Tuesday, November 23, 2010

[fear] and LOVE

This morning I began a journey through the pages of one of my most beloved books: Hinds' Feet on High Places. The idea of picking it up and reading through it while on this two-week vacation from home schooling popped into my brain last week. So today, when I awoke at 7am and discovered by 7:45 that I wasn't going back to sleep (as much as I was desiring to because ... it's vacation after all!), I got dressed and with book in hand walked down to Roots.

Two-and-a-half hours later and many pages into Much-Afraid's journey, I came back home, said good-bye to all the kids as they headed down to the library, and opened up Destiny In Bloom to read about Commissioning All Campers ... an article by a guest writer I had neglected to read last week.

In the 105 pages that I managed to read through this morning, Holy Spirit has been speaking like crazy into a pocket of fear that took up residence in my soul long ago and continues to reside their because I have yet to discover - through revelation - the exact root of its existence. I know that this little bugger is now doomed - once and for all - because Jesus has called to me, just like He did to Much-Afraid, to come and journey to the High Places. It's in this journey that I'm taking with Much-Afraid (as her twin sister) where [fear] will be conquered because the revelation that is already unfolding as I read is constant. God's timing is ALWAYS perfect, and for such a time as this, [fear] has been exposed and now sits in the cross-hairs of my Savior's gun.

Below is the comment I left in reference to this article. Another journal stone for me to keep, much in the same fashion as Much Afraid's stones she picked up and kept in her bag to remember the milestones of her journey.
"The fear you submit to is the thing that will always enslave you. But the fear you fight through is the thing that will have you experience breakthrough."

When reading this, I realized that in this journey of LOVE that I am walking with Jesus, [fear] is the enemy that has held me back for too long and continues to travel these roads with me; sometimes hiding and at other times standing in front me, provoking me to try and get past him.

"But "[PERFECT LOVE] casts out all fear" [i John 4:18] are the words that have been spoken over me all this time, yet now are my ears finally surrendering to the fine tuning of Holy Spirit and hearing the WORD like I've never heard Him before.

"When He comes and hands you the blueprint for building more of His kingdom, do not fear! He is with you! He will glorify Himself through you and you will walk it out in peace and encouragement knowing He is going ahead of you. When the enemy presents you with the picture of the Giants along with the mini movie of how you will not succeed, be encouraged that the One who created you and calls you by name is the same one who will give you the victory.'

Amen and AMEN!!!"

Monday, November 22, 2010

Understanding Tears

"...tears are simply the heart’s language when words aren’t enough."

Hmmm...those are words from Jesus straight to my heart today. To make a LONG story short, I've always "prided" myself on not being a crier. I think there's a freedom class I missed back in my childhood about the purpose of tears ;) Anyhoo, God has been unveiling in me - over the past month or so - a new heart. A big part of that process is peeling off layers of junk that stand in the way of feeling (cuz when you can't feel as much, you don't hurt as much). I've been finding myself tearing up in conversations over things I wouldn't have budged at [emotionally] before. I've even joked that this whole process is revealing a mushy part of my heart that I didn't even know existed. It's wonderful but a little scary at the same time. Vulnerability is so much more exposing than strength.

Wow, okay. I didn't mean to write that much! The short end to this long story? Your description of tears was that sweet answer for me that cuddles up and relaxes into the corner of my heart. Tears aren't a sign of weakness, they are "the language of my heart when words aren't enough". 
This is part of my comment on a blog I read this morning on Destiny In Bloom. As so often happens with blog comments, Holy Spirit unpacks more meaning as I write, which is why I have to make those comments their own blogs - my journal stone- so I can hold onto the revelation for myself here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Peer Pressure

Last night I [intended] to drop Teighlor off at an event going on at Gateway for girls 7th-12th grade - Pretty In Pink - and then head home. [On a whim], after seeing the way the lobby was specially decorated, I double-parked the car and decided to quickly go in and check out the sanctuary. [By chance] I ran into Brittney who [randomly] suggested that I stay for the evening. After all, there were just as many moms hanging out as there were girls attending. With worship already started, I thought, "why not stay for worship?" I always love me some time to soak up God's presence through song.

Well, that time of worship turned into staying the for entire event, and after re-parking my car, I came to discover that all of that [randomness] was not random at all ... God had something specific to speak into my heart.

