Essence

I collect beat-up, trashed pennies. I ALWAYS get excited when I find them, and God puts them in my path a lot.

Each penny reminds me of a person’s true value—that it is because of their essence. Each penny, no matter how beat up, is still worth the same price. And even more importantly—each person, no matter how beat-up or destroyed, has the same value in God’s eyes. We are made in God’s image and He loves us as sons and daughters.

I want to always value a person based on essence—not presentation or performance. That knowledge is one thing my spirit has always resonated to.

And I will NEVER forget the day I heard Pastor Jack Hayford mention his story about how he picks up pennies too.

God had been talking to him about the same thing, and He picked up so many pennies over the years. But when he found a penny in the MEN’S BATHROOM URINAL—he had a decision to make. And when I found out he still decided to pick it up, my respect for him soared. Because he gets it.

Each person counts.

💙 Nova

Advertisements

When God Hijacks

savingPNG

God corrected me yesterday through the words of a friend who didn’t even know at first that her mouth had been hijacked. It was so great to watch. I knew as soon as the words poured out of her mouth that they were the Father’s loving course-correction for me.

He actually piggy-backed her words on top of a previous conversation with another friend that had occurred months back. I was so familiar with Him doing this, and with knowing the way that He continues conversations with me over time that I immediately knew His heart and intent with the gentle rebuke.

The words that flowed out of my friend’s mouth were few but powerful. They spoke to the treasure within me and called it to come OUT. And God used symbolic interaction to set the whole thing up and prepare me, so that I was in a place to hear what He wanted to say.

He knows that’s my favorite way for Him to get my attention.

It all started at a leadership seminar that I attended with some fellow leaders from my church. The room was comprised of a wide variety of people from multiple cities and venues. All of us were gathered into one big fluorescent room for two jam-packed days of challenging information that had the potential to lead to our transformations. It was up to us whether to actually engage our hearts. Each of us could have easily walked away unchanged at its conclusion, still holding onto our previous areas of stuckness.

Thankfully, most of us wanted the fruits of transformation badly enough that we were willing to engage in some pain to get there.

I chose to dive right in. I WANTED my stuck areas to move. I wanted desperately to grow into the big person that God created me to be. And for the most part, I chose to engage and make myself vulnerable in front of the group during the length of the seminar. I chose to ignore the possible ways that people might be judging me and my life in favor of finding the missing pieces that I craved for my own transformation.

However…I did have ONE piece of personal kryptonite in the room with me during those two days—something that destabilized me and caused me continual pain.

My kryptonite was something that I was WELL aware of and determined to heal and grow through, but I had to wrestle my way through the dynamics of it that weekend. And the wrestling match’s goal was to determine one thing:

Would I stay big in this temporary community or would I allow the kryptonite pressure to make me smaller?

I’d say in my life in general that I choose bigness—that I walk with a pretty-honest awareness of who I am in God and what I carry. I’m no longer stuck in false humility nor self-deprecation. And pride isn’t usually my go-to sin either. I think my default coping mechanism in times of insecurity or challenges is just to get really, really small and hide. To cloak my glory. To hide my light under a basket.

Definitely my default.

And so on this particular day, I realized that I was feeling smaller that I usually did—that I wasn’t challenging myself in my bigness. I recognized it. And I TOTALLY knew why. It was the kryptonite. And I knew that I knew that I knew that I had a choice of whether to stay in my smallness and hide, or whether to purposefully shine the light and the glory that the Father had placed within me. Did I want to be a change agent? Or did I want to settle?I wrestled between my two options.

It felt almost easier to settle even though I KNEW I’d regret it later. But I almost didn’t care. I had started to allow my kryptonite handicap in that environment to trump the bigness within my own spirit.

But God wasn’t having it.

He knew me better than I knew myself. He knew I needed and wanted Him to remind me of who I was.

So He intervened.

As I walked through the tables during a session break, I heard something fall off a table close by. I looked all around the near vicinity in response but NOTHING appeared to have fallen. So I kept walking. Then I heard something else tumble and fall. Again, I looked around me to locate the dropped item. Nothing. Everything on the surrounding tables and floor was in its proper place.

Frustrated and confused, I finally blurted out to a friend who was standing nearby—“Why do I keep hearing things drop but I can’t find anything?”

And then the BEAUTIFUL hijacking-moment occurred—“It’s because of all the gold that’s falling out of your pockets that you’re supposed to give away”, she vehemently proclaimed.

Both of our mouths fell open. Both of us started to laugh. Because we KNEW what had just happened. God had hijacked her mouth and what she had said didn’t go through her brain at ALL.

She didn’t know I was stuck because I didn’t tell anyone.

Nobody knew that I had been struggling between bigness or smallness. But God did. And He rescued me out of my wrestling match. Because it mattered to God whether I stayed big or small. And knowing that it mattered to Him in that moment gave me the courage to choose bigness—even in the midst of a kryptonite environment.

