Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Blind Milkmaid and the Prince

Hello all,

Strange title? Well it was a title I read in my dream last night. Felt lead to share it.

In the dream it was as if I was looking at a children's story book, and I flipped to the last story and it was called The Blind Milkmaid and the Prince.

Then suddenly in the dream, I was sucked into living in the story.  I was the blind milkmaid. I was poor and alone and along came a Prince who had been looking all over for me. When he found me he was overjoyed and tried to take me back to the Palace with him. He said it is where I belonged, but all I could see was my rags, and everything around me looked normal, simple, and desolate. Even the Prince, to me he looked like a normal man. He took me to the Palace anyways and tried to reintroduce me to the King's staff. They all seemed to know me, but I didn't know them. They looked normal too in the dream, regular men and women, simply dressed. The Palace the Prince tried to show me looked like an overgrown field where the rubble ruins of a old house might have been at one time. There were broken wagon wheels lying in the weeds and a tumbled down stone wall.

Then I was sucked back out of the story, no longer living in the pages of the story, but outside of it, watching it unfold further. Sure enough, when I saw the world through the Prince's eyes, there was indeed a shining golden Palace which was so huge if filled the entire field, but the field was gone. There were manicured gardens, and all the King's servants were nearly shining in their rich garments and they had regal faces. Then I saw the Prince, and he was dressed in yellow and white garments that nearly shown with a brightness of their own. His face was bright too.

The milkmaid was also not as she saw herself, she was regal and magnificent too. Although still dressed as a milkmaid in shabby clothes, her face shone with light and she was so beautiful. Her hair was glossy and her skin was clean and bright.

Then I again was granted the view of the milkmaid and the Palace was gone, the Prince looked like a normal man again, the servants were all plain, and the rugged field was all I could see.

Then, once more I was granted the Prince's view of the world, and I was so amazed at the contrast. The world was aglow with the Prince's reality.

That is when I woke up and the title of the story played through my head again, "The Blind Milkmaid and the Prince".

Oh my goodness! If that isn't a parallel of how the Lord sees us, compared to how we see ourselves and the world. I know I certainly have trouble seeing what He sees. It was also exactly what I needed to hear from the Lord last night. Perhaps there are those of you out there reading this who needed to read it too.

The moral of the story, if you will, is that we, as the Bride of Christ, do not always see ourselves as we should, we are blind (if you will) to our true selves and the reality of Jesus.  We may not even recognize the Prince when He comes to us.

So I ask, in prayer, right now. Father, open our eyes. Let us see what the Prince sees. Let us have eyes that see our true selves, the way You see us Jesus. You have called us Your Bride, but so much of the time we feel as though we are nothing more than a poor, raggedy milkmaid. Take the scales off our eyes, heal us from our blindness, and continue to draw us into your company until we believe Your words. For it is only in Your company, Jesus, that we are able to be healed and transformed. You make us whole, which then allows us to feel and know Your love in a new and real way! Do it Lord, amen.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Yes, seriously, I am going to talk about witchcraft today. It is not that oogly-moogly stuff from the movies, although it is that too. Real witchcraft though is much more subtle.

Witchcraft: counterfeit spiritual authority used to manipulate and control others; manipulation by any other spirit other than Holy Spirit.

Before I jump in though, I am going to reference my past testimony of the Lord's deliverance. You can read the whole story here.

As a recap for those of you who are too lazy to go back and read the full story:

I was delivered in 2009 from tormenting thoughts. They were thoughts that condemned me and held me back from growing in the Lord by using a spirit of shame and guilt. When the deliverance came, I hadn't even been asking for it, but I realized later that the shame I had always felt was gone and that it has affected so many areas of my Christian life. I wasn't even sure where the open door in my life had come from, but I suspected that it had come from my high school years where I had watched a lot of movies. I drew this conclusion because a lot of the tormenting thoughts used movies that I had watched to heap the guilt and shame on me.

That is the short version, but now I have the sequel.