After worship, a guest speaker and a break for re-fueling on sugar, the 2nd half of the night consisted of a panel discussion with nine women on stage, ranging in age from 22 to 46. They had topics they were discussing from questions sent in by girls prior to the event. Most of the talk revolved around dating, boys, friendship, and purity; but one thing that was said by the matriarch of the group felt like it was thrown in just for me.

As Peer Pressure was being discussed, Penny Spurling threw out a zinger (for me, anyway). She said something to the effect of, "Girls, just let me tell you now, peer pressure never goes away. So you need to decide now where you're going to stand on this subject. I'm 46 and still dealing with peer pressure but on a different level. Adult peer pressure revolves around "Do I drive the right car?", "Do I live in a big enough home?", "Am i dressed in the right fashions, bought from the right store?", "Is my home decorated in the right standard?", etc. There is pressure to live up to other people's standards. It's my job to decide what to do with that. I can live under the constant strain of that pressure or I can rely on who I am in Christ and rest in that." [And maybe she didn't say every word I've written here, but God expanded her words and their meaning in my heart, as He so often does when He speaks supernaturally.]

As those words were coming out of her mouth, it seemed as if they were illuminated with the light of truth; and God began to show me the ways in which I've allowed myself to fall under the weight of peer pressure. I won't go into them here because the details of past experiences aren't the point of this blog. What is important - and what Holy Spirit pierced my heart with - is the truth that I have a choice and the choice is all mine. I can allow pressure to keep me from attending events or believing that I belong, or I can rest in WHO I am in Christ, confident that who overcomes all the whats.

This is not to say that the pressure to conform will never rear its ugly head again; quite the contrary, it will always be knocking at my door. But I now have a revelation of heart-piercing truth to fall back on. This truth may be a "DUH" moment for others, but I've found that what may appear to be "DUH" moments for others are always the most revelatory and change-inspiring moments for me. DUH means simplicity to me, and God always has a way of taking the way people like to complicate His truth and making it simple for me. It's not that God is simple to me ... far from it. I just know that God doesn't desire His truth to be complicated. If it was, we'd be left trying to figure it out. So He simplifies it and leaves us no room to fully understand the revelation He unpacks for our hearts.

"Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]." Romans 12:2

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Grace" Challenge Answered in a Dream

*Warning: If you're reading this, it's gonna be a long one!

A couple night's ago I wrote a blog about being "grace" challenged. I knew that this blog was just the processing part and that there would be more to come. What I didn't know was that the "more to come" would come that very night in the form of a dream.

This was a first time experience for me ... waking up and knowing that what I had just dreamed was a message from God. And the communication that followed between Holy Spirit and me was just as purposeful and revealing as the dream itself. I got up in the middle of the night and recorded in my journal every detail of the dream that I remembered and every word that God spoke to me afterward.

This is my "Dream Answer":

I awoke at 2:13am from a disturbing dream. I had an immediate, distinct impression that the dream had purpose; that it was a God-given dream. Having never awoken from a dream with this feeling/knowing, I immediately prayed and asked God what my dream meant. These are the things I got right off the bat:

1. First words were "Grace Challenged". This was the blog I had written a few night's before and somehow this dream was attached to it.
2. "Does any of this really matter?" was the question that was birthed into my heart.
3. "End". This dream had something to do with an end, but I wasn't sure what end meant. Tribulation? end of something in me or in my life?
4. I also had the book of Philippians flash into my mind.

All of this happened in seconds. Even though I knew something was up in the spiritual realm, because I was tired, I actually tried to make myself go back to sleep. I laid there for just about 20 minutes, and when I realized I wasn't going back to sleep, I got up and trotted out to the living room at 2:30am with my journal in hand.

Dream: I was walking, by myself, in an expansive field of green grass and rolling hills. Land was all I could see for miles and miles. I heard a bomb drop and then saw the shock wave coming towards me. I thought I was going to die from the shock wave but instead it catapulted me about 100 feet into the sky. My arms and legs were flailing because I felt completely out of control, both on the way up and on the way down. I remember thinking that since I didn't die from the shock wave, I was definitely going to die from the impact of hitting the ground. I landed with a hard thud but survived.

