The Spirit’s New Sound

I was able to complete the set-up of my little home recording studio this month. It’s been quite the learning curve, but I asked the Holy Spirit to help me figure all this stuff out. He is really answering my prayers. I still have a LOT to learn, and a lot more sound-proofing of the room to do; but this week I published my first song that I wrote and recorded, mixed, and produced by myself. I feel a lot more of these coming in the future.  (You can see the video at the end of this post.)

The very fact that I was able to record and release this song is a testament to all the freedom God has brought me in recent years. I’ve written songs all my life, but was so bound up by insecurity that I kept them secret, rarely releasing them into the world. God has shown me that my worth and value does not come from the praise of man, and there’s a special anointing that’s released when we take a childlike posture of joy in the creative process. Think about when a child is drawing, painting, or creating in other ways. They are not self-conscious. They are not concerned with perfection. They are simply finding joy in the process of creating. When they are finished, they love to show their work to their mom or dad. They feel a sense of pride in what they’ve accomplished, but they don’t bother to compare their work to anyone else’s. They just get so much joy out of creating for creativity’s sake. As a parent, I have never criticized my children’s artwork. I have never compared their artwork with my other children’s. I never think about professional artists and how my kids’ artwork falls short of “professional”. I’ve only ever felt pride and joy when I see what they’ve done. One of my children has disabilities, but I am no less proud when he creates. To me, their creations are more valuable than a Rembrandt.

I think that’s how God views it when you and I create.

I believe the Father is so pleased when we approach creativity with wonder and childlike faith. To create for the pure joy of creating actually means I’m acting like my Daddy! After all, He is the Author of Creation and Creativity. We look a lot like Him when we are creative, and He actually gets joy out of our joy in the process.

Creativity also releases the prophetic in ways that mere words cannot always do. God speaks in many languages. I’ve been meditating a lot lately on John 3:6 when Jesus says, “For the Spirit-wind blows as it chooses. You can hear its sound, but you don’t know where it came from or where it’s going. So it is within the hearts of those who are Spirit-born!”

So the wind of the Spirit has a sound.  You know what I want poured out on the world now more than anything else? The Holy Spirit. What if you and I can jump into that airstream and contribute to His sound? What if, in listening to the Father, He gives us a new sound that has never before been released? 

For some of us, it is our words. For some it is writing. For others it is music. For others it is acts of kindness. For others it is miracles, signs, and wonders. You name it. I believe God is releasing a new sound in the world today and it is carried on the wind of His Spirit. It sounds like Heaven and it looks like Love. What if we all decided not to hold back anymore? What if we all decided to be so devoted to our time in the secret place that we never had to wonder what the Father was saying? What if we took what He said in the secret place and released it as part of the New Sound? What if we devoted ourselves to training our ears to hear His Spirit-wind louder than any other noise? 

What if you asked Him what new sound He wants you to make? Perhaps it is as simple as choosing to speak gratitude throughout your day rather than focusing on what’s not going well. Perhaps it is choosing to pray for someone that you would normally complain about. Maybe it’s time to try out a new hobby or lose yourself in worshiping a new way. Maybe your quiet time is always the same thing in the same place, and it’s time to mix it up a bit. I really feel God is blessing the “new” in this season. He is on the move. He is doing a new thing. I can hear the sound of the Spirit-wind, and I’m not totally sure where He’s going, but I do know I’m jumping into His air stream! My ears are tuned to His voice and my will is submitted to my King. I’m ready to give all I have for His glory and there’s nothing more thrilling than partnering with the wind of the Spirit! 

Song Story:

Last month I was in a School of Revival class where Heidi Baker was sharing from her heart and experience about the extreme importance of getting away with Jesus every single day, and it made a big impression on me. With everything that’s going on in the world, it’s especially vital that we check in with our Source of peace daily! It’s in that secret place with God that we can be loved on and hear His voice. I recently discovered a “secret” spot by the river near my home that is secluded and unbelievably beautiful. I’ve had some special times being alone with God there, where I’ve come with no agenda other than to just be with him. It’s been a new level of intimacy and falling deeper in love with Jesus.

This song was birthed from that place of finding new ways to be alone with Jesus. I pray this song releases peace over you and beckons you with a gentle invitation to come into His presence and let His love wash over all your worries and pain. You really are his Beloved and He wants nothing more than to be with you. Not out of duty or religious obligation, but because He’s crazy about you. He’s calling you right now to come and be with Him so He can cover you with His love and the oil of His presence.

You are His Beloved! 

“Come Away” – an intimate worship soaking song

The Supernatural Power of Humility

Humility is an undervalued problem-solver. It’s the solution we never want to turn to. Humility is a breaker of strongholds and it ushers in a new, heavenly perspective. To illustrate this, I want to tell you my own story. I am intentionally speaking my testimony into the issue of racial reconciliation, not as an expert (not even close), but simply because it is my story and you may find it at least thought-provoking, or at best, transformative.

