Friday, February 1, 2013

Growth and transition

I haven’t written a blog post in a while. Andrew’s done almost all the blogging in recent weeks. I think it’s because during first semester, what God was doing in me was deep and raw, and I had trouble understanding it, let alone expressing it. I’m usually a verbal processor—either out loud or in writing—but the changes that were taking place in me seemed to defy words.

Also, much of what I was thinking about first semester was introspective, and we didn’t really come here for introspection. We came here to learn how to be world-changers for Jesus. So somehow all the navel gazing I was doing didn’t seem fit to write about.

But I now see that God didn’t just want to bring us here to add to our ministry skills, He wanted to truly transform us. And true transformation requires renewed thinking, from the inside out. So no wonder I was spending a lot of time inside myself. 

In short, during first semester God was stripping away all my false identities, everything that I thought was crucial for my relationship with Him. It wasn’t just about losing the proximity of family, community, ministry and everything else familiar, I also, for a time, lost my hunger and passion for Him.

But He didn’t stop speaking. He told me so many things. He sought me out where I was hiding—sometimes literally at the back of the auditorium—and gave me words from people I didn’t even know. One time a girl I’d never met tapped me on the shoulder and described how she was sensing God sees me. Another time a woman gave me some art that she felt had a message from God for me. Those words spoke about how He loves intimacy with me and how He loves the fragrance I bring to worship, whether I feel His presence or not. And of course there were emails and words of encouragement from many of you.

During first semester, God told me that He has me hidden on purpose right now because it’s a time of rest. He told me that this time of rest is promotion, because certain breakthroughs come from rest that can’t come from work. Sometimes you acquire new territory in the Spirit by fighting and fasting and praying for it, and I’ve certainly had times like that in recent years. Other land you simply inherit as a son or daughter. That’s the stage I’m at right now.

God told me that I’m not to work or fight for approval from Him or from people anymore. He wants so much more for me than to base my identity on being liked.

Recently I’ve been fascinated with the Holy of Holies, the part of the tabernacle in the Old Testament that only high priests could enter to represent the people before God. Did you know that priests weren’t allowed to sweat in the Most Holy place? The other day one of our lecturers surmised that it’s because perspiration represents work, and we can’t work our way into the presence of God, we can only rest our way into it through Jesus’ work on the cross. I like that.

This semester is a new season. I feel a new momentum and excitement. I feel so much more secure in who I am in Jesus. I don’t have anything to prove. I want to minister because I’m overflowing with His love, not to earn anything.

In fact I’ve been feeling an aching and burning in my chest in the presence of God these days. It’s almost like He’s growing my heart to love more and better. When I pray and journal, He’s been telling me that when Holy Spirit power and supernatural love come together, heaven explodes onto the scene.

Out of that place of overflowing with His love and power, amazing things are happening when I go out to spread His love on the streets of Redding, as part of my practical aspect of our Bethel program. In upcoming blog posts I want to share some of those stories.

But for now, I want to say thank you to everyone who prayed and encouraged me through an emotionally tumultuous first semester. The light at the end of the tunnel is blinding and beautiful. 

- Anne

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