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BSSM 1st Year

I can’t believe that my first year is drawing to a close. In 20 days I’ll be graduating from Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, and deploying into the next chapter of my life. Unreal.

This was a dream for so many years. I knew since I was a freshman in high school that I wanted to do a year to consecrate my life to God; it’s been 4 years since I realized that I wanted to go to BSSM. Finally, it happened.

I was so excited for this year. I just knew that I would come and be affirmed and built up and all my dreams would come true.

Uh, not quite.

It was so much more than that.

I still can’t come to grips with how much the Lord has changed me this year. I came into this year broken without knowing I was broken, rebellious without knowing I was rebellious. They say ignorance is bliss, but I knew something was wrong. I just didn’t know what.

I can paint a picture of the entire first semester of this year: me lying on the floor in a fetal position, tears streaming down my face, unable to breath as God ripped and tore and broke all the wrong thinking I had. I can’t count all the times I sobbed on the phone to my mom, wanting to go home.

I’m so glad I didn’t.

As God broke me, He healed me. He took out my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh. Nothing feels so good as that moment of breakthrough, when you realize you’re seeing the world clearly for the first time. I think that moment happened at least two dozen times this year.

God cleaned me out like a pumpkin for Halloween. He took out all the big stuff, then He scraped me out until there was nothing left. That was the first semester. Then this semester He filled me up.

He introduced me to a beautiful, new, intimate relationship with Him. He taught me how to be myself. He taught me how to forgive. He taught me how to submit. He taught me how to serve. He taught me how to lead.

Most of all, He taught me how to be a daughter.

That’s what it’s all about, see. We are no longer slaves. We are friends. We walk boldly and confidently because we are sons and daughters of the living God. This great God who gave up everything because He simply wanted a relationship with the people He made for His pleasure.

Words can’t even express what I’ve recieved. I’m no longer a slave. I’m no longer even a friend. I’m a Bride. I’m a Daughter. I walk in wholeness and freedom. Grace abounds in my life.

I’m not afraid of messing up anymore.

I can’t even fully grasp that concept. The fact that I live without fear of condemnation, of messing up, of making it so that He doesn’t talk to me anymore. I don’t even understand those fears anymore. That was a different Em. This Em knows the pleasure she brings her Papa. She knows how good God is. She knows the importance her Papa places on her. She dives into the depths of His heart and drinks deep of His love and mercy daily.

I want to show the world this amazing love I’ve found. I want everyone I know to walk in wholeness and freedom, their identities secured in the One who made them.

I’m going home soon. I’m transitioning into a new chapter of my life. I have no idea what that’s going to look like, but I do know one thing:

I’m going to introduce the world to this God I’ve met.

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Apparently my dad follows this blog and he wants me to write something.

So… Something.

😉

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I have a (rather new) friend who is an amazing woman of God. She keeps a blog where it seems like she is totally transparent. She talks about her life, about things she likes, about what God is doing in her. I recently went through and spent an hour or two reading many of her posts and was encouraged by them all. When I sent her a text message telling her how much I had enjoyed her blog, she replied with this:

(: I’m so glad you are reading it. I know that my life is His witness so I’m always glad to share what He’s doing in me.

This leveled me. Flat out, knock down laid me on my back. I’ve been laying here ever since mulling over how she is building her legacy from the ground up, following God with complete transparency. She will be remembered. Her life will make a difference. Her children and her children’s children will be encouraged and lifted up because they can watch her life unfold. God has great plans for this one.

And all this mulling made me wonder what I was doing to record what He’s doing in me. I wonder what my grandchildren will think of me when I’ve returned to dust. How will I be remembered? If there are generations after me, how will I provide the training needed to get beyond the level of anointing that God will pour out on me in the climax of my life? That sounds prideful, but it’s not. God bestows a level of revelation, wisdom, anointing on every person; I will be no different. I just don’t want it to end here. I want to provide a springboard for the people that come after me to fling themselves deeper into God, higher into His glory.

