I See You

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The world around me swirls and I am caught up in the motion. So many people in need. Abandoned. Alone. At risk. So many people enslaved. They need help. They need rescue. They need freedom. They need me. What can I do but pray? I can pray.

But what else? There must be more. There is more.

I am available. USE ME. I want to break down walls. But now I only see the walls. I see too much. It becomes too much. I can not see it all. It becomes a blur. I am burdened. I am sad. In the recesses of my heart are cries too deep for words.

I am still.

He speaks.

I listen.

I ask.

Do you see them, God? DO YOU? Why not rescue? Why not freedom? Why not deliverance?

In a moment, in worship… He whispers… I SEE YOU. I SEE THEM.

This same evening, I read with my daughter Exodus 3. Moses is drawn to the bush.  Believing he was unseen. NO. He was not unseen. I SEE YOU. I SEE THEM.

I feel like Moses. I can not compare to Moses. But I feel what he might have felt. He saw his people enslaved. He wanted to see justice. He wanted to break down walls. He took the judgement into his own hands. He killed. Afraid, he ran. To a desert hiding place. Yet found again, embraced by a father. He tends his father in laws flock. I SEE YOU. I SEE THEM. He is found again. He can not hide.

I have heard the cries of the people. My brothers and sisters across the earth in need of deliverance. I want to scream at every injustice. I want to obliterate the evil in this world. Yet He calls me to SEE as HE SEES. He calls me to see the wounded and the one who wounds. He calls me to see the abused and the abuser. He calls me to see the broken and the one who breaks. He calls me to see the prisoner and the guard. When the walls come down, they are ALL in need of freedom and deliverance.

He beckons me to know His voice and TRUST. 

I am doing what I see my Father doing. I am shepherding. I am caring for a flock. Yet I am drawn to the bush. The bush which never ceases to burn. My heart groans as the bush burns. The Spirit intercedes. He gently shows me…

I need to TRUST.

I heard the Lord speak in the whisper, in the moment of worship – I SEE YOU. I SEE THEM. My heart responds – I KNOW. I WILL TRUST.

God speaks. I see the affliction of My people… I have heard their cry… I know their sufferings… I have come to deliver them.

Sin abounds. All hell has broken loose on the earth. Hopelessness is center stage. Are we forgotten? Maybe you have felt? Maybe you have asked? But NO. We are not forgotten. HE SEES US. HE SEES THEM.

Rescue is coming for ALL. I know it. I will tend my flock as Moses did. Until the time comes when God says GO.

What is your spirit groaning for? Share and let me know ~ In Him, Leslie

Running Prayers

A few days ago I went running –and by ‘running’ I mean trudging along the pavement loudly breathing, feet heavy with each step– picture an elephant running from a lion. yep. that’s me ‘running’. Still. I run. Slowly… surely… at an 11 minute mile pace. I run.

I left the house after piddling around delaying the inevitable workout. I was thankful for an opportunity to exercise in the beautiful outdoors and have some quiet moments to myself while Adam was home with the kids. The primary reason I run is for mental sanity. I’m not really burning off blubber or becoming a body builder with this speed — but I am keeping sane. When I run, I am a better mom. wife. friend. everything. For me, running is more of a mental workout. I worship, listen to sermons, or run in silence. Running is a sacred time of heart racing, muscle engaging moments connecting with my Creator, becoming undone in His presence.  

Within the first few seconds of take off, my excitement for this spiritual workout dwindled and I almost turned around. My knee began to hurt and I talked myself into continuing as a ‘fast walk’. –hey. better than nothing I assured myself– after a few minutes, I began running again. My knee stopped hurting and settled into my 11 minute mile pace and heavy breathing pattern. I was feeling pretty good.

About halfway thru my 3 miles of running blazing glory, my mind was focused on God and listening. I breezed by the family of baby ducklings living on the small lake near our home. I have passed them many times before, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at their cuteness. This time, I prayed a prayer of protection over the ducklings. Within seconds, my thoughts second-guessed this seemly silly prayer and I was surprised the prayer had even crossed my mind. Suddenly the prayer doubt was swept away by the sureness of His closeness. I was firmly settled in God’s presence as my feet clomped along with each obedient step. I felt fully in tune with His thoughts.

A moment later, I came around the bend of the lake and heard a dog approaching behind me. Unsure of the dog being on a leash, I turned around and saw two young girls running down the hill toward the path – one wrestling the dogs leash to keep him pulled back, the other holding a net. As I turned back toward the path, I noticed three more baby ducklings separated from the rest of their family. My heart sank. I knew.