I grew up in a city and state that was not very racially diverse, so I didn’t actually know very many black people. But I really admired Martin Luther King, Jr. I disliked the Confederate flag because I felt it represented slavery and that was not okay with me. I saw people of color as equal to me, deserving all the same rights and all the same respect that I would expect to receive myself.  Clearly, I wasn’t racist.

I felt that rampant and systemic racism was a thing of the distant past. We’d already dealt with slavery, segregation and emancipation.  I knew it wasn’t completely gone. I could still picture a couple of old white guys who still clung to their Confederate flag, saying nasty things that I myself could never say, but that was the extent of it in my mind. To be honest, when racial issues were mentioned in the news, a part of me felt that perhaps people of color were just being melodramatic. Slavery was in the distant past, right? If “they” would just “forgive and forget”, we could all move on.  And, if “they” would just manage themselves better and get out of poverty, they would be much happier. If they would stop doing things to get arrested, their lives and communities would be better.

My own heart for racial reconciliation actually began with the problem of human trafficking.  For about the last decade or so, I’ve had a growing passion in the prevention, rescue, and rehabilitation of human trafficking victims. In early 2016, God put on my heart to get more involved in the fight against human trafficking.  I didn’t know where to begin, so I started researching every organization I could find in the space and read everything I could. I had once thought sex trafficking was only something that occurred in foreign countries, but I soon found it was like a cancer right here in my own country, and even my own city. 

As I researched what organizations were doing in the fight against human trafficking I found that these organizations belonged to a classification of non-profits that were committed to social justice.  There, I stumbled upon something that was surprising to me: articles and conferences about racial reconciliation.  I was surprised to find there was a conference in Chicago called the Justice Conference that focused on multiple social justice issues of the day, including both human trafficking and racial reconciliation. Realizing there were conferences dedicated to this issue was eye-opening, and it challenged my belief that racism was a thing of the past. Perhaps racism was still an issue?

There had been quite a few publicized shootings by police of unarmed black men leading up to 2016. The issue of racism was constantly in the news that year as the presidential election was racially charged. The shootings of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling particularly affected me, followed by the shooting deaths in retaliation of five Dallas police officers. Seeing the video of the rapid escalation by a police officer of a traffic stop to a shooting death in front of Philando Castille’s girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter particularly shook me up.

In church the following Sunday, it was announced that we would be focusing our prayer time on praying for our nation during this time of unrest. I was relieved to hear it, because what had happened in the nation recently was a big deal. The prayer time consisted of bringing a member of local law enforcement forward to pray protection over the police in the nation.  There was no mention made of praying for the families of the innocent young men who had been killed. There was no talk of praying for peace or comfort for African-Americans during this difficult time. Something about that didn’t sit right with me. I couldn’t shake the feeling that our prayers were somehow only covering a tiny fraction of the issues at hand.

One morning that week, as I spent time with God, I was praying about the issue of racial unrest in our country.  I soon realized I was listing off in my head all the reasons I was not a racist.

“I admire Dr. King. I read his biography. I dislike the Confederate flag and all it symbolizes. I would never say the ‘n’ word and I’ve never been mean to a black person in my life. I love everyone!”

As I was patting myself on the back the Holy Spirit interrupted me.  I was suddenly reminded of the position I held that African-Americans were exaggerating their experiences of oppression and racism.

This question popped into my mind:

How would I, a white woman, really know what it was like to be black in this country?

Who was I to judge another person’s experience? Who was I to tell someone else they were essentially lying when they told their story?

The weight of conviction suddenly hit me in the gut. This is a form of racism, I thought. That I would characterize an entire people group as liars. That instead of responding with compassion or empathy, I would point out reasons why their problems were their own fault.  

This is racism.

I fell to my knees and confessed and repented of the racism I had harbored in my own heart. I was stunned and weeping at the revelation that, while I hadn’t burned any crosses, I had unintentionally participated in something very ugly: the condemnation of an entire people group.

That was the breaking of the dam. There was a stronghold that came down in that moment that I had not even known existed, but I felt it break as I repented.

I remembered Psalm 139:23-24 which says,

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23-24

I asked Him to search my heart and show me anything else I needed to repent for regarding racism.

The Holy Spirit then reminded me I had at least one grandparent who had been a racist. I remembered the shocking things she would say when I was a child. Then I remembered some rumors I had heard as a child that I’d had an ancestor who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. It hit me hard: racism is in my family line. I remembered the concept of generational sins in the Bible. I felt a sudden urge to put a stop to any generational curses surrounding the sin of racism. On behalf of my relatives and ancestors, I confessed and repented of racism and I asked God’s forgiveness. I declared that racism would stop with my generation and not go any further.

