Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 at a glance...

I have never done just a personal and practical blog that is not more of a message, but I thought that I should as it brings God so much glory even in the testimony of what He can do in our everyday life! So be blessed and dream big for what He can do in 2014!

Last year, while ringing in the new year at IHOPKC's annual onething conference, I asked the Lord what this year would look like for me. He said the words "health & happiness". While I thought that sounded like a cheesy greeting card for the American dream and not what I would normally consider to be the prayer of Jesus for my life, He began to reveal more of what TRUE health & TRUE happiness would actually look like for me.

I began having issues with eating disorders and being over conscious about food when I was only 10 years old. Yep, in fifth grade I was the little "Regina George" of all my friends and I would give my lunch away so I wouldn't get fat and made all sorts of rules for my friends if they were to be part of my "cool group". That began 13 years of on and off issues and disorders with food and exercise until I was 23, worse that ever and weighing 95 pounds just hoping that if I died I would at least die skinny, I was saved, healed, and delivered by the lover of my soul, Jesus. My eating disorder that had literally held me a prisoner with absolutely no ability for me to escape on my own was taken from me by the precious blood of Jesus spilt for my sins. Yet even though the evil spirit of it was gone, my mind was still sick and needed renewing. I didn't even realize that my paradigm of health was not things that were actually good for you, but food that made you skinny. Coffee, artificial sweeteners, protein bars and powders, canned fish and meat, things that weren't organic and had who knows what in the ingredients, and were made who knows where or when, those were the things I thought were healthy because my idea of healthy was whatever helped you be skinny. In my head, fruit and juices were bad, way too much sugar, carbs are okay but only whole grain ones are good, eat mostly protein sources, whatever way you can get them, and veggies and nuts. I had crazy food allergies and intolerances, constantly felt sick, and was always completely fatigued regardless of my caffeine addiction trying to help it.

But in 2013, The Lord began to actually show me that the things I was putting into my body weren't helping my body at all but actually hurting it. Those things were not made by Him in the way He intended, and therefore weren't giving me the nutrients my body needed but toxins that are harmful. He began to show me that the meat I was eating every day, ya out of a can, isn't even meat and more and is packed with so much preservatives and sodium that there is nothing in it that will help my body. Those protein bars and powders I was eating every day, if you can't pronounce what the ingredient is, He probably didn't make it and it was formed in a science lab. The carbs we eat today with flour and sugar, those go through pretty much the same process as cocaine where a plant that isn't bad is taken and excreted into a white powder that becomes an addictive drug, they too, are not how God originally made them. He also taught me that fruit, though super high in sugar and calories, is awesome for you, and in fact, some juices are even better than the actually fruit because the nutrients absorb into your bloodstream faster.  And one of the most profound things He taught me was about caffeine and artificial sweeteners and how bad it is for your body and even your brain. I am so thankful that The Lord taught me what TRUE health FOR ME looks like and that now I eat to give my body the good things it needs to function instead of eating to try and be skinny. I can honestly say my body and health has never felt this good. Also know that health is different for each person, but God cares about how you steward your body, as it is directly linked to your soul and spirit, so let Him take you on your own journey to how He wants your body to be healthy.

The second thing the Lord wanted to teach me what true happiness was, and it is ironic that 2013 was one of the hardest years in my life. Previous to this last year, I thought I knew what happiness was; Jesus and only Jesus! He was the only thing I wanted and nothing else. I desperately had wanted to move to the International House of Prayer in KC and had already waited a while, but the Lord asked if I could wait another year before moving. So in obedience to Him and knowing it would be an extremely hard year, I did a third year of Desperation Leadership Academy, which I absolutely LOVE and am so so thankful for, but this time I wasn't an intern but serving and working for the internship in all things admissions, finance, database, and administration. I also got my first secular job stepping back out into the world for the first time after getting saved. Before all this, I was considered "the prayer girl". I was super legalistic and truly thought that spending time with Jesus alone in a prayer room was the ONLY way that I could love Him. That meant that having to deal with people, serving, friends, anything else, that was all just getting in the way of my loving Jesus time. So, looking back, it was quite humorous of the Lord to put me in a season where I was so busy I couldn't spend ANY time in the prayer room but had to spend ALL my time serving others. The whole year was pretty hard for me, aching to be with the Lord and in the next season, but through it all, Jesus taught me how to LOVE people, and loving people actually became something romantic I got to do in partnership with Him. He broke my heart for missions and intercession. And because I was essentially "failing" (in my own idea of what successfully living for Jesus looked like) the whole year, I had to learn to let Him love me in the place where I couldn't offer Him anything good, and was freed from so much legalism and performance. Even when I moved to IHOPKC finally, it was still hard! I now had plenty of time in a prayer room with Jesus, but I felt so weak and broken in the place of prayer and what I could offer Him in my own devotion to Him. He brought up so many issues that I had never really dealt with and again, I had to let Him love me in the place of my own weakness and depravity.

Yet, as 2013 was coming to a close and 2014 was counting down, I found myself singing, laughing, dancing, and crying between two of the greatest friends God could have ever blessed me with, regardless of the tears, differences, and issues we had to work though all year. I had learned to enjoy them, the gifts from God that they are to my life, and had to learn to allow them to enjoy me. I was at a conference with 35,000 other on fire believers worshiping Jesus where all week I got to see and pray for girls I had discipled and got to love in that last year of life. And I had just got off my face from such an intense encounter with the Lord, ya know one where it is like He connects years worth of prophetic words, Scriptures that have defined you, dreams, visions and the dots of your life, and your world goes from black & white to color. So I rang in the New Year in tears, absolutely weeping at the faithfulness of the Lord. I had learned what TRUE happiness was. It wasn't dependent upon doing everything perfect, a special "someone" in my life, a specific place where I lived, or even outside circumstances. The true happiness He taught me this year was loving Jesus and letting Him love you while loving others and letting others love you, whatever your season or circumstance may look like.

No matter how hard 2013 was, I wouldn't take it back for anything. I am so thankful that I learned how to love and be loved. The Lord spoke some other things for 2014 as He did last year, so I cant wait to share another testimony of His faithfulness and His LOVE. Love you all and bless you in 2014!!!