But first - pictures!
My friend Hannah....
|My Friend Emily|
From left to right: Emily, Ashlei (Sacramento hostess), me (!!!) and Hannah.
|BETHEL CHURCH!!!! WOOHOO!!!|
|Jeremy Camp leading worship at Bethel Church!|
|From left to right: Emily, Eugenia, Hannah, and me.|
CALIFORNIA – PS I had two cups of coffee and am nursing my third as I write this, so …
Holy Spirit + Three cups of coffee = VERY ENTHUSIASTIC LESLEA
And you thought you were a coffee junkie! ;)
One word burns on my heart. When I wake up, when I go to sleep, when I sit, when I rise, when I’m in worship, when I’m driving, when I’m on the phone, when I’m on facebook, when I’m showering (I know! Crazy! But GOD IS IN THE SHOWER!), when I meet the broken, the captive, the orphan and widow of our time….
R E V I V A L
REVIVAL. My heart burns for revival in my generation, for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on His sons and daughters like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Azusa street? The First Great Awakening? The Second Great Awakening? No, even more, even more powerful!!!! AHHHH!!!!! REVIVAL IN AMERICA AND ALL OVER THE WORLD! For the Gospel to make it to every corner of creation! Not just every tribe and every tongue as in a one or two representatives of every tribe and every tongue…NOOO, SO MUCH MORE!!! God said ASK AND I’LL GIVE THE NATIONS! Not one or two people from the nations. Not 10,000, or even 100,000. No, ask and I’ll GIVE THE NATIONS, THE WHOLE NATIONS! I WANT THE NATIONS TO SEE JESUS! TO KNOW JESUS! TO KNOW A LOVE LIKE NOTHING THEY’VE EVER ENCOUNTERED BEFORE! I have dedicated the rest of my life to prayer, fasting, interceding, worshiping, crying out for, inspiring and challenging others to get a hold of God’s heart for the Kingdom, to not settle for being a Christian on Sundays, or even Sundays, Wednesdays, and maybe the occasional Friday night prayer meeting. No, may they burn with such fire that they cannot contain themselves, that their joy and passion has to spill out onto others because their own vessel cannot contain the fire and presence of God.
So – how does California play a role in this? First I have to back up and tell you a bit about Italy. For a year now God has been increasing his pursuit in my life. He’s always pursued me, and I have pursued back… However, when I was in Italy for four months at the end of 2009 (so August to December), I was isolated for most of the day. I would leave at 8 in the morning, go to class, sit for 4-6 hours of class, get some food, and then go to the library until 7 at night. Toward the end of the semester, I wasn’t getting home until 10, as my load increased and finals were approaching. My bus rides to and fro were 25 minutes long. It was just me and God, all day long, lost in a crowd of strangers. I was constantly listening to worship music and sermons on podcasts with my iPod. And I was journaling. Journaling like never before. And God just WHOOSH would come upon my heart in a powerful way, breaking my heart for the city, for the country. I saw Italy with new eyes. I saw Milan with new eyes. I saw the people on the bus, in my classes, and at the library, with new eyes. I saw the homeless, the African illegal immigrants, and the marginalized, with new eyes. There were Ferraris barreling down the street, passing an African immigrant sitting on the sidewalk with a blanket spread out and selling cheap wares, with two underfed, poorly clothed children next to her. That was so hard to see.
And God pursued me and pursued me, and it was overwhelming at times. Like, I physically couldn’t handle it and had to sort of shake it off, if that makes any sense. Sort of like telling God – hey, that’s too much at once, please back off a little. At the same time, I was telling Him, give me no rest…I love feeling this way. It’s overwhelming, and I can’t take it, but don’t stop.
So that was an important season of my life. And I didn’t want it to end, even when school was so hard. Because He had never been so close, so tangible, as he was now. In Europe of all places, where other Christians have told me they’ve struggled to keep their faith alive, mine was being strengthened and fueled, my flame was burning brighter day by day. I just kept going back to the fountain of life again and again. I was thirsty for more. Part of it was that I had a spiritual covering while I was over there. I was living on a YWAM base as a friend of YWAM (I’m not a YWAMer myself, but have lots of buddies that are in it, and the story of how I hooked up with this particular base is a supernatural story in and of itself). So, there was a group of about 10 people that were praying for me every day, as I went off to school and their classes at the base started! Haha! God is good to give me friends like that in such a post-Christian society!
