Seasons… From Death to Life

The Lord has been really working hard on my heart in this season. Many moments haven’t been pretty but He is in the process of making all things beautiful. I have had to run to Him with some of the biggest, most important questions of my life and sit and wait for His answers. One by one, He’s been so gently and lovingly speaking His truth and light into each situation I bring to Him.

It’s been frustrating feeling like I have such little understanding and control over my heart and emotions. I’ve been a mess. My heart has been so raw and exposed that in many moments I haven’t been able to love other people well. My whole life is centered around loving Jesus and loving His children, and the last few weeks I haven’t done a great job at either of those. But His grace is always sufficient. As He’s been bringing clarity to my plaguing questions, my heart, my mind, and my spirit are all in a much better place. I feel fully free in my identity once again. I’ve been able to step back into what He is asking me to do each day with a sound mind and a heart that’s secured inside His own heart. Our God is a God of clarity, not confusion!

In this process of questioning and surrendering Jesus is teaching me what it means to die beautifully like the autumn leaves so that I can live joyfully in His presence. He has given me several pictures of what He’s doing in my heart this season and those words best describe it. He’s walking with me through a season of death so that He can bring everything back to life in His timing, in His way, in His perfect love.

This is an excerpt from one of my journal entries last week where Jesus expanded more on this image:

“I am in a season of learning what it means to die beautifully. That means things are falling off of me everyday, when I’m looking and when I’m not. You have been in the process since April of changing the colors of the leaves in my life. People have gotten to watch this process and they’re now getting to witness the leaves fall. Even though it is beautiful to watch, there’s a part of the tree that is dying and only the tree can feel the death that is taking place…”

So I am learning to be obedient to death in each moment day to day. It is a choice. Just like Jesus chose to be obedient to death on a cross, He is my example.

“I am poured out like water… you lay me in the dust of death.” (Pslam 22:14-15)

“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2)

I am learning how to cling to Jesus as my one source of hope, joy, love, peace and everything else I need. I am so grateful to be surrounded by beautiful people who challenge me, encourage me, and love me so well even in the middle of my mess. Even in this season, the Lord is using my life to bring His kids to know Him so I continue to lay down my life as a broken vessel to be used for His glory.

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Free to Dream and Dance

So much has happened in this first month back after my trip to the states! Jesus has been at work in big ways not only in our ministry but also in my heart.

In the last month the Lord has been confirming over and over again that even in my weakest moments His grace is sufficient and even when I fail His goodness is evident in the testimony of my life. Last Monday Jesus gave me a heavy revy (heavy revelation) when I was feeling guilty about not spending time alone with Him that day. He gently reminded me that I am already complete because the fullness of Jesus is alive in me in every moment. It’s not about what I do or don’t do each day, it’s about who He is in me everyday. This means that it gets to be my greatest joy to live everyday with the fire He has put in my heart. He is my strong, steady companion and He is the only source for everything I need. He never runs out, His living waters never dry up, His promises are yes and amen to nothing less than an abundant life.

Abundance is released when we deny ourselves and seek His kingdom above everything else. It’s not a one time decision, it is a process of transformation where He invites us every single day to lay down our lives and pick up our cross. It is a process that doesn’t depend on our own ability, but fully depends on His perfect ability to make us new creations – pure, holy, and blameless in His eyes. One of the most beautiful things about choosing to totally surrender our lives to Jesus is that He delights in giving His children the desires of our hearts. Part of the freedom He gives us access to requires our willingness to open our hearts to dream with Him and have faith that He is able to do far greater things than we could ever imagine. He is asking me to start dreaming with Him in a way that exceeds my own limits, understanding and expectations. He is opening my eyes to catch a glimpse of His heart and His vision that is behind each of the dreams he has planted in me over the years. He is leading me into fully trusting Him with the most intimate desires I have hidden in my heart and believing that He knows them even better than I do.

For those of you who know my story, dance has been a passion God has used as a tool to heal my heart of a lot of brokenness. In one of the darkest seasons of my life He used it to bring my heart back to Him, to help me find joy, peace, confidence, strength and freedom. Now when I dance it is an act of worship it unlocks His presence in a way that is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. In the last few weeks He has been reminding me of how deep this passion is and confirming that He has such a beautiful purpose for this desire of my heart. So now the Lord has opened the door for me to start a “dance team” with a group of the kids we work with in the Nueva Vida (trash dump) community. We’ve only practiced a few times, but so far everyone is loving it. I’m filled with great anticipation to see what God does in His children through just giving them space to worship Him with dance. I know it has to potential to heal hearts, to bring joy, and to release freedom to some of the most broken people in Nicaragua. He is raising up an army of worshipers who will flood the darkest places to dance with His marvelous light and I am excited He has called me to be a part of it!