Upon impact, my dream clicked to the next scene. I was with my Mom, Dad, Teighlor and Alec. We were all now walking in this same open field and even without having said it, we all were aware that each of us had been through a bomb experience of some kind. As we walked, we approached a large amusement park in the middle of this land. There were tons of people laughing and the rides were filled to capacity. I was confused because I couldn't believe that so many people could be enjoying themselves as if nothing had happened. Although there was no dividing fence or wall between us and the amusement park patrons, I knew in the dream that an invisible partition separated us from them.

It was then that I caught the eye of a girl and immediately began telling her how I had already dreamed of this very park and the fact that a bomb was going to hit it. She just kept laughing as if she didn't hear me. What's so ironic is that the dream I was sharing with her was an actual dream that I had had about a year ago in real life. In my dream, I was sharing about another dream I had had but somehow remembered in this dream I was having now. It was even a surreal moment in my dream. I knew - in my dream - that I was drawing on another dream memory.

There was a sense of urgency as I talked with this girl. I was trying to let her know that she wasn't safe. My last words to her were, "You're living with a false sense of security here in this amusement park." I was waiting for her response when my dream, once again, shifted scenes.

Now the five of us were in a small tent on an elementary school property, much like one I grew up attending. Paul and Chad were in the tent with us and they were laughing at Alec. I got the sense that just like the amusement park patrons, they were both totally unaware of the danger that loomed. We had a string of exposed light bulbs hanging from the ceiling of the tent and they began to flicker in a warning pattern. We knew that another bomb was on its way, so we headed out of the tent. I grabbed Teighlor and Alec and told them to stay with me; that if we were going to die, we were dying together.

My dad took Alec's hand and they walked ahead of my mom, Teighlor and me. They reached a street that ran between two school buildings and then it happened ... another bomb exploded. We heard it first and then like a rush of water between the two buildings, the shock wave rolled in. It hit my dad and Alec and knocked them to the ground, but they weren't injured. I screamed for them to get up and come to us but then this girl came frantically running from the direction of the shock wave. She was on fire - from the bomb - and as she ran past my dad and Alec, her fire lit them up. They fell to the ground again as I watched them being consumed by the fire. I was screaming and telling them to come towards us so that we could help them. My dad couldn't move and Alec was crawling but couldn't make any headway. From the right, Marian popped into the dream and I yelled at her to help Alec since she was standing right beside him. She just looked at him, as if not knowing what to do. I screamed at her again, since she was so close to him, but she didn't move. In that moment I knew that I was going to watch my dad and son burn to their deaths, so I willed myself to wake up. I wanted out.

It was then that I opened my eyes and saw the clock reading 2:13am.

After I recorded all the dream details in my journal, this thought ran through my head, "Are the times important?'(referring to 2:13 when I woke up and 2:30 when I finally got up and out of bed).

Remembering that "end" was one of the impressions I had when I first woke up, I had the distinct knowing that I was to open my Bible at Revelation and scroll backwards through the books. I stopped at Revelation 2 and started reading at verse 13:

The Message to the Church in Pergamum
 13 “I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan’s city.
 14 “But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. 15 In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. 16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
 17 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.

The Message to the Church in Thyatira
 18 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira. This is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze: 19 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.
 20 “But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.
 22 “Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.
 24 “But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you 25 except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come. 26 To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, To them I will give authority over all the nations.
   27 They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.

 28 They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!
 29 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

These passages clearly elued to the "end" that was spoken to me. Part of my dream was warning about the end times. What I couldn't understand was how it pertained to the reference of my blog and the question, "Does any of this really matter?" So, I asked God to clarify for me. 

I then remembered hearing Phillipians spoken to me. As I was flipping backwards from Revelation, I knew to stop at the book of James. Looking up both James and Philippians 2:13 (from 2:13am) this is what I read:

"For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him." (Philippians 2:13)

"For there will be no mercy for you if you have not been merciful to others. But if you have been merciful, then God's mercy toward you will win out over His judgment against you." (James 2:13)