Toward the end of November, I stumbled across stuff about theCall, whilst surfing the web for different things. I had heard of it, but had never attended a gathering before. Well, as I started watching different promo videos and clips from past theCalls, my heart was stirred. This is what God had been preparing me for. He was turning me into one of these people – these crazy, radical, Nazirite teens and twenty and thirtysomethings, preparing me even as I’d been abroad in Italy, and now he was showing me how to get in contact with others like that. The YWAMers were already wonderfully radical and sold-out. Some had given up everything to be there. I mean EVERYTHING. But this (theCall) – this was focused worship and intercession for America and for the nations. YES! And right then and there, sitting in a dimly lit kitchen with an orange and pink plaid plastic tablecloth, everyone else sleeping while I was “doing my homework” into the wee hours of the morning…a.k.a. communing with the Spirit because it’s more fun than doing homework (He was a very big distraction during this time! Ha!)…in that moment, God forever branded my heart with the Nazirite call. I didn’t know when it would start or what it would look like (growing your hair out when you’re a girl anyway and that’s just normal didn’t seem to be such a vow of consecration), but I waited. Waited for God and his timing.
Fast forward to a few months later, I’m sitting in the kitchen where I lived at the time, back for my tenth and last semester of college, when I get online and find out that there is going to be another theCall, held in Sacramento on Sept 3-4. And I KNEW I had to be there.
But I couldn’t find anyone to go with me, so after a while, I figured I’d just end up missing out. Then, a friend of a friend came back from studying abroad in South Africa, and God had basically told her while she was over there that she had to go to theCall. She had never been either. Well, our mutual friend had been to theCall Nashville in 2007, and when she heard Hannah and I were wanting to go, she made that connection for us, and then decided to come along too. This is when things just fell into place. Bam bam bam. Hannah (the girl who studied in South Africa) had met a girl from Sacramento in her study abroad program. This girl was the only other Christian in the program (!!!!), and of all places to live, she was living in Sacramento (!!!), and had a place for us to stay (!!!). Hannah also had a friend in Los Angeles, who works on Skid Row with the homeless, alongside a Christian nonprofit, and we were going to be able to stay with her on our drive back from Northern California. I also had connections in Redding, at Bethel Church, and so did Hannah. Things were just lining up and making this trip more and more feasible for a group of three broke college and just-graduated crazies.
TheCall – Friday Worship
Friday night was unlike anything I’d ever seen or experienced or been participant to before. Thousands gathered at Raley Field, in Sacramento, for 5 straight hours of worship. Everyone from Brian and Jenn Johnson (Bethel Church), Matt Gilman (IHOP), Rick Pino (Gateway/CFNI in Dallas, Texas), and Leeland, along with some others, led worship. And everyone, the entire stadium, pressed into focused worship – lifting up God’s name and knowing that our worship was literally a weapon being used to demolish the works of the enemy even as it was at the same time incense rising up to the King of Kings. Hannah, Emily and I were just 20 feet from the stage, surrounded by absolutely crazy people. No one stopped other than to chug some water for a few seconds. For five hours, we went after God. It was amazing! I had never seen every single person worship like that. Normally the first couple rows has some radical people, but that’s it. This was a mass of up and coming revivalists worshiping their hearts out.
I fell in love right then and there with every single one of them. I love the Body of Christ!
TheCall – Saturday Solemn Assembly
Wow. This day was incredible. From 9am to 9pm, at Sacramento’s Capitol Mall, thousands of people fasted the whole day and remained in focused worship and prayer. There were no breaks. Ever. At all. If you had to go to the bathroom, so be it, but other than that, everyone remained engaged and focused on our task at hand. We were praying for revival in America, we were praying for the end of abortion, we were breaking the works of the enemy and calling forth God’s mercy. We were standing in the gap for our generation and repenting for divorce, sexual perversion, human trafficking, rebellion against parents, abortion, pornography, etc. We went through a time of repenting for our own sins, and asking for personal revival in our own hearts. Then we, as intercessors, asked for it on behalf of the nation, as if we were them. We specifically prayed for California, but we also had a time where representatives from every state came by with their state flag, and we prayed for those states, too. We prayed for California’s governmental leaders, as well as for our national leaders. I mean, so much. I can’t even remember everything!