I once heard it said that we will never get beyond the level of anointing another person has been granted until we honor that person for the work they have done in the Kingdom. The thing that determines whether you are honored or not is your legacy.

In this social world, we’ll all leave a legacy. The question is what that legacy says about us. Will we be remembered as the life of the party, the clown, the screwup? Will Facebook label us? Will Twitter? Will our own thoughts? Will people have to rely on fading memories or will they have something concrete to look back on?

I’m beginning to think that the only way to be truly transparent is to record what God’s doing. Yeah, I’m talking about journaling.

I know, I know; don’t roll your eyes. But how else can it be done? We need to record what the Lord is doing, what He’s saying so that the generations that come after us can follow along to what led us to wherever God is taking us.

This doesn’t have to be an exercise in torture, or some daily chore. It doesn’t even have to be daily. But I believe we all need some kind of system to record what God says to us personally, what He does in our lives. I carry a notebook practically everywhere I go; I call it my Jesus Book. Whenever God speaks or I notice that He’s doing something in my life, I record it. That’s all it has to be. A simple scribing of the facts.

It doesn’t have to be a notebook, either. It can be a note app on your phone. A folder on your computer. A bunch of videos saved to your computer. A drawer in your dresser stuffed with paper. Whatever it takes to make sure that God is being honored and we are being transparent.

If we record what God does, He is honored. Honoring Him opens the door to more revelation. More revelation means that we leave a bigger legacy.

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Dreaming With God

I’m going to go in a different vein on this post, and write about what’s been going on with me. Bear with me! Although, I guess it doesn’t really matter; no one reads this anyway! 😉

When I was really young, all I wanted was to be a missionary. After a while, I grew up and got a more realistic dream: I wanted to be a pastor. Youth pastor, specifically. Fortunately for the poor souls who would have had to sit under my pastorship, God had other plans. He revealed my passion for publishing, and so that’s the route I’m walking on. I have every assurance that the business I will start will be rewarding and fulfilling and all the things that He has promised.

But.

(Yeah, there’s a but. I’m beginning to hate that word; it reeks of dissatisfaction. The stupid thing should be cut out of the dictionary.)

But.

But those dreams from my childhood never completely died. The thing is, whenever I pictured myself as a pastor or a missionary I was never counseling a troubled teen through his parents’ divorce or smuggling Bibles into communist countries. Do I want to see these things happen? Yes. Do I want to feed the hungry and see the miracles and see souls come to Christ by the millions? Yes! But as amazing and awe-inspiring as these things are, they were never what I pictured myself doing when I dreamed about my future in the ministry. So what was the dream? What did I see myself doing 10, 20, 50 years down the road?

I was teaching.

That’s all I wanted to do. I wanted to stand in front of crowds and explain the things of God in ways they could understand. So when God told me that He did not call me to the ministry, I was a little crushed. I trusted that He knew best, though, and shelved the dream. I left it behind and pressed on towards the new dream that He had yet to reveal to me. And yes, He does know best; after a few years I realized that I was born for prophetic business and that I am way too abrasive to adopt the calming, soothing presence that is needed for a pastor. Pretending to be something I’m not would’ve destroyed me. God is so wise!

But throughout all the excitement of finding out who I am and what I am meant to do, I couldn’t shake the twinge of sadness at the thought that I would never speak God’s Word to a crowd of people. Oh, I tried. Goodness knows I tried. I stuffed the dream into the deepest recesses of my psyche. I prayed. I pretended it didn’t exist. I told myself it was pride and ran away as fast as I could. I got angry and told it to leave, NOW. But no matter what I did, it was always there, following me, whispering its tales of what might have been. It never gave up, even though God was teaching me humility and the dream seemed prideful. It never went away.

I walked around with this shameful secret that I wouldn’t allow myself to tell anyone, not even God. Oh, I would skirt the issue. “Oh, someday I would love to teach a small class on writing or something. You know. Haha. Pipe dreams.” I would never reveal the depravity of my pride. I pretended God didn’t see and know. What would He think of me if He knew that I dreamed of speaking in front of thousands of people? I love Him; He couldn’t know. He would be disappointed. I couldn’t deal with that.

