Monday, May 1, 2017

Back to Guat

Last time I wrote was in January and I shared how the Lord answered some of my prayers. During that week of revival, I woke up one morning with a heart so heavy for Guatemala. Being in Cambodia and still with a strong desire to be there longer term, I didn't really know why Guatemala was so heavy on my heart, but I began to pray, and in Spanish (I’m not really sure why, but I felt led to pray in Spanish). I thanked the Lord that I know how to speak some Spanish and I asked that I would be able to go back to Guatemala some day and use that Spanish again.

Little did I know that a few hours later, my life would change once again. That day I found out that the Cambodia location would be taking a break from sending IGNITE interns for a season; a phasing out in order to come back and serve in a greater capacity (as the Lord would will). I found out that I would be able to go to Montana for a month to assist in IGNITE Class 11's Re-Entry. – That was one answered prayer. IGNITE Class 11 has a special place in my heart and I had been praying for a while that I would be able to see all of them again during their re-entry. Not many of the staff or 2.O interns get to say they’ve witnessed an IGNITE Class (outside of their own) walk through all phases of the program (minus the interns home service); what a privilege and blessing.
 
At IGNITE Class 11's Re-Commissioning.
// April 27th, 2017 //
I also found out… *drum roll* …that I would be going BACK TO GUATEMALA to serve in a similar capacity as I was before and R.A. for IGNITE Class 13! –The other answered prayer, and within a few hours’ time. I knew God wasn’t done with me serving in Guatemala when I woke up that day, but I didn’t know the fullness of what that meant and how soon it would be.

I’ve already walked out the answered prayer of being in Montana this past month. It truly was an honor and a blessing to be with Class 11 again, to have heard how their field time went, and to have seen all that the Lord is doing in Montana. Now, I’m walking in the midst of that prayer for Guatemala; I just arrived back a few days ago. It’s like coming home (as it would be when I go to Colorado, Montana, or Cambodia; which gets me excited for heaven).

My heart is still so much for the Kingdom of Cambodia and what the Lord is doing there in and through the Khmer people, but I know Guatemala is where I’m supposed to be in this season. God knows what He’s doing and He is always faithful. He takes me on twists and turns that I never expect, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I know I’m in the center of His will …


“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9 

Back in Antigua, Guatemala.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Week of Revival

“Sing to Him a NEW song; play skillfully with a shout of JOY.” –Psalm 33:3 (emphasis added)

You cannot pour new wine into old wineskins; a word spoken to me about a month ago… It wasn’t until January 22nd that I searched for the reference of this. Although I have been dwelling on it since it was given to me, I’m not sure why I waited so long to look it up, but God’s timing is perfect in revealing this reference to me as He led me into this week…this week that brought revival to my soul.

Matthew 9:14-17 reads, “Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Before this past week, everything in my walk with the Lord was bone dry for a while. God takes us through dry seasons from time to time, but this season stayed dry for me, because I lost heart. I wasn’t striving (in the good way) for the Lord. My lack of depth with Him flowed into the rest of my life and interactions with others…or no interactions rather. But grace and redemption…

I started this week with reading Psalm 33…”sing to Him a NEW song…” I may be back in Cambodia, but this season is new and He is doing something new. The old was good, the new is good too, but old and new do not mix, it brings destruction. Yet beyond that, to my walk with God, my eyes were opened: sing a new song to Him. SURGE. It’s like I was hit with a defibrillator. Revival. As the days went on, I walked through seeing the fear of the Lord, being brought to my knees; discovering that I was hungry and thirsty for more of Him.

“Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water…” –Isaiah 35:6-7

Defibrillation. Revival. It was not the Lord, but ME - who lacked discipline.

{More of YOU and less of me. Jesus be the center of my life.}

Continuing day by day, strength was given to me and the joy of His salvation was being restored unto me (Psalm 51:10-12). If nothing else had occurred this past week, it wouldn’t have mattered, because I was being found in the Lord. I was getting lost in His presence and was being reminded that I’m only satisfied in Him. Yet, God chose to answer three of my prayers in an instant; a testimony that I will share at a later time.

As that week was coming to a close, God led me to Psalm 37. Verse 3 through the beginning of verse 7 says, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…”

And that was what this week was. FEED on His faithfulness. DELIGHT in Him.

"Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and
feed on His faithfulness." -Psalm 37:3
Photo Credit: Zach Martinez

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Continual Lessons & A Fulfilled Promise

Touring the Royal Palace with the beautiful IGNITE Class 11 Team
Cambodia girls and amazing Anna Scott. I'm so excited
to see what God has in store for us as a team!
I have been back in the Kingdom of Cambodia for two and a half weeks now! My soul is so overjoyed and full of peace! My flesh has been quite the opposite…sad and selfish. I have found myself full circle, experiencing the same things I experienced at the beginning of any new season, looking at what others have and other seasons in my life. I miss a lot of people from all over, I want to live in my home village of Khrang Thnong, and I miss the set role I had in Guatemala, which included relationships with the people (PFM and locals) and being able to speak the language…selfish. That role took time, the Spanish speaking took time, the relationships took time; God established it.
             
      >> I was looking at what I don’t have, rather than rejoicing with what I do have.<<

Since being back, I have been reflecting on the moment I was told I was returning to Cambodia to now. I was thrilled beyond belief, just in awe of the Lord’s favor, but I was also a bit sad because I had set my mind and heart on being in Guatemala longer. I went back and read my journal entry from the day I was told I was most likely going to stay in Guatemala, I wrote: “I know I’m called to Cambodia someday, but whatever the need is, I’m there. So I’m most likely staying through Class 12! I wasn’t holding onto Cambodia in October, nor should I hold onto this.” Unknowingly, I held onto it…

{Never hold onto so tightly or have your heart set so boldly on something, because circumstances change in an instant, but hold onto and have your heart set on the LORD, because He is unchanging.}

Cambodia was what I was waiting for so long, how in the world am I battling this?! …Because my heart was set on temporary things and not focused on God. “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” –Matthew 6:33.

God has given me such a beautiful GIFT…a FULFILLED PROMISE…

I shall not despise the season I am in. He has had the girls teams located in Phnom Penh for a reason and He has us here now for a reason. His ways are higher and He is continually directing my steps (Proverbs 16:9). I choose to be faithful with what He has given me in this beautiful season. I choose to be valiant, for one season has closed and another one has opened, one that is a testimony of God’s faithfulness and promises. It’s not going to be easy, but I will look up and press on.

·         Valiant: possessing or showing courage or determination.

 “I am strong and full of life. I am steadfast, no compromise. I lift my sails to the sky. I’m gonna catch the wnid, I’m gonna catch the wind. I am bold, no fear inside. Spread my wings, open my life, like an eagle, whose home is the sky. I’m gonna catch the wind, I’m gonna catch the wind. Your faithfulness will never let me down. I’m confident I’ll see Your goodness now. I know You hear my heart, I’m singing. There’s nothing that can stop Your goodness now…” –‘Catch the Wind’: Jonathan David and Melissa Helser

Even through my fleshly battle and selfishness, God loves me so much. He has shown me He cares about what is dear to my heart. He is continually showing me His goodness. Last week, I was able to go watch a soccer match that New Life Fellowship Khrang Thnong played in. They are the Eagle FC and they are family. It has been a year and a half since I’ve seen them and I was able to fellowship with them and watch them play. I was blessed immensely. The following morning at church, I had really wanted to worship to a powerful Khmer song by Life Band that is so dear to my heart from my field time. I asked God if we could sing it soon, not really thinking that it would be that day, and the closing song in the worship set was that very song…God loves me so much, that He chooses to bless me with things I care about even while I’m fleshly and selfish.

Upon arriving here, the Lord put a few verses on my heart that I believe will carry me through this season to come. One of these verses was the verse that the Lord used to speak to my teammate while we were on the field here nearly two years ago and I love so much that God gave it to me now. “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!” –Psalm 27:13-14 I know I will see His goodness here…I already have, He brought me back! I wait on the Lord in expectation and I’m excited to see what unfolds as I am here until He moves me elsewhere.


God IS showing me His goodness. I must believe I will see it each day in this land of the living.

Seeing family from my "hometown" here in Cambodia.
Such a surreal moment that I will treasure forever.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Reflection and Awe

Getting to see MudMan kick off.
 
As I look back, reflecting on the past year of my life and all that the Lord has done, I can't help but be in awe of Him. From a selfish heart, set on her own ways, going out for the wrong reasons, not rejoicing with others, & even little corrections in my character, to now being able to boldly say, >ONLY BY GOD< "I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." -2 Timothy. 4:6-7
Serving in Antigua, Guatemala to R.A.
for IGNITE Class 10.
 
I am filled with utter {PEACE} as this beautiful season has come to a close. Although my heart is torn a little more as I left Antigua, Guatemala and the family I have there, I know with all my heart God's timing is perfect. I have seen Proverbs 16:9 "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." and Isaiah 55:8-9 "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." come to life, as God has taken this calling He's placed on my heart and stripped the Brittani from it.
 