There were a couple moments that were particularly heartbreaking. Every time we prayed for an issue, people who had struggled with that or been a part of it would get on stage and lead everyone else in repentance and prayer. One woman got up who had had eight abortions. A guy who’d been living a gay lifestyle even as a so-called Christian, as much as he knew that was a contradiction, told his story of God’s relentless pursuit of him, of how he had literally prostituted himself to men in order to pay bills, and how God rescued him, and walked him through the step-by-step process of freedom, even to the point of him returning to his parents to ask forgiveness, laying down the gay lifestyle, and then getting freed from attraction to men, and finally, the last step for him, being given by God the attraction to women and desire to marry, which he had never before in his life experienced and could not for the life of him conjure up on his own. Not only that, he was terrified at the very thought of ever being attracted to a woman. So he asked God for help. That was a miraculous process for him and today he is married to a wonderful lady, who was up on stage with him, and they have a miracle baby, after she was told by doctors that she would not ever be able to have children again, having had three abortions prior to coming to Christ. Her own testimony and how their marriage came about is a miracle story.
There was a group of 20 or so girls that got up on stage who had been kidnapped and forced into sex slavery, or had prostituted themselves on their own, or who had come from a cutting/anorexic/bulimic/suicidal/lesbian/bisexual/alcoholic/drug addict background, and some of them shared their stories. Absolutely heartbreaking. All the women everywhere got on their knees and repented for these things, repented for our own sins in these areas, as well as repented on behalf of the nation, and the men prayed for us, and then repented for the things they have done to women, including looking at pornography and devaluing women’s bodies, as we women in turn prayed for them. It was SO powerful. The hardest part of all this was when we got to the part where we started interceding against human trafficking. The guy who heads up Exodus Cry, Benji Nolot (www.exoduscry.com – PS – you NEED to check out this website if you haven’t already), shared with us a story of getting a call from someone that they had raided a place and found the clothes of a girl who had obviously been kidnapped and abused. Benji shared with us that when he found out about her, he asked that this guy send the clothes to him. He told us that what he was about to show us was going to be hard to see but we needed to see it. We can no longer ignore the problem of human trafficking in our nation, and Sacramento has one of the biggest problems with it. In front of our very eyes he holds up this little blue ruffled pajama shirt. We were stunned. It looked like it belonged to a nine or ten year old girl. And pretty much a wail went up all around the place as we realized the implication behind this tiny pajama top. Then he held up the pants, the tiny pants that still bore a huge blood stain on it. That was it. Everyone was on their knees at this point. He wasn’t doing this to be dramatic or elicit fake emotional responses. Rather, he was showing these blood soaked pajamas of a little girl, who literally, only God knows where she is right now, because they had only found her clothes, not her, so that we would recognize that this IS dramatic. This is VERY dramatically evil and we need to fight it. Fight it with prayer and fasting, as well as getting involved with busting it, and repent for what our country has done to women and children, and even men, and the world has done at large, too, because their blood is on our hands and God will hold our nation accountable, just as he will with abortion. In the OT, judgment always came for the shedding of innocent blood. Few things make God more angry than innocent blood being spilled. That was one of the most powerful moments for me. They told us at the beginning that at some point in this, because we were fasting and opening ourselves up to God like this, there would come a time where we would break. That was my time. I think that was around 2pm or so, but I don’t remember, because the day was long and we lost track of time. But that’s when I broke. Wow. I still get chills and my heart still hurts when I think of that little girl. And what happened next was fierce prayer and intercession against human trafficking, for about 45 minutes. Two hours later, Lou Engle got on stage to share something with us that was so amazing, I could hardly believe it. At the very same time we had prayed for the end of human trafficking, Craigslist gave a press release that they would no longer offer the section for “casual encounters” and other such things, the whole sexual perversion section, and they explicitly said that it was because they did not want to be an accomplice to human trafficking. OH MY GOODNESS! THAT WAS THE FASTEST ANSWER TO PRAYER I HAVE EVER SEEN! We gave such a shout of joy and thanksgiving, and the whole place broke into jubilant dancing, and the rest of the day, we had such faith as we prayed, knowing that God was literally acting as we prayed! WOW! WOW! WOW! You can read a snippet of what happened on the www.exoduscry.com website, it has it as one of the main stories on the site right now! Please read it! It will inspire you!
