I want you to see people
To really see them
Look past their exterior and
Beyond your misinformed mental interior
You’re not superior
Whether you mean it or not
In the way that you treat them,
You’re either hurting or healing,
Giving or stealing.
I know all hearts…
Your brothers and sisters
Have enough demons
Breathing lies down their necks
About their past, their future,
Their mistakes and bad breaks,
Their value and worth,
And it’s been constant from their birth.
With every thought that you think
You’re either agreeing with me
Or with the enemy
You wouldn’t be here if
Someone hadn’t seen a glimpse
Of what I see in you
If you hadn’t ever heard the truth
If you’d never heard my voice speak ‘value’
I called you home
I called you mine
I healed your heart
And made you shine
Freely you’ve received,
Please freely give
With whom will you agree
Their accuser or me?
You might just see
A lost cause, a dirty outfit or
An addict back at it,
But I see something more
You were once the one
That had to be scooped off the floor,
You were once the one dirt poor
Used and abused
But I saw something different in you.
I said ‘you’re worth it’
So cant you say the same
For your brothers and sisters
Right next to you in pain
This is not just a far off mission field
It is THE mission field.
The church can’t fulfill the great commission
Until she learns to love the ones within
Before you leave the country
There’s a few people I want you to see
First love the outcast in front of you
And learn to agree with me.
How can I trust you with the Nations
If you don’t even love your sister alone in the corner
Your brother whose so poor he
Can’t ask for money,
You don’t have to leave the country
Or even your church walls to find
Someone to love
They’re all starving, oppressed and alone
But tell me,
When’s the last time you really looked.
I want you to see people.
This is how they’ll know my Son’s Bride
She’s gonna love offensively
Arms open wide,
Unafraid of getting hurt,
No longer trying to hide,
She’s gonna love the ones ‘not worth it’
The ‘waste’s of time’
She gonna give and not get back
And not fear any lack
And she’s not gonna whine
Or be a victim of a crime
She’s just going to agree with me.
I want you to see people.
Look at the value and worth
Of one single soul
Made in my image
Worth more than gold
When I wanted to tell you how much they mean to me
I had my son die on a Roman tree,
Loving truly and fully
Agreeing with me
Only a sinless man get’s the right to accuse
And He didn’t
He got to choose
His blood cried out MERCY
So that all could be free
With whom will you agree
Their accuser or me
I want you to see people.
Exactly 9 months TO THE DAY.
August 8th 2012 – Three days after moving to Kansas City and preparing for IHOPU, I had a come to Jesus moment in the car. I basically laid bare every fear and worry I had about the school year, every promise He’d made, every hope and dream of my heart…everything. Then even in the pain I told Him I trusted Him. I got home and a giant colorful rainbow was over my apartment. It was seriously the brightest rainbow I have ever seen. Then it doubled. It was the brightest DOUBLE rainbow I have ever seen. The Lord told me He’d be faithful to every promise He’s made and that His covenant with all flesh stands. His rainbow is a sign of His promise that He loves those He made in His image with an eternal, everlasting love. His name is faithful and true and there is a rainbow of mercy around His throne.
May 8th 2013 - Walking to the car on the way to the prayer room at 6am I noticed it was rainy. Just like I always do when it rains, I shot up a 20 second prayer saying, “Jesus, it’s rainy and the sun’s about to come up. Could I have a rainbow? Thanks. Amen.” Around 7ish I walked outside with my friend Stephanie (which I don’t ever do ever…we always stay inside). The sun was shooting through the clouds as it rose and it was sprinkling. Rainbow. I haven’t seen a real rainbow since the first one, exactly 9 months ago to the day.There were lots of fun things (like rainbows on coloring pages in the prayer room, Hawaii license plates in MO of all places, and a carpet cleaning van called Rainbow Cleaners) that showed up as little kisses from the Lord. He’s good at encouraging our hearts.
In the last 9 months the Lord has be SO FAITHFUL. I couldn’t of dreamed up a better first year here. He’s literally taken my self-hatred, shame, fear, anxiety, and wrong ideas about Him and given me love, confidence, peace, joy, hope and truth. He’s made me come alive. I actually get to know God. I actually get to know Him. Just like He promised with the first rainbow experience I ever had (July 4th 2010) He hasn’t given up on me or forgotten about me. He hasn’t grown tired of giving mercy and grace. He’s shepherded my heart so well.