Serving with this gang for the
next six months (and Brooke :))
Teaching English using the Bible in the
public school system.
I am •beyond• blessed to say, the waiting is no more, God's favor is amazing, and in a short eight days I will be returning to the Kingdom of Cambodia. But I really have not finished the race, I will be running with my eyes above the waves on my Savior, pressing on toward the upward call of God.


Being an R.A. for IGNITE Class 11 and adding to my family.
This season is done, a new one awaits with more struggles, more growth, and more victories. THANK YOU ALL, from the bottom of my heart for your constant prayers and support. GOD IS FAITHFUL. HE KEEPS HIS PROMISES.
 
This is the team I get to run with. The boys come in a few months and us girls
come in about a week. I can't wait to come under the leadership already in
place there and lift her hands up. IGNITE Class 11, you are ready, God has
great things in store. A new season awaits us...

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Breaking Point


Snap. What about rest…my gas tank is basically on E. Snap. I acted upon myself and what I needed... While Pastor Michael was here at the beginning of the week, he threw a pot on the wheel for the interns of IGNITE Class 11 and at the end, as he does at every presentation, he threw the pot in the garbage. That wrecked me. Something of such value to him, he tossed it in order to put the focus onto Jesus and off himself. I should do the same with the very things I hold onto, the calling, the things of value…I haven’t been rejoicing when others rejoice. So much pride and selfishness I have…

Running on my own strength, lost in this selfish pride, hearing these convictions, but only feeling freedom as the Lord led me to share my downfall and struggles with the group during devotions this morning. Breaking point… because my tank really was on E. As the devotion time closed and as one of my teammates came to pray with me, God put Isaiah 58 on my heart. So I went out, alone, to read and sit in the Lord’s presence, desperate for revival. Verse six of Isaiah 58 reads, “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?” And the rest of the chapter was exactly what I needed to hear, along with a few other sections of scriptures that people pointed me to.

Specifically Psalm 63:3-5, “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.” And Psalm 69:15-16, “Let not the floodwater overflow me, nor let the deep swallow me up; and let not the pit shut its mouth on me. Hear me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is good; turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies.”

Shortly that wonderful time with the Lord reviving me, I was given a very encouraging note from one of the IGNITE Class 11 girls in my room. And more verses were shared with me from another teammate in Proverbs 28:13-14, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity."

Openness brings forth grace and a softened heart…I am so blessed and loved, not only by the Lord, but by those around me. I am set free. Jesus be the center of my life

"The LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your soul in
drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered
garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail."
-Isaiah 58:11

Sunday, May 29, 2016

No Room For a Selfish, Stagnant Heart


’I will stretch out My hand against Judah, and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem…Those who have turned back from following the Lord, and have not sought the Lord, nor inquired of Him.’” -Zephaniah 1:4a, 6

“This they shall have for their pride, because they have reproached and made arrogant threats against the people of the Lord of hosts. The Lord will be awesome to them, for He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth; people shall worship Him, each one from his place, indeed all the shores of the nations.” -Zephaniah 2:10-11

“She has not obeyed His voice, she has not received correction; she has not trusted in the Lord, she has not drawn near to her God…The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.’” -Zephaniah 3:2, 17
 
Before you get all confused, let me give you some background on my walk with the Lord lately. Dry, sluggish, a checklist… On Sunday May 22nd, we had a guest Pastor who knows Krav Maga, Tae-Kwon-Do, and one other thing I can’t remember the name of. He taught a lesson on the Armor of God in Ephesians 6. He also did some demonstrations using the skills he has to illustrate really how the enemy attacks and the importance of having the Armor on. It really shook me and reminded me of the true battle I am fighting and that I cannot be lazy…

Later on, that fine afternoon, I actually chose to use my time wisely, and sat down with the Lord and began my devotions for that day in Zephaniah. The latter part of verse six is what really struck me, “have not sought the Lord, nor inquired of Him.” To inquire of can mean to ask for information from someone or to investigate or look into something. My time with the Lord has become a checklist. I haven’t been digging deeper into what I’ve been reading. I’ve had lack of diligence and well, I’ve been down-right sluggish.

Slug-gish: slow-moving, inactive, lacking energy or alertness, slow to respond or make progress…stagnant
Lately, I’ve been finding myself ALWAYS tired. Being human, my immediate thought is more sleep, whether it be going to bed earlier or sleeping in a bit later…or both. I have been putting my fleshly desires before the Lord, with my sleep. I believe I’m always tired, because I’ve stopped really seeking God and inquiring of Him.