There’s a million stories from this day – as it was over 12 hours long, but one other time that really stands out to me was when we had what might be history’s first altar call for people struggling with homosexual attractions or the actual lifestyle. There was such beautiful faith and honesty and brokenness and love in that place, that when Lou Engle got up and said – I have not done this before but I think it’s time we start giving altar calls for people struggling with same-sex attractions – we were all like – Great! Let’s do it! So as hands shot up all over the place, people gathered around – 20 or 30 or even 50 people would gather around 1 person struggling with this, and we prayed. We prayed for our brothers and sisters who had felt like they couldn’t tell anyone. We repented for the Church’s failure to reach out to homosexuals, for us treating it as a more vile sin than any other sexual perversion, and for not being the most loving community they could have ever found elsewhere…for not having been the people they’d run to first. We repented for how we as Christians have mocked them or not understood them, to the point where so many who have been struggling with this have not had the courage to share it, or have not felt safe. It was amazing and beautiful. I have never in my life seen an altar call for people struggling with homosexuality. And to see their boldness, in that environment, and to see the love that everyone else had for them, and how much we want to help them instead of marginalize them….now THAT was incredible.
I can’t even begin to chip away at that day, but let me tell you, Nathan, it was ANOINTED and CRAZY!!!
One of the most important things was how often Lou would get up there and say – hey, this isn’t about getting hyped up and emotional for a day and a half. No, this is about being forever marked, and raising up a generation that will stand in the gap, that will build a wall, that will give God no rest, day and night, 24/7 prayer, the burning ones who will consecrate themselves to a lifestyle of zealously pursuing God’s face and favor. They never announced the speakers and worship leaders, because they didn’t want anyone there to “hear this or that speaker” or to “hear this or that band”. It wasn’t about being there for a band or a speaker, it was about being there for God and for our country.
Bethel Church, Redding – Sunday morning service
Have you ever been to Bethel Church? I listen to the podcasts all the time. In fact, they were a lot of what I was listening to while I was in Italy. I’m also a huge fan of the books that have come out of there, of Jesus Culture, Kim Walker, Kris Vallotton, Bill Johnson, Danny Silk, the Culture of Honor, the message of Heaven Invading Earth, of God’s Kingdom being here and now, of living in an atmosphere of sustained revival, etc. Not only is their message inspiring and Biblical and full of wisdom, but the people I meet who have been impacted by the message of Bethel are unlike any other people I have met. Their faith and their boldness to lay hands on the sick and pray for them is something I am so hungry for. I want to see God move like that…at the supermarket, at the carwash, on the street corners, in the slums, in the mansions, on the beaches, in the city, in the country, everywhere. I love the spirit of joy and kindness that Bethel-influenced people have. And it’s not just Bethel. It’s IHOP and Morningstar (Rick Joyner – ever read his book, The Final Quest?), and all these other crazy revivalists who are constantly seeking His face. I love it. I love being around people that are going harder after God than I am. I surround myself with people like that because they push me, they challenge me. They are models for me. I read revival books and stories of the underground Chinese Church and the testimonies of the kids of the Azusa street revival, the Jesus Movement of the late 60s and early 70s, John G. Lake, Finney, Wigglesworth, the Wales revival, the mystics of the early Catholic church, John Crowder, all of ‘em – because I REFUSE, I absolutely REFUSE, to miss out on my destiny as a revivalist. I REFUSE to experience and see and partner with God in any way that is inferior to what he designed me for. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I get so excited about it! This is where my heart is. This is what I burn for. This is what I was BORN for. I was BORN for revival. I was BORN to see God’s power. I was BORN to live day in and day out in the thickness of his presence. I was BORN to seek His face in the secret place. There is nothing I’d rather read or talk about. There is nothing I’d rather lay down my life for, even to the point of death, if necessary (although – I’m still a little scared of martyrdom, but I figure that I’ll be ready for it by the time it comes – God will give me supernatural strength if it ever comes to that). If it cost me my reputation, if it makes other Christians uncomfortable, whatever. So be it. I WILL have Him. I will have Him because I was created to run on the Holy Spirit the way a car is meant to run on gasoline. I will not settle for canola oil when I was meant to run on Holy Spirit gasoline! YEEEEAAAHHHHHH!!!!!
Being at Bethel, just like theCall, but in a different way, is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. To be in a sanctuary with a thousand people, knowing there’s thousands tuning in all over the world to iBethel TV, that there’s another 300 in the overflow room, that there’s another thousand on their Twin View campus, that there’s going to be 2000 students coming to do the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry within the next two weeks, so they’re not even there yet, and to see that every heart is engaged…is astounding. Every heart is worshiping, every person in the room is captivated by God. Wow. Amazing. I looked around and I’m like – What IS this place?! Seriously?! Everyone?! And worship was so sweet. So beautiful and so sweet. I felt like I had come home. It was a taste of Heaven on earth. The sincerity, the kindness, the sweetness, the generosity. It was indescribable. I’m sitting here trying to think of how to put it into words, and it’s impossible. So, then I fell in love with everyone there, too, just like at theCall. And I’m sitting here at home in Arizona, missing tens of thousands of people I’ve never met before and didn’t even really meet while I was there. I just worshiped alongside them and felt their love for me and had such a love for them. I cannot WAIT to worship with all the Christians of all of history someday before the Throne, captivated by the Lamb in all His Splendor and glory and GOODNESS. His wonderful goodness and kindness!