Instantly I knew that the truth behind this dream and the scriptures was being unraveled, and I was seeing how everything tied together. 
  • God gave me a dream that incorporated an analogy of the last days where those who know Christ will be aware of the signs of destruction; but those who do not know God will merrily be going through life, completely unaware of the danger that lies ahead. These are the amusement park patrons. When I spoke to one of the patrons trying to tell her that she was not safe - that she was living in a false sense of security - this symbolized me sharing the Gospel with an unbeliever. I asked God why I wasn't allowed to hear her response and He told me, "You are not responsible for the response of the unbeliever. You are only responsible for delivering the message."
  • The specific verses in Philippians and James addressed my "grace challenge". God gave me the dream to answer a decision I had made (that I will not reveal here) and to show me how that decision was wrong and was born out of a lack of grace and mercy. His dream was "to work in me, giving me the desire to obey Him" and to remind me of the law of mercy ... if I do not give it, I will not receive it.
  • The question He asked me, "Does any of this really matter?", pertains to my decision and the reasons surrounding it. I asked Holy Spirit why I was given such a disturbing dream. He said to me, "If I hadn't shown you something that was so purposeful (amusement park patrons) and tragic (my dad and Alec), you wouldn't have been able to answer my question with a NO. Without something so strong and compelling to compare this circumstance to, you still would have considered your "grace challenge" important, and you would have stood your ground in your heart. Does this really matter when compared to life, death and eternity?"
I have to state that I was completely in awe after all of this was revealed. Between the dream, the scriptures and the many things Holy Spirit spoke to me, I just couldn't stop shaking my head at the way God had chosen to address my "grace challenge". He knew my heart so well and that in this situation He needed something big to speak to me. And big He delivered. He left me no wriggle room when it came to answering His question, "Does any of this really matter?" And I have to say now, "No. It really doesn't."

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Grace" Challenged

"Grace is what I crave most when my guilt is exposed. The very thing I am hesitant to extend when confronted with the guilt of others - especially when their guilt has robbed me of something I consider valuable. When we are on the receiving end, grace is refreshing. When it is required of us, it is often disturbing. But when correctly applied, it seems to solve just about everything." 
-Andy Stanley [The Grace of God]

When confronted with unexpected moments that seem to seize my emotions without warning, I become fully aware - after the moment has waned - of my inability to dispense grace with the same intensity which I cry out for.

Just the other night I inadvertently followed some links and threads to a twitter account that I haven't read in many months. A recent tweet on this page brought my emotions speeding back to a time when I was so burdened over an offer and all that it meant. Anger over what had changed because of a decision that was out my hands boiled over in me. I realized - in that moment - that more had been lost than I had realized or imagined. Maybe lost isn't the right word. Seized without forethought may actually describe it more accurately. I was angry over 'territory' that no longer belonged to us, and I allowed that emotion to spill out to my husband. (not AT my husband, but TO my husband)

Now, two days after the initial assault on my emotions, I am pleading with God to help me see through grace-filled eyes what I cannot come close to surrendering to in my humanity. This was our piece of provision and it still hurts to know that because of circumstances that - again - were out my control, I am placed in a position of choosing. And I'm stomping my feet like a two-year old as I state, "But, that isn't fair!"

And then I read on the (invisible) sign posted on the (invisible) wall in front me, "Does the person you choose not to forgive walk around with the burden of you not forgiving them? Or do you? Just the same ... does the person you choose not to extend grace to walk around with the burden of you being placed in a situation where grace will need to be extended? Or do you?"

I can read it intellectually with understanding, and yet I still say, "But, that isn't fair!"

This is one of those blogs where the end is obviously not the end. It's just a story in progress...

"But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it)." James 4:6

Friday, November 5, 2010

Conquering Joy (November's DIB Article)

For the past few years when Christmas ends and the new year is just around the corner, I have made it a point to sit down with God and ask Him to reveal His focus for me for the coming year. This January, instead of filling my heart with a list of things to accomplish, which speaks directly into my passion for To-Do’s, He changed things up and gave me just four words and a scripture:


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13

As the year has unfolded, God has been faithful to reveal to me the reasons for each chosen word; and I have been careful to record these bits of revelation so that when 2010 comes to an end, I will be able to look back and see God’s fingerprints all over this year.

Near the end of June, as I was consolidating various online blogs into one, clean, organized blog, a random title popped into my head. Mind you, I wasn’t looking to change the name of my blog, but apparently God had a different plan. “Conquering Joy” are the two words that took hold of my heart and wouldn’t let go. So as soon as my new blog was all put together, I sat down and wrote about it:

“At first I thought Conquering Joy was kind of an oxy-moronic title. Did the words really go together? But then I looked up the word conquer and this is what I found:

Conquer: to take possession of by force or authority; to overcome by conquest.