Remember how I didn't know where the open door was, what specifically allowed these tormenting thoughts to enter. Well, I think I may now know, at least two of the sources.

Almost three nights ago now, I was awake at 3am feeding my baby boy. I was sitting in my usual spot on the floor and sort of dozing, sort of letting my mind wander. Suddenly I started remember this Japanese Animation series I use to watch about vampires and demons. I started thinking about it in detail and thinking, "wow, I use to watch THAT!" I had not thought of that movie in years, but I was at 3am, so I asked the Lord about it, and He said I needed to break agreement with those movies. There were lies and subtle messages in it that I had unwittingly made agreement with, and now was the time to break it. So I did, I renounced any agreement and rebuked any wicked thing in those movies and plead the blood of Jesus over myself and my family in a time of repentance.

When I was done renouncing those movies though, I immediately started to think about a book series by Mercedes Lackey, that I had read in high school also. Although they were a fantasy book series, the Lord highlighted the strong homosexual content of the books and the spirit that was behind the writing. So I renounced agreement with the books and their message too. Going through the whole process of repentance and pleading the Blood of Jesus again.

After I had finished and I felt the Lord's peace come back in, I asked the Lord what that was all about. In my mind I heard a whisper, "those movies and books were witchcraft in your life," and I realized that they had been part of the door I had opened in high school that allowed the enemy access to my mind. Although the Lord had shut that door back in 2009, the Lord felt it was key for me to know the sources now, in 2012, and take an active role in rebuking their influence.

I don't know what was so strategic about 3am on October 25th, 2012, but what was accomplished in that 3am prayer session has reaped some unseen shift. I believe it whole-heartedly! The Lord never does anything by accident and He does all things in perfect timing.

One thing I do think He has shown me about the timing of this little prayer deliverance session is that He has been moving more in my life. Whenever the Lord starts to move in our lives in a greater way, He always comes in and starts cleaning out our closets. In 2009 He shoved a bunch of my junk in a closet perhaps and locked the door. So there was real freedom, but the junk was still there, just rendered powerless in so many ways. Now perhaps I will be going through a season of going item by item through that closet, acknowledging the junk and throwing it out piece by piece.

It is not something to fear, but to rejoice in. With less junk in my closets, the more I can walk in true freedom and authority in Christ. With less junk in my closets, the more room I have in my heart for Christ.

With these revelations of the power of movies and books too, I have re-strengthened my stance on what my family and I watch and read.  It is more for me though, because it is me that seems endlessly drawn to watching movies as a source of down time and entertainment.

Movies are not a good filler for down time, I am learning. If I am tired and wanting to space out, a movies should be my last choice. My guard is down when I am tired, and movies, all movies, carry subliminal messages, whether good or bad. When I am tired and not on my guard, I am taking that all in on so many levels. So many times, after watching even a 'tame' movie, my spirit feels dull. Sometimes for up to a few days afterwards I find that dullness makes it harder for me to hear the Lord's voice; to feel His love.

In this season of heightened Holy Spirit activity in my life, it is requiring me to be more on my guard, even against the 'tame' movies, because I don't want anything to get in the way of me receiving from the Lord. It is not out of a religious, legalistic position, it is because I don't want anything to come between me and the Lord. I'm not telling you what to do, because I know the Lord has His own timeline for your life. I am just sharing what He has been doing in mine, so as to encourage anyone who has experienced something similar.

So now, I will share with you my new strategy about movies.  When I'm too tired to read a book or talk to someone, and all I want to do is watch a movie, I typically just go to bed.  I feel like that choice has been paying off too! So thank you Lord, for Your help in overcoming my own temptations. I am seeing the results of a life set apart. Amen.


What the heck is a bond-servant? Paul writes that he is "a bond-servant" of Christ. Is that a metaphor?
I am thinking not.

bond-servant: one bound to service without wages; a slave

I think that the Lord really expects us to train to be bond-servants to His will, and with role-models like Paul to look up to, I gotta say, I wanna be a model servant too! Paul, he was faithful to the Lord, he was obedient to the call to travel, he was unapologetic about the gospel he preached. Therefore he saw power and authority in his ministry.