I continued around the bend, and stopped on the bridge –adding more time to my already slow mileage– but my mothers instinct and Holy Spirit prompting, burdened me to stop and pay attention to these girls. I waited to see what I knew was going to happen. The girl with the net scooped up one of the ducklings holding it gently, while the other girl held onto the dogs leash.

“Hey girls, you probably shouldn’t pick them up… ummm… it could mess up their feeding with their mom.” I wasn’t sure what else to say, and these girls weren’t being malicious toward the ducklings, but I knew I needed to say something. After all, I had just asked God to protect these ducklings and I was pretty sure the mother duck wasn’t okay with her baby being caught and cuddled by a human. I think the girls were surprised I said anything or that anyone was paying attention. She replied “Oh sorry” and quickly let the duckling go back to its mother, who was quacking loudly distraught over the whole incident, I’m certain ;).

As I continued my run, I asked God why He prompted such a simple prayer for baby ducks. His response — I care about every detail, no matter how small. Listen attentively for My voice. I will prompt you to pray for greater things — and He did.

When I run, I may move slowly thru the mileage, but I know my prayers are mighty, moving mountains for His glory upon the earth. May His Kingdom come more quickly even now. Amen.

Have you ever prayed a simple prayer only to discover the depth and understanding of it? Share your thoughts! Feel free to comment and follow this blog for more half written records on our journey!

In Him, Leslie 🙂

Night of Worship

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One of my first experiences at a ‘Night of Worship’ was in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, led by the worship leader Dennis Jernigan. I was 16 years old and one of my best friends invited me to attend the Night of Worship with her. I was eager to go, and I had no idea what to expect. But God…

My heart was beating to know God more. I grew up in church and “knew God”, but the desire for more was unquenched. I hungered to know Him more deeply. I sought to understand Him more intimately. As a 16 year old, my thoughts we on homework, friendships, choir practices, a few boys … and God. I attended youth group with my friends, but there was always something missing. My soul was searching to know God personally, beyond what I learned from my parents, my youth group, my youth pastor, and thru friendships.

During the Night of Worship, I weaved between listening to the voices around me singing, observing expressions of worship I had never seen before, and participating in a realm of worship I had never experienced. At one point during the evening, Dennis gently said, “Lift your hands to the Lord” … and I did. I had never lifted my hands in worship before. The moment my hands were surrendered, heat filled my palms. The Holy Spirit touched my hands. I didn’t fully understand what I was experiencing, but after that moment, my life was forever changed.

My friends and I continued attending Nights of Worship with Dennis Jernigan. They were crazy and wild. We would worship for hours, dancing before the Lord. Every single time, we would leave the church drenched in sweat. Those sweet moments with the Lord began to build upon a foundation of worship I would grow in.

Twenty years later, and I am a changed Worshipper.

Worship is a force that changes people. When all our affection, our attention and adoration is focused on the worship of Jesus, everything changes. As we worship, He changes the atmosphere. I am forever changed in worship. I am changed when all my affection, my attention, my adoration is focused on Jesus. Worship is our response to Jesus. When we are surrendered in worship, we are surrendering to Jesus. His great love for us changes us. And our response is more worship of Him. 

Dennis Jernigan’s story is one of redemption and response. After experiencing the love of Jesus, he was redeemed from a homosexual lifestyle, and his response was worship. As his life was changed by Jesus, he began leading worship… leading others into response toward Jesus. His journey as a Worshipper has profoundly impacted mine. His songs spoke profound truths I would sing continuously, carrying the melodies beyond the Nights of Worship and into my daily life. One Night of Worship can change everything – Here is a quote from his testimony.

“Upon my graduation from OBU in 1981, God began to move in supernatural ways that even I couldn’t see! One of these instances was a simple music concert. A group called The Second Chapter of Acts was going to be in concert in Norman, Oklahoma, and I knew that I was supposed to go. By that time in my life I was looking for anybody who was real, someone who had a real walk with the Lord. Among Christian musicians, I was looking for more than entertainers. So, I went to their concert. I knew by the words they said and the music they sang that these people were genuine, and the message was born out of times of desperation in their own lives. I needed hope. As I listened to Annie Herring speak and sing I was overwhelmed by the love she spoke of. This was the love I had dreamed of but still couldn’t believe was available to me! So I listened very intently with great expectation–until she came to the song Mansion Builder. This song caught my deepest attention because of the simple phrase, “Why should I worry? Why should I fret? I’ve got a Mansion Builder Who ain’t through with me yet?”18 All of a sudden she just stopped in the middle of the song and said, “There are those of you here who are dealing with things that you have never told anyone and you are carrying those burdens and that’s wrong–that’s sin and you need to let those hurts go and give them to the Lord. We are going to sing the song again and I want you to lift your hands to the Lord–and all of those burdens that you are carrying, I want you to place them in your hands and lift your hurts to Him.” This was all new to me–worship and praise. I had always thought before that this was just an emotional response that didn’t really mean anything. But you know what it did for me? As I lifted my hands, God became more real to me than I had ever imagined! The lifting of my hands was more than a physical action. My hands were an extension of my heart! I realized that Jesus had lifted His hands for me–upon the cross. I realized that He truly was beside me and that He was willing to walk with me and carry me and just be honest with me. And I could be honest with Him! At that moment, I cried out to God and lifted those burdens to the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, I can’t change me or the mess I’ve gotten myself into–but you can!” And you know what? He did change me!”