It was a layered message. I HAD dropped the ball. And His words were both a reminder of the treasure that I carried from Him and His endorsement of me; as well as His gentle course-correction in telling me that I had been turning my own power inward and hurting myself, rather than turning it outward and being life-giving to others.

God wanted me to get back in the game. And so I did.

I chose bigness after all.

Some pretty cool stories happened after that. Stories that I’m still savoring. Stories that ignited a spark of passion and healing in the lives of others. Stories that brought me to awe.

And to think that I could have missed all of those by staying in handicap land and hiding my light.

Kryptonite ain’t got nothing on God.

Nova

Wings To Fly

You are loved. You are chosen. You are loved. You are chosen. You are loved. You are chosen. I have chosen YOU. I have picked YOU.

I heard God saying this today—over and over, almost like a melodic anthem that He is singing over us today.

And then He showed me the coolest picture. I saw a metaphorical picture of a fear—something that had tormented His beloved and caused them often to flee, to run away. The fear looked like a shadowy-wing image. A darkened wing.

But then the finger of God touched that shadowy wing of fear—and it was transformed. And as His finger made contact with the fear, a palette of color was infused into that wing of fear and flight.

And that very fear, that very place that had caused the fight-or-flight mechanism to engage had now become colorful wings for freedom to fly. The previous place of torment was now the ticket to fly.

And I feel God’s heart so strongly today to tell you that He doesn’t just REMOVE the bad thing. He REDEEMS it. And His redemption includes your transformation and your freedom to fly. 💙

We think too small. We plan too small. What God has planned is FAR beyond what we can possibly imagine. Even in our pain, He doesn’t just heal it—He redeems it. And EVERY pain point in our life is merely an opportunity to engage deeper with God and to discover a new flavor of His wonderful redemption.

What does that look like for you in your situation? I see the twinkle in His eye as He responds—“Ask me. Ask me to show you what I have planned for you. What I am doing for you.”

He wants to engage with you.

❤️

Nova

Keep Standing!

Sometimes all you can do is keep standing. Standing IS a battle stance—though it DOES depend on what you are standing on. And the longer you keep standing in the promises of what God has spoken to you—despite all the external circumstances around you, you ARE earning spiritual authority: equity in the spiritual realm. You ARE taking new spiritual territory as you walk through challenges using His principles and looking to him, rather than to the advice of others, to rescue and deliver you out of whatever situation you are in.

I really feel Jesus encouraging those of you who are in this place: “Steady on. Hold firm. I will prove true. I will never leave you nor forsake you. I love you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Your portion is in me. Lift up your eyes to me and I will deliver you.”

“…Having done all to stand, stand firm.”—Eph 6:13

(Then after the battle you will still be standing firm)

Keep Standing!

💙

Nova

RIP Triggers

God recently shared a picture with me that was so powerful and full of hope for those that have been wondering whether they will ever be set free from their past pain and triggers.

He showed me a garden that had been transformed from a graveyard. I first saw the graveyard—it was peppered with crosses marking the various graves. But each grave was a hopeful place, a place of restoration and freedom–because what had actually been laid to rest were the triggers that had tormented His beloved for years.

I felt God saying, “I am laying to rest your triggers, so that you can finally move on with your life.”

I saw His beloved carefully patting down the dirt on top of each grave, smoothing it out as a symbolic picture of closure, honoring the pain, and reconciling with their past. And then His beloved dusted off their hands and started to walk away with Jesus, towards their future, towards the fulfilling place of living life without the torment and triggers of the past.

And then I saw the garden begin to grow in the very land that had once been a graveyard. And the flowers were completely uninhibited. They grew plentifully, brightly, and they soared taller than any garden I’d ever seen. The garden was so robust, so full of life, and yet the seedbed for that huge expansion and forward thrust of life was the graveyard of past pain and triggers.

And the garden was the recompense of the Lord–the justice of God.

And He wants His beloved to know that He has not forgotten about you. He will not leave you stranded and alone in a graveyard of pain. He IS taking you to that expanded place of vitality and enjoyment of life once again.

He is laying to rest your triggers. Laying to rest the ruminating places of past pain.

Restoration is coming. Redemption is at hand. 💙

“The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.” (Psalm 103:6)

Twenty-Cat Lady with Four Kids

IMG_7069

I met a lady recently whose sister had twenty cats. Yes—twenty cats living in her home at one time. Sometimes I feel like that with kids though; it’s amazing the amount of mess that they cause, things that they break, and stuff that they accumulate in their little, young years.

I feel like TwentyCat Lady a LOT—it’s just in the dimension of children. Four children may as well be twenty for the amount of stuff that we have and mess that we seem to struggle with.

I’m actually in the middle of cleaning out everything in my house right now because we are getting ready to move. We don’t know where we’re going yet; our landlord just recently informed us that he is selling our house. And so my huge family purge started about two months ago.

Drawer by drawer, container by container…I’m taking back the land.