Because He’s been faithful before I know He’ll be faithful again. There’s still promises I am waiting on receiving, but I am more than confident that He will fill me up just like He said He would.
Trust. It says, “whatever it looks like, here I am.” It’s continually submitting yourself to the hand of the Father, no matter what the circumstances are like. It’s living without offense when life doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. It’s following God’s commandments (a sermon on the mount lifestyle) and putting yourself in voluntary weakness, believing He will keep His promise and come through. It’s hanging on to the truth that He’s carrying you when you can’t feel Him.
The season of work that I’m in is probably the most sanctifying and purifying season of my life thus far. Being physically, emotionally and spiritually drained every single day and then getting up the next day to do it all over again only with less than before is difficult. Knowing that the same pattern is going to continue for an indefinite amount of time with no clear light at the end of the tunnel is worse. I could complain more, but I won’t, I’ll simply say that you really get a good look at what’s inside of you when you’re closing and its 12:30 am (for the third night in a row) and a co-worker says something rude to you. The old man tries to resurrect himself. Lot’s of old thought patterns, emotions and words start to bubble up.
I started complaining in my heart today about feeling like I’m being used, mistreated and unappreciated. Immediately the verse came to my mind–”…pray for those who spitefully use you” (Matthew 5:44). I have to laugh because in America we really don’t have hardship or face persecution and even this verse I haven’t had much use for. I’m not often spitefully used. My natural fleshly reaction was to be angry and offended, to get defensive and want to pay the person back…thankfully the Holy Spirit reminded me that I am a new creation and don’t have to respond the way the world responds. How am I to respond? Pray for those who spitefully use me, bless my enemies (who basically is anyone who annoys me) and do good to those who hate me (See Matthew 5-7 for the Sermon on the Mount). Ouch! That actually touches a sore spot in me now that I have a real experience with it.
As I began to write this I looked up Matt. 5:44, and I am amazed right now because Matt. 5:45 right after it says, “…that you may be sons of your Father in heaven”. We are true sons of our Father in heaven when we pray for those who spitefully use us. Though this season of my life has been hard it’s also been so sweet because I’ve been getting a revelation of the Father’s heart and my identity as His child. Suddenly it’s clear: I am connecting with my identity as a child of God who has a loving and kind Father so that I can pray for those who spitefully use me! It’s not just a nice idea to make me tender and cry when I’m in the prayer room. Revelation is always unto action. As I know that I am a son of my Father in heaven I am able to not react in anger or defensiveness. I don’t have to make sure that I’m not being used. I don’t have to defend my “rights”. I don’t have to watch out for number one and compete with everyone else. Why? Because I already know who I am and I am secured in it. If I have a loving Father who has given me every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3), who has given me an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled (1 Pet 1:4), who loves me like He loves Jesus (John 15:9), who sovereignly knows every moment of my life (Psalm 139:16) and holds me safely in His arms (Isa. 46:3-4)–then what do I have to lose? Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. He’s good, I’m loved and I’ve got it made. People can be rude, they can spitefully use me, they can persecute me and hate me, but that doesn’t effect anything of who I am in God.
Now to live it out. Dying to oneself is painful. Jesus is putting to death the works of sin in the flesh in me. He’s giving me opportunities to trust in the principles of His kingdom, to live His way, to submit to His hand and to let Him give me grace for it all. I believe this momentary light affliction is working in me an eternal weight of glory. For all of eternity I’ll be finding out how my weak yes’, my attempts to be obedient, and my longing to love well moved His heart. The rewards are eternal.The motivation for a life of poured out service, humility and meekness is the knowledge of a life of glory, riches and authority to come. I’ll be clothed in white, shinning with the righteous acts of the saints, staring into the face of God–the one I was made to be satisfied by–and I know that I will say, “It was worth it all.”
I opened up my journal from exactly a year ago today. I had written an oracle of sorts, straight from God’s heart. I am amazed at the way God spoke to me year ago and how it applies perfectly in this very moment right now. He is so good!
“Precious are these days. The days that you learned to trust me. The days that I carried you. You might be tired and feel worn out and done with these days, but your growth is precious to me. You might not know if you’re going to make it–but that’s good because I get to work in your weakness. It’s in these moments that you rely on me that we are closest. I never said it would be easy, but I said you’d never go alone.”
Precious are these days.
