The Greatest Commandment

We live in a world, in an unseen kingdom, where the person that created this world, this dimension, set a primary ground rule for our temporary existence. The greatest commandment is to love, full stop. The greatest rule to follow, admonish to strive to implement, is a feeling, it gives me the identity that I am a source of love. And I have the ability to direct it wherever I want or don’t want to. When I woke up today this thought undid me. My greatest commandment in life is to love. It’s not to defend or protect or fight or shout, it’s in my heart without anybody being able to see or know, but He Himself is to love him. There’s no controlling dictation for its expression, no outline of what my power to love must look like or that it even must be expressed. I love the complete offensiveness of our real freedom. No ability to quantify, copy, meet any external expectation, because if any of that existed those would for sure be met, but they wouldn’t matter because the ONLY thing that matters here in this command, is the existence of love, loving affection, towards the one who created me. . . for love.

This command to love is expanded to include every single territory that exists in all of your unseen world where you live and have complete control every day; the entire universe we exist in beyond our physical body. Your heart, your soul, your mind. All of these things have undefinable walls. Whatever world that exists inside you, enjoyable or not at the moment, the purpose of this space, this area is TO LOVE. The greatest commandment you’ve been given is to love, to be a lover. You begin this life knowing someone loves your affection, your attention, your time, you longings, your hopes, dreams, and self.

God chose to be vulnerable one first, unafraid of rejection, unafraid of our misunderstanding him, he said I want you to love me. I love when you love me. You will be most satisfied in all those unseen places when you love me. You will come to know yourself best when you love me. It will be enjoyable this way. This is a light burden, it is not heavy to carry. This is my invitation to peace and rest and joy and purpose for you. Love me. Love me with all of yourself. Anything you withhold from my love will spoil in your possession, in your fear, in your restraint, it will not go well for you in your own holding back apart from my love. Today, in this moment, apart from all other externals, inside the internal universe that IS YOU, love me. Love me with all of yourself, don’t hold back, don’t be afraid, do not limit your own capacity to love me. How big can this get, how big can this grow, how enjoyable can this become. Find your place, find your peace, and LOVE ME.

What is happening right now?

Let me give you a zoomed out perspective that may offer you someone hope during this time.

  1. I went into the spring of this year knowing God was setting each builder in place, in their callings, in order to fully mobilize the body of Christ this year.
  2. Then COVID-19 happened. The arrangement of destiny placement happened anyway despite of this, and sometimes in part, aided by it.
  3. The wave of restriction that hit our nation in March brought a blanket over every activity not worth fighting to resurrect again. Many things still lay dormant that no one will ever exert the effort and energy to resurrect. Only activities that are pertinent to life and families has endured. Everything that was an old ritual still in motion has fallen away.
  4. You, right now you are placed. Some part of how you have been created is being set in place, is growing beneath the surface, is in the formative stages. You are walking out your destiny today, you are on the path of your destiny today.
  5. If it doesn’t feel great, don’t worry about it. Sometimes we think when we lay ahold of our dreams or purpose everything will be clouds and pillows. Not always so; sometimes exactly the opposite. But there will be growth and growth can be uncomfortable and painful but it will always be worth its reward.
  6. Nothing may comfortable. This is 100% okay. God has every minute (mynoot) detail of society poised and positioned for his glory. Every little hinge and door and window and hallway of culture is intentional. Sickness and disease arn’t intentional, but your lack of ability to trust what you used to is.
  7. God is at peace. He is comfortable with your discomfort and certain in your uncertainty. He’s not doing things happenstancely in your life. When we feel completely dependent on him, it’s because it is real. We ARE completely dependent upon him.
  8. When you are positioned in circumstances that you feel you cannot change, he always retains the ability to change them. This ultimately comes down to his Lordship over your life and how you feel about that. This doesn’t mean joy isn’t set before you or that it is not worth the outcome. On the contrary, its just what your destiny ordered.
  9. You’ve been prepared for this. All that history, all that experience, all that wisdom you’ve been carrying around with you? It is for now.
  10. Your presence in your country matters. That’s why you are there!  Everyday you chose to show up, not let go of kindness, hope for peace, dare to laugh, and love anyway, these all matter…a lot.

I never have answers, only inklings. The course of a world is being altered at this time before our very eyes. We no longer can see our future anymore clearly through the lens of where we’ve come from.