I want that!
Just being real here. I really want power and authority in the ministry the Lord has called me to.

So how do I get that. I learn to be a really good servant. I learn how to hear the Lord's voice, how to say yes to Him, and no to my flesh. I learn to rebound from my failures, and get back to work without a lot of drama and delay and self-pity. I learn to do all of this with joy and peace and love in my heart.

Ugh. Sometimes that feels so impossible, but we are told that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us.  I don't know about you, but I need a lot of strengthening in this area.

Thankfully, the Lord is faithful to complete the work that He has started in me, says so right here:

"Now may the God of peace, Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who has called you is faithful, and He will complete the work." - 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24


So how am I learning to be sanctified completely? learning to become a servant in all things.

How am I learning to do that?

Well, I am in God's accelerated program called....parenthood. For realz!

If you ever want to hold a mirror up to your own heart to find out where all the filth and selfishness and ugliness is still hiding, then just sign up to take care of toddlers for.........oh, lets say a month at least. Even after only a month you will be astonished and appalled at what you find in your own heart.

I was, when I first became a parent.

It wasn't an immediate thing, though, it took at least a month of sleep deprivation, poor hygiene, and being on demand night and day that brought me to the realization that I had a long way to go in the area of sanctification.

Now I've been at it for almost five years. In that time the Lord has moved me up in the program of 'self death' if you will, by granting me two more children. Three total. Even when my spouse is with me, we are still outnumbered.

Talk about self-sacrifice. These kids don't even know how to sincerely thank me yet for all I do. They don't pay me, they don't pull their own weight, they definitely don't serve me in return, they don't flatter my work, in fact they destroy it almost as soon as I finish it (examples: clean house, laundry, & dinner). To top it all off, they have intense seasons of sleeplessness, which in turn requires me to be sleepless too, but then I am still required to work all day.........serving them some more. Wanna hear your flesh cry out in rage, let it be sleepless for a few days in a row and then ask it to be gracious when some little person asks the same question a dozen times in the same day.

Anyone who is a mom knows what I am talking about. If they weren't so amazingly cute it might not seem worth it. If they didn't occasionally tell me how much they loved me it might not seem worth it.

Yet the Lord says it IS worth it. I am serving them. I am loving them with my service. I am giving of myself for a cause that is greater than myself. No matter who else sees the work I do, the Lord sees it all, and there is a reward for being faithful to what He has called me to. I am making disciples. These little people in my care are going to be great in the Lord some day if I just stick to it and be diligent.

We are called to make disciples, right? So this mom thing is a calling, but I have to be obedient to what the Lord is telling me. How He is telling me to accomplish this calling. Well, He has asked me (as a Christian, not just a mom) to be a servant of all.  He even takes it a step further. He asks me to go the lowest, to serve even the ungrateful, and to do it from a heart of love and joy.

So lets be clear, though:     Obedience is not a feeling.

Therefore, being a servant should not be based on feeling either.

I don't know about you, but most days I don't feel like being a servant. I don't feel like getting up and doing the same thing again. I don't feel like doing it with a smile on my face. Plenty of the time I don't feel joy in my heart when I am doing it.

Obedience for me right now looks like me doing the work, and doing it with as little grumbling as possible. Lack of grumbling for me is the equivalent of moving toward having joy.

Sure, some days I feel great. My kids are doing well, I've had good sleep and I had a great time in worship in the morning, so the day feels brighter, and I can see that I am accomplishing big things in the Spiritual, if not the natural.

But I say again.     Obedience is not a feeling. Love is not a feeling either, it is an action and a Person! The feelings pass away again.

So stop worrying about how you feel. Do what you know to do and your 'feelings' will catch up. This is me preaching to myself. This is what I have been learning. How to lay aside my feelings, how to serve when I am exhausted, how to serve with love even when it is someone I don't like.