The next morning, getting up earlier than I have been, I read chapter two. God is so faithful to answer my prayers and lately it has been rather immediate. He first showed me that I haven’t been digging deep. He then showed me, through the second chapter, how prideful I have been and my actions because of it. The end of verse ten speaks of arrogant threats. I have not made any of those, but through that, the Lord brought to mind my speech towards others and even my thoughts. Things like, “you can ask me questions too you know,” or “why didn’t they call and ask me?” Me, me, me…IT’S. NOT. ABOUT. ME. Nor is it about any title. I’m prideful. Verse eleven goes on to speak of the Lord “reducing to nothing all the gods of the earth”. The god I am worshipping right now is me. From neglecting in my devotions, to fulfilling my fleshly desires, to my pride. But, “the Lord will be awesome to me”. I need to fear Him in reverence. He is infinite and I am finite. It’s because of my lack of time with Him that I have allowed my pride and my flesh to reign. Going to the root, that’s it, lack of time with Him, which ultimately leads to my heart. The heart of the problem is a problem of the heart.

But wait, there’s more. The following morning, I jumped into chapter three. Verse two, tied it all together for me. By not allowing myself to draw near to God, I’m not obeying Him, nor am I trusting Him. And I’m not receiving correction, because, well, I’m not really listening to Him. Yet, what is so wonderful, is what the Lord says in verse seventeen, “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.’” The Lord chastened me; wrecked me, but blessings come through Jesus Christ, who is the cause for praise and singing. He quiets me, humbles me, with His love…despite my sluggish, prideful walk lately, He loves me more than I can fathom…

Practically, I have been waking up earlier and spending more time with the Lord, reading slower, and praying for His wisdom and guidance. Recently, I felt led by the Spirit to message those dear to my heart who I haven’t had a chance to really keep in touch with and see how they’ve been doing and how I could be praying for them. I desire to do that with many other people I love. Doing it, really opened my eyes to the Lord’s working on each of their lives and it took my eyes off myself, which really blessed me. My day was filled with communion with Him and interceding for others, I felt refreshed and restored and a lot closer to God.

At the end of the day, if I’m not looking at God, I’m looking at something else and my motives will become distorted and wrong. Thank You, Jesus, for chastening me and tilting my head back up towards You and heaven.

Lord, forgive my stagnancy and pride. I look to You and I long
to press on down the path You've called me to. Thank You for
Your infinite love.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Rejoice in This Divine Romance

“’I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.” -Hosea 2:19-20

Almost two years ago during my training in IGNITE, we had to make blogs to share our IBS’s on, and I called my blog “Rejoice in this Divine Romance”, the very blog you are reading off of today. At that time, I really just picked that title because I liked that Phil Wickham song and I knew the Lord loved me, but the depth and reality of this specific love, this divine romance, hasn’t sunk in until now…
It was Wednesday April 20th, 2016, the day before I left to return to Guatemala. Whitefish locals and Potter’s Field staff were attending church service at Selah Fellowship. Before the service began, the congregation was lifting up their voices to the King. “Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that You’re my God…”. “You’re a good, good Father…”. It was all a picture of pointing it back to Him; lost in His presence.

Pastor Steve Miller went into teaching in John chapter one. Everything points back to Christ. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” -John 1:14 We should celebrate this life, this eternity that Christ has given us. Everything points back to Christ.
The service was closed with a time of Communion. “…do this in remembrance of Me.’” (Luke 22:19) Everything points back to Christ. While everyone had a time to reflect, remember, and surrender, the worship team was singing “Carried to the Table”. Some of the lyrics sing, “Summoned by the King, into the Master’s courts. Lifted by the Savior and cradled in His arms. I was carried to the table, seated where I don’t belong. Carried to the table, swept away by His love.” In the midst of praying and listening, I had a picture of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, lifting up my chin, taking my hand, and dancing with me…

I wasn’t sure why the Lord gave me this image, but it was intimate. A few days later when I read Hosea chapter two, I understood. The Lord has betrothed me to Him. God gives me the most sacred and firm security imaginable and loves me, protects me, and provides for me in a much deeper way than I can ever fully comprehend. He has bound me to Him, I am His beloved. I need to view Him the same way, as my Beloved…

So, “for You I sing, I dance. Rejoice in this divine romance…”


Photo Credit: Emily Czadrick-Spicer
Photo of: Sara Halstead