I liked the whole thought of taking possession of joy by authority. JOY is a fruit of the Spirit, but it is also a feeling. I have to choose to live in it, just as I would choose to be content...or not. Yes, the Holy Spirit deposits joy in my life, but He'll never force-feed it to me.

And then I had this thought: God knows that taking possession of joy in every situation in my life has the potential to bring about unspeakable change. Conquering JOY is necessary in moving forward to PEACE. HOPE. & GLORY!”

One morning a couple weeks ago, after a “discussion” with my husband the prior evening, I woke up feeling discouraged, angry and discontent. I was not in a good place and the day ahead of me looked bleak (because of my emotional state). A couple hours into my morning Holy Spirit stopped me in my tracks. Instead of having this hearing experience, I had a thought download. I was to retreat to my closet and not come out until my soul had surrendered. What did that even mean?

Psalm 62 was also a part of this thought download; so I looked it up and verse 5 jumped off the page:

“My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him;
for my hope and expectation are from Him.”

Grabbing my iPod and Bible, I retreated to my closet. Once inside, I just knew that I was supposed to play this new worship song I had found and put it on repeat. The chorus of the song has this line in it:

“I will sing from the overflow of love in my heart.”

During the first run-through I remember thinking, “How am I supposed to sing from the overflow of love in my heart when I’m bitter about last night? Clearly my heart’s not even half-full today. And on my best day, God, I still don’t know that there’s any overflow. I mean, you know the things I struggle with. How can a heart overflow with love when sin still resides?” I heard no response.

After five times through the song I asked, “What exactly is supposed to be happening, God?” No answer. The sixth and seventh time around? Still nothing. Then it happened. The reason for my retreat began to unravel.

In the midst of singing the chorus – for the 8th time – the presence of God consumed the oxygen to the point where I felt like I was breathing in the Holy Spirit instead of air. It was that thick; like the heaviness of humidity before a storm rolls in. In an instant, the song I had simply been singing became worship; the lyrics transformed from words into praise. And more knowing was poured out.

“The overflow you question comes from Jesus alone. That capacity for love that you don’t possess on your best day in the flesh is waiting to be poured into you in His presence.”

I was overwhelmed. Tears ran down my face. And the knowing continued.

Before I walked into my closet I didn’t understand the assignment of “not coming out until my soul had surrendered”, but I obeyed what I knew I was asked to do … I played that worship song over and over and over again.

What I learned is that if I will take the time and make my soul wait on God alone, then His presence that comes in patient waiting will change my perspective. The fleshly emotions that dominated my heart and thoughts will be consumed by the overwhelming love that accompanies the presence of Jesus, because in the presence of that kind of joy-producing love, no heart can hold onto selfish motives.

In Psalm 16 – my favorite Psalm – David writes: “I experience absolute joy in Your presence.” (vs. 11)

In Acts 2:28 this verse is referenced and written this way: “You will enrapture me - diffusing my soul with joy - with and in Your presence."

Conquering Joy was fully realized in my closet that morning. When I wrote out my thoughts back in June, I was focused on the action of choice alone. I believed that all I had to do was choose joy in order to conquer my circumstances. It sounded good then, but now I understand that my thought was incomplete.

God showed me that what I choose is critical to joy being conquered. I don’t just decide to be joyful and “voila” all my nasty emotions are gone and I’m tiptoeing through the tulips of life. I must choose for “my soul to wait only upon God and silently submit to Him” (Psalm 62:5), so that “He can enrapture me – diffusing my soul with joy – with and in His presence.” (Acts 2:28) And by “filling me with all joy and peace as I trust in Him, I will overflow with hope (and love) by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

That morning discontent, anger and discouragement were conquered by love and replaced with joy. On any given day our circumstances have the opportunity to leave us burdened with a range of joy-stealing emotions: from bitterness and envy to jealousy and greed; from insecurity and helplessness to pride, fear and loneliness. But God has given us a path to daily freedom. Choice is a powerful tool in our spiritual arsenal; one that has the capacity to change our perspective day in and day out, moment by moment … if we will just make a choice to surrender our souls to Him and wait on His presence.