It's hard and I don't always make it look good, but I know it is worth it. Both in motherhood and life, it is always going to be worth it to choose obedience to the Lord over what our flesh wants to do.

Plenty of the time my flesh wants to watch a movie, or my flesh wants to eat a chocolate bar.....instead of getting up and fixing dinner for my family.  Plenty of the time my flesh wants to leave all my husband's dirty socks in a pile for him to do himself, instead of having to go through them and turn them right side out before washing. Plenty of the time my flesh wants to throw my children's toys away rather than have to trip over them one more time.

Thankfully I try not to listen to my flesh, but to the Holy Spirit, who is working a good work inside of me that will reap for me an eternal weight in glory!

Amen for Holy Spirit, who teaches me how to be a better servant to all. Amen and amen.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Better Version

I want to start off this post by writing the words to a song I've been singing a lot lately. It has power on it for me, and so I trust that it may also stir you up.

Your Blood
Speaks a better word
Than all the empty claims
I've heard upon this earth
Speaks Righteousness for me
And stands in my defense.
Jesus, it's Your blood.

And Your blood
Testifies of grace
Tells of the Father's love
That made a way for us
Now boldly we approach
Not earthly confidence.
Jesus, it's Your blood.

To me this speaks of the transformation that only comes from being washed in the Lord's blood, but also through the mature understanding of what was accomplished for us in that act of sacrifice. In the words of a great teacher of the Word, 'we are saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved'.

It speaks of the process we all must go through, working out our salvation in Christ daily. I accepted Christ as my savior almost 15 years ago, and I can thankfully say that I am not the same person I was then. In some ways, I am still me. I still look like me, although my hair is longer and I'm a bit more adult in my dress. I still sound like me, but my word tend to have a different focus than they use to. I still laugh the same, cry the same, and enjoy some of the same things.

Yet I am utterly different at the same time. Parts of me have died in the last 15 years, and I say that with joy, because I can see now that those parts did me no good. Other parts of me have been pruned drastically, and other parts of me are flourishing supernaturally, at an exponential rate.

Some would argue then that I am not the same me of 15 years ago, but I would say, I am still me;
just a better version of me. The version of me that should have always been, but was lost in my sinfulness.

So how has this transformation taken place over the years. Did I know I was changing? It certainly happened in stages. Some changes were made quickly, like the sudden lack of foul language after my surrender to Christ. That was an obvious change. It was an easy change for me.

Others were absolutely more subtle, where as I could only see the changes in looking backwards and making a comparison with my present state. Like learning not to lie. Plenty of people probably didn't even know how many little lies I told in a day, and I don't even think I was completely aware. At that time it felt so natural to 'embellish' the truth to make it more exciting or 'embellish' an excuse to make it more acceptable. Yet somewhere along the way I learned to make fewer and fewer allowances for those little lies. The conviction of the Holy Spirit began to work upon my heart, and I wish I could tell you how the Spirit did it, but I can't.  Just one day I looked at my life and realized I told a whole lot fewer lies and could clearly remember that it had not always been that way. That was a hard change that took time and happened in small degrees along the way.

That is how it is, I think, most of the time, when we are in submission to Christ. He comes in and starts to change our hearts and minds slowly, and even as it is happening, we are not completely aware of all He is doing.  Like maybe we go to a good worship service one night and we weep and feel the Lord's love for us. Then  somehow we walk away from that service and feel different. Maybe it is because He has just accomplished a change in our hearts and we will be different in some small way because of what we agreed with in our hearts in that worship service.

Also, in looking at my own life, there was a lot of slow going in the beginning. I would have a great time at church, and then leave and go back to living in my own way. That happened for years. My church life and my regular life were not one. I was a different person at church, but I was a chameleon who changed colors drastically depending on what environment I was in. It is sad to say, but I see a lot of that in the church. Most of my friends as I was growing up in the church were like that, and so I thought it was normal to be so.