Everything is about relationship. The fastest advancing front of the kingdom in this hour is family, even helped in-part by COVID circumstances. Everything God does is unshakable and preservable. You are a living collection of a lifetime of experiences of love that came in so many forms and fashions. You have experienced kindness and have the ability to continue to give it without condition.

Despite any trouble around you, he is oh so kind, oh so near, oh so excited about you just as you are. He never postpones delighting in you. I hope you feel connection with him despite any lack of understanding or confusion about what’s going on around you. He is not cold or harsh, he is not hurting you, or abrasive.

Nothing that happens for the remainder of this year has not been foreseen by him. Nothing that happens in the next two months will catch God off-guard or cause him to come off kilter. He is firmly placed, unmovable, unshakeable. Not only is he not undeterred, he is expectant and confident. He has seen the end from the very beginning. He is so good at conducting the orchestra of time and humanity.

You are hedged in by blessing right now and beloved of the Lord. Trust is the road that will bring you to the resting place of peace.

Blessings!

Two-Fold Mature Spirit Partnership

I wanted to write a brief piece mentioning walking with God in everyday life that is two-fold in living life that springs from the spirit of God.

The first part is hearing.  I don’t always hear a phrase or words or a song from God unless I’m being intentionally reflective or asking God a direct question in my mind and thoughts.  I do often notice inspired thoughts as I am just going through life open to direction.  This can come as a reminder to do something I have completed forgotten, or it can be an inspired way to encourage someone or do an act of service or it can be a solution that previously you couldn’t see or something that requires your attention.  I notice these thoughts when they come into my head are not my own and they often feel more like an invitation for partnership that has life and glory on the other side of it rather than a command or requirement.  These are the types of communication I believe Jesus referred to when he says I do what I see my father doing.  These can come as pictures in your head or ideas in your imagination but they truly are powerful and divinely inspired even if they don’t feel revolutionary or earth shattering.  Obedience always results in lasting fruit.  And sometimes this just looks like your character choices in maintaining or pursuing connection in relationships.

This is the first step of hearing and living a life flowing from the river of God.  The second part is where the wisdom of maturity comes in.  Just because you’ve received inspiration doesn’t mean to run and execute it immediately.  Often there is freedom to when you are inspired to respond at leisure or right away in peace.  But there can also be a shelf period when hearing from God.  I recognize this in other believers I respect and admire.  They receive a thought but then carry it within them until God orchestrates circumstances and timing for its release or execution.  For instance, you may feel inspired to say something to a certain individual that would be encouraging to them but perhaps don’t feel peace about writing it through an email or calling them on the phone.  Perhaps the Lord has you run into them by chance two days later and God brings that word of encouragement you had for them to mind and you share it in that moment.  This often is the best way to pursue obedience.  God really often does not need our initiative when taking care of kingdom business, often he just is looking for our response in the midst of his continuous divine orchestration.

One caution in this is when things have sat so long on the shelf or get pushed to the back they fall off and never happen.  Keep in mind the world doesn’t end when this happened.  There is no condemnation in walking in the spirit with the Lord.  Everything, including our learning and failure, carries value.  But perhaps there is an act or a word or a communication or a thought or a creative idea that the Lord has invited you into once that maybe is still ripe with glory available for you to bring to earth from the heaven in your mind.  The waiting on God to create the opening is a part of the maturing process of hearing from God and walking hand in hand with him.  Friends influence each other and what a privilege share life with a living, intimate, kind, forgiving God.

One way you may have to listen beyond your understanding is in regards to your own self worth.  God will tell you a million times that you are worthy, lovely, righteous, worth his love, and full of nobility but somehow we continually need to be reminded to believe it!  Often we are our own worst critique and rarely cut ourselves some slack.  Jesus continually reminds me of his undeserved favor, and his kindness and affection is something you need to be open to hearing, and not only that, but believing it!

Blessings on your adventures is hearing and walking with Jesus!

“What are you doing?”

As my husband and I are embarking on this journey of faith regarding these two upcoming missions trips, I realize there has been a gap of time since I used to write and share more frequently.  Since coming back to the states from Jordan, I have stepped back from social media.  It has been wonderfully and entirely refreshing.  Not a moment of my day is spent focusing on what my life appears like or trying to capture it for show, or randomly seeing people that God led me to in past season of life but now are now longer in relationship with me anymore.  A relationship based solely on shared photos does not impart to me relationship.  I live in a reality where the people who know what’s going in my life are people I’m in relationship with.  And I like it that way.

