Unveiled Wife: great site aimed at encouraging wives

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Came across this site this morning while googling for prayers for pray over Dustin. Aimed at encouraging wives with truth and honesty, Jennifer Smith builds up women in their calling as wives. I encourage you to read through this site and share it with others you believe would be blessed by its content!

Please excuse this mess

As you can tell, I’m in the middle of switching to a new layout for my blog and I jumped the gun as usual. Hopefully things will start looking better soon. I have no promises though : ) Just want to ask for you to be patient with me as I fine tune a few things around here. As always, thanks for stopping by!

Tailor-Made: God’s Unique Design

A few years back, the Lord gave me a vision. In the vision, I saw how Asians were brought to America to receive some of the revelation of God that would be more difficult to receive due to the spiritual atmosphere in Asia. Then the Lord would bring them back to Asia to break up the follow ground to help the land receive the seeds of the Word of God (Hosea 10:12).

armor by awrose
(image curtesy of awrose)

In light of this and other prophetic words I’ve received concerning my calling to Asia, I created a mold in my mind of how I need to be trained and who I need to become. Others gave me lists of the requirements of a minister in Asia as well: seminary degree, be able to work harder than a typical American.

But little by little, the Lord was breaking up this mold. Removing it from my hands and giving me something different, His hand to hold. Doors closed to trainings I thought I needed to be a part of. My own weaknesses surfaced more and more until I began to question when I would ever be ready. I felt that I was sequestered to intense inner healing for the rest of my life. Even worse, I began to believe that I’ve failed and therefore unqualified for what the Lord has on His heart for me.

Yet yesterday He spoke to me again and throughout our move to Taiwan that what is most important in life is holding His hands and looking into His eyes. He is faithful to prepare us for what He has called us to do here on earth for He is a good Father and the only One who is omniscient. We cannot foresee what will take place even tomorrow, but He knows already and is faithfully weaving our lives into a beautiful tapestry.

He has created a specific armor and weapons tailor-made for us. Sometimes other will offer us their “Saul-sized” armor and it’ll be tempting not to turn it down. But remember, He does not give us more than what we can bear ((1 Cor. 10:13) but at times our definition of what we can bear often differs from His).

Our lives will look different from others just as facial features, personalities differ so greatly from one person to the next. So Lord, help us not compare, but wear the tailor-made armor and take up our own unique weapon You’ve forged for us in love.

Still

The biggest challenge moving here is how new everything is. Everything seems to have a different tint to it here, something dissimilar from the shades and shapes I’m used to. Uncertainty frequents my heart. Sometimes I’m not quite sure of the Chinese words coming out of my mouth, whether they truly express my heart or is it just a phrase I picked up somewhere. There are many question marks despite the fact that I speak pretty fluent Mandarin Chinese.

Yet what I need most, is not a book on Taiwanese culture, nor Chinese lessons or a native to answer all my questions. The deepest question that is being prodded by all these uncertainties is the question of, “is God still stable enough for me to stand upon now in my instability? Is He too being shaken?”

As I sang along to these lyrics last night, God gently, once again answered this question that’s holding my heart in limbo:

“When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father you are King over the flood
I will be still, know You are God”

As I sang those words, I saw myself standing on a cliff with the waves crashing over me. Yet despite the power of the waves that rushed over me, I saw myself standing upon the Rock, this Rock that is higher than I.

Yes, I miss my friends, the familiarity of knowing exactly where to go to find what, my spiritual mom who always seem to know the right words to calm the anxious and fearful thoughts that rise up within me…….but the same God is my firm foundation that never changes. In that, I can find refuge and rest in midst of the confounding context I find myself in.

Thank You for always being here for me.

God Loves the Real Me: not who I’m trying to be

“You’re on your way to the promised land. Just know this is where we’re going.” 

This past week, I was so weary and worn yet having difficulty sleeping at night. I’d lay there thinking and thinking and thinking. My mind was like a hamster running even when the lights have all turned off. I desperately wanted some sleep. 

Then fear started to creep in. Fear of failing again in ministry. I couldn’t shake it. 

The hours have been a bit more trying and I was afraid I was going to fail again. Somehow in the midst of all the prophetic promises, moving, new coworkers and leaders, I began to tell myself to pull up my bootstraps. I began to tell myself that I just need to push myself a little harder. Work more. So I did and I started to look down more often rather than up into Abba’s eyes. 

It wore on me. The measuring stick I had in my hand of what it means to not fail, to be better than just good enough. I wanted to succeed this time! For ONCE!

