Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Wait, With Hope

I am struggling today. I haven't blogged here in almost 2 weeks because I don't really know what to say.

It's such an interesting season right now. I can sense and anticipate God working. I feel a little like a woman at the end of her pregnancy, like I know what I have been waiting for is coming soon, but I don't know exactly when. Unfortunately, when you are "pregnant" in the spiritual sense, there is no guaranteed time limit on the gestation like there is with a physical pregnancy, so this sense could theoretically go on for a really long time. And when you find yourself in a "holding pattern" for too long, you start to wonder if you'll ever "take off."

Part of what has been increasing the sense of anticipation that something is going on is the "labor pains" I have been feeling. In a ten day period, I found out people in leadership over me were speaking badly about me behind my back, and the deeper meaning behind it was a bruise to my heart and an encouragement to me because it confirmed I had heard the voice of the Lord. I also had a major crisis arise in my extended family and I had a major conflict arise in another area of my extended family. Then after really hurtful awful things were said, the person acted as though the conversation never even happened? Basically, it left me sort of reeling. Truth be told, I am still feeling totally thrown off by it.

Then a simple statement made on Facebook opened a can of worms that I didn't even know existed. I found myself on the receiving end of a real tongue lashing, and "officially" lost a friend I think I had lost a lot longer ago, and a lot more severely than I ever even realized. It actually had me really sad, but then I saw some things that made me realize, I don't think the situation was even about me, but I was the easy target. But it's still sad when a friendship dies.

Amidst these big issues there were evil dreams and anxiety attacks. Up until a few days ago I woke up daily with heavy pressure of anxiety in my chest. I've also been having mid-day anxiety attacks too, those are more rare for me, but up until a few days ago, they were getting really common.

I don't like to give the devil credit for every challenge I face, but when they come so hard and so incessant, you kind of have to wonder if there's more behind it than happenstance.

A few weeks ago I went to a gathering of believers to hear a man preach, he is known for moving in the prophetic. I went to listen with extremely skeptical ears. It's my nature to question everything, but especially when someone puts themselves in a position to speak on behalf of God.

The prophetic is not foreign to my church. There is one man in particular who moves both in the prophetic and in the gift of healing. I have gone before him many times with hope and expectation to "hear from the Lord" from him, and the Lord has never chosen to speak into my life through him. The most I have ever gotten was a touch to my forehead and a "God bless you."

So when I was invited to this event (by friends I trust implicitly) I didn't go with a great deal of expectation. My friend really was insistent that I was supposed to go, but I almost didn't because Neal and I had had a huge blow up just a couple days before (which is extremely rare for us.) But at the last minute things lined up and I was able to go, but I did not go expecting to hear anything specifically for myself. It's just never been something that happens for me. And I had chosen to be ok with that.

Interestingly I had expressed a need and desire a couple weeks before all this to want to "go somewhere I didn't know anyone and have them come up to me and speak a word from the Lord." It was specific to wanting it to be someone who didn't know me because I didn't want anyone's personal opinion to color it. I have, in my own church, had "prophecy" misused. I have had people try to manipulate me with it, and wound me with it. Even when it has been an encouraging prophecy, it has felt tinged with the good intentions of someone who cared for me to make me feel better, rather than ringing true to the "word of the Lord." It's not to say I have never received a true prophecy in my own church, but more to say I found myself in a place where I need confidence it was not corrupted by the person speaking it.

When I went that night to listen to the sermon, I was waiting and watching for mistakes, words that didn't line up with the Word of God. Like I said, it's my nature to be skeptical anyway, but I was on even higher alert that night. At one point the speaker misspoke something, he used the name of one "father of the faith" in the place of another. My ears peaked and I sat up, listening critically, then he said, "I'm sorry, I meant Jacob, not Abraham, I misspoke." Truth be told, I felt like even that was of the Lord, it made me realize how careful and precise this man meant to be to go back and correct himself. I felt like the Lord was confirming for me, I could take in what he was saying. His lesson on Joseph was amazing, I really enjoyed it. Not in the sense of tickling my ears, because it was a hard and challenging word of truth, but I enjoyed it because I knew it was real, something to hold to.

After he spoke his lesson, the speaker shared about his gift of the prophetic, and he began to pray and look over the room. He gave a word to a woman a few rows in front of me and I watched her emotional response. It was obvious it spoke to her spirit by the way she responded. Then he moved over to the other side of the room and spoke over another woman, and she too was moved by the words he said.

I was seated toward the back with only one other person near me. He had been glancing our direction throughout the night. Finally he turned toward us and began to walk our way. "You in the brown," he said, "what's your name?" He was speaking to me.

Then he began to speak over me. This man I never met before spoke words of hope to me, words of encouragement. I tried hard to focus and take it all in, he had so much to say. For near;y 6 minutes he continued to speak. It was so interesting to me because he spoke in ways that were specific to "my language," he used word pictures that were relevant to my life, he used phrases that I use. It was as though he was speaking my language. My friend who brought me was a couple rows behind me, I kept hearing her say, "Yes" and "Amen."

It was so much to take in. I am so thankful that my friend's husband was there and recorded it for me. As I tried to process it on the way home that night, I couldn't remember enough of the words he said. Things stood out, and my friend tried to help me, but the recording of it was a treasure. It was almost a week before I got it so I could hear it again, but when I listened the 2nd time, it registered with me even more.

It's been a battle almost non-stop ever since. It makes me think, even more, the word was of the Lord.

I have had people I trust listen to it. Each one of them has agreed, it was anointed and of God. Each one of them is believing with me for the fulfillment of it. But now we wait. And like I said, unlike a physical pregnancy, there is no guaranteed end to to the season, though he prophesied it was coming.

Waiting is hard, and time in the kingdom of God is evasive.

But there were promises in that word that was spoken over me, and I know well that God is a faithful keeper of promises, that's been the biggest theme he has proven true in my life.

God ALWAYS keeps His promises.

On that I can be sure.

On that I can rely.

Waiting isn't easy, but it is always worth it with the Lord.

So, I hold to it, and I wait, with hope. And that's not the worst place to be.

God deserves my hope.

God deserves my trust.

So I wait.

And I hope.

And I trust.

Labor is ongoing, but the birth will come. And when I grab hold of what God has for me, it will have been worth every moment I waited... and then some.