I’m realizing how long this is getting, and at the risk of you already getting a little bored reading the random ramblings of my heart, I shall tell you one last bit, and then I’m done. *Grin*
That Sunday night we stayed in Los Angeles, with Hannah’s friend Eugenia. Now, Eugenia is an Argentine (hello!!!! YAY!!), living in the United States. She actually comes from the upper crust of Argentine society (top 2% has all the money), and her parents are both doctors working at Wake Forest in North Carolina. She came to the States at age 3, and still retains her Argentina roots, but is of course very Americanized as well. Like me, she has country identity confusion – she is not considered truly Argentine to the Argentines, and she is not considered wholly American to the Americans, so she has had to figure out what and who she is apart from where she was born or where she currently lives. I don’t struggle with it very often, and only for brief fleeting moments, because I grew up in the Body of Christ and therefore that’s where I primarily see myself as belonging. I have more in common with a Swiss German Jesus-lover than an American or Argentine non-believer. She didn’t meet Jesus till she was in college, and she got GOOD saved, as in, very much a lifestyle change for her. We arrived there at like 1am, so then the next morning was our chance to see L.A. Well, MY chance to see L.A., as everyone else had been there before. I had, too, but only for a brief interview, so I just flew in and then out. Eugenia works on Skid Row, as I mentioned before, and she drove me around the whole city, showing me the contrast of dirty, homeless Skid Row, versus the banks and gentrified areas of central, downtown L.A., and the mansions of Bel-Air and cleanliness and educated and cultured atmosphere of UCLA and Westwood. We also drove through some of the urban projects – where they are working on housing for Hispanic and African-American communities. It was eye-opening to see that kind of disparity within miles from each other, right here in my own country. I hadn’t seen that in the States before, so it really struck a chord. When I think of the States I always think of perfectly manicured lawns, houses separated from each other and on nice big lots with pools and children’s playgrounds in the back, and clean, wide, nicely paved streets. I’m used to run-down Argentina, and crammed Europe, where space is precious, but to see that in my own country, and then to see the ritzy areas a few miles away. Now that was surprising. I knew in my mind that it existed, but seeing it up-close and personal is a whole ‘nother dealie. I started really feeling God’s heart for L.A., a city that in many ways I think I had judged in my heart – “Oh, they’re either gangsters or celebrities…that’s what the city is made up of”.
As much as Eugenia is an AMAZING Christian woman who has given up everything to be on Skid Row working with the homeless and women and children, she was saved in a group of Christians on her campus that basically don’t talk about the gifts of the Spirit. It’s all sort of hush hush. They don’t talk about it not being for today. They just don’t talk about it. So, she graduated in May from UNC- Chapel Hill, and moved out to L.A., but has grown very little in an understanding of anything that happens in Acts, or different passages like 1 Corinthians 12-14. Hannah was in a car with her, and Emily (my other friend) and I were in another car, driving back from lunch in Westwood, when she and Hannah started talking about Acts 2. And right then and there, something started happening in her heart. Actually, God had been speaking to her about this here and there, but now, things were really starting to come together. We arrived back to the apartment and Hannah asked Emily and I to share some stories of Holy Spirit action – so we proceeded to share about being baptized in the Holy Spirit, about the gifts that come with it and how it both builds up the Body and is a sign to unbelievers, and that if she had this tool chest, it would just add such a new dimension to her walk with God and to her ministry on Skid Row. As we talked, she started to cry, and said “Oh man, something is happening here. God is taking my fear of this away.” I felt like we were supposed to pray for her, but I was worried. I walked into the bathroom, looked into the mirror, braced the sides of the sink, and said “God, you are so sneaky. You are setting us up to have to pray for her and for her to see this in action. I’m worried you won’t show up. How can we show her this is real? That you operate this way?”
“You don’t have to defend me. I can defend myself. Just pray for my favor and blessing on her life.”
“Okay, that I can do.”
I went back out with some tissue paper for her, and sure enough, tears continued to roll down her face as Emily was sharing with her about a God-encounter she had once that forever changed her life. When Emily was done, I broke in – “Hey, can we pray for you?”