The progress was definitely slow at first. I didn’t know where to start in the myriad of clutter and it took a while to see any quantitative difference. I just knew that I felt oversaturated—there was TOO MUCH of everything, everywhere. Too many toys. Too many trinkets. Too many containers, baskets, and drawers full of STUFF. Stuff I didn’t remember was there. Stuff that we never used. Stuff that I hated when it somehow ended up all over the floors.

Like evidence of an ongoing kidfrat party.

I knew there was a total parallel between the spiritual and natural realms. I knew that too much physical clutter translated into too much spiritual clutter. And I eventually came to the conclusion that clutter was my new enemy. But it took me a while to realize that this cluttered enemy couldn’t be defeated in just ONE family purge.

And when it was almost all said and done, I knew going forward that our family’s recently de-cluttered borders would need to be maintained on a daily basis.

I had MAJORLY purged after our last move three years ago. I got rid of so much. And then I had drilled down on not letting extended family members dump their donations onto us. But I knew that now I needed to up my de-cluttering game even more. Now I ALSO needed to hold my children and husband accountable for their daily crap-keeping regimens.

Because each of them had contributed to the problem and I was tired of being the de-cluttering patsy, bearing the consequences for each of their hoarding tendencies.

So I became determined to go through everything in our home before we moved, because I was unwilling to move a bunch of junk that we didn’t need. We had filled up the largest U-Haul truck two or three times the last time we moved. And I never wanted to do that again.

It was torture.

Besides, I knew something else this time around. I had realized this time that the purging of stuff wasn’t just to help the awkwardness of the clutter—it was actually about sanctifying a new atmosphere in our home. I knew it wasn’t just about me and my type-A preferences, this was actually about changing patterns and future generations.

This was about me shifting the home environment and entire family system. And I was dogmatic in my intention—I wasn’t willing to settle for our old norms.

A perfect illustration of how our spiritual problems had outworked into tangible clutter was when I realized that we owned three digital weight scales. Why three? Well…we’d originally bought one, then we were given a second from a friend that moved, and then my husband bought yet a third because he was positive the other two weren’t accurate.

So why the heck DID we keep the other two? Great question.

I realized over time that it was our belief-system bungee cords that kept yanking us back into that place of bondage. It was our mindsets that perpetuated the behaviors. Because when I actually discovered the excess scales and went to donate the other two, my husband spoke up and questioned whether we shouldn’t keep them because they still worked.

I was horrified.

First because the spiritual scales fell off my eyes in that moment and I saw the problem so clearly for what it was. I caught myself and realized that my initial response to his words had almost been agreement. Sure, let’s just stuff the extra scales in our garage for that hypothetical day when we will NEED them—along with all the other crap we have stored but never use.

It was right then that I realized I had been a huge part of the problem in NOT saying no. Even if I didn’t foster the hoarding to begin with, I had definitely partnered with it to at least some degree.

And each item by passive item that I didn’t negate had added up over time.

I knew at that moment of realization that I would soon be praying through a generational repentance type of prayer, asking God to cleanse both sides of our family lines from the poverty and Great-Depression mentalities that we had continued to perpetuate.

I knew both sides had partnered with lack to varying degrees, including the need to hoard and save everything.

I saw the mindset saturation everywhere as I scrolled through family memories. And it had a wide scope—ranging everywhere from “Let’s save every ziplock bag and empty container… to let’s shop at yard sales for what we need.”

And I knew that even though we hadn’t partnered with the poverty mentality to quite the same degree that we were still culpable and drinking from the same generational cistern of perceived lack.

There was definitely a difference between thrifty wise and thrifty obsessive.

I was done with the latter. And once I realized that the problem hadn’t gone away after our last huge move and purge, I knew that we’d need to cut the spiritual ties to the past. I also knew that we’d need to do the even harder work of replacing old mindsets with new ones. We would have to be intentional.

Because that stuff had snowballed again since our last clean-through despite my BEST intentions.

Needless to say, both extra scales got donated. And I was proud of myself, because I was starting to be brave and call our previous mindsets out onto the carpet. I was trying desperately to integrate more righteous perspectives and attitudes. Because that scale scenario was representative of MANY other multiples that I found within our home.

Like who needed four popsicle sets? How did we end up with ten vases when we barely ever bought flowers? Why did I still have two crib-bedding sets and misc toddler cutlery? And how did we accumulate five cake holders, three sandwich cutters, four pasta drainers, and three thermometers?

I couldn’t donate stuff fast enough.

And now at the almost end-of-it-all, I’ve come to the conclusion that clutter is like a demon—it’s tormenting to one’s ENTIRE well-being: spirit, soul and body. I’ve also realized that I don’t ever want to FEEL like TwentyCat Lady with Four Kids again.

So even though it’s taken me a while to get here, I’ve definitely come a long way from where I started. Changing mindsets is the biggest battle. Once those start to shift, the behaviors follow suit. It’s not easy to change already-established family patterns, but I’m not giving up.

Never give up. Never surrender.

Little by little, I’m taking back our land.

Nova

“Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land” (Deuteronomy 23:30).