Another stronghold came down. I could feel it. I hadn’t even known I was in chains, until the chains started to fall.

Lastly, the sin of slavery came to my mind. I wanted to protest, “I wasn’t even alive when slavery was a thing! This isn’t my sin!”

But in Psalm 79, Asaph pleads with God:  

Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;
    may your mercy come quickly to meet us,
    for we are in desperate need.
Help us, God our Savior,
    for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins
    for your name’s sake. – Psalm 79:8-9

This implies that God can hold against us the sins of past generations. In fact, our deliverance from difficulty seems to be entwined with the forgiveness of our sins.

At this point, it just felt so good to be getting set free from generational sin that I wanted to keep going.  So, I confessed and repented on behalf of all white people in the past for the sin of slavery and all it’s lasting effects.

Whoosh. Another stronghold came down. A weight lifted off me that, again, I had not known was there.

There was something deeply powerful and significant about that prayer time, and I have not been the same since. I started to pay attention to people who knew more than I did about racial reconciliation. I started to read a few books on the topic and was exposed to a world of systemic racism that I had not known existed. Diving into some of the history – not just of slavery, but of 20th century systemic oppression – was eye-opening.

But I’m not sure I could have even taken in and understood that kind of information without a starting point of humility.

You see, humility is willing to say to the Lord, “Search me! Show me any offensive way you find in me!” Humility is willing to listen for God’s answer about what He finds. Humility is more concerned about being right with God than being self-righteous. Humility is always ready to repent, so that nothing stands between me and God’s peace and freedom.

Humility leads to repentance. Repentance leads to deliverance. Deliverance leads to transformation.

That, my friends, is revival.  Revival is one transformed life that goes out and ushers in transformation for others.  A transformed person experiencing revival is able to accomplish more with the Holy Spirit and a right heart than dozens of others are able to accomplish on their own. People experiencing revival lead to churches and cities that are transformed. Revival leads to broken systems being repaired or replaced with new ones that reflect the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.

But the transformation of cities and systems and nations has to begin in the heart of one person:

Me. You.

When there is no longer hidden sin that stands between me and God, it’s easier to be a peacemaker. I become someone who, instead of having circumstances suck the life and hope out of me, I breathe life and hope into circumstances.

I carry a peace, a love, and a hope that has nothing to do with the behavior of others, and everything to do with being in right relationship with my God.

God has so changed and transformed my mind on the topic of racial reconciliation that it was quite difficult to write honestly about how I used to think.  During this season we are yet again faced with the subject of racism and the growing realization of the unique struggles of our black brothers and sisters in this country.  I wrote this post because I know there are a lot of good people, a lot of white Christian people, who still think the way I did just a few years ago. To you, dear ones, I am humbly asking – no, begging – that you would consider sitting with the Lord and praying:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23-24

I’m asking you to put on humility and be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart. I’m asking you to listen as thoughts come to mind. Is there a chance that, like me, there is some hidden sin in your heart that God wants you to be free of? Is there a chance that, like me, you actually need to be delivered from some burdens that you don’t even know you are carrying? Is there a chance that, like me, you harbor racism without even being aware of it?

Please hear my heart. This is not about politics. This is not about police. This is not about riots.  

This is about the supernatural power of humility to set us free, even when we don’t know we are in captivity.  This is about the supernatural power of humility to help us see and hear through a lens of truth instead of deception. This is about the power of humility to usher in repentance which leads to healing of people and nations.

Transformation.

Revival.

 If we want to see our nation healed, it must begin with me. You. With us.

A necessary pre-cursor of any great spiritual awakening is a spirit of deep humiliation growing out of a consciousness of sin, and fresh revelation of the holiness and power and glory of God.

– John R. Mott

Proverbs 15:33

Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.

1 Peter 5:5

. . . All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Note: Here’s the original blog post I wrote about this in 2016 shortly after I repented. I’ve continued to get educated and do the work towards racial reconciliation, but the post stands true to what God was showing me at the time.  

STORY TIME: My Supernatural Healing

This is such a difficult season, and it seems that every day there is bad news of some kind. So today I am making a conscious effort to remember and testify about what God has done. We overcome by “the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony” and I’m desperately needing to feel like an overcomer today. Thankfully, I’m reminded in Romans that I’m “more than a conqueror” because of his great, great love for me. In these two videos I’m reminiscing about the most profound experience I’ve ever had. It’s one that changed me and shaped me forever. God has not only brought supernatural healing to my body, but he has transformed me by the renewing of my mind. Regardless of any apparent evidence to the contrary, I can say for certain that HE IS GOOD and HE IS HEALER. I decided to record this testimony in two parts to hopefully make it more convenient for you to listen to in two sittings if time is short.