Worship changes everything. Jesus’ love for us changes everything. Our response to Jesus changes everything.

Have you been changed in worship? I’d love to hear your story! Feel free to share and comment.

In Him ~ Leslie

Pursuing Love

We’ve been given nineteen years of love days together. This Valentines day was our best. one. yet. We had a wonderful date of adoration and conversation… No, this date was not filled with fancy clothes, flowers, jewelry or a lavish dinner… none of those things, really. We did not give each other gifts… we gave each other ourselves. We knew ahead of time we would not exchange gifts, we rarely do. Our expectations of each other were met, not by wants of material things we do not need, but the ease of an evening simply being together.

Our kids were well taken care of, unbound by any time frame, thankful money was no worry. We set out for a hole-in-the-wall middle eastern restaurant… Adam had a coupon for, of course. I love my thrifty man 😉 We prefer our own home cooked food to most restaurants, and enjoy cooking together, so we typically have low expectations of food when we eat out… yet we always hold high expectations of the coffee shops we frequent. We’re weirdos, I know.

We meandered our way thru downtown Portland, enjoying moments, even those we spent in traffic. Parking spot scored, with coupon in hand, we strolled on over to the restaurant. The owners greeted us and we settled in at our table. Their place is tiny, with only 5 tables, bustling with local customers coming and going. After we ordered, we observed everyone in the space was speaking Arabic, and greeting the husband and wife owners as if they were their own parents. Even though we were the only Caucasians in the restaurant, and I was the only female, besides the owners wife, we felt at home.

As we waited on our food, we were both in awe of what God was orchestrating. We were in the middle of another country, in the middle of Portland, Oregon, we were on our mission field. After we finished our food, the owner asked us how everything was. We told him the truth – they were the best gyros we’ve ever had. He began sharing about the restaurant and how he has been running the business. As we talked more, he came and sat down with us and we talked more. He was hilarious, sharing stories of how he took over the restaurant a few years ago, and made many changes, including not accepting coupons anymore – darn! 😉 But we didn’t care about the coupon, we only cared about the fact that our Valentines date was now being spent with an old Arabic man sharing his life story…

As we continued the conversation, we asked him, “How can we pray for you? How can we pray for your business?” He opened up, and we began to share with him our walk with Jesus. Adam told him he was a Pastor. Their response – “A priest? You’re too young to be a priest!” He hears that a lot from people, and he’s been serving in ministry for 20 years. He shared his own convictions and how he sees his relationship God… how he honors Jesus, Moses and Allah. I asked him more about Jesus… “How do you see Jesus?” He did not see him as equal to God or as Lord, but a prophet. We agreed to disagree, and after talking more, Adam shared with him John 14:6 and Jesus’ claim to be the only way to the Father. We talked with him for an hour, He kept saying, “I love talking to you about religion. It makes me feel good!” Their business began to pick up again, and he had to start cooking again. We thanked him for the wonderful food, said our good-byes and practically floated out of the restaurant.

Our date was spent sharing the pursuing love of Jesus with this precious man. Afterwards, we went to a coffee shop and had the honor to meet and pray for 2 more people the Holy Spirit connected us with. Throughout the whole evening, as Adam and I worshipped and talked about God’s furious love for us, His love could not be contained within us. The overflow of His love poured out of us and onto those we came in touch with.

We had the best Valentines date… in fact, the best date of all time. The evening ended with a deeper understanding and revelation of God’s love for us and His love for others. We were rested, refreshed and renewed from the amazing moments we shared with each other and others we met. We are honored to be used by God and look forward to the next person Holy Spirit leads us to!

For Valentines and every day, I am a girl who longs for the presence of God in every moment. Flowers will die, clothing will become outdated, jewelry will fade, fancy dinners will go down the toilet… but God’s furious love is everlasting and is the only treasure worthy of my pursuing. 

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8

Do you know God’s love? His love changes everything. The pages are open to share your story… feel free to comment, ask for prayer, ask questions and share this blog. Our stories rage on… In Him, Leslie