Unfortunately, that does cause a bit of distance despite the constant availability of archaic phone calls.   I even find any attempt to communicate an internal reality via text is a road that ends only in reducing something to facts and can leave me frustrated.  You have the dichotomy of being so close to connection with another human being yet you feel still so far from being valued or seen, this being said by a person who feels love through quality time.

Even in my workplace a looping email exchange that takes days to get clarity on intent could be solved in a 30 second two-way phone conversation.  But alas people are fine with being impersonal, so I try to communicate love as much as possible in systems of speed and distance.  I find myself dreamily longing for the generation of passing time by sitting on the front porch but I also know this was largely due to the inconvenience of a home without temperature control and lack of available entertainment.

All of that to say, I love the ability to communicate and share this way on the internet.  Words have power and ideas change the world.  I can release anything, anytime of day, to be accessible by almost anyone in any country.  And here I am writing to you.

Joel and I moved out to Redding, CA on the invitation of property management.  Within a few short months, Joel found ourselves sitting in front of families that were telling us the same experience we had listened to hundreds of times in the Middle East.  “I thought I was just leaving for a few days.  I only have the clothes on my back.  I have lost everything.”  The Carr Fire ripped through Redding taking over 1,000 homes with it in the span of days.  People lost their lives and hundreds of people since have been navigating the ocean of grief and loss, attempting to persevere in resiliency.

We got hired to distribute financial aid to these families.  We did it as thoroughly and orderly as we were able.  What is new for me personally is still being part of a communities long-term recovery process a year and half later.  Still I sit in meetings talking about peoples need for fences, cars, homes, garages, medical care, basic sanitation, counseling, healing, and justice.  Every week since it happened I sit in meetings with other people–good people–who keep caring about others.  When they are tired, overworked, under-appreciated, critiqued, and challenged…still they care.  I have found myself running alongside some of the most relentless good people I have ever met.  These are the people on which communities are built and sustained.

My husband each day has a slightly different role but is running in this same army of restoring hope here in Redding.  Each day, one tree at time, he is a part of a crew of gentlemen of heaven that are clearing people’s properties of the skeletons of the day of their devastation.  Each day he walks families one step closer to regaining normal, regaining home, through removing the black, burnt trees that cast shadows but provide no shade and promise no future of fruit or life.  He is a part of a transformative band of men that every day wake up to serve someone else’s journey of healing.

Each day through their work, these forestry crews say, “You are worth it.  You are worth our service.  Your future is worth the investment of our time here.  But let us give it to you as a gift.  Let us serve you without any expectation of getting something from you.  Just receive this kindness.  You are worth it.”

We both are doing lots of other things.  I am helping to grow a department and doing weekly and monthly things that cause the cogs of the wheels in Bethel Church to continue to churn as the ship of their vision moves through the sea of culture and time.  I am just one tiny, unnoticeable part, easily replaceable, yet unreplicable.  And so here I find myself, working alongside people with their own mighty callings, and displaying Christ around me.  I watch people, learn, grow, forgive, lead, and follow, all as our hearts lead us from day to day, offering our work up as some sort of surrender to a plan God alone sees.

This all was vague and ambiguous but it precisely articulates the feeling of our present reality.  Unsurprisingly, my husband is still fun.  Everyday he makes me laugh.  Everyday he continues to grow and renew himself and leads us both back to the basics of goodness and charity and security in God’s everlasting, ever-loving kindness.  Where else would I want to spend my days?  Definitely not wasted in the valleys of worry, shame, doubt, regret.

God still sets mystery before us in the things we see dimly but do not know fully.  We know we are invited on these trips abroad but we don’t know to what end or what purposes he will weave through them.  We are excited to see him around every corner, both here and in the nations.  On our El Salvador trip alone, I think there are only four other Americans.  All the rest are beautiful sons and daughters of God from different nations.  What a privilege to be by their side as God displays his faithfulness and his goodness to them and they grow in both trust and faith of this tangible presence.

After I said all that rant in the beginning about the impersonalness of relationships based only on photo sharing.  Here are few photos to share LOL.  Blessings