This was my thought process. I was a shameful, sinful, prideful disgrace of a human.

But God.

(Ok, the word can stay. It has redeemed itself.)

But God set me up for deliverance. He put me in the right place, at the right time, to hear what He wanted me to hear. It came in the form of a sermon by Bob Johnson, who has a church in San Francisco. it wasn’t even the entire sermon. Pastor Johnson was talking about dreaming, and gave an example of someone dreaming their entire life of owning a Ferarri. He explained that this dream might seem prideful and material and might even make the person feel guilty. This so perfectly mirrored how I felt about my dream that I sat up and listened harder. Pastor Johnson encouraged everyone to dream, because who knows but that that dream might be from God.

This clicked in my Spirit. Suddenly, something broke in me. Shame and guilt fell away and ideas for what I could teach flooded my mind. Joy and excitement filled me. Anticipation built in me as I realized that those dreams ARE from God and He put them there for a reason.

So I’m getting this down. I’m honoring the Lord by recording what He has said and done. I’m writing it on the tablets of my heart: I’m a teacher. I will teach to others what the Lord has taught and will teach me. I will explain the deep things of God. I will make a difference, not only in the books I publish and the writers I find, but in the words I say. My words will have impact.

This is it.

This is part of my calling.

Let’s do this.

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I’m back!  I know, I know, the total of 2 (3?) people who have ever commented on this blog have been missing me dearly.  It’s a tragic thing.  But I’m back so you don’t have to mourn any longer (she said sarcastically).

So, here’s the deal.  I’ve got a bunch of blog posts laid out in my head so I’m actually going to get on a schedule from now on.  I’m going to start it slow, and just go Monday, Wednesday, Friday with maybe a few random other days thrown in along the way.  I’ve been reading and advising people all over the internets that we all need to have a blog (case in point: check out this great post by Jeff Holton: Seven Reasons Why You (Yes, You!) Should Have a Blog) and I have finally decided to practice what I preach. So my first “real” post will be on Wednesday, this is just the obligatory grand reopening post.

Have a great Monday!

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ahhh…!

So much for putting all the rules I learn on here.

Someone else has done that for me 🙂

I went to a blog, which sent me to another blog, then yet another blog, until I found a blog by an editor.  In one of her archives, this editor has so kindly posted her 10 best free online resources for writers.  One of whom is this.

Some guy named William Strunk, Jr. has posted a website about the elements of style for writers.  I’ve thought seriously about running out and getting the Chicago version of this (and, honestly, I probably will eventually) but this is a great starting point.  I’m excited; are you?

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Is anyone really, really good at this?

As I slog through my WIP, and my new WIP (I’m insane), I keep getting the oppurtunities to name my characters.  Each time, I find myself hurled into the world of baby name websites and the Bible, trying to find that perfect name.  I’m of the school that names for anything- whether it’s a name for a baby or for a short story character- should mean something critical.  In Biblical times, names were given to the child only after they had been alive outside of the womb for 7 days.  On that day, boy babies were taken to get circumcised and they recieved their names.  Tons of prayer and thought were put into each name because their name would be representative of who they were as a person.  Some examples:

     David means ‘beloved,’ and indeed, he was beloved of the Lord.  “A man after God’s own heart.”

     Samuel means ‘heard of God.’  Which was probably pretty obvious, as he was a prophet.

     Jesus or as he was named in Hebrew, Yeshua, means literally ‘Jehovah is salvation.’  His other name, Immanuel, means ‘God with us.’

     Enoch means ‘dedicated,’ and he was so dedicated to the Lord that He ended up taking him to heaven body and soul, like he did with Elijah.

So as I go through and name people in my WIPs, I’m finding that it’s a lot harder than I thought.  One thing I’ve found that works, however, is to give my characters some name that barely means anything, and then when I’m finished I go back and rewrite all the names into something else.  By the end, I know my characters and can truly give them a name that suits them.

So what do you do?  Do you choose a name at the beginning or the end?  I’d love to hear what ya’ll do!

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