Worship is our weapon and our King is worthy of our praise! When we worship we get to lay down all of our emotions, guilt, fear and anything else that’s holding us back from pouring out our offering of praise because He is worthy of it all.

Heaven Crashed Down

One week. One supernatural encounter. More than 20 lives that will never be the same.

Going into this “encounter week” it seemed like a last-minute, under-planned activity that we invited more than 20 people to be a part of, the majority being Nicaraguan teenagers from several different ministries around Managua. It is amazing what God can do with one simple “yes” when we’re willing to trust Him with the details.

The first half of the week was hard because most of the teens were cold, closed, distant, and distracted. The leaders felt like we weren’t getting anywhere or seeing any of the progress we had been hoping for. Wednesday was the most challenging day, with very obvious attacks from the enemy from pretty much every angle on both the students and leaders. But soon as we woke up the next day, we could tell that something in the spiritual atmosphere had shifted and were expectant to see what Jesus had in store for us that day. Sure enough, before worship even started, the Lord began stirring in hearts all around the room. Our 20 minute pre-teaching prayer time turned into a 2 hour worship session and Holy Spirit moved in mighty ways. We got to pray for deliverance for several of the boys and when they got up they chose to fully commit their lives to Jesus and asked to be baptized. So we piled everyone in a truck and a van and went to a Laguna to baptize 5 boys and celebrate their new freedom and life in Christ. There is nothing better than watching Jesus set His children free.


Thursday was so good we couldn’t imagine how Friday could possibly be any better, but we were excited to watch the Lord pour out His presence and have His way in the lives of His children again. The teachings the whole week had lead up to this final day, where we wanted to put Holy Spirit on full display and impart His power into each of the teens as we closed out the week. Michael (founder of the Isaiah Ministry and another long-term missionary here in Nicaragua) shared a teaching about what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit and what it means to do life with Him. Then I shared my testimony about my journey of seeking more over the last year and how much my life has been totally transformed in the last few months since being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Towards the end of my testimony, several people in the room started getting touched as Holy Spirit giggles filled the room. As soon as I finished, one of the teen boys named Josue pulled me aside and said, “Heather, I’m shaking so bad and I can’t stop. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” I honestly wasn’t sure either, so a couple other leaders and I began to pray for him.

As soon as we started praying, he closed his eyes and it became clear we had entered into a battle for freedom from the darkness that had weighed him down for many years. After more than 30 minutes of super intense prayer for deliverance, we saw that his spirit shifted and he wasn’t fighting anymore. He was peaceful. We waited and stayed with him, but the things he was saying took our breath away. He said, “I see the light…. It’s so bright and it’s coming closer. He’s coming up to me… He’s washing my feet. He sprayed me with perfume. He’s so beautiful! Thank you Lord.” We realized that He was talking about Jesus, and he was with Jesus. Then he was silent for a few minutes so we waited with him. He started mumbling under his breath but none of us who were sitting around him could understand what he was saying at first. But then his voice changed and the words became clearer and we realized that even though his eyes were still closed, he was speaking to us. We were confused at first by the things he was saying, “Seek me. Seek me my children. My presence is with you. I’m coming soon. I’m coming soon!” And with those words, we realized it was no longer Josue speaking, it was Jesus.

In awe and disbelief, I started trembling and weeping uncontrollably. Could this really be Him? Am I really sittingwith my Savior? How can I be sure? I couldn’t take my eyes off of him as he (while still laying down on the floor with his eyes closed) began to reach out and touch each one of us that were sitting at his side. He reached out to me and pulled my head to his chest and quietly said to me, “Thank you my daughter for doing this week with the teens.” That was the moment in my spirit where I couldn’t deny it, I knew it had to my Jesus because I recognized His voice.

And He was saying “thank you” to me? I continued to weep even more uncontrollably than before. It was this lovesick heart-cry from the deepest parts of my soul. I was sitting with Jesus, closer than I’ve ever been to seeing Him face to face. But then He wrapped His arms around me and said to me, “Don’t cry. Don’t cry! It’s better if you smile. I want you to smile. Please be joyful in my presence! Your smile is beautiful, and you are beautiful! I love you.” As soon as He said that I was completely overwhelmed by the joy of the Lord and began laughing hysterically. And that spread to each person who was sitting in around Him. Then there was a big gust of wind outside, and He said, “Did you see that? Do not doubt, my children. That was me, I am here with you!”