So we gathered around her and started to pray for favor and blessing. But then, it started to come, like an uncorked bottle, spewing out everywhere, all sorts of prophetic stuff. Emily, Hannah and I started laughing as we were praying for her, because every other phrase she would just cry harder (but we knew it was good crying, of course), and she kept apologizing and apologizing for it.
“Eugenia! You do not have to be embarrassed! This is what happens when people pray for you and God shows up and reveals how personal he is! We’ve been crying all weekend!”, I said, and Emily and Hannah nodded vigorously in assent.
I won’t go into everything we prayed over her, but we prayed for a good long time, and it was so much fun. God totally set us up. We were supposed to have left to go back to Arizona at 2pm, directly after dropping Eugenia off at her apartment and getting our bags. But now it was 4pm and we had been talking and then praying this whole time.
I had felt a greater anointing on all of us after theCall and Bethel, but this was a tangible example of the increase and impartation we had received. This was just pure fun!
I’ll share one little thing that was special and encouraging to me, even in trying to hear God’s voice more. As we prayed, I kept asking God, “Lord, do you have a verse I could share with her?”
But we were praying some other stuff and it was really good. At one point in time, we were sharing with her that God delights in her and dances and sings over her. We didn’t realize then how much that meant to her.
Then BAM, Isaiah 61 came to mind. Apart from being one of my favorite chapters out of one of my favorite books, I realized with great joy that it SO fit her work on Skid Row, and the different things she had shared with us. So I got out my Bible, intending to just read the first three verses, and pray them over her, but then I couldn’t stop. I realized…. “Oh my goodness, Eugenia, God wants me to read this whole chapter and pray all of it over you!” And so we did, and revelation after revelation was coming as to how everything that had happened in her life was steering her on a fast-track fulfillment to the whole chapter of Isaiah 61. She was a missionary to my people as my family had been to her people. There has been a movement in the past 5 to 8 years in Argentina, where no longer is the country receiving missionaries, rather, it is sending them out! And she is part of that movement! And all the while, she’d been growing up in the States! In a non-Christian family, no less!
She was very overwhelmed at this point and just kept saying over and over again, “I have no idea what to say right now. Thank you. This is exactly what you were talking about. I can’t believe how on you guys are right now. God is really using you.” Etc…. And then she said “For example, that part about God delighting and rejoicing and dancing and singing over me….you had no idea, but God has really been speaking to me out of Zephaniah 3:17 lately. It keeps coming up, again and again, and that’s exactly what that verse says!”
Emily and I squealed and fought to get to the Bible first so we could look it up – Sure enough: “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
And then, in a flash, I jumped up and started shouting: “Eugenia, Isaiah 62! Isaiah 62! It continues! Not just Isaiah 61, but it continues to 62! YOUR NEW NAME IS HEPHZIBAH! It means, “my delight is in her”. HIS DELIGHT IS IN YOU! Let me read it to you!”
She started sobbing again and exclaimed through her tears, “I HAVE BEEN ASKING GOD FOR A NEW NAME! OH MY GOSH!”
“WHAT!?” we all gasped at the same time. So now there were four girls jumping and shrieking with joy in this teeny tiny apartment because this is just TOO MUCH FUN and GOD IS SO FAITHFUL and he is SO PERSONAL.
And then I read Isaiah 62:4-5 to her, saying, “Hey, you’re also Beulah, which means married, because God is your husband.”
More wailing – “I’VE BEEN ASKING HIM TO REVEAL TO ME WHAT IT MEANS FOR HIM TO BE MY HUSBAND”, and she buried her face into a pillow. More laughter. More joy. More jumping. More shrieking.
You get the picture. Craziness ensued. Hahahahahahahahaha. It was wonderful! We told her afterwards that WE had been encouraged. Yes, it was for her, too. But it was also for US! What a picture of God’s grace on our lives and what a testimony to him working in and through us.
So, pretty much a great ending to a great weekend.
And that, Nathan, was California. You asked for it! Hahahahah! Bet you had no idea what you were getting into!!!!!!! I know it was RIDICULOUSLY long, but I have not yet figured out a succinct way of sharing what happened this past weekend, in my heart, in my life…and how this all ties into what God has been doing in me this whole past year, especially how it ties into the time He and I spent together during my isolated times at school and the library in Italy. This was a fulfillment of so many promises he made to me while I was sitting on a bus crowded with lost people.
You probably think I’m crazy by now.
The answer is YES! A huge resounding YES! I am CRAZY IN LOVE WITH GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HE IS SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!