“Jesus, I pray the truth of who you are and the powerful love that your presence brings will be made to known to each reader today. That surrender becomes a sweet word on our lips and an easy act of our souls as we continuously discover how to conquer joy through your authority.”

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Closure on Moving

So, here we are, November 4th, and so much has happened since I last blogged about moving. I look back on my post from August 16th (Beggars-Choosers) and am amazed at what's transpired since then. Almost 2 months ago I was agonizing over the peace I didn't have about signing another 12-month lease to our Keller home. What's funny is that I look back now and think, "I was so unsettled when I wrote that. Why was I questioning whether or not another lease was a good idea? Clearly, agonizing is not peace."

Then the confirmation I was begging for came back in a loud and clear voice. Actually, it was more like a hot and sweaty one. When the AC blew the very next day, I took it as a my last sign that it was time to go. And I wrote about it the very next day. (Settled!)

By September 3rd, I made myself sit down and write what was on my heart about our move. I really believed that God was preparing us for a move to the very apartments we now live in, yet I hadn't approached Anthony with my idea. I needed that Journal Stone (Ready) to look back on ... just in case I was hearing God correctly. And the very next day we (Anthony and I) took our first trip to see these apartments and I, again, wrote out another Journal Stone (Shock and Awe) to remember our first reactions.

What I haven't included in this moving saga is the confirmation from God's Word that settled everything and was the catalyst to submitting an application for the apartment we now call home. On September 7th I awoke very early in the morning with a need to sit with God, determined that I was going get His confirmation for NRH, whether it was yes or no. Through prayer and reading, God lead me to a passage in 1 Kings that became confirmation.

1 Kings 17 documents the obedience of Elijah to do exactly as the Lord had commanded; where he went, where he stayed, how he was fed, it was all instructed by God and Elijah was taken care of by God. As I was reading, verses 3 & 4 just lit up; one of the moments when you know it's God's specific communication with you. Unfortunately, the verses didn't make immediate sense to me:

"Go from here and turn east and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, east of the Jordan. You shall drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there."

Over the next hour I did extensive study on the brook Cherith and the surrounding text in 1 Kings 17, and the few points I'm documenting here both amazed me and brought great peace and confirmation.
  • God instructed Elijah to leave "here" because the drought Elijah spoke of would have affected him greatly. God moved Elijah to protect him. God was moving us from Keller to protect us. From what, exactly, I may never know. But that's not the point. God's promise of protection is all that I needed to rest in.
  • God asked Elijah to hide himself and be alone with Him. This spoke to me that God wanted a new season with us, personally, and moving our location was part of that plan.
  • The word Cherith comes from the ancient Hebrew root meaning, to cut away, to cut up or off. This shows that God had some cutting to do in the life of Elijah during this period. When I read this, I immediately knew that I didn't need anything more in the way of confirmation than this. This season that God was moving us into was all about "Simplifying". This was God's very specific word to me when I initially began praying about moving. I knew that God wanted to teach us how to live differently; and that reducing our space and the volume of things that we had accumulated was part of that purpose. 
  • It was in Cherith that God promised Elijah He would feed him there. It's not that God couldn't have had the ravens feed him anywhere else, but God wanted Elijah there, hiding by the brook Cherith. It was there that He would provide. Whatever the reasons, and for whatever purposes, God was calling us to "here" (NRH), which is our "there" (the brook Cherith). This is where He intended to provide for us. 
  • Lastly, a simple confirmation that made me smile, the thought came to me to Google map the drive from our home in Keller to the apartments in NRH. Although some may say I stretched for this one, I say it's God showing His Word true. "Go from here and turn east..." are the first words of verse 3. The first words used in the directions from Keller to NRH were, "Head out and turn east". It was no coincidence to me why verse 3 was lit up when I read it and why the "random" thought to Google map the directions suddenly popped into my head. God uses both the deep and the simple to reveal His will for our lives. 
The overarching theme that stood out in this chapter is the step-by-step plan that God laid out for Elijah. He told him where to go with giving him the next step, and God also didn't tell Elijah why He was to "go here or there". He spoke and Elijah obeyed, regardless of the information or lack thereof that surrounded God's words. This was huge for me. I didn't need to know all the reasons behind the move or all the plans that laid ahead of us. I didn't need to be concerned with the details of why or what. God was confirming. He was speaking. My job, and that of my family, was simply to obey.