Now I can look back and nearly weep at all I missed out on because I was so two-faced. I can also see that probably in the first 10 years of my Christian life the changes being made were very small and very spread out. The Lord's hand was always working, but I was not always receptive to His plans at that time. I fought some changes flat out (like my music), and completely refused others for a season (movies). It was only through the continued commitment to love God that allowed the Lord to keep working, to keep trying to make those changes, despite me.

It was about 5 years ago now that the Lord rudely made a big change for me. He moved me out of my comfort zone completely with a move in the physical. That, I can see now, changed everything for me, for my own good. Not only was I out of my 'comfort zone', but I was in a place where the majority of those around me were radically in love with Jesus and I was provoked to want what they had in a way I had never wanted it before.

That began a season that I call the 'greenhouse' season. In fact, let me just make this into an allegorical picture of my Christian life:

I was a struggling flower, too weak to bloom; in fact, barely able to grow at all. I was in poor soil, and my root system was pathetic, hardly enough to keep me alive. The storms of life drained me, and I was half in darkness even when the sun was shining. So even the few leaves I had could barely receive enough sunshine to survive.

The Lord in His lovingkindness took pity on me and moved me. Although the transplant process was painful, He put me in the greenhouse for a season, to help me overcome my weak beginnings. He pruned off most of my branches and I looked even more pathetic for a season.

Yet in the greenhouse I was surrounded by plants that were flourishing, and it made me want to flourish too, in a way I never had before. I was also in an optimum environment for growth, and so as I acclimatized to my new little space, I started to send down more and more roots. I began to grow up and have some mature leaves for the first time ever. As new leaves and branches formed, old ones and sickly ones were cut off. Then, I even for a season began to bud and bloom.

The Lord was pleased with my progress and then decided it was time to move me back outside. So I was moved again, but not to my previous spot. He put me in a new place, a place with good soil all around me. I was transplanted this time with a much more substantial root system, but the process was still painful. All my buds and blooms were cut off, because the Lord knew it would waste my energy (time) to try to maintain them in this new, less predictable environment. 

Then in His loving kindness, He gave me a season of rest. It was a time to acclimatize to the wildness of real life. Where the storms of life raged against me and tested my new root system, and where the rains come and go less frequently than the greenhouse water; the heat of the day beats down on me in full force too. In my season of rest no one could probably see any progress in me. I was utterly quiet and a mass of pruned stubs of branches, but underneath I was growing. My root system was spreading out, and working hard to establish itself in the new soil. With the infrequent rain to water me, I was forced to send down a deep root system in search of a more substantial water supply. I knew I needed to tap into some underground water source if I was to survive.

Then, in the spring of this year (literally the spring), I heard the Lord invite me to grow again. My season of rest was about to end, so I prepared in the way I knew to. Soon I started sending out new leaves and stems. With each new leaf, my heart was energized by the sunshine (Sonshine) around me. Leaves are receivers, they take the sunlight and make it into food. I had new leaves, lots of them, receiving and as I was nourished, it made me hungrier and hungrier. 

Next came the season of blooming. If I could be completely honest, I would say I am in a season of blooming right now. All those months of establishing roots and working to tap into a sustainable water source. Then the next season of sending out new leaves, they all have have lead up to a time of blooming. Nothing makes a heart happier than blooming, because blooms lead to fruit and fruit is the goal, isn't it? 

Oh, how happy my heart is these days! I have turned over a new leaf, no pun intended, in which for the first time in my life I long to go to the place of prayer daily.  My hidden water source is the Lord Himself, and I can never get enough. He is so refreshing.  I long to read the word more in this season too, and when I do, there is revelation and meaning that flows out to me. Oh the Word, it truly is alive to me (and it has certainly not always been like that for me).

All those years of struggle lead me to a place of desperation. The answer for me personally was the greenhouse, and from there I was strong enough to start growing on my own again, and now I am here. Ready to bloom for Him! Not everyone needs the greenhouse, some hearts He digs around and fertilizes them right where they are. He knows exactly the plans and purposes He has and knows how to accomplish them too. So don't worry if you have never been 'transplanted' - this is just my own personal story I am sharing today.