I wrote this blog in Cincinnati on my ministry trip so I’m reposting it here. If you want to see pictures and read testimonies from our trip go to: http://cincinnatimissions.wordpress.com/
Imagine a complex heart made of locks with buttons, nobs, key holes and passwords. Each circumstance in our lives either moves part of the heart to be unlocked or locked tighter. A little twist here, a little turn there; the heart is always shifting.
Looking at my life on the drive out to Cincinnati I saw the way the Lord has unlocked my heart, little by little, winning me over to Him. As I began dialoging about what ministry is and why we even partner with God in things, He told me, “This is the ministry of unlocking hearts.” God is winning each of our hearts over, and after we have been unlocked to love, we get to join Him in the unlocking of others.
Jesus is giving us an invitation—to come on a journey with Him of unlocking hearts to love. It takes simple, un-offended, unconditional love. Love without expectation of something in return, love without the fear of rejection and love with no limit to which it will go. It’s easy to see that this love is impossible on our own. I certainly can’t love like that, but hallelujah for our divine example, who came and showed us how to love the hardest and most easily forgotten. He loved with a heart wide open, pursuing the outcasts, the despised, and the ugly, all while being despised Himself.
This is the second commandment, to love others the way we love ourselves. To pursue the ones around us and say, “They’re worth it because Jesus said I was worth it.” Every moment is an opportunity to unlock hearts to love, and even if we only twist the key once and never see it opened, our role is important. Whether it’s evangelizing on the street and delivering a prophetic word or going above and beyond to disciple a struggling believer, we should always be on the look out for the hearts near enough to reach and touch.
This kind of love cannot be done in our own strength. Everyday we must receive the love of the Father that first unlocked our hearts. Then we are able to pour that love into others. Jesus takes us by the hand and shows us how to uniquely love the one in front of us. While this ministry is not glamorous, there is such beauty in a heart that has been unlocked to love, and Jesus invites us to join Him everyday in the process.
We under-estimate how infinitely kind and involved in our lives God is. We are not insignificant. He cares about the little things.
I was in the very last row of the prayer room–simply because I wasn’t sure I was going to stay very long. I almost didn’t stay. I stood at the back wall and a little request made its way from my heart to heaven…and Jesus heard it. I was hoping for a song…merely wishing actually. I asked God for the song “Draw Near” by Jeremy Riddle.
There is a lot of significance to this song for this exact moment. 3 things:
1) Almost exactly a year ago I was sitting in the Justice Prayer Room at a student led set, and the Lord confirmed my choice to go to IHOPU through this song. He said, “I have made a place for you here, so come on, come on!” And oh how faithful He has been. I would have never dreamed that I would be so blessed with such great family, friends, community and teaching.
2. That night God also whispered to my heart, “All my love is for you, all my love is yours”. I couldn’t believe it then, but in the last 12 months He’s made me come alive. I began a journey then, which God has taken me on, one where He’s revealed His love time and time again to cast out fear, calm the storms, defeat my shame, and conquer my sin. So today when He told me “I’ve made a place for you here, so come on, come on. All things are possible here, come on, come on”, I beamed because I knew He meant HIS HEART and I actually believed it. He made a place for me with Him. I get to be with Him. All His love is for me.
3. I longed to sing that song from my heart to His, and now I can. The last 9 months or so here at IHOPU have been a time where God has hollowed me out inside and made room for more of Himself. All things are possible with Him. He made me come alive. He’s transformed my life so much in the last year that the difference from where I was then to now is night and day. What better response to His faithful, perfect, kind, love can I give but to say, “all my love is for you, ALL my love is yours!”
I had actually given up on it. There I was, about to go sit down when along comes the words, “Draw near to me, for I have drawn near to you.” Its an interesting combination to laugh, cry and smile all at the same time. My heart is still overflowing with love because God heard me!
“You make me come alive. You make me come alive. Oh you make me come alive.”
He is so kind.
