Leadership, caliche, gardens, hearing from God, and finding Jesus in the Old Testament
This past weekend was amazing, as the last weekend in January for the last 17 years has always been for me.
My church has a leadership retreat every January.
That sounds run-of-the-mill, but it’s not.
We attend about 48 hours of meaty, practical, inspiring teaching sessions and have powerful worship and ministry. It’s a time when the ministers are ministered to.
Additionally, many leaders and pastors attend from around the world, each who have close ties to my church. This year, there were folk from Northern Ireland, Zambia, Mexico, and South Korea. Thus, we call it the Leadership Summit.
I have no words to explain how powerful and amazing and NEEDED this event is.
So, I won’t try.
But… a couple of things I will say:
- I have no great love for the desert. How I deal with this, in my heart, ebbs and flows. Sometimes, I do better than others, adjusting to the fact that my husband is a native of Phoenix, our greatly beloved church is here, and my husband’s amazing job is here, as well. This past year, I struggled a lot, though. There are a variety of reasons for that, but let’s just leave it there: I struggled. I have been sad. At the Summit, with tears, I realized that I needed to… adjust my heart. This is where I am. This is, for my husband and perhaps even for myself, the land of our anointing, in spite of the brown, the hot, the dry, the dusty, the lifeless, burnt desert. This is where our Father God has us. It just is. I don’t know why He has put a yearning in my heart for green, for rain, for humus instead of caliche, while placing me in its opposite. Yet, He has. And, I realized that I just had to accept His sovereignty and find my sufficiency in Him. On Thursday night, I prayed in my heart, “Father, You are my garden. You are my brook. You are my green, rolling hills. You are my rain.” That was hard, but it was good. The next night, I was standing there, while the worship team played and sang, just soaking it in with my palms up, receiving. A young man from Northern Ireland came over and started praying and speaking prophetically over me. “I see you in the Father’s orchard. There is fruit there. A lot of low-hanging fruit.” He proceeded to encourage me about my life being fruitful. And then he said, “And the Father is walking with you, in the cool of the evening.” !!! Those words are from the description of the time in the Garden of Eden. I laughed. I couldn’t help it. God is so good, and He is so faithful to make sure I REALLY GET IT when He speaks to me. He is my garden.
- I went to the Summit in hopes of hearing from God for… distilling… sorting out… prioritizing… refocusing. Instead, I felt the Father call me to become “determined to know nothing… except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” I have debated whether or not to post about this on here. I want to know Jesus in… obscurity. Just know Him. Learn more about Him. Hear His heart. But, I thought it also might be an encouragement to some reading this: rather than seeking what Jesus HAS FOR ME, I’m just seeking Jesus. Everything else for which I look — direction, maturity, a “job” in the Kingdom of God, a future and a hope — is secondary, a byproduct. So, I committing a certain amount of time, really an extravagant amount of time, daily, to reading Scripture and hearing from God. I’ve started in Genesis, and am planning to read fairly quickly through the Bible, and be looking for Jesus among the pages. Yes, I know He doesn’t appear until the book of Matthew. But, really, everything in even the Old Testament points to Jesus’ appearance here on earth. I felt God tell me that, in spite of spending time that I, frankly, don’t have, He will continue to provide time. He’ll provide efficiency, focus, and clarity of thought as I go through my day. Everything that needs to get done will get done, even as I attempt to delve into the Word of God for several hours daily.