As you can see, then, I am still the same little plant that I was before, I am just a better version of me now.

Therefore, be blessed because the Lord has a better version of you too, and He is prepared to start making the changes immediately, all you have to do is say 'yes'.

As an even better word of encouragement, I feel that when Revival does hits this nation, we in the Lord's house, will grow at an even more exponential rate. We will mature, bloom and bear fruit in a much shorter amount of time than it took previous generations to accomplish that much, and to that I say, amen!!!!

The Unschooled Homeschool

My almost five year old daughter bugged me for the last three months of my pregnancy to go to school. Long ago I had decided to homeschool my children as long as I was able to. So I told her that once baby boy came along, we could talk about maybe starting.

Well, baby boy came at the end of June, I decided to take the month of July to recuperate and then I took the plunge into school. Thankfully while I was pregnant I read a book that helped me as a mom new to homeschooling to find my particular style of teaching. While also showing me how to narrow down the learning style of my child.

I fell into the 'eclectic' and 'unschooling' section. Well, when you're new to homeschooling, those phrases mean very little to you. They did to me.  Yet now I am in the midst of my first semester of homeschooling, and I can clearly see that those two descriptions to my teaching style are very much an accurate appraisal to what I am doing.

See, I tend to look at different curriculums that are available and then pick out what I like and use just that part of it. I don't tend to take an entire curriculum, but pick different ones apart and use those parts that I like best.

For instance, I am using the "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons" book to teach my child to read. It is phonics based, and I love it. It works well for me (as a new teacher) and my child (it teaches them t sound words out). Then, I have been using A-Beka phonics-based books to build on what we are already learning in reading.

I make up my own writing lessons (writing letters, numbers and words). I also make up my own Social Studies lessons (i.e. learning about the world around us, our culture, etc).

Our science lessons are partially out of a book called "Science Play" and the rest are from random ideas I've found on Pinterest that support the subjects I'm teaching.

Math is a combination of number games, computer games that work with numbers, and ideas from Pinterest. I have a few math books on teaching time and money, but they are there more for me to gain ideas from, rather than as a strict program to follow.

So you see, I am "eclectic" in that I pull ideas from many different sources to make my own 'version' of school, and I fit in the "unschooled" format because I have a very flexible schedule in which our "school time" fits into. We talk about school stuff on and off all day, but we only have about 5 hrs a week of scheduled "school time".

How did I come up with a lesson plan if I don't follow any specific curriculum? you ask. Well, I sort of feel like I cheated. I went online and searched for a typical course of study for Kindergarten. I looked at what my child should know by the end of her Kindergarten year and worked backwards.  With the end goal in mind I made a plan for her to learn all those things in some semblance of order.

For instance, I knew she should know her numbers at least 1-20. So I gave her a little test to see where she was at in that........she could count to 20 but she couldn't recognize the number 20. So we started from there. We learned to count by looking at the numbers and then we practiced being able to recognize the numbers as individuals, and then we worked on learning the values of each number. It has been going so well too! Already I can see that my child can look at the number 20 and realizes that the number carries a certain value. It is a very cool process to watch.

In general, for my daughter, repetition seems to be very key at this age. We work on something until she gets it and can do it on her own. Then we come back and review it ever week or so. The things she has learned already this school year are so amazing to me.

I feel so empowered to keep going, and teaching, because it has become such a bonding point for the two of us. My teaching style is also very relaxed, it doesn't always feel like 'work', and certainly we play a lot of games that teach what we are learning for that week.

So, when we meet a friend who go to a regular school everyday, my daughter proudly tells them that her mommy is her teacher and we have school at home. I'm so blessed that she has no negative feelings about not going to a regular school, and so we go onward.....together.

Thinking about homeschooling? Not sure where to start? The book I mentioned that helped me to learn my teaching style and my child's learning style is called: 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. I highly recommend it.

Have questions about my crazy schooling style? Post them below and I'll be happy to try and answer them.

Be blessed.