This poem, The Story, was written last semester. I had been reading The Glory Within by Corey Russell. Only three chapters in and my heart was burning. I put the book down and wrote this. Enjoy!The Story At the beginning of Time The World lay blank and barren. There stood the only uncreated being, The one who is And who always has been, Communing as the Father, Spirit and Son, Loving deeply and extravagantly, But still, there was much to be done. From His brilliant mind flowed galaxies and autumn leaves, He made elephants and tiny plants, Creating rain and fields of grain, Songs and sounds and colors, All came forth at the sound of His name. And with each syllable from His mouth, Came more and more beauty that He could adore But amidst the sublime intensity, The God of the universe . . . dreamed of me. Out of everything in creation, None had spirits or souls, To Him none could relate, With Him, none could communicate. So on day six, this mastermind made, In the likeness of Himself, a man out of clay He breathed His very life right into his skin, Calling him His son, His lover, His kin From man He made a companion that He could cherish, A woman of beauty, to be truly the fairest So between them and the creator there was a sweet union, His dwelling place with them While their frames were still human They were made with a holy sanctuary inside, A place where which only their creator could hide Deep in that place was the seventh day of rest, Together in their joy and their love to abide But one day they forfeited their indescribable treasure, They partook of the one banned earthly pleasure, Desiring right and wrong to be theirs to measure, The harmonious delight of creator and man, Was devastatingly severed. As they left the Garden of their creation, They lost their communion and God lost His habitation. Ever since the day that man and woman did depart, There has been an aching hole In every human heart But as time and pain and sin and doubt, Led generations of men to live without, Man soon forgot what he was made for, And in vain he hungrily began to explore, Hoping to find a way to make the ache less And not more Now God was not just watching, As if powerless while above, His heart was rent in two With His fervent love While humans scurried to and fro Claiming to be free, The God of the universe . . . dreamed of me. So ingeniously, He was planning A way to lovingly redeem, Back His creation that had been sold By their own greedy means He could not deny His nature; He is honest, true and just, He would only dwell in righteousness And that was definitely not us, There was not one sinless man To bring forth reconciliation, So God in His perfect form Entered His own creation Being born in human weakness He still held His deity, He came as man and lived our life, Overcoming flawlessly Then the greatest gift of all, Was bestowed in His final plea, ‘Father please makes us in them, just like you are in me’. So He took His untarnished righteousness And placed it over all, Destroying the power of sin, He broke down the dividing wall. And to those who would choose to have Him, Accepting His easy yoke, He begins again to live in His rightful place, Their lives to lovingly provoke. Filled with His Holy Spirit, God dwells again within, Purifying every heart That comes and confesses sin The Creator is coming back one day, To make His home on earth, He’s going to set all things right And establish all our worth, He longs for the day of His return For it’s a day of jubilee, Until then, the God of the universe . . . dreams of me. So now we wait here singing, And praying for Him to come, Interceding for all His people To praise the Father, Spirit and Son, Oh we’re longing for the day, When He comes and makes us one Only through the restoration, Of His rightful place, Will we ever find rest for our souls As we gaze upon His face.
Over the last month the Lord has been stirring in me to grow (and desire to grow) in prayer and power. I’ve been asking Him to give me a spirit of prayer and to teach me how to pray. Slowly my hunger to pray in power has begun to increase. I don’t just want to pray and not see any fruit. Jesus said in John 15:7 – “if you abide in me and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you.” If we abide in Jesus we have the promise of bearing MUCH fruit. So where is it? One of the issues I’ve been looking at is my faith. I realized I have so little faith in my life. I love the way God works–He knows just how to cultivate different fruits in us. He has given me personally and also our Church family testimonies of His faithfulness to heal.
Just last week I found out my aunt’s heart had stopped, and though they got it restarted because it had taken so long she had no brain functions. It was a really intense couple of days where many of my family and friends were all praying. I ran straight into my Abbas arms and cried out for healing. I had to confront my lack of faith and my weakness in prayer. I sat in the prayer room and finally gave up trying to sound perfect and get it just right, and turned to the Bible.
One of my teachers taught about intercession as God wrestling with His children, saying that God longs to be pinned in prayer. Just like any earthly father lets his children pin him so God also does with us. I clung onto the promise in Song of Solomon 6:5 where Jesus says to the Church “Turn your eyes away from me for they have overcome me”. Basically its a picture of the power of our intercession when we’ve first grown in intimacy with God. He wants us to be in relationship with Him and it’s in that intimacy (closeness) that God is overcome by our prayers.
By Saturday night, despite the prediction of the doctors, my aunt opened her eyes and soon after began talking! She is a living miracle from God! My faith has been so increased. I feel like God has given me an on-ramp into intercession. My aunt still needs prayer that her organs would be fully restored and that there’d be no other medical issues, but that’s not an issue for God! Prayer works!