I cherished every word and every moment, in awe that He was everything I imagined Him to be and so much more: sweet, peaceful, loving, tender, gentle, funny, captivating and beautiful.  One by one Jesus called everyone in the room by name (with his eyes closed the whole time), and spoke to each one individually. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I watched as, one by one, Jesus touched and transformed His children. He called them by name to set them free from religion, from demons, from the pain of their past. He healed the hearts of many and several got healed physically. He whispered intimate secrets that made people sprint across the room and jump for joy. He kept giving us new spiritual gifts – to many tongues, to others talents and to a few the answer to their prayers. He sang worship songs with us. He understood and responded to both English and Spanish. He loved hearing people all around the room speak in tongues and he would smile and say “Do you hear those heavenly languages? Isn’t it beautiful? Keep going, say it louder. I hear you and know what you’re saying!”

After several hours of being completely undone in His presence and watching miraculous moment after miraculous moment pass by, Jesus asked everyone in the room to come gather around Him. He waited and asked 3 different times, because (with His eyes still closed) He knew every time there were still people missing. I was so overwhelmed as I saw people piling in to be close to Him, realizing I was seeing a glimpse of what it was like in the Bible – everyone wanting touch Him, hear Him, be with Him. Once He knew He had everyone in the room around Him and listening, He wanted to leave us all with these words:

I am filling your jars with fresh oil. Don’t cry my children. Smile instead! I love it when you smile and enjoy my presence! Be crazy for Christ! This day will be marked in your hearts forever. Keep seeking me. All I ask you to do is pray and praise. You are all my children and I love you.

I’m coming soon.

I’m coming soon. 

I’m coming soon!

Once Jesus said goodbye and left Josue’s body, Josue woke up not having any idea what had happened during those three hours. When we tried to explain it to him he was totally shocked and had no memory of any of it. But when he woke up he had his own stories to tell us about the things the Lord had told him and showed him while he was in heaven. One of the best parts about the whole day was seeing a complete transformation in Josue from before to after this divine encounter. I had always known that Jesus could radically touch and transform someone’s life in a moment but didn’t fully believe it until I saw it happen with Josue. He got up as a completely different person – his voice had changed, his eyes were brighter, his smile was sincere, his face almost looked like it was glowing, and his spirit was at peace.

So last Friday, heaven crashed down. Jesus came to visit us. It was the most supernatural encounter I’ve ever experienced. And He touched us in a way that will forever be marked in our hearts. Keep seeking His face above all else. There’s nothing and no one that’s more worthy of our time than Jesus. He is revealing Himself more and more as He is stirring up revival in hearts all around the world. He is ready and waiting to have personal encounters with every single one of His children – no exclusions, no conditions, just the gift of a relationship that is more real and intimate than the air that we breathe.

Heaven is here and our King is coming.

A Nation on Their Knees

This is going to be a very honest update. If you haven’t heard, there is a revolution happening in Nicaragua, and the situation just got a lot worse. On Wednesday afternoon there was a march to honor all the mothers who have lost their children in the last month due to government attacks. This is one of many peaceful marches that have happened in the last month, but this one turned violent. The peaceful protesters were met with massive force and violence from the government supporters who opened fire on thousands of unarmed civilians. This was the most devastating attack yet. The death toll in country in the last 5 weeks is now over 100, with over a 1000 more who have been injured. I am safe on the opposite side of town, but my mind is burdened imagining the horrible things that are happening in the streets of Managua following the massacre.

I’m really having to work though a lot of stuff in my heart with Jesus as the situation here continues to heat up. As I scroll through my Facebook feed, I find myself getting frustrated with people back home who’s lives are “normal.” There’s a part of me that wants to go back to my old life of comfort, ease and safety surrounded by my friends and family in Denver. I envy the blissful simplicity of my friends’ lives who aren’t living in the middle of a revolution. There are some days I want to run back to a carefree reality that isn’t being confronted daily with violence, destruction, and bloodshed. But now that I’ve seen it, how could I pretend it’s not happening? Now that I’m living it, how could I ever go back to a “normal” life?