But that morning, I found myself confused, needing to talk to the Lord but not knowing how. Needing His arms around me, the same comfort I felt when I sank into our old sofa back home but not being able to. 

I turned to Dustin in the prayer room and told him I was tired, weary, worn….feeling like I can’t do the schedule at APHA and everything else it entails. Feeling like I’m going to fail again. After awhile of talking back and forth, he told me what the Lord put on his heart, God wants to love the real me. Who I really am. 

The tears came flooding in. Invading all the space I was trying to cover with my works. The tower of Babel I was laying brick by brick without God on my side. The painful, weary, trying places of my heart I was working on bettering. I was back on the blindingly bright stage and God in the audience, who I couldn’t see. 

Then He opened my eyes. I saw dirty children running to God joyfully, knowing in their hearts that He will clean them up. Confident they don’t need to clean themselves up first before running to Him. As they drew closer to the Lord, they grew more and more clean, wearing white clothes rather than the dirty ones they were wearing at first. 

Then I saw a child in the dark, outside of God’s presence, trying to scrub himself clean before entering. In the process, he was hurting himself because he was scrubbing his own skin too hard. It broke my heart. 

The Lord then came with His angels and they began dressing my wounds. Caring for each one with patience and gentleness and covering me instead of exposing me. He said to me, “real leadership covers.” 

Suddenly, the song Healer came through the webstream that was playing in the prayer room. 

You hold my every moment

You calm my raging seas

You walk with me through fire

And heal all my disease

I trust in You

I trust in You

I believe You’re my Healer

I believe You are all I need

I believe You’re my Portion

I believe You’re more than enough for me

Jesus You’re all I need

Nothing is impossible for You

Nothing is impossible for You

Nothing is impossible for You

You hold my world in Your hands

God held me with these promises these words that are true. I found His arms reminding me yet again, so faithfully and so gently, that He is my Healer, not me. He doesn’t expect me to fulfill all the prophetic promises over my life on my own. I can’t get anywhere by trying harder and pushing myself to do better. 

He reminded me of the passage He highlighted to me the day before,

“Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” -Exodus 14:11,13-14 

It’s His invitation for me to stand still and witness the salvation of the Lord, the Lord fight for me, destroy the Egyptians while giving me peace during the whole process. 

Yes Lord, You are my Healer! You are my conquering Lion. He will break every chain, take all my hurt and pain. Thank You Abba! 

I pray for you to encounter His gentleness, patience and power again today and everyday! He is your Healer as well. 

Not Just Better Healthcare: What the Poor REALLY Needs

Just read this great article this morning. Here are some noteworthy excerpts. 

“The patient nurturing of self-worth, self-expectations, dreams, and aspirations may be a critical part of helping children escape poverty. It is a holistic approach that secular antipoverty initiatives have largely downplayed, but an approach that Christian development groups have championed for decades.

The traditional approach to development work has been to provide things for people. If people lack education, we build them schools. If they are unhealthy, we build them hospitals and provide doctors, or we drill a freshwater well. If their small businesses are stagnant, we provide microcredit so they can borrow.

While each of these interventions can be helpful in the right context, mere provision fails to address the root of poverty: the behaviors, social systems, and mindset that are created by poverty.

The key to ending poverty resides in the capacity of human beings—and their view of their own capacity—to facilitate positive change.

Indeed, every time we provide something for someone else in need, we send a subtle message to them that we believe they are incapable of providing for themselves.

While some interventions are necessary, especially in the area of health, they come at a cost of reinforcing an inferiority complex among the poor. Good development organizations understand this. Along with providing some basic resources that allow children to progress farther in school, the child-development approach advocated by Compassion appears to get under the hood of human beings to instill aspirations, character formation, and spiritual direction.

In short, it trains people to be givers instead of receivers.” –Want to Change the World? Sponsor a Child (Article from Christianity Today) 

Scars heal and fade

It is true. Scars heal and after awhile its once vivid imprints on the body fade away. Though it may take days, months, years and decades maybe, it fades under the light of His face and in His gentle hands. 

(photo credit: SodanieChea)

I was growing weary of listening to others recount their healing testimonies. Particularly others who have already experienced healing in their relationships with their parents. I wanted so desperately to know what that’s like. 

I tried. I tried to be polite. To smile when the buttons of pain in my heart are pushed by careless words. To look away when wounds are triggered. But I still cried, I still yelled, I still felt. It seemed like it would never stop. 

The enemy told me I didn’t truly love God. If I was a true Christian, a real Christian, I wouldn’t feel, retaliate, yell, be angry or cry. If I truly loved my mother, I would forgive and understand her circumstances and her pain. But as I focused on these lies he presented day after day, believing in these black lies that rob and tie me down, I lost hold of the truth, of the Light that gives life. Of the grace of Christ that gives provision for what He commands. The Hand that extends out to me rather than just me alone grasping. 