I got a job at Chipotle, I work cash which also involves maintaining the lobby and stocking food/drinks. It’s a fast paced, high energy job, but the Lord has been sustaining me. I know it is His perfect timing in this and He is totally using this to train me for later in life. It’s a whole new level of leaning and abiding but God is so so so faithful. The first 2 weeks I worked 27 hours and 39 hours—on top of my school schedule and prayer room hours. Let’s just say it’s a complete miracle I’m alive right now and all the glory belongs to God. At least I made a lot of money, and the rest of my weeks I’m only working around 20 hours.
I got a family membership to the gym with four friends! I just worked out for the first time in months today–did a couple miles (2.5 to be exact) on the treadmill and some ab workouts. This kid right here is going to be sore tomorrow.
I am going on an IHOPU Spring Ministry trip with a team to Cincinnati Ohio. We’re going to be doing lots of things, working with inner city kids, cleaning up a farm/retreat center, ministering to the local churches, street evangelism, prayer and worship nights and more. It’s April 1st-7th and there’s about 30 or so people on my team. I am pretty excited about it!
My sister Bekah came home from Turkey! She was on her YWAM outreach, but she finally came home and we screamed and hugged a ton for a long time. I missed her like crazy. So now that she’s just under an hour away I get to see her more often. She even got to come to class with me last week.
My parents are buying a house to rent out here in KC so Bekah and I will be living there and renting it out to two friends. I am stoked because it means no rent for me to pay and a lot more room than my tiny apartment. The moving and stuff like that won’t happen till the summer, but it’s big news so I thought I’d share it.
AND the most important thing of all is that: everyday I fall a little more in love with Jesus and He continually shows me how kind, beautiful and faithful He is. I love sitting at His feet and worshiping—the prayer room and weekend services are my favorite because I can just go and melt in His presence. I totally have stopped caring how much my makeup runs when I cry, because the tears of joy at who He is are always flowing. God is good and I am His. What more can I say?
Self-hatred is not a self-esteem or body image problem; it’s a knowledge of God problem. You can never like yourself if you do not like your creator. As soon as I say this something rises up in me to justify, “But I LOVE God!” and while on some level this is true, I am starting to realize that I haven’t ever really liked God. To like God would be to suggest that I am really, really glad that He is who He is and that I agree with who He’s made me to be and the way He is writing the story of my life. How often I complain, how often I despise who I am, and yet I tell God that I love Him.
Recently He pierced me with the question, “Rachel, do you really like me?” I had been trying to force myself to believe that God delights in me and it wasn’t really working. I realized that I couldn’t believe God liked me if I didn’t like me, and that I would never really like myself if I didn’t even like (or agree with) the one who made me. All of our human problems have the same solution, always directing our focus back to Christ. Still we think that since the problem lies in us the solution also must. But it’s actually because the problem lies in us that the solution can only come from God. As I switch from an inward, self-focused, introspective gaze to a hope-filled, God centered one, things finally start to shift.
John Piper says in The Dangerous Duty of Delight, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” And Psalm 37:4 tells us to “Delight yourself in the Lord (enjoy/like Him) and He will give you the desires of your heart.” That’s a big promise most people are scared to test out but its saying that all we have to do is like Him and He will give us the desires of our heart. He wants us to enjoy Him, to be happy in Him and to like Him.
When I am caught up in enjoying God for who He is I can’t hardly help but like myself. I like God, I like who He is, I like His plan and purpose for the earth and I like myself. The more I like my creator the more I am able to like His creation—even myself.
Yet, how can I fully or truly like my creator if I know nothing of Him or what I do know is skewed and warped by accusation, strongholds and lies? Every issue we have on earth is a knowledge of God problem. Only when He takes the rightful place in the center of our lives will all the lesser problems fade away.
As I came to the conclusion that I do like God I began to feel a trickle of His delight back towards me. I haven’t earned His favor at all; I have just finally started to let myself receive the delight He has had for me all along. Let’s face it, we’ve probably all been the one hoping that God really likes us but are too afraid to ask Him because it’d hurt if He didn’t. When we do ask Him but we can’t even feel His response because we hate ourselves too much to receive His love. Then when we don’t feel anything the devil jumps right in to accuse both God and us and then we’re still stuck in the same swirl of self-hatred made up of wrong thinking about God. There, that’s my story.
More than anything we need the knowledge of God to give us right thoughts about Him so that we can not only enjoy Him but enjoy ourselves. It is in that simple act of enjoying and agreeing with God and who He is that we find we are most free. Free from . . . [insert your struggle here]. I don’t know about you but I am ready to receive His delight. The more I feel His love for me, the more I love myself simply for His sake.
And now I pray: “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)