In these moments obviously it’s not easy to choose to stay, but it would be even harder to choose to leave. At this point, going back to Denver isn’t an option for me. There are a lot of people who strongly question and disagree with my decision to stay with everything that’s going on. That’s okay, I get it. It seems crazy and it might not make sense. Even though this is not what I thought I was signing up for when I decided to extend my trip, I know that God called me to be here during this time. He called me, and I said “yes.” That yes is not conditional – it is not based on my safety, my comfort, or my own agenda because it is not about me, its about Him. For years the Lord has been cultivating a love and a burden in my heart for Nicaragua. Now I am honored that He has chosen me to be here to play a part of what He is doing at this turning point in the country’s history. Each day is a new adventure in my journey with Jesus as we walk through the ups and downs of this new normal together, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Despite all the tragedy and grief that has overcome this nation in the last few weeks, we have hope because we see that the Lord is moving and stirring up revival in the hearts of His children in Nicaragua. I am so excited because I know that He has begun the process of restoring this land and redeeming His people. The darkness is losing its power in this country and Jesus is about to release His people and set them free! He is raising up fearless warriors who are ready to run to nations to do the work of His kingdom.  Keep praying. This nation is hurting, people are angry and grieving. We are on our knees and we will keep fighting for peace because God is faithful and is able to do so much greater than we could ever imagine. This is just the beginning. Get ready to watch Him do the impossible as His glorious plans unfold in Nicaragua.

Revival is here and the King is coming.

Prayer requests: 

-The President, his family and the government’s hearts to be touched and transformed by Jesus. 

-The true King to take His place on the throne of Nicaragua and the hearts of His people. 

-The church to stand up for what is right and not hide. 

-The missionaries that are still here to not live in fear and to have the courage to stay to be part of this movement with Holy Spirit. 

-The families that have lost love ones, or have someone who has been injured or captured – that they would be released and fully healed. 

-Unity in the church and the body of Christ. 

-PEACE to flood to hearts of every person in this nation and for justice to be done. 

The New Normal

It’s been a while since I’ve written an update, and SO MUCH has been happening here in Nicaragua. But more than anything I want to share with you the beautiful journey Jesus has taken me on in the last month. Even though, on the outside, for many reasons my life right now looks COMPLETELY different than it did 5 weeks ago, the biggest change has been the work the Lord has done in my heart during that time.

By the power of His perfect love…

He has set me FREE. His Holy Spirit has released me to walk everyday in a freedom I never knew existed. He has replaced anxiety with His perfect peace. He has replaced depression with pure joy. I am free to laugh. I am free to cry. I am free to just be who He created me to be. I am free from fear of disappointing people and living up to expectations. I am free to follow Him in every decision of everyday.

He has totally TRANSFORMED me. Because of the work of His Spirit in me, I am not the same person I was and I know I will never be the same again. He has given me new life. I am no longer weighed down by the brokenness of my past because He has lifted me out of it. He has called me higher and I honestly can never look back. His light is lighting up the darkest parts of my heart and redeeming it all for His glory.

He has opened my eyes TO SEE. I see the world in a completely different way now. He has shifted my perspective to be aligned with His heart. I am beginning to see the authority He has given me as an ambassador of His kingdom on earth. I get to watch the power of His Spirit pour out on His children. And through all that, step by step, He is revealing more of His purpose and filling me with a holy passion for the life He has called me to live.

In the last month, I have spent hours and hours on the floor totally wrecked and completely undone in the Lord’s presence. And each time I get up I am more in love with Him and I am more convinced. I am convinced of the Gospel. I am convinced of His love. I am convinced of His power. I am convinced of His Holy Spirit in me. I am convinced His grace is sufficient. I am convinced that my need for Him grows greater every day. He has filled me up beyond what I ever imagined possible and each day I thank Him that “it is well with my soul.” My new normal means that I constantly crave spending time in His presence and allowing Him to captivate my heart. This is the next chapter of the love story He is writing with me. I am so in love with my Jesus and this life He has given me.

 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

-Acts 1:8-

As a lot of you are aware, there’s a lot going on here in Nicaragua. After many years of dictatorship the people are finally standing up to make a change, which has not come without massive conflict. Lives have been lost, businesses destroyed, and left so many people hurting. But God has not abandoned His children. He is revealing a new normal for Nicaragua that is leading us on a path towards revival and complete restoration. In the midst of the chaos He is raising up an army of warriors who are united and fearless. Through the dust of destruction, He is calling His people to walk in their destinies. We are walking out this promise with these people, joining their hearts for this nation:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.”

ISAIAH 61:1-3

The Invitation

Saying “yes” to Jesus is the best feeling in the world. Hearing Him speak in that still, small voice makes my heart soar. Walking in simple obedience fills my soul with an overwhelming peace. Knowing that I am exactly where He wants me gives me a bold confidence to take the next step.

—————

Over the last few weeks the Lord has been leading me through a crazy trust exercise. I needed to figure out whether to stay in Nicaragua for another 3 months or go home like I had planned. At first I just assumed I had to go home because it made the most sense and I didn’t see a way for me to stay here longer. But then, I stopped and actually asked Him and felt like He showed me that staying in Nicaragua could be an option. I expressed this to my mentors and they told me that I had a good lead, but in order to be sure I had to ask Him for more confirmation. So I asked Him, waited, and listened but didn’t hear anything. So I kept waiting and I kept listening… Still nothing.

