I was recently thinking that, for all I have disclosed on this blog over the last 6+ years, so much of the most significant events in my life go unrecorded. Some things are inappropriate to share, some defy my attempts at explanation, some I just never get around to…
I’ve been considering that anew, this last week. I just don’t even know if I could — or perhaps even should — convey all that happened to me. It’s hard to explain.
The short version is that I went to a three-day International Leadership Summit — a retreat in the cool pines of Prescott, Arizona. Back down the hill into the Valley of the Sun, the following day, is what we call International Super Sunday, with an extended church service in the morning, and a nearly five-hour event at night that features a dinner, some amazing speaking, and worship, followed up by a prophetic presbytery, where leaders with prophetic gifting (30ish or so) will give a personal prophetic word to anyone who wants one, and pretty much all the attendees want one. 🙂 Or two. Or three. Or as many as there is time for.
The whole Leadership Summit started about 15 years ago with just the leadership team of my own church — 20-30 good folk (and their spouses, as appropriate, most of whom are also leaders) who lead a specific area of ministry within the church. Then, we expanded to invite a few of the pastors/leaders of various international ministries/churches with whom we minister, or over whom we have some apostolic leadership. (See? I bet I just lost a good 50% of you with that last sentence, and I’m just not going to explain it, either. Unless you ask.)
Of the Summit — which is three jam-packed, meaty days of teaching, worship, and ministry, the most significant to me was Friday night. On that night, I was praying for some friends when the Holy Spirit came powerfully upon me. At first, I just bent over and put my hands on my thighs, kind of holding myself up. Then, I sat. After a while, I had to lie down. It wasn’t that sort of dramatic thing you may have heard about (and which I repeatedly have witnessed) where the Holy Spirit performs a “smack down” and a person slumps to the floor or falls backward. It was a little more subtle than that. But not by much.
For… a time… at least more than an hour, but I don’t know how long, I was prayed over and ministered to, both by my dear, dear friends… co-workers in Christ… and by the Holy Spirit. I was trembly, deep in my core and up into my shoulders and arms, as the Holy Spirit was on me. My abs are still sore, nearly a week later, I was shaking so long.
Everyone who yields to the Holy Spirit and comes under His power finds a different experience. Some shake violently. Some laugh. Some weep. Some experience a profound calm. Another dear friend, Paul Min, an apostolic 77-year-old powerhouse from Irvine, California (originally from South Korea), experiences his legs shaking, and he knows the power of God is residing in him. I tend to quiver/convulse in my core. It’s been like that for my whole life.
I know that a great many of you may think that odd and/or unbelievable, and that you’d not care for it, and you’re having second thoughts about me, right about now. Frankly, that doesn’t matter so much. Well, the part that doesn’t matter is what you think of me. It does matter a great deal to me how you consider the God of all creation. But, you can think I’m a looney, and I’m all right with that. Even if you stop reading my blog. 😉
Anyone who has read here for any length of time is well-aware that I’m a Christian; I don’t hide that, though not every post is about JESUS JESUS JESUS. It’s more like, “This is my life, and Jesus is an integral part of it, of me.” I often don’t want to post on the more God-oriented events of my life, because its so hard to communicate effectively and so easily misunderstood. But, I felt like this last week was too significant to just pass by.
See what I mean by that first paragraph?
So. What happened to me in that time can be broken down into
- What others prayed over me.
- What the Holy Spirit spoke directly to me.
In the past, when I “go down” under the power of the Spirit, I — to my remembrance — have never heard His specific, direct words. Instead, what I usually experience is more like a… sense, an overwhelming sense of whatever it is I need most at the time: His love, His power, His mercy, His forgiveness, His whatever. This time was different in that I felt very strongly that I heard His voice. It wasn’t loud. More than a whisper, but not loud. But, there were some specific things, some specific words and thoughts that I have never had, on my own, and I feel very strongly that they were beyond “impressions”; they were the Word of God, to me, addressing some very specific needs.
