I believe when we learn about God’s creation and the use of oils, it only leads us closer to the Father’s heart.  We can see that He is Almighty and Good and Faithful in how amazing His creation is.

As we are learning about essential oils and the fact that they are “smart”, we also learn that pharmaceuticals are man-made in a laboratory and kill good along with the bad.  They are loaded with side effects and toxins.  People use them all the time, and without prayer, might I add.  We live in a day and age where it is okay for the church, upon an illness, to immediately schedule a doctor’s appointment and then, take the man-made immune-comprising antibiotic.  Is it absolutely unacceptable for Christians to claim that a God-made oil heals?   How often do we here this statement, “Little Bobby is sick. We took him to the doctor…Please pray these antibiotics work.” How is this any different from saying that a God-made oil healed their child (other than oils being God-made).  It is also totally fine for our church population to take vaccines loaded with carcinogens and aborted fetal cells…But is it blasphemy to take an oil without praying and say you were “healed”?  Is God’s creation limited to saying a few words or is it faith that moves the hand of God? Faith in His promises…that His organic raw food is our food and leaves (essential oils) are for our healing.

Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.  James 5:14

Pray and anoint, right?  I have to say I am guilty of, at times, just applying oils, and when I was first confronted about praying and anointing, had a hmm moment.  However, then stories from my husband’s mission trip to India came to mind.  During all of their services in the rural villages, they would end with…”If anyone needs healing in their body, please come up.”  My husband said it was mind-blowing…because of their faith, as soon as a hand was placed on them, they were instantaneously healed.  Was it words that healed them?  Jesus says it best upon being touched by the woman with the issue of blood:

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.  Matthew 15:28

It is faith the moves the hand of God.  Faith.  I apply the oils knowing the nature of God is good, and that He is my healer and good Father.  That is faith.  I follow his instructions with my diet and my medicine, and trust that He does the supernatural part.  To say that oils replace God is a sad and misinformed statement.  However, how many Americans go to McDonald’s multiple times a week and end up praying to God for healing while they continue the same lifestyle?  God can and WILL heal in an instant.  God IS IS IS our Healer, but He also calls us to be wise.  When He instructs us in His word to make disciples of all nations, we do that.  Why are we deceived in thinking that His instructions on what to eat and use for healing are not as valuable to our wellbeing?

It is also important to extend grace to the people on their “claims”.  When I read a testimony on my newsfeed of Facebook about how someone was healed using ______ oil, my mind does not immediately question, “Well, isn’t God our only healer?  This person must be solely relying on the oils.”  Are all oil users believers?  Of course not.  However, when a believer posts about an oil healing them, I realize that it was through their faith and the oil rather than them posting a blasphemous comment.  Not everyone thinks to post, “I prayed and applied this oil and was healed.” OR “I applied this oil with faith that God would heal.”  With that being said, I can say that non-believers are often reached after using the oils.  They get a glimpse of the healing power of God, and want to know more about this intentional and loving Father.

The question should not be, “Are oils replacing God in your life?” as the majority of believers I know accredit all of their healing to God, with or without the oils.  The bigger question is, “As Christians, are we leading a life of integrity and wisdom?”  I can say with a full heart of love that I am not attempting to hurt or offend anyone.  I hope you all can see that God is above all, and oils are not my God.  By writing this, I am simply asking you to question what you believe and why.  Search your heart for hypocriticalness and contradictions.  I am, by no means, perfect.  However, that is truly where the supernatural grace of God comes in.  I can say that being a girl who grew up eating processed foods and taking tons of antibiotics, that this health journey has been lead by God.  I have never been tempted to throw Him out of the equation because I am now a healthier person.  If anything, I have learned about His good and wonderful all-powerful nature.

11174360_10153484723710348_1216962764141881294_oWhile we are on our “healing journey”, no matter what that looks like, we do have to remember that God is the center and creator.  He is the ultimate Healer.