Days kept passing and my time was running out. Everyday my mind constantly weighing the different options and my heart feeling torn between staying here and going home. There were a lot of moments that I was frustrated, fearful, doubtful and even upset with God. There were moments where I wanted to give up on waiting for Him to speak and just settle for what made sense in my mind. I was honestly a mess. I was so worried He wouldn’t speak to me and just leave me to guess what He would say. But I so desperately wanted to hear His answer. So I kept pressing in even when my heart wanted to wander. I chose to keep seeking Him even when I felt like I was drowning in a sea of questions, doubts, struggles and fears…. And guess what? HE SPOKE. (Not audibly, but in a still, small voice.)

He very gently and lovingly asked me, “Did you really mean it when you said you would give it all up to follow me?” Wow. When it came down to it, the reality of everything I would be giving up if I stayed was really hard to come to terms with, and it scared me. Yes I meant what I said, but taking this step meant choosing to walk away from comfort, convenience, work, financial security, time with family and friends back home and more. Then He asked me “Am I worth it? Am I enough for you? Do you trust me?” Of course my heart cried, “Yes. Yes. Yes, Jesus!” He alone is worthy of all the things I am giving up and SO MUCH MORE. He is more than enough for me, He is all I need. I trust that His plans are so much greater than mine. Obedience requires sacrifice and faith. Following Him looks like venturing out into uncharted territory with no backup plan because He want to teach us to completely depend on Him. 

The Lord also revealed to me that saying “yes” to Him comes with the promise of so much morean invitation to abundant life. He showed me that I had a choice. Did I want to go home and chase excess or stay here and pursue abundance? When it came down to that, the answer became clear. That same day He confirmed over and over again through His Word:

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

“…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your hear and come to me. Hear, and your soul shall live…” (Isaiah 55:2-3)

Abundance literally means “overflowing fullness.” How beautiful is that? In these verses, God promises us “overflowing fullness” of grace, life and HIM when we choose to follow Him. A life with Jesus is a promise of eternal abundance. What else could be better than that? So I am saying “yes.” I am taking the first step towards total surrender and choosing to follow Him. I know that leaving behind excess in order to pursue abundance will be worth is because HE is enough. I am throwing my hands in the air and letting Him wrap me in His love. I’m so grateful for His kindness and His faithfulness. I pray that this testimony encourages you, in that: God is alive, He is speaking to His children, and waiting lead each one of us into abundant life. We’re all invited, we just have to say yes.

—————

“There’s a YES in our hearts, and it carries through eternity. Simple obedience, it changes history.” (Take Courage by Lindy Conant)

This Is It.

The best (and hardest) part about these last two months is that my world has totally been turned upside down. I have gotten to meet amazing people and experience a way of life that has rocked me and let me tell you why… Everyday I get to witness the gospel to come alive and watch God move. My eyes have been open to a completely different and totally radical way of living for Jesus that I have never seen before. It is so beautiful that it captivates me. I have fallen in love with a life that is totally surrendered to the Savior. I have been tasting the fullness of God’s glory and seeing that there is so much MORE that He wants to give us. I have personally encountered a Jesus that: heals sickness, restores brokenness, transforms hearts, and speaks to His children. I have been experiencing the reality of His eternal Kingdom on earth. I am learning to walk in the authority He has given us. I am learning to believe in the power of His Spirit in me. Day by day, I am learning how to fully live in the freedom He offers in a life totally surrendered to Him.

Friends… THIS IS IT. IT’S ALL ABOUT HIM. And I want MORE. 

I have realized that there is SO MUCH MORE He wants to give us as long as we keep seeking His face. I don’t want this new way of life to end here. I don’t want to go back to a “normal” life that is plagued with numbness and blindness. The greatest feeling is knowing that I don’t have to. My blind eyes are being opened. Numbness is fading away. Normal will no longer be enough. In the last 8 weeks, I have come face to face with the ultimate calling to lay down my life. Jesus has shown me that I can settle for good for trust Him for something better than I could ever imagine. It will require sacrifice, faith and total dependence on Him because He doesn’t call us to be comfortable. I am saying “YES” to following Him no matter what the cost and knowing that He is so worthy of it all. With my eyes focused on Jesus and my heart set on eternity, my life will never be the same. It is beautiful and exciting. This is just the beginning of a wild and crazy adventure chasing the Lover of my soul to the ends of the earth.

Ready. Set. GO.