week 5

I say this every time, but I cannot believe how quickly time is flying by. I was talking with some friends and it feels as though we’ve been here for like a year, when in reality we’ve only been here for 5 weeks, which isn’t really anything crazy in the grand scheme of things, but man a lot of growth has happened in this time. I feel like a lot of growth has happened this week alone, it’s almost as if the seeds that God has been planting about my identity and my gifts and who I am to Him are starting to sprout. I know it's going to take time for more growth to happen, but dang it feels good. God spoke to me a lot this week, and someway, somehow I got to spend a lot of time alone with Him (if you’ve lived in community before you can see just how hard that is). I definitely spent hours this week at the table on the top of the mill this week looking at downtown Lynden and journaling and talking to God and having Him speak back. He helped me realize so much this week, both just through knowing truth and through speaking through my friends and leaders and teachers here. That doesn’t mean it was all good though, many prayers were said and lots of tears were shed and lots of hard conversations were had, but I can’t thank God enough for the patience He has and for the patience He gives other people. I feel like I’ve said it so many times, but it has become even more abundantly clear that God has had his hand all over this school and the people He has in it this session. I couldn’t be more grateful. Literally after everything this week, all I’ve wanted to do is worship and praise Him for who He is. He made a pretty cool promise to me this week. I was sitting in class and He just said He was going to deliver me from the things that I’ve been wrestling with this week (and every week since being here if we’re being honest). Things that have had such a strong grip on my entire life, but especially in this past year. Things like diagnoses and addictions that have held me so tight, and that honestly I haven’t let go of either. But God said He'll deliver me from that, and I know that He will. It may not be in my timing, but I can hold faith that it will happen because God keeps His promises. And He reminded me of that today in a pretty tangible way. In January 2020 when I was in the hospital I spent a lot of time listening to KTIS (for those of you outside the twin cities it's our christian radio station). I remember what felt like every 3rd song was Another in the Fire by Hillsong. I spent a lot of time speaking those words over my circumstances that week. Reminding myself that I wasn’t alone, that God was in it with me. Well I don’t think I’ve sang that song since then, and they played it at church this morning. Then to make matters even more crazy Pastor Kyle looked at Hebrews 11 during the sermon today. I read Hebrews in the hospital and was so focused on chapter 11 after getting out. The idea that all of these things happened by faith, and despite not always receiving the things that were promised, they died in faith. I can genuinely say I have no recollection of what that meant to me last year, but it was significant enough to post about at that time and it’s significant enough to post about now. On February 9th last year I wrote “He wants so desperately to heal your heart, mind, and soul…” And that's literally what He has spent these past 5 weeks so clearly doing. Today God showed me that in such a clear way. Especially after talking last night about this concept of deliverance and healing from things, the significance of what was shared at church today is massive. It's a testament to the things He has already brought me through. It’s almost as if I couldn’t see it before, but I see it now. I see the things that shattered me last year have been mended, and most importantly, I see that He was in it the whole time, even if it didn’t feel that way in some of the more difficult moments. But God is so good. I’ve had to stop writing this multiple times to go “take a lap” as I call it, just because my heart is so overwhelmed by God. And not that it’s about me, but man does it feel good. 

I have had that desire to worship and never stop deep in my soul since Friday. Matt, one of the advanced students, invited a bunch of us to his church’s 24 hour prayer burn for revival in the city of Bellingham. They had three hour sessions of prayer and worship led by incredible people. I got there at 5:30 for a little message about what the intentions were, and I genuinely didn’t leave until 3:30 am. It was incredible. For lack of a better term, there is a magic behind corporate worship in a setting like that. It’s individual but together… and I understand that genuinely makes no sense, but it does if you think about it. I felt joy for the first time in months. Genuine joy. All because I was praising God. I was thinking about Revelation 4 and 5 earlier on Friday morning. “And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever.” When we worship it directly impacts God in the throne room. I think we’re taught, at least I was, that God hears our praises, but I don’t think I ever truly pictured that. It was just an idea, but now it’s real. Which honestly is pretty dang cool. It shows that there is literally a physical impact, wish I wish isn’t something I needed, but unfortunately that's how my brain works. I had that same sort of view of prayer before this week as well. I knew it was good to pray, and it was important, but it never felt like it had an impact. And my idea of intercession was just praying for people because it's the right thing to do. Harmony Brown spoke on prayer and intercession this week and it was incredible. She encouraged us to take things to God and the word and to really wrestle with them. She encouraged us to sit in the tension even when it’s uncomfortable, and to take a good long look at the things we are believing and whether or not they’re biblical. She talked about intercession being anything that brings the Kingdom to earth. She talked about the authority that God has given us and how much of an intimate connection is created between us and God. And one of my favorite things that she said that seriously changed how I view prayer was that there is a responsibility in prayer. It's not just something we do because we are told that it's good (even though it is). It’s the idea that through prayer, we can take a stand against the reality that the enemy is fighting for. That change of view has already allowed me to pray differently, it's almost as if a fear I didn’t know existed has dissipated. I can pray with confidence and I can go boldly to the throne of God. I haven’t been able to do that in the past. It’s almost as if there's been an awakening in my soul, and it's hard to feel like it’s not some delusion, but I have to make the conscious decision to live by faith and trust in the Lord. And that’s exactly what I plan to do.