Truth found me again hiding in the corner. He sang songs to calm my fears. He clothed me with beauty, covering me with safety. He held my hand until I was ready to come out of the darkness. Then He opened my eyes to see from His own beautiful sight. 

Who I am to Him is one who loves Him, loves my family but just simply struggling to heal on my own. He held me, put faith in my heart to trust in His kindness and goodness. Then one day, I looked up back into His eyes to see clearly once again. To receive without flinching. Stepped into the day with His hand in mine. 

I can see clearly the truth. He loves me and will continually fill me so I can love. Love my mom. See her brokenness. See her efforts at love I once dismissed as control, abuse and use. Open my clenched fists to receive freely once again from Him all that I ever will need. 

Becoming a House of Prayer: we are His resting place

As I sit here in my mom’s apartment in Taipei, Taiwan where I used to be tempted and give into the lie that God has forsaken this country, I am reminded of what God spoke to me when I sat here last October. As I was struggling to focus on my quiet time, I looked outside the window and my eyes fell upon the mountains in the distance. The Lord whispered, “I made those mountains, even now, I am here in this place.” 

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“I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.” -Psalm 121 

One of the powerful wisdoms of the House of Prayer is that it creates a context for God’s children to become God’s temple or resting place. God is looking for a resting place, “heaven is my throne the earth is my foot stool, Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?” (Isaiah 66:1). When we allow the Lord to take us on this journey of becoming His resting place, His home, we begin to know that He is with us always. We walk further from loneliness, fear and torment and we step daily closer into His presence that has always been available to us. Though oftentimes, it is difficult to see the progress and to measure the growth for years, it is imperative to set our minds on the truth of His Word that we are being renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). 

I still remember when I would be struck with fear when I visited Taiwan, this land that is populated with temples and overt idol worship. But as the years progressed, unbeknownst to me, the Lord was faithfully perfecting me while I sat in His presence and gazed into His beauty. Just by looking at Him, sitting with Him transformed me into His likeness, my heart into His home. This is how powerful He is

Though there will be difficult times in Taiwan and intense spiritual warfare, God has etched this powerful truth into my heart, He is with me even until the end. Thank You Lord. 

About to Leave….thoughts and stuff

As I was packing up our kitchen today, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad about leaving this place. Though a couple weeks back, some unanswered questions and unresolved issues tempted me to give into resentment, now a week away from moving to Asia and leaving this place, I feel that God has brought my heart to a much better place. 

This all took place within a week. First, Dustin’s mentor, Gary was in town last week to attend IHOPKC’s Israel Mandate conference. Something he said really stuck with me. It’s simple really, right there in the Bible waiting for me to remember again that God does work ALL things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Even though there are some loose strings that I’d rather have double knotted and tied to something solid, I’m choosing to trust that He is good and He’ll work the troubling things out for my good. 

Next, while reading Jack Frost’s book something he said struck me as well. He said that he started to be ok with with being broken and weak and that’s what helped him in his journey of healing. I’m not perfect and God’s not expecting me to be a finished product right now. 

Lastly, at my small group this past Tuesday, Becky shared a revelation she received that deeply blessed me. She said that there will always be people who are critical of us. But God calls us to look to Him and live before the audience of One, Him alone. I’m not called to live before man and make sure everyone likes me and is ok with the choices I make in my life. If that was the case, I’d be going nuts. 

Before all these words God spoke to me, I was preoccupied and overly consumed with the potential of people not liking me in Taiwan for some reason. Afraid that I’d fail and disappoint people. But the Lord continually reminds me that there is no place where I can hide from His presence. That though it’s dark and there are idols and temples everywhere in Taiwan, He IS STILL THERE with me! And everyday is a new opportunity to wake up to His voice singing loudly over me and take His hand to do that day with Him! 

Thank You Lord for these little nuggets. You always know what I need to hear!

Anointed Book on the Father’s Love: Jack Frost’s Experiencing the Father’s Embrace

I just picked up this book the other day and have already been deeply touched by its anointing to reveal the Father’s love. I’ve heard of Jack Frost from my friend a couple years back but recently, I’ve just been feeling that the Lord is taking me even deeper into His love for me as my Father so I picked it up.

If this is something you’re wanting to go deeper into, I highly recommend checking this book out. 

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I also found some teaching videos of his on YouTube. They’re really good too! Hope these resources blesses your heart and takes you deep into Abba’s embrace!