Another thing that was different… Sometimes, I have become a wee bit confused over others’ prayers over me. Everyone, even those with maturity, doesn’t always hear from God 100% right, and the things that come out of their mouths aren’t always the pure, unadulterated Word of God. For that reason, Scripture teaches us to “weigh carefully” what is spoken by prophecy. In the past, I’ve had some difficulty at times, sorting out what’s what. This time, among the 7+ people who prayed over me, and the many things that were spoken, there were two specific instances where God said, “That’s immature and inaccurate. You can toss that.” And silently, I returned prayer for the the person who was praying, thanking God for their willingness to minister and pray, but asking Him to increase the clarity of their spiritual ears, so that in the future, they could pray with more effectiveness. It is my observation that in situations like that, the pray-er is often speaking out of what they know about that person, and their own personal views, rather than led by the Holy Spirit. That doesn’t make God’s word less powerful, though those who minister prophetically should be continually seeking greater clarity, accuracy, and maturity. I Corinthians 13:8-10 tells us “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.”
When the whole Friday night episode was over, I got up and wrote down everything I could remember.
Here are some of the things that God showed me — I’m not sharing everything. Some of it is too personal, and some of it doesn’t quite make sense to me, and I have to hash it out, to seek God on it, still:
- God showed me that some of the interests I have pursued — specifically writing and birthing stuff — I have done because I am afraid that I am too old to have prophetic singing/worship stuff fulfilled in me, things that have been prayed and spoken over me repeatedly — countless times — for the last 20+ years. Writing and birthing are not bad and they may be pursued later, but for the right reasons, not out of fear or distraction.
- I am to go to bed when my husband Martin does. He is an early riser and I’ve always been a night owl. In addition, I am an introvert, and I crave that time, late at night, when the house is still and no one needs me. That is my “recharge” time. However, it saddens my husband that I will not go to bed with him when he does, except maybe once a week. I have thought he’s unreasonable/uncaring that he wants me do do/be something I’m not, and he thinks that I am unreasonable/uncaring because I won’t value his tender heart and the fact that he is restless until I come to bed. I have been beyond stubborn, when what I really need to do is to obey. I need to value him. It is a “little” point of contention to me, but it is HUGE to my husband. God the father affirmed to me that He will take care of things I fear I will lose in the process, and will make their replacement worthwhile.
- I must be intentionalabout investing in both my guitar-playing and my singing. I am a fair guitar-player and I have a great voice. I’m not bragging; it was a gift of God that I’ve known about since my early childhood. However, for my whole life, I’ve just been expecting God to DO SOMETHING about my voice, with my voice. And He has, to an extent. I am one of the core vocalists on my precious church’s worship team. I lead worship (playing guitar and singing) weekly in a home group. I am one of the three worship leaders for our church’s 6-12 year-olds. I have been maturing and growing in spontaneous prophetic singing. Yet, I know that that is not all God has in store for me. I know I’m not living up to my potential, to His calling in me. However, I have just expected Him to drop some bomb, some opportunity, to hit me over the head with some profound and specific direction, and He hasn’t done that. He said that, instead, I need to be intentional about working that gift, investing in it, prioritizing it, furthering it, developing skill… I totally have NOT done that in the past. I’ve just coasted on what I have. To that end, He gave me two imperatives:
- I am to play guitar and sing for a minimum of an hour, daily. If I do other things — read, blog, pursue other interests, etc. — it is to be after that hour is completed.
- I am to take a voice class. (I’m not sure why about this one, and I have looked into it — the community college that is very close to my home, however, is an extension campus, and does not have voice. The other location is REALLY far away, spring classes have already started, and the schedule doesn’t seem like it would work at all. So, I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that.)
- I felt indescribably strongly that smallish but mighty Vineyard Phoenix, my home church for 17+ years, will always be my Favorite House. With capital letters. My husband just got done reading a book by Tommy Tenney called God’s Favorite House. I have not read it, though I know it is about building the local body of Christ, the local church. I was FILLED with love and thankfulness and tenderness for the people who have poured themselves out for the Kingdom, for Jesus, and for me personally. Even though about half (or more?) of those at the Summit were from other nations, those who prayed for me on Friday night — minus one — were all from my local church, Vineyard Phoenix. I felt that was specific and intentional. I have long loved the people of my church, especially those on the leadership team, with whom I have served for these many years, and whose pure, vibrant hearts for ministry and the Gospel of Jesus I have been endless witness to. But, especially on Friday night, I was filled with a… beyond-strong love for each. Vicious, almost. Abandoned, intense, jealous over, consuming, zealous love for my co-laborers in Christ.
I was going to next describe the things that were prayed over me by individuals, but I think that, instead, I will save that for next time.
Until then… 🙂 My love to all readers who have made it thus far.