15 Nov
Movement of Heart - Month 11

Oh wow! Month three was a doozy. Though I can’t believe we’re already in month four, these past few weeks have seemed like an eternity and it’s been the hardest month for me so far. Aside from the bed bugs that I wrote about in my last entry, I struggled with revealed unforgiveness in my heart. I had limited conversation about the Good News and felt stifled in just going through the motions. I was hit with spiritual hunger and a thirst for unified passion. While my own relationship with Jesus is certainly growing I didn’t once expect that life on the race would be this individual and the isolation in constant community came as an unwelcomed surprise.

The realization of unforgiveness came to me one night in a dream. I was caught off guard because I don’t regularly remember my dreams and this whole prompting came from someone asking me if there was anything I needed to cleanse myself of. What?!? Cleanse myself of?! What an absurd question that accompanied the telling of physical discomfort when I walked into the room. I racked my brain, pondering over possibilities of what I could be holding on to but was told not to think much of it. For three days there was a running joke about my cleansing and the pain in anothers stomach. Sporadically talking to God about it I asked Him like David did so long ago, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”

On the last night that the questioner was with us I had a dream of someone from my past. Someone from nearly four years ago. I woke up not remembering much about the dream, only that it was strange to think of this person of whom I hadn’t given much thought to since our parting. Turning to my verse of the day that morning it read, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Saaay what?!! Could this be the cleansing that I needed? A hurt that I was holding on to? A release I needed to give to the Lord? I didn’t mention it to the one who originally asked but less than an hour later I was told that their stomach stopped hurting that morning. Ooooo wee! Ok Jesus. I hear You. Thank You for confirmations and speaking so intentionally but now what?

I thought about it for a few days, wondering what cleansing looked like, and finally arrived at the forgiveness I never allowed. Sure I forgave myself and received forgiveness from the Lord but I never forgave the other party for taking part in the destruction of a friendship, for deeply hurting me, and choosing to let me go so easily. I stuffed these feelings down, ignoring the impact on my life, and proceeded without acknowledgment of the sorrows in my heart. So just as before I had to ask again… now what? The only thing that made sense at this point was to feel what I needed to feel and forgive. But oh how to do such a complex yet easy thing? In this moment I offered a simple “I’m ready” and in this “I’m ready” lifted up a surrendering prayer. This prayer gave way to hurt, sadness, and uncomfortable remembrance but it also brought healing, comfort, and dare I say… cleansing. What a prayer indeed! While I’m not sure if anymore needs to be done with this forgiveness, I do know that Jesus now has a little more of my heart that I had kept closed off. Hallelujah my King for the movement in heart and for the new depths Your graciously taking this relationship to. I’m honored to have such intimacy.

Growing in this intimacy I have come to know and listen to the promptings of Christ (something I’ll forever be growing in). These promptings unleash great glory and a beautiful example came one Sunday afternoon. My team and I got to visit a house church in Kazakhstan. A beautiful time of worship and discussion. After service was over we were asked to share our testimony or a project we were working on. One by one my team went around the room sharing how God had brought them into relationship and how their life was forever the Lords. When it came to me, I turned the tide and shared about the project of God’s movement I was working on, talking briefly about the ways I’ve been documenting Jesus in the everyday. Feeling like I shared appropriately, the pastors son told his testimony next. He said that he couldn’t honestly say he follows Jesus everyday and that he was looking for confirmation of his faith. He asked if anyone had a turning point in their life, telling us it was hard to relate to the acceptance of our Savior at such a young age which some of our team blessedly has. I knew Holy Spirit was asking me to share in this moment but just incase I paused for a second to see if anyone else wanted to jump in. With a hush in the room, Holy Spirit assured me that this was His story to tell and I gave declaration of my turning point in a way that I had never done before. It felt so natural and fitting and I ended with the statement in tears, “I still didn’t have all the answers but I knew without a doubt that Jesus was real and vowed to dedicate the rest of my life to finding out who He is.” Give glory!

After we shared a meal, we headed out the door and started home. Sharing a cab with two of the girls on my team we met a nice young driver who told us he was a cook. Randomly dialoging through a google translation app, one second I was asking him if he liked cold weather and the next I couldn’t help but ask him if he knew who Jesus was. It literally flew out of my mouth and I think everyone in the cab was just as surprised as I was, if not more. A vague yes was his response so I told him God loved him and wanted to be more known by him. I apologized for my bluntness but explained how I was led to tell him all these things. He asked if we were Catholic or Christian and the answer I gave him was something along the lines of “I guess you could call us Christian but it’s not about typed religion. It’s more about a relationship we get from His Word.” (Side note: we’ve ben told the term “Christian” was viewed negatively in Kazakhstan) A smile brushed across his face followed by a few moments of silence so I told him I just so happened to have a Russian Bible in my bag if he wanted it. Without hesitation he said yes and I excitedly got to give him the Word of God I had been carrying for a week because the original plans for delivery had been delayed. Perhaps they weren’t delayed at all though and Jesus’ timing for this man was exactly what “was planned” all along. I mean it sure seemed like it right?!? Such praise!

Moments like these drive home my hunger and increase the passion I have to live out heaven on earth. I’m moved by an urgent desire to share God’s love and had expectations that this trip would constantly flow in like manner from a group setting. However, I haven’t experienced much of the same collectively. Individual relations with Christ seem to flourish while bodily connections waiver back and forth. True we’re all built differently. True we all bring something unique to the table. So what does it look like to hunger together?

Bringing these ideas to the team, first one on one, and then together, I hear the same desires being craved. It reminded me of a conversation we had before we left the States about all we wanted experience this year. We talked of miracles and wonders, healings and salvation, deliverance and encounters with Holy Spirit. In revisiting these thoughts I remain hopeful. Praying about what could possibly be the last month with my gifted team, Jesus gave me two verses. “ And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 11:19) and “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil” (Heb. 6:19)

Okay Lord, I hear You. I’m holding on. I’m not giving up yet and trust that You’ve fashioned all this in a way that excels what our feeble minds could have imagined. Your way is always better and I’m excited to see what comes this month. I’m looking forward to big things and know You’re a big God who moves in big ways. Let Your kingdom come Father! Split the sea, rain down manna, drop the walls of Jericho. Make the lame walk, the blind see, and transform lives. Jesus bring the dead to life! I know You can. I know You have. I know Your not finished yet. Thank You Lord for being who You are. The God of eternal life. The God of the universe. The God of miracles. Thank You Jesus for saving my life and securing my hope. You alone are worthy and You alone deserve the glory. I’m honored to see such beauty and will stay steadfast in prayer my Love. Always and